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All Aboard The Policy Train: Building Political Capital in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia

By Sylvia Crum

All Aboard The Policy TrainAppalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) and First Tennessee Development District, Second Harvest Foodbank of NET, East TN Foundation and USDA Rural Development, have received a small grant and are collaborating to educate individuals in the region about federal, state and local policy including where the decisions on certain topics are made; how to work across state lines; and how citizens can transform their communities by taking a leadership role in creative policy development.

Policy 101
Policy 101 is a free, one-day workshop designed to bring together legislators, lobbyists, community leaders and others to help citizens understand what happens at the federal, state and local levels. Attendees will learn about specific and general policies, how they can participate, and where they can help lead transformative change in their own communities.

Three subsequent roundtable meetings
Following the initial Policy 101 meeting, there will be three roundtable meetings (in Virginia, Tennessee, and on the VA/TN border) that will have a geographic focus. These roundtables are free and open to the public. Each will build on the Policy 101 workshop and will enable participants to speak directly with legislators to discuss and understand food and health policies that can be used to increase economic and health benefits in their communities.

Jenni Roop, ASD’s Appalachian Transition Fellow explains,
“We are calling this series Building Political Capital in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia because we aim to help communities develop more confidence and be more comfortable when presenting issues to their elected officials. During the workshop, participants will learn about local, state, and federal policy, the difference between “Big P Policy” and “Little p policy,” and when/if the issues at hand require legislator involvement. Following the workshop, we will have a series of three roundtable meetings and small group luncheons: one on local policy, the second on State policy and a third on Federal policy. We are designing everything so that elected officials from both Tennessee and Virginia can connect with their constituents, giving everyone a chance to speak on a personal and yet professional level.”

Upcoming Policy 101 Workshop:
• September 13, 2017
• 10am-3pm (Check in starts at 9:30am)
• Second Harvest Foodbank of Northeast Tennessee:
1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport TN.
• **Registration is required:

Upcoming Roundtable Meetings:
• Virginia focus, October 4, 2017
• 11am-1pm
• Russell County Government Center:
139 Highland Drive, Lebanon VA
• Tennessee focus, October 12, 2017
• 11am-1pm
• Jonesborough Visitors Center:
117 Boone Street, Jonesborough TN
• Border focus, October 17, 2017
• 3:30pm-5:30pm
• Studio Brew:  221 Moore Street, Bristol VA

For more information, contact Jenni Roop at:

About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people with healthy food. Since 1995, ASD has served 15 counties in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. As ASD’s work continues, it will expand its focus to include regional partnerships that build important connections to increase market access and bring necessary resources to the rural communities in its physical footprint. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. To learn more, go to asdevelop.org or visit Facebook or Twitter.

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