Many of us welcome the milder days and vibrant colors of autumn, when cool winds begin to stir and the farmers are busy gathering the last of their crops before putting their fields to rest. It is harvest season once again in the Greenbrier Valley. While some farmers have been on the same family land for generations and others are new to the area, all are part of the fabric that makes up the region’s rich agricultural history.
The Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative (GVLFI), a program of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, is an organization whose goal is supporting these farms and farmers, connecting them to each other and to you. “Access to fresh food is the foundation of a thriving community. As a society, Americans have been dissuaded for several generations from recognizing the relationship between quality of food and quality of life. GVLFI helps small farmers serve and support Greenbrier Valley communities by assisting us in getting our high-quality products to market and building the networks that form the basis of a local-food based economy and all the quality-of-life benefits that come with it” says Dawn Baldwin Barrett of Brightside Acres in Pocahontas County.
On Friday, October 23rd, GVLFI is hosting its 4th annual Farm Feast (formerly called the Harvest Dinner) at the Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company located at 862 Industrial Park Rd. in Lewisburg, near the Greenbrier Valley Airport (across from Smooth Ambler Distillery). This lively event celebrates the farmers, land and animals that provide food for the valley year-round. The Farm Feast will include a variety of local meats, grains, and vegetables, some of which will be prepared and served by the famers themselves. Locally brewed craft beer and Old-time Appalachian music will accompany the meal, and a square dance will follow. This event is family friendly; children of all ages are welcome. Event starts at 6:00pm; tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
All farms participating in this years’ Farm Feast are Greenbrier Valley Grown (GVG) certified. Soon to be starting its third year, GVG represents over 50 establishments, which include farms, restaurants, retailers, and farmers markets in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Fayette and Summers Counties. GVG strives to provide information about where our foods comes from, and encourages consumers to keep their food dollars circulating in the community. An online directory of certified farms and businesses is available at greenbriervalleygrown.org.
Farm Feast attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a raffle, proceeds of which will support GVLFI’s SNAP Up Local Foods program. SNAP Up Local Foods enables participating farmers markets and retailers to accept and double SNAP, WIC, and Senior Coupons, improving access to fresh healthy foods for all residents of the Greenbrier Valley. To learn more about GVLFI aand its projects, visit greenbriervalley.org. For tickets to the event call 304.497.4300.
– Kim Forte & India Keller, LBSPY October 2015.