Communities in the Northern Neck knew they had a problem. Young people were leaving because of a lack of jobs, the current workforce needed additional education, and there were few opportunities for those who wanted to stay in the area.
Four years ago these communities took steps to improve the situation by participating in the Stronger Economies Together program, which has allowed them to build a blueprint for regional economic success.
Today, the Northern Neck is putting its plan into action by engaging partners and leveraging the strengths of this diverse region. Communities have come together to form the Northern Neck Artisan Trail, which highlights the creative talents, foods, and agricultural products of the region, and to participate in the emerging Virginia Oyster Trail. The new trail offers visitors a way to enjoy Virginia’s seven different oyster regions, as well as to experience the unique culture of watermen in the Chesapeake Bay.
The region has received grant support from the USDA and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to create the Northern Neck Loan Fund to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses gain access to capital. The USDA recognized the Northern Neck Economic Development Plan for its commitment to strengthening the area’s economies and identified it as a model plan for the program.