AFS emerged organically out of a series of in-person and online conversations among Appalachian foodways enthusiasts. We first convened in person in Greensboro, NC, and surveyed a broad group of stakeholders to gauge interest in an annual Summit. We are currently hosted by Berea College, with Grow Appalachia as our fiscal sponsorship.
Since our inception in 2013, we’ve hosted an Annual Summit each year in the following locations: Hindman Settlement School (KY), Heartwood (VA), and Berea College (KY). These Summits are a celebration of Appalachian foodways, blending academic, economic, and culinary content, and culminating in a community-building supper.
We are a membership-based, movement-building organization. Our board of directors is made up of a group of Appalachian foodways stakeholders, including chefs, writers, activists, food and farm entrepreneurs, and economic development professionals. Four years into this work, AFS saw the need in 2016 to take a step back and clarify our strategies and structure as an organization. We contracted Rural Support Partners, a strategic management firm with a strong understanding of Appalachian food systems, to guide us through a strategic retreat process.