Together for Hope Appalachia is proud to partner with Economic Development Greater East in McDowell County, West Virginia. Amelia Bandy is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of EDGE. We have been impressed with her leadership skills, vision, entrepreneurial spirit, and her desire to address issues of poverty and food insecurity in the area. EDGE is taking a systemic approach, involving the community, and making an impact.
Amelia, a native of Richlands, VA, graduated from Emory & Henry College in Mass Communication and then completed her MBA at King University with a concentration in Marketing.
She is currently an opioid and addiction educator for six counties in Southwestern Virginia through Extension Services and Virginia Tech.
For eight years, Amelia worked in public health with the Virginia Department of Health. Additionally, she has worked with the VA Dept of Aging and Rehabilitative Services as a Job Developer to help individuals regain employment after disability. Bandy began a health and wellness coalition in Tazewell, VA, helped start a farmers market there, and also worked on farm to table committees in Tazewell and Lebanon.
EDGE’s agripreneurship goal is to grow and support land-based producers toward a living wage comparable to that outlined by the agricultural economist David Kohl for Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and our section of the Southeast, which is a farm family gross income of at least $80,000 per year (based on the work of the respected AgBiz Planner program).
EDGE’s entrepreneurship and workforce training focuses on stemming community brain drain and talent export, allowing locals to remain local and thrive.
EDGE also coordinates and collaborates on issues of food security and food desert dilemmas, leading with heritage foodways and skills at the core of that joint effort and issues of nutrition and health.
One of the ways EDGE is currently working toward these goals is by renovating a building in Kimball, WV to make a community grocery store, producer aggregation and value added production space and health and training facility.