The West Virginia State University Extension Service gathered a diverse crowd to teach the basics of producing more alternative and ethnic foods for West Virginia. Nearly 50 farmers, agriculturalists, and a rabbi attended the teach-in.
While compared to other US states, West Virginia does not have large groups of minority populations, international pockets and religiously diverse communities exist in larger cities, including a sizable Muslim community. Susan Shoenian helped organize the meeting to shed light on providing foods for “ethnic” markets. “The other thing to keep in mind is you’re very close to very diverse states,” said Shoenian. “American Muslims are younger than the average American; the average American Muslim is very well educated – 67 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and most important of all, they’re affluent.” Shoenian helped discuss methods of Islamic slaughter to the farmers and agriculturalists, and discuss staying attuned to Muslim holidays – which would provide both a viable market, and a conscientious service to West Virginia’s Muslim community.