Agriculture Innovation

About Agriculture Innovation at Eastern

With supporting funds from the USDA Rural Business Development Grant, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) Eastern's IREED launched agriculture programming and initiatives to help drive new economic opportunities in agriculture. Eastern's IREED understands that successful programming and economic development could not be accomplished alone. Local, regional, and state partnerships are key to sustainability and impactful programming efforts. A few of our partners include the United States Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia University Extension, West Virginia State, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute.

These partnerships and supportive funding have allowed Eastern's IREED to support agriculture entrepreneurs locally, regionally, and statewide to adopt and drive agricultural innovation. Several practices include the utilization of poultry bio-waste as a method of upcycling byproducts and utilizing precision agriculture technologies such as drone imaging on operations. Eastern's IREED has also led many initiatives including:

  • Ag Action Council
  • WV AG Showcase and AG Student Challenge
  • Workshops and Trainings
  • Farm to Table Events
  • Business Coaching
  • Biochar

Eastern is viewed as one of the leaders in economic development specifically in Agriculture.  As a result of the tremendous interest from past programming, Eastern now has a Director of Agriculture, a Potomac Highlands Food Cooperative, an Associate in Business Management with an Emphasis in Agribusiness, Ag Workforce Trainings & Certifications, and timely workshops and programming.

Agribusiness & Entrepreneurship Resources

Eastern has provided agriculture-related workshops and trainings for the past several years and continues to foster innovation and agriculture for the youth in the Potomac Highlands including the annual Ag Innovation Showcase and statewide Ag Innovation Challenge. Eastern has also worked closely with producers and farmers and has led to the creation of the Potomac Highlands Food Co-op.

Potomac Highlands Producers

The Potomac Highlands Producers is a co-operative of farmers and producers from the six Potomac Highlands counties of eastern West Virginia, all working together to promote and sell their products to retail, restaurants, institutions, and individuals. The project is being spearheaded by the Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College to strengthen the local farm economy and is funded by a USDA grant. The goals of Potomac Highlands Producers are to grow the local farm economy by providing marketing and advertising of local food, business coaching and support, training on innovative agricultural practices, collective sales of products, and community awareness of the availability of local foods from the Potomac Highlands and where to buy them. The Potomac Highlands Producers Food Co-operative is located at the IREED New Biz Launchpad.

Potomac Highlands Producers logo

Mountain Top Farm-to-Table Dinner

Bringing farm-to-table to the mountaintops of West Virginia, the Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation hosts an annual Mountain Top Dinner fundraiser. The annual Mountain Top Dinner celebrates the unique traditions surrounding food and agriculture in West Virginia from the production to the preparation to the stories surrounding it.  The farm-to-table dinner is set on a gorgeous mountain top where guests enjoy breathtaking views followed by an auction fundraiser featuring local artists and products.

The heritage of West Virginian food is both distinctly West Virginian and inextricably Appalachian.  This event highlights the story of the local producers, the land, the food, and the culture of the Potomac Highlands. All proceeds from the Mountain Top Dinner benefit Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation, which supports the College through student scholarships, faculty development, and capital projects.

Our 2020 Farm to Table event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. We look forward to seeing you in September 2021!