Of all of the end of year requests for support for food system work that have been in my inbox this week, this is only one of two that I am going to post about.
If you are not aware of the work that ACEnet does in their region and shares across the continent, then I am happy to be the source for your introduction. I originally connected to them through the legendary Athens Farmers Market (AFM), through the legendary ACEnet staffer/AFM partner, Leslie Schaller. I saw firsthand how they incubate micro enterprises in the region and because of that work, actively support outlets like markets that offer a step up to those businesses. Since then, I have also learned about the 30-mile meal project, the great regional work around towns such as Athens, Nelsonville and Newark and, of course, the state and system-level policy work they do on behalf of all of their constituencies.
As a native Northeast Ohioan who did community organizing in this region 30 years ago, I am constantly impressed by the visionary work now being done and I know that ACEnet is a proud partner to most if not all of it. It is important to note that this corner of the Appalachian corridor has some very deep problems when it comes to economic opportunity and land use and yet is one of the most vibrant market farming centers in the country, and famous for the number of worker-owned businesses thriving in it.
If you are driving through Southern Ohio (maybe to get to SSAWG conferencein KY in early 2016), I’d recommend that you see if you can tour their facilities or at least visit one of their projects.
And you can help ACEnet see another 30 Years: Join ACEnet’s 30th Anniversary donor drive at http://www.acenetworks.org/support.
Source: Wrapping up 2015 with ACEnet!