Charleston, WV – The Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action (KISRA) has received nearly $800,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Services. The funds are being used to establish a food hub, which will promote community health, support local food production/farm enterprises, and create jobs.

The new initiative, which is called the Appalachian Food Enterprise, is a partnership between KISRA and Pollen8, Inc. Both nonprofits are dedicated to promoting healthy living and helping people transitioning back into society after incarceration or treatment for Substance Use Disorder.

“This is just an ideal partnership between two nonprofits whose missions are so closely aligned,” said Reggie Jones, CEO of KISRA. “We believe this initiative will serve as a model for other areas in the state.”

The Appalachian Food Enterprise consists of a network of related food enterprises that specialize in bringing food from farm-to-table from local sources. Café Appalachia, which is part of Pollen8, LLC., will use the organic produce – the bulk of which will be grown at Paradise Farms at KISRA – and other food items for the café, a catering service, and a food truck, The Daily Harvest. Other items will be locally sourced from small farmers in the region.

“The Café brings people from all walks of life to the same table of life, so-to-speak,” said Cheryl Laws. “In addition to promoting fresh and healthy meals, the Appalachian Food Enterprise will help foster a greater sense of community.”The project will create 42 livable wage, full-time jobs for low-income community residents, which will include TANF recipients and at-risk community members with a focus on men and women coming out of long-term recovery and ex-offenders to decrease re-offense and recidivism.