The CAMC Local Foods Value Chain project builds connectivity by bringing locally-grown herbs and produce to the Charleston Area Medical Center kitchens. This project seeks to demonstrate that an agrarian culture can impact the economic transition of our region while providing access to and knowledge of healthy food to a population uniquely in need of such access and knowledge.

Perhaps most importantly, the project pursues these goals by bringing together the different sectors of the food value chain. WealthWorks defines a value chain as “a coordinated network … that addresses a market opportunity to meet demand for specific products or services – each [member] advancing individual self-interest while together building rooted local and regional wealth.”[1]  Value chains bring together key partners – in our case, growers, a distributor, an aggregator, and the anchor institution and consumer, CAMC – together to make sure that everyone along the chain benefits fairly from the production and consumption of local food. All partners are working together to build the seven types of wealth embraced by the Foundation’s mission.

The Charleston Area Medical Center provides the demand for the locally grown herbs and specifies the requirement for their purchase. It is part of their health and community-oriented mission to substitute fresh herbs for fat and salt in preparing meals. They also provide their employees, their patients, and their families with information regarding healthy diets. They are one of the first hospitals in the nation to act as an anchor institution in a wealth-creating value chain.

Corey Brothers, Inc. is a wholesale produce distributor and works with an aggregator to provide the local herbs to the hospital in the quantities and quality that is required.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation acts as a facilitator and coordinator of the process by convening partners and providing access to information on value chains, access to expertise, and needed resources.

The short-term impacts of the project are the development of a local market for locally grown herbs and produce, which will stimulate an increase in the Appalachian agricultural output and increase the local economy through increased sales and employment. Hospital patients and their families will be introduced to healthier foods by reducing the amount of salt and fat in their diets with the substitution of locally grown herbs.

Watch a video about our project: