|West Virginians spend just a few dollars a year on food grown in the Mountain State.|
Jennifer Williams, the Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources for West Virginia University's Extension Service, says that needs to change.
With food prices continuing to dramatically increase despite the recession and low oil prices, it could change.
Most West Virginians know how to raise a garden and many of them are being encouraged to sell their home grown products at local markets.
The Farmer's Market at the Upper West Fork Park is a local outlet.
"We have a huge market potential out there," says Williams who works with farmers on the local level to help them find the places that can use their products.
Groups like the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia are helping with those efforts.
The Collaborative helps connect food producers with restaurants, stores and customers who can use their products.
In all, the West Virginia grown industry has a $300 million impact on the state's economy.
Duane Legg, the Division Chef for U.S. Food Services, says
"It's definitely a good opportunity for West Virginia farmers."
"The people here are stepping up to produce quality family secret recipes and products and things and then, at the same time, you've got people who are learning or moving back to their roots in West Virginia," Williams said.
For more on the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia see wvfarm2u.org