West Virginia Small Farm Center—
West Virginians spend billions of dollars on food every year, and Tom McConnell is working to keep more of those dollars in the state’s communities.
More than $7.2 billion worth of food is consumed each year in West Virginia, and McConnell believes that the state’s farmers should capture more than the mere $7 million they currently garner in direct sales.
McConnell is helping the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” movement grow in West Virginia via programs that connect individuals, families, and commercial consumers (such as restaurants and schools) with farmers in their communities.
The program leader of the WVU Extension Small Farm Center, McConnell manages the annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference, which helps new and experienced producers learn more about agri-tourism, marketing techniques, fruit and vegetable production, food security, and effective agricultural production and business practices.
McConnell also coordinates the Farm Center’s Tax Schools—workshops designed to assist West Virginia’s accountants, tax practitioners, enrolled agents, small business owners, and bankers who manage, prepare, and file income tax returns.
The sessions are held several times a year, and they feature speakers from the Internal Revenue Service and other financial organizations.
Among McConnell’s newest endeavors is the Tri-State Farm and Food Conference, a two-day gathering created to help revolutionize the food system in the 50-mile radius surrounding the city of Huntington.
McConnell is based in Morgantown with the WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit.
To contact McConnell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-293-2642.