WNC AgriVentures is a GroWNC implementation project centered on the agricultural and nature-based sector, a high-potential industry cluster in the region. GroWNC workgroups have identified this sector as a priority for regional economic development, with potential for growth in numerous product chains, including the local beverage industry, natural products, biofuels, local foods, green building, outdoor recreation, and eco/agri-tourism. Partners Land-of-Sky Regional Council, AdvantageWest, North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Department of Horticultural Science, and the Community Foundation of WNC will build on an existing partnership to create the project as a "Rural Jobs Accelerator."
The goal of a Rural Jobs Accelerator is to promote opportunities for accelerated job creation and community and economic development in rural regions through regional collaboration in numerous high-potential industry clusters, including renewable energy, food production, rural tourism, natural resources, and advanced manufacturing. The Rural Jobs Accelerator provides resources to support the development of clusters and to assist distressed rural communities in accelerating job creation by leveraging local assets, building stronger economies, and creating regional linkages. The objectives of the Rural Jobs Accelerator are to:
- Accelerate distressed rural communities’ ability to create jobs and strengthen their regional economies; and
- Help rural communities identify and maximize local assets, and connect to regional opportunities and self-identified clusters that demonstrate high growth potential.
The project will incorporate a "cradle-to-cradle" approach to create a stronger regional agricultural and nature-based cluster and fill gaps in the production chain. In this way, the project team will focus on developing the market-based demand for products while building the workforce and production throughout the supply chain.
For more information: www.landofsky.org/agriventures.