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Food System Development Lab (FSDL)

The Food System Development Lab (FSDL) actively pursues and advocates for the creation of a food system that builds equity between consumers and producers across Central Appalachia. The lab partners with and participates in projects that share a vision of food sovereignty through collective solutions without the marginalization of people, the environment, and communities. 

FSDL provides land grant institution resources to stakeholders across the region; building tools, data, research, and the next generation of food system practitioners and advocates.


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A regional food-hub aggregating and selling products from 100+ farmers across West Virginia.  The lab is a founding partner supporting the operational and strategic development of Turnrow since 2018.

Growing capacity

Growing Capacity

A collective of agri-business support organizations, non-profits, and cooperatives across Central Appalachia advancing food sovereignty and regional food system resilience. The lab is coalescing partner to increase production capacity and agriculture workforce training. 

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Regional Food GIS

A GIS program and application(s) that supports Regional Food System Planning across Central Appalachia; developing web-based logistics and distribution tools, spatial datasets of production and demand, and a production planning tool to coordinate production and sales.

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Blue Acre

Built on former mine land, Blue Acre Appalachian Aquaponics Center utilizes a proven, state-of-the-art aquaponics system to produce high quality lettuce and tilapia, distributing these products to consumers throughout Mingo County and beyond. 

Blue Acre

Community Advisory Board

April portrait

April Koenig

Executive Director, Sprouting Farms, WV

April is a transplant to WV, relocating here with her young family to start their own farm business. She has a background in nursing and brings her enthusiasm for health and wellness to her role as director. April was inspired to join the Sprouting Farms project because she saw the need for economic development for small farmers and wanted to be a part of a solution.

Sprouting Farms
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Susanna Wheeler

Director, New Roots Community Farm, WV

Susanna serves as our Farm Director. As the organization’s first official employee she brought a skill set needed to build out an integrated farm operation that can serve as a training ground for new farmers, a satellite site for local food hub operations, and a space that is healthful and convenient for the local community.

New Roots Community Farm
Glynis portrait

Glynis Board

Interim Executive Director, Grow Ohio Valley, WV

Glynis Board works to improve the health and economic opportunity of our region by building a robust, integrated, locally-owned food system. Through collaboration at all levels, we increase access to the healthy foods of the community and support the local businesses that can provide it.

Grow Ohio Valley
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Norvill Clark

Director, Five Rivers Cooperative (FRC), WV

Norvill Clark is part of the growing capacity project and Headquartered in the small town of Richwood. FRC encourages and enables economic diversity through agribusiness in eastern Nicholas County. The model centers around community service, community-oriented business opportunities that are “safely operated” by residents of the program, and self-sustainability. Participants are trained to work with FRC to produce, harvest, and distribute locally grown produce.

Five Rivers Cooperative
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Patti Miller

Director, Grow with the Flow LLC, Berkeley Springs, WV

Patti Miller ;is a local food systems consultant working in central Appalachia and the Chesapeake Bay region to help chart a new path for West Virginia’s food economy. She uses her skills and experience in finance, real estate, entrepreneurship, management, advocacy, and facilitation to help communities around the region communicate, collaborate, share knowledge, access resources, and succeed. For more than a decade, Patti has developed valuable relationships with farmers, institutions, civic organizations, non-profits, regulators and others as advocate, agitator, instigator, volunteer, advocate, and facilitator.

Grow With the Flow