Generating ideas, connections, and action

 

By MaryAnn Martinez


 

MaryAnn Martinez is a non-profit director and interdisciplinary food systems scholar. She is currently aPhD candidate at Antioch Graduate School of Leadership and Change. Her work is in place-based food systems, and community-based food networks as catalysts for social innovation and transformative change. In addition, MaryAnn has over 10 years of experience as a vegetable and livestock farmer, in both for-profit and social enterprises -http://maryann-martinez.squarespace.com

 

The History

In 2008, the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative began to assess what was necessary for a regional organic staple grain and bean value chain in Appalachia. Michelle Ajamian who, along with her partner Brandon, runs Shagbark Seed and Mill in Athens, OH, had the vision, and began to reach out and form relationships with others interested in staple foods. Ten years later, this informal collaborative had grown from a handful to several hundred farmers, bakers, millers, and others around the country who are focusing on local, heirloom and organic grains and beans. 

 

Now a for a bit of a necessary segue.....

 

Why a staple foods network?