Earlier this week, Local Foods, Local Places—a federal partnership dedicated to helping communities create walkable, healthy and economically vibrant neighborhoods by strengthening local food systems—announced their 2016 community partners. We’re thrilled to learn that out of 300+ applicants, three of the 27 towns and cities selected to participate in this collaborative initiative will also be hosting free Levitt concerts this season. A hearty congratulations to Middlesboro, Denver and Memphis on their selection!
We’d like to give a special shoutout to Discover Downtown Middlesboro (DDM)—a two-time Levitt AMP grantee and now, a Local Foods, Local Places community partner as well! As DDM Executive Director Isaac Kremer said, “Selection as a Local Foods, Local Places winner is a validation of the hard work our organization and community has done and acknowledged the amazing opportunities ahead for our town and region. Improvements downtown are reaching a critical mass thanks to efforts to convert vacant and underutilized spaces for community use. The Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, pop-up parks we’ve created, and the possibility of new restaurants opening downtown will benefit from this latest win.” Keep up the great work, Middlesboro!
As Gina McCarthsection Agency administrator, explains: “Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment.” Each partner community will work with a team of experts to assess their community’s unique assets and strategize ways to generate renewed interest in their local food system, ultimately encouraging revitalization and reinvestment in underutilized downtown neighborhoods.
Launched in 2015, Local Foods, Local Places builds upon an earlier iteration of the program known as ARC-EPA-USDA Livable Communities in Appalachia. Transformations like the one seen in Corbin, Ky. likely encouraged this growth of this program. Since its participation in Livable Communities in Appalachia in 2012, the town of Corbin has truly bolstered its economy. The program gave local food vendors and artisans the platform and support to develop business enterprises, sparking reinvestment in Downtown Corbin and ultimately reducing the downtown vacancy rate from 40% to 5%.