Should you be a food or farm entrepreneur looking to grow your business, officials said an upcoming conference called “Local by Local Expo” is designed to equip you with helpful resources, information, and ample time for connecting with other business owners.

Officials said the free event will feature a myriad of local producers and industry experts who will share their expertise on topics such as business management, farm financials, diversifying income streams, marketing & storytelling, and navigating regulations.

This expo is free of charge, officials noted, and includes lunch and snacks. Food and farm entrepreneurs from across the region are invited to attend the event on October 19, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Milton Pumpkin Park (1 Pumpkin Way, Milton, WV 25541).

In 2016, a regional local food corridor was established in Central Appalachia. Product sales for this project were in excess of $18.2 million in over just two years. The increased economic activity helped to create 40 new businesses and 134 new jobs and generated $2.6 million in private investment.

“Building a strong local food economy does not happen overnight. It is built on trust between growers and buyers. This conference is an opportunity to meet people face to face to discuss continuing strategies for building a stronger and more resilient future. Everyone has something to offer and everyone has something to learn,” the Market Manger of the Wild Ramp noted.

Officials said the Expo will be attended by numerable expert producers, as well as processors and market outlet representatives. There is no substitute for learning from people who have been successful - especially those in your own region! Below is a list of a few of the experts those attending the event can expect to meet at the conference:

• Tootie Jones of ​Swift Level Land and Cattle & Swift Level Fine Meat ​ s in Lewisburg

• Nancy Burns of ​J.Q. Dickinson SaltWork ​ s in Malden

• Penny Goff of ​Gritts Midway Greenhous ​ e in Red House

• Fritz Boettner and Adam Hudson of ​Turnrow: Appalachian Farm Collective

• Representatives from the WV Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Resources, and The WV Small Business Development Centers

• Kelsey Abad of ​The Wild Ramp ​ in Huntington

Registration at, https://g.co/kgs/rghhcd, is required so an accurate count for lunch can be ascertained.  

Officials said the expo is being organized by Unlimited Future, Inc., The Wild Ramp, Refresh Appalachia, West Virginia Department of Agriculture and The Robert C. Byrd Institute.

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