Community Farm Alliance works to organize and encourage cooperation among rural and urban citizens to ensure family farm-based agriculture in Kentucky. They envision a food and fiber system that provides nutritious food for Kentuckians in a manner that is socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable.
With a grant from Farm Aid for general operating support, they were able to continue their community communications program called, Breaking Beans: The Appalachian Food Story Project!
Piloted in 2014, Breaking Beans tells the story of how local food and farming in Eastern Kentucky can contribute to a bright future in the Appalachian region. With a rich history of food and farming, stories of how Eastern Kentucky is already growing in that direction (and the challenges along the way) are important for informing people and policy alike.
Through the pilot program, five community fellows shared over 30 stories of Appalachian Kentucky food and farm work through social media and newspapers.
In its newest iteration, Breaking Beans is sharing farmer and food system stories through a regular radio show on Appalshop’s WMMT radio station (stream it online at wmmt.org the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm!) in addition to regular print methods.
Breaking Beans not only serves as a story-sharing project, but also develops the networks between the farmers, the food entrepreneurs and the Breaking Beans fellows. These interviews often lead to deeper conversations and relationships, which ultimately help lift up the family farmers of Eastern Kentucky.
Perhaps most importantly, Breaking Beans helps farmers and food entrepreneurs shape their personal narratives and frames them as leaders in their work – because that’s exactly what they are!