Food and Agriculture Systems Working Group

The Food and Agriculture Systems Working Group and the Central Appalachian Network are working together to strengthen the region’s capacity for food system development by connecting funders and practitioners within specific sub-regions and across the region. We have formed a joint working group to achieve the following:


  1. Deepen Relationships

    Create and deepen relationships between grantmakers and practitioners working in local food systems.

  2. Foster Deeper Learning & Analysis

    Create and deepen relationships between grantmakers and practitioners working in local food systems.

  3. Leverage Resources

    Increase resources within the region targeted at creating stronger local food systems.

  4. Enhance Connectivity

    Enhance the connectivity and capacity of the region’s key food system actors.


Our collective efforts focus on a set of Central Appalachian sub-regions where CAN members and Funders Network grantmakers are already moving work on the ground. The combined Working Group will allow funders and practitioners within the below sub-regions to build shared analysis and formulate collective strategies for accelerating the development of their local food system. Currently, the identified sub-regions are:

Appalachian Ohio
Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee
Eastern Kentucky
Eastern West Virginia 


Co-Chairs of the Food Systems Working Group

Lora Smith, PhilCap SEKY
Tim Richards, Community Foundation of WNC

Members of the Food Systems Working Group

Food System Funders

Mary Hunt, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Susan Beaudry, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation
Kostas Skordas, Appalachian Regional Commission
Sandra Mikush, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Trudy Hughes, East Tennessee Foundation
Barbara Wyckoff, The One Foundation
Mary Fant Donnan, Alleghany Foundation
Joe Woody, USDA Rural Development TN
Gerry Roll, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky 
Susan Zepeda, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Jen Giovannitti, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Monica McCann, Conservation Fund
Christine Laporte, Sacharuna Foundation
Darryl Cannady, Appalachian Community Fund
Marlo Long, BB&T Bank
Jane Higgins, Bluegrass Community Foundation
Stephanie Hyre, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
Renee Steffen, Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund
Tony Logan, USDA Rural Development OH
Bobby Lewis, USDA Rural Development WV

Food System Practitioners

Kathlyn Terry, Appalachian Sustainable Development
Leslie Schaller, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks
Martin Richards, Community Farm Alliance
Michelle Decker, Rural Action
Martin Jenkins, Natural Capital Investment Fund
Tom Redfern, Rural Action
Sherri Oliver, Live Healthy Appalachia
Alexis Close, Appalachian RC&D
Emily Bidgood, Appalachian RC&D
Emily Jackson, ASAP
Gail Patton, Unlimited Future, Inc.
Sally Causey, Rural Resources
Mary Nally, Community Food Initiatives
Elizabeth Spellman, WV Food & Farm Coalition
Brenda Hunt, Heart and Hand House
Jill Young, Value Chain Cluster Initiative