Please Join Us!

Presented by CAN in partnership with the USDA

A Fair Food System: A Summit on Scalable Solutions to Creating Community Food Systems, a series of half-day events presented by the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) in partnership the USDA, will be a learning environment regarding the problems related to nutrition security such as healthy food access and affordability. It will engage a coalition of organizations who are working to build and support resilient and accessible community food systems, and will work to attract federal, public, and private funding for scalable programs addressing nutrition security in Central Appalachia.

Topics for Summit #1on July 28thinclude Healthy Food Value Chains, Equity; the upcoming White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health in September, and new USDA opportunities.

Register Here:


We are proud to welcome a litany of talented food systems experts from across Appalachia slated to present at the first session of A Fair Food System: A Summit on Scalable Solutions to Creating Community Food Systems. See website for full bios:


Summit #1 Sessions 

Priority Areas & New Opportunities: 9:40am – 10:00am

USDA priority areas and new opportunities will be discussed.

Panel Speaker: Mae Wu


Case Model of a Healthy Food Value Chain: The Appalachian Accessible Food Network: 10:00am – 11:00am

Appalachian Ohio local food systems have become a driving force in the region’s economic revitalization. The Appalachian Accessible Food Network (AAFN) makes sure that the growing demand for local, fresh and affordable food reaches everyone in our rural communities.

The Appalachian Accessible Food Network (AAFN) is a partnership between ACEnet, Community Food Initiatives and Rural Action formalized in 2014 to accelerate the distribution of local foods into low wealth and underserved Appalachian Ohio communities. With help from numerous partners, the AAFN has leveraged donations, sponsorships, revenue generation and grants to implement a detailed work plan grounded in an equity framework. Inclusion and resilience are integral to our shared vision.

Generous funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville, the Sisters Health Foundation, the Athens County Foundation and a number of USDA agencies has enabled three anchor organizations to strengthen local food access, production, processing, distribution, and consumption.

Panel Speakers: Leslie Schaller, Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Molly Sowash, Tom Redfern


Active Break: How Are You Strengthening Healthy Food Value Chains? 11:00am – 11:30am

This session will start off with an active break and then move into an activity where participants will share how they are working to strengthen their local and regional food systems so that we can get a fuller picture of the work going on in the region, as well as how folks view their own activities through a food system strengthening perspective.

Session Moderator: Jennifer Weeber


Local Food Value Chains through an Equity Lens: 11:30am – 12:20pm

Food equity is the concept that all people have the ability and opportunity to grow and to consume healthful, affordable, and culturally significant foods. Creating an equitable local/regional food system, from the farm to the fork, can build community wealth, health, and resiliency. In this session we will explore the challenges and opportunities to building diversity, equity, and inclusion across the food system value-chain.

Panel Moderator: Martin Richards

Panel Speakers: Heather Fuston, Shelly Keeney, Tiffany Bellfield El-Amin


Call to Action: 12:20pm – 12:50

Deep dive in the 3 working groups and provide next steps to become an active participant.

Panel Moderators: Various


A Fair Food System will be series of 6 half-day, virtual summits on community food systems from 9am – 1pm, July to December.

Summit 1: July 28, 9:00am - 1:00p

Summit 2: August 25, 9:00am - 1:00pm 

Summit 3: September 22, 9:00am - 1:00pm 

Summit 4: October 27, 9:00am - 1:00pm 

Summit 5 & 6: TBD


All sessions will be held virtually and are open to stakeholders working in the Central Appalachian food system in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The Summit is free, but space is limited and registration is required.

Please contact Meggan ( or Kayla ( with any questions.


The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, The Educational Foundation of America and Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments share the Central Appalachian Network’s (CAN) goal of improving access to healthy food for underserved communities and will sponsor the CAN and USDA Community Food Systems Summit - A Fair Food System: A Summit on Scalable Solutions to Creating Community Food Systems.