If you are a Nature-Based Business in food, clothing, shelter and wellness who supports or has a vision to support multiple growers – we are looking for you!
Accelerating Appalachia is the world’s first nature-based business accelerator, connecting innovative businesses, investors and mentors aligned with people, place and prosperity. We attract and scale high-impact, seed-stage businesses in the following sectors:
- Craft Beverage
- Forest products (natural building) and non-timber forest products (ginseng, mushrooms, fruit & nut trees)
- Outdoor Industry
- Soil and water health innovations
- Other innovative triple bottom-line businesses with special consideration for women and businesses from marginalized regions and communities that have been impacted by the loss of jobs in the mining, logging, farming and textile industries
Central/Southern Appalachia is on the same latitude and elevation as China’s ayurvedic regions and is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. With over 1,500 seeds in cultivation, we are North America’s largest food shed. So why is our economy so darn extractive, destroying what makes our region great? Accelerating Appalachia accelerates growth-stage businesses in food, clothing, shelter, and wellness, to support Appalachia’s regenerative economy, sustaining good jobs and keeping thousands of sustainable farmers on the land.
Accelerating Appalachia is responding to success and growing demand:
- Accelerator graduates have leveraged over $11 million in investment
- 70% of our businesses are in growth
- 75% of the accelerator applicants were woman-owned or co-owned.
- We have a growing network of over 40 mentors and investors
- Great coverage from local, national and international press
We partner with organizations from around the region in support of farmers and nature-based businesses from the Appalachian region. Our network of farmers and businesses work towards regenerative practices that improve soil health, retain water, draw down carbon, and rebuild rural communities. We select our participants through an extensive review and vetting process.
Throughout the program we bring together our farmers and businesses supporting them through our training and networking programs. Additionally, we travel throughout the Appalachian region and urban hubs helping our participants to connect to regional markets and build strong peer rapport as well as connecting to investors and mentors.
To guide our farmers and nature-based businesses, we bring in farm based businesses and technical practitioners to help train around business development and carbon sequestration. Our mentors and peer businesses advise and consult our nature-based businesses and farmers in their business development as well as regenerative practices, measurement and monitoring. Our mentors are committed to helping farmers and nature-based businesses achieve their goals of building resilient organizations in agriculture across the region that benefit rural communities, help retain water, improve soil health, and draw down carbon.
We help nature-based businesses and farmers connect with our robust network of top impact investment funds and a growing group of individuals interested in investing through a nature-based investment group. We help our participants prepare for investment, if that is what they seek. Starting in 2016 we developed a special partnership with Kiva Zip for farmers. Read about it and more details here.
We are deeply committed to people, place, and prosperity, in balance with nature.
We support those who commit to a place and make it better and we equally value the wisdom of the traveler who brings lessons learned from the world. We are inspired by our friend and father of sustainable agriculture, Wendell Berry. His dogged determination for over 50 years to radically apply wisdom and affection and commitment to place continues in the “Resettling of America”:
“Do the work of changing our ruinous industrial agriculture system into a culture that uses nature as the standard, that accepts no permanent damage to the ecosphere, and that takes into consideration human health in local communities.”
Investing in Appalachia is Investing in America. In the heart of the world’s oldest mountains and one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, we seek to support Appalachia’s growth to regenerate our region.
National, Regional and Local Partners
Accelerating Appalachia is collaborating and partnering with multiple enterprises and organizations from across the region, including: Kiva Zip, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics, Threshold Foundation, Village Capital, Big Path Capital, Appalachian Regional Commission, Brown-Forman, Ouita Michel Restaurants, Kentucky Distillers Association, Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute, Kentucky Center for Ag and Rural Development (K-CARD), Kentucky Innovation Network, MACED, Appalachian Food Summit, Community Farm Alliance, Local Foods Network, Kentucky Proud/Appalachian Proud, Grow Appalachia, Rural Scale, Climate Listening Project, Cultivating Resilience, The Adaway Group, Creative Reaction Lab, and many more.
Please feel free to contact Sara Day Evans, our Executive Director, at saraday@
Do you love our groundbreaking work accelerating nature-based businesses? Your 501c3 tax-deductible donation supports an economy that supports people, place and prosperity -> Donate Now.