Introduction to ACENet in Athens, Ohio

The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet) is one of the nation's pioneers in network-based local food systems development. ACENet began their work in the 1980's,  long before the terms network weaving or social networks were even known. ACENet has specialized in cultiaving networks of farmers, small entrepreneurs, and businesses engaged in growing the local food economy in Appalachia. One of the poorest rural regions in the nation, ACENet has created economic models that provide new opportunities for low and moderate-income food entrepreneurs, creating pathways for long-term economic sustainability. This contrasts with a lot of the extractive industries that have come and gone in Appalachia, leaving landscapes and local economies struggling. Leslie talks about some of the history of ACENet and the unique culture and topography that have supported one of the most diverse agricutlural sectors in Ohio.