Two regional organizations have received an $815,000 federal grant that will support Western North Carolina's agriculture economy and spur job creation in 23 counties, including Henderson County.
WNC AgriVentures, a program developed by Advantage West and Land of Sky Regional Council, is launching the "Cultivating Jobs and Innovation Project," one of only 13 projects selected across the country to receive funding from the Economic Development Administration Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan announced Wednesday.
The award will be used to promote investment in major supply chain opportunities and provide Western North Carolina businesses access to new technology from regional universities and other research and development centers by leveraging the area's agricultural assets.
These efforts will help expand Western North Carolina's sustainable agriculture and natural resource industry and support local producers and entrepreneurs.
The award was announced Wednesday at Blue Ridge Food Ventures incubator in Candler.
"Western North Carolina is becoming a powerhouse in the local agriculture and local sustainable food movements," said Hagan. "I am pleased that this project will allow AgriVentures to continue supporting initiatives — such as Blue Ridge Food Ventures — that will expand the agriculture industry in our western region. By helping local producers grow their businesses, this project will help put more and more people in Western North Carolina back to work."
Areas served by the WNC AgriVentures project also include Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
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