Farm Beginnings: Year-Long Farmer Training

Farmer Led

All of the OGS Farmer Programs are “led & directed” by local farmers. Here are the specific ways:

  1. Our Farmer Programs Team uses the results of the “Barriers to Farming in WNC” study to strategically guide the OGS farmer programs and partnerships.
  2. OGS Farmer Programs are strategically guided by both a Farmer Education Committee, which is a subgroup of the OGS Board, as well as a steering committee made up of CRAFT farmers. Members of both these groups are active organic/sustainable small farmers in WNC with 50% of members identified as beginning farmers as defined by the USDA. To ensure that the OGS programs are guided by farmers, these groups meet on a monthly and bi-monthly basis for program design, development, evaluation, and planning.
  3. Farmer-presenters are chosen, and cultivated from these committees and from the larger sustainable farming community. These farmer-presenters use real-life examples from their own farms in the teaching curriculum and farmer-presenters are encouraged to discuss their failures as well as their successes. Instead of a theoretical approaches, students get direct farmer-to-farmer exposure and peer-to-peer education.
  4. The OGS staff are themselves farmers. Lee Warren is the founder and manager of Imani Farm in Black Mountain, Nicole DelCogliano is the co-founder, owner, and farm manager at Green Toe Ground Farm in Burnsville, Cameron Farlow, is part of the Hickory Nut Gap Farm and the Lord’s Acre Farm family.