We’ve told you before about one of our Heifer farmers in the Appalachia region of the United States. Her name is Ann Rose and she is what we call a food entrepreneur—using the extraordinary power of local food to transform communities and improve the economy in her area. Ann is a force to be reckoned with. She is fired up about making her community of Lansing, N.C., rise to its potential as a hub for creating a healthier community, reclaiming their food source, and sustaining Lansing’s local economy.
Heifer’s work there is to revive, and sometimes rebuild, the broken food system using small scale farmers and filling gaps in the food value chain. From farm to table. And by “table” we mean restaurants, schools, homes, grocery stores—any and everywhere food is sold, Heifer is trying to connect these farmers to those markets.
Ann’s is one of those markets. Her instrument for all of this transformation is her butcher shop. While it may seem like an unlikely place for community development, she is hitting the nail on the head. There, farmers can bring their local meats and produce (all of which are sustainably grown, GMO-free, and humanely raised and processed) to sell. She works with farmers across three counties: Ashe, Alleghany, and Watauga. You can also buy “value-add” products like eggs, cheese, breads, honey, vinegars, teas, jams, mustards, jellies….the list goes on and on as more Appalachia producers seeking a market for their goods find Ann Rose.
Heifer’s support began a few years ago in the form of small loans, business and financial training, and training in Heifer’s Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development. Her butcher shop came to life. And using the tools she gained from Heifer, transformation began.
Ann Rose’s work with Heifer continues. She’s been invited to speak at Heifer’s third annual Beyond Hunger event in Los Angeles in August to raise awareness and resources for marginalized women and their families worldwide. Ann will share her experience, her work with Heifer and how with the spark of entrepreneurship and a hand up from Heifer, whole communities can be transformed.
Read more about Ann’s latest initiative over in Appalachia.