MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -
With eight in 10 farmers making less than $10,000 a year, West Virginia will never rival big Midwestern factory farms in producing food.
But creative collaborations with entrepreneurs are seeding a new local-foods economy that federal officials say could become a model for 12 other Appalachian states.
Officials with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education are meeting with nearly two dozen groups across West Virginia this week as part of an Appalachian Foodways Tour.
It began in North Carolina and continues next month in Ohio and New York.
Co-Chair Earl Gohl says ARC has funded foodways activities in every Appalachian state, investing $7.6 million since 2001.
But he wants to learn about the opportunities and obstacles in using food as an economic development tool.