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What Can Be

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For many rural communities it can be hard to see opportunities for growth, or even stability, in the wake of steady economic decline and the exodus of big industries. Carla Norwood and Gabe Cummings believe plenty of opportunity exists where it always has: in the landscape and people that surround them. Their rural-based nonprofit, Working Landscapes, has nurtured a local food system and a regional supply network that has proven sustainable over the past five years. What Can Be examines their economic redevelopment project in detail, the pubic and private partners involved and how their model could be replicated to develop complementary processing facilities and opportunities for economic resilience in other rural communities. 


Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of GeorgiaFort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, under sub-award number: LS12-248. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Local Food Economies Resources

Local Food Economies is an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems' NC Growing Together (NCGT) project. Visit the Local Food Economies page ( for resources, tools, and information for local government and economic development agencies across the state that are working to build economically viable local food systems. 

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