We are honored to announce the Nature-Based Businesses selected for Accelerating Appalachia 2019! These businesses are supporting a regenerative economy built on the values of soil and soul. Program participants will travel to Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina to learn, grow, and connect with thought leaders and communities. Accelerating Appalachia has been providing accelerator services to Nature-Based Businesses for years, growing one of the world’s most diverse economies focused on food, clothing, shelter and wellness. We are thrilled to be a part of this cohort’s journey.

Ballew Estates

Richmond, KY

Tiffany Bellfield https://www.facebook.com/ballewestates

HomeGrown HideAways

Berea, KY

Jessa Turner

Kentucky Green Grass

Harrodsburg, KY

Rachael Edmistonhttps://www.kentuckygreengrass.farm

Madison County Community Learning Centers

Marshall, NC

Deborah Delislehttps://www.madisoncclc.org

Moonlight Meat Processing

Williamsburg, KY

Anne Bays

No Taste Like Home

Asheville, NC

Rebekah Joplinghttps://notastelikehome.org

Rachel DesRocher, Incubator Kitchen Collective and Grateful Grahams

Newport, KY

Rachel DesRochers

LEARN MORE about Accelerating Appalachia’s 2019 Nature-Based Businesses

2019 Applications are Now Open!

Are you a Nature-Based Business (respectful of nature’s wisdom) in food, beverage, textile, shelter, wellness and the outdoors looking to expand? Do you buy your raw goods such as grains, botanicals, produce, proteins, fibers, forest products from small growers? Join us for Accelerating Appalachia 2019! Applications are now being accepted for  our new program, Building Soil and Soil. Nature-Based Businesses are encouraged to apply that support keeping multiple small growers and farmers on the land to improve soil, retain water, sequester carbon, and help communities. The application deadline has been extended to March 27.

Accelerating Appalachia, the world’s first Nature-Based Business Accelerator, envisions and supports a regenerative and inclusive economy built on the values of soil and soul. Accelerating Appalachia has been providing accelerator services to Nature-Based Businesses for years, growing one of the world’s most diverse economies focused on food, clothing, shelter and wellness. Graduates of the program leave with sound business practices, concrete and tangible assets and tools to move their business models forward, and a lasting network that supports them beyond the programmatic sessions.

About Building Soil and Soul 2019

The Accelerating Appalachia program brings together mentors, peers, thought leaders and nature-based businesses over 8 weeks in the spring from April – May. Content will be delivered over a cluster of 3 day sessions in Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina: April 16-18 in Louisville, KY, May 2-4 in Asheville, NC, and May 28-30 in Cincinnati, OH. Intensive sessions will be entire days, while additional curriculum content will be delivered over segments of training days. Each session will include pitch practice with the program culminating in a pitch presentation to customers, investors, and relevant networks. Participants will be introduced to businesses in each of the host regions to further their networks and enrich their understanding of implemented regenerative practices.

As in past programming, content will be delivered with an Accelerating Appalachia nature-based business development coach, seasoned in working with businesses in a regenerative, inclusive framework. Expert advisors and mentors will join the program for relevant content areas, including 100 hours with experts in holistic business development, finance, accounting, new tax laws for small businesses, inclusive business practices, value chain development, legal structures, understanding investment, and more. These guest instructors not only deliver content, but advise each business, often developing lasting peer and mentor relationships with Accelerating Appalachia participants. To round out the program, each year, participants can receive continued support from Accelerating Appalachia, depending on their needs. Participant individuals and enterprise consistently report that one of the most valuable aspects of participation in the Accelerating Appalachia program is the connection made with their peers and mentors.

Participants will learn how to best support causes and movements facing their communities and our world, but also spend time reflecting on personal and enterprise practices to further their interest in building stronger communities for all.

How to Apply

We have partnered with F6S, the largest founder and startup community, to provide a seamless application process. Please visit here to apply. You will be asked to set up an team/startup profile to apply, but you will not be judged on your profile – we will be reviewing applications based on your responses to the Accelerating Appalachia application questions. Also, you can choose to opt out of F6S emails and delete your profile after the application process if you wish or you can keep your account open for additional opportunities and networking.

Learn More

Nature-based businesses and entrepreneurs from across the globe, but especially from Appalachia and the southeastern U.S. are encouraged to apply. We will consider other innovative triple bottom-line businesses with special consideration for entrepreneurs where mining, logging, textile and tobacco/farming industries are on the decline. We encourage veterans to apply. We encourage all to apply and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, parental status, or physical or mental disability.

The cost of the program is $1750, with lodging, breakfast, and lunch provided during sessions. Scholarships are available, contact us to learn more.

We encourage you to browse our website to learn more about our team, our accelerator graduates, press, advisers, and more. Connect with us on Facebook @ Accelerating Appalachia. And, contact us directly if you have questions: Sara Day Evans, Founding Director, saraday@acceleratingappalachia.org.

“The visionary women who run Accelerating Appalachia definitely make sure it lives up to the name ‘accelerator’,” says Grow Journey founders Susan and Aaron von Frank. “During the few months of the program, our business probably moved forward two years as far as planning, financial projections, team building, etc. ACAP forced us to get tightly organized, while providing the tools and resources to do so. We’ve also been introduced to a wide range of prospective impact investors that we might not have met otherwise. We can’t recommend it highly enough to other nature-based businesses who are ready to accelerate.”





Tuesday, February 26, 2019, 7:00 PM

Hosted by WNYC’s Shumita Basu

Guests include our own Sara Day Evans, founding director of Accelerating Appalachia, plus Rachel Armstrong, founder and executive director of Farm Commons, and Jeffrey Neal, founder of Loop Closing.

What do composting or legal contracts have to do with the last meal you ate? Why should we all have insight into the businesses growing, producing and sourcing the food you eat? Learn how all of these facets work together toward a truly just food system for all. Bring your ideas and curiosity. Insights will inspire and we’ll come together for a better world.

Tickets: $15

Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Venue: The Greene Space

44 Charlton Street, New York, NY
(corner of Varick Street)

There is hope in change. In this special partnership with Echoing Green, you’ll discover how you can harness your day-to-day choices to create a collective transformation. Over four events at The Greene Space, leading entrepreneurs, engineers, organizers and activists working from Appalachia to New York City will share their incredible work and the steps they’re taking to make the world more sustainable, safe and equitable. From decisions about what you eat, the apps you use, or where and how you spend your money, these actions are part of the building blocks of social movements that are creating a fairer and more sustainable world.



Accelerating Appalachia founder Sara Day Evans was interviewed by Erin Axelrod for The Lift Economy Podcast in an episode fittingly titled “Making America Regenerative Again.” Erin is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. LIFT’s mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all people.


Listen to Sara Day talk about her passion and inspiration for the accelerator program here: http://www.lifteconomy.com/blog/2017/11/21/sara-day-evans-making-america-regenerative-again

We are bouncin’ back with exciting news in 2018! Lush Cosmetics North America, the globe’s most ethically sourced cosmetics company has just announced support for our new regenerative business curriculum “Building Soil and Soul”! So, we hit the road. We traveled our LUSHOUS Appalachian region from Kentucky to North Carolina and points in between with Lush Cosmetics North America to visit farmers, growers, researchers, and nature-based businesses for a #LUSHAppalachia journey. We are so honored to share the beauty and resiliency of one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet – Appalachia. We are grateful to Lush for their support for our new regenerative business curriculum “Building Soil and Soul”. And, we’re excited about the possibilities in helping them source small batches of raw goods from Appalachian growers! Stay tuned!

Photos: Dayna Reggero and Erin Bridges

Fully funded in record time: 6 days! Floyd’s Farm & Home received a $10,000, 0% Kiva loan. And, thanks to our collaboration with Lexington’s Community Ventures, Travis will qualify for a matching loan of $10,000!! He’s able to leverage $20k at 2.5% interest. So much gratitude to the great folks at Kiva and the 202 lenders who invested at $25 or more. Travis will be able to purchase his trailer for sales of high quality organic chicken feed in the Lexington, KY area, as well as establish a website for online sales. You can learn more about the project here

Storm Cloud Media spent some time with us in Appalachia. Watch to learn more about the heart of Accelerating Appalachia and our participant businesses.





We are so excited to partner on HempX Asheville! HempX is the first festival in North Carolina with a focus on educating the public on the multiple uses and diversity of products that come from industrial hemp. All proceeds benefit Accelerating Appalachia. Join us at Highland Brewing for two days of talks, hemp foods, networking, and of course, live music and beer.