Farmer Resources: Useful information for farmers in the Southern Appalachians.
CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farming Training)

  • DSC_0038 (2)International CRAFT Farmers: “CRAFT – The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training is a farmer-led coalition organized by sustainable agriculture farmers in a self-selected geographic region. Participating farmers offer up their time, talents and experience to help prepare the next generation of farmers.”
  • Chesapeake CRAFT: “Modeled after other CRAFT programs around the country, the Chesapeake Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training is an exciting way to learn about different approaches to farming during the season while visting farms and connecting with new farming peers. Founded in 2010 by a few local farmers, Chesapeake CRAFT brings together the community of new and aspiring farmers in Northern Virginia and Maryland for farm tours and potlucks throughout the growing season. These simple gatherings are fun, informative, and build networking amongst the farming community.”
  • CRAFT Hudson Valley/Berkshires/Pioneer Valley: “We are the original C.R.A.F.T. group initiated in 1994. C.R.A.F.T. is a cooperative effort of local organic and biodynamic farms organized to enhance educational opportunities for farm apprentices.”
  • CRAFT Ontario: “There are several regional CRAFT nodes in Ontario.  Each regional node is its own network of farms that offer internships. Each CRAFT node plans education workshops or field days for all the interns of the CRAFT farms in their node. The goal of CRAFT is to enhance the internships offered by all of its member farms. The primary method of doing this is to offer regular field trips which usually take place at selected CRAFT farms.”
  • Upper Midwest CRAFT: “In 1997, ten farmers from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin founded the Upper Midwest CRAFT, the second program in the United States. Since then, the alliance has become one of the leading efforts to train the next generation of organic, biodynamic, and sustainable farmers. Graduates, who now lead dozens of new local farms, are trained by some of the most accomplished farmers in the Midwest. More than 85 sustainable farms in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin belong to the Upper Midwest CRAFT. Coordination is provided by Angelic Organics Learning Center.”
  • Western North Carolina CRAFT: “WNC CRAFT is a farmer-led coalition & coordinated effort to bring established farmers, farm apprentices, and aspiring farmers together for a year long training in the art and science of sustainable agriculture, straight from the hearts, mouths, and fields of seasoned local farmers in Western North Carolina (WNC).”
North Carolina Farming Resources
  • Asheville Tool Library: Asheville Tool Library provides low cost access to a wide range of tools, literature, and knowledge to citizens of western NCThe community-driven project aims to empower individuals and the community at large through affordable access to resources that encourage rehabilitation, creativity, entrepreneurship, livability, and community development in Western NC.
  • Accelerating Appalachia: Sara Day Evans is the founder and director of “the world’s first nature-based business accelerator, connecting innovative businesses, investors and mentors aligned with people, place and prosperity.” They attract and scale high-impact, seed-stage businesses in the following sectors: Sustainable Food, Farming, Clean Energy, Forests, Fiber/ Textiles, Green Building, Craft Brewing/Distilling, Nutraceuticals/integrative medicine and other innovative triple bottom-line businesses with special consideration for innovators and entrepreneurs from marginalized populations.
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP): ASAP offers continuing farmer education classes, farm-to-school training and establishment (www.growingminds.org), and certification of “Appalachian Grown” products and business partners. “ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.”
  • Apprentice Link: An OGS database aimed at connecting people interested in learning the sustainable agriculture trade with those who are willing to teach them in an apprenticeship setting. Also labor resources for establishing best management practices and structuring labor on the farm, all based in the Southern Appalachians.
  • Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA): “Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape.” BRWIA currently serves Allegheny, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga, and Yancey counties in North Carolina as well as Johnson county in Tennessee.
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA): “The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is a farmer-driven, membership-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic agriculture.”
  • Center for Environmental Farming Systems: “CEFS develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources, strengthen communities, improve health outcomes, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.”
  • Central Carolina Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture Program: “As a pioneer in innovative curriculum programs for the community college system, CCCC scored another winning effort with the establishment of its Sustainable Agriculture program in 2002. Developed in partnership with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and with input from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the curriculum is about better growing methods.”
  • Farm Beginnings: OGS’s year-long farmer business training class, covering topics from marketing and networking to soil science and agroecology.
  • Farm Pathways: A North Carolina based partnership of WNC Farm Link, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and Organic Growers School, aimed at completing the circle between farmer training and land access.
  • Farm Services Agency (FSA) North Carolina: “The FSA serves all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans …The FSA delivered nearly $227.6 million in federal program payments and loans to North Carolina farmers and ranchers during fiscal year 2015.”
  • Land Loss Prevention Project: “The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina.  LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983.  The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina.” ***
  • Land of Sky: Provides local statistics and information on food infrastructure, percent changes in farmland acres, socioeconomic and obesity information, food deserts, SNAP businesses, Appalachian Grown businesses, and farms in Madison, Haywood, Buncombe, Transylvania and Henderson counties in WNC.
  • Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development: “The first of its kind in the state, the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development, serves the farmers and citizens of Polk County by promoting local business and agriculture in order to protect the agrarian nature of our community.”
  • Mountain BizWorks: “Mountain BizWorks’ mission is to generate jobs and ensure economic resiliency in Western North Carolina by helping small businesses start, thrive, and grow. We do this by providing loans and peer-to-peer business coaching to those businesses that may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources.”
  • Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center: “The Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center is located in the southern Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville. Approximately forty faculty and staff, from the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources, conduct research and extension programs for the departments of Applied Ecology, Entomology, Forestry, Horticultural Science, Plant Pathology, and Soil Science. The Center also houses the administrative offices for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service West and North-Central Districts.”
  • Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS): Natural resource data and information for North Carolina.
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: “The largest outreach program at North Carolina State University. Based in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we reach millions of North Carolina citizens each year through local centers in the state’s 100 counties and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Cooperative Extension is a partnership that began here in 1914 when county, state and federal governments agreed that by joining together they could provide all citizens with access to the wealth of knowledge generated by public universities.”
  • North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences: The NCDA is responsible for all the regulatory aspects of all agricultural businesses in the state. Their Organic Horticultural website also has a variety of helpful links. They also recently have introduced an Organic Certification Cost Share program in NC.
  • North Carolina Growing Together Project: NC Growing Together is a five year (2013—2017) USDA-funded project. It aims to bring more locally-produced foods into mainstream markets, strengthening the economics of small to mid-size farm and fishing operations and their communities.”
  • North Carolina Local Food Infrastructure Inventory: “The North Carolina Growing Together project (ncgrowingtogether.org), in collaboration with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Local Foods Flagship Program, has created a mapped inventory of businesses that serve as intermediary steps in local food supply chains. This includes value-added processors (for example, meat and seafood processors, cheese manufacturers, specialty jams and pickling operations), fresh produce wholesaler/distributors, multi-farm CSA’s, food hubs, community kitchens, incubator farms, and cold storage locations. The inventory does not include information on end retailers (e.g., restaurants, groceries, etc. selling local foods to consumers).”
  • North Carolina Organic: An organic agriculture online resource for North Carolina farmers.
  • Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy: “Since 1974, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has conserved over 69,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland and scenic beauty of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee for present and future generations.”
  • TRACTOR Food and Farms: “TRACTOR Food and Farms (Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization Regional Inc.) is a non-profit food hub that works with over 50 small family farms nestled just outside Asheville in Burnsville, NC. We help support local agriculture and provide area restaurants and local grocery stores with a diverse selection of fresh produce. Our goal is to make sure food dollars stay in the local economy, increase farm income in our community, preserve farm culture and green space, and to expand access to the freshest local produce.” They work with farmers in Yancey, Mitchell, Burke, McDowell, Avery, Madison, and Buncombe Counties in Western North Carolina.
  • Warren Wilson College: Has a focus specifically on sustainable agriculture through an on-campus work program on the school farm, along with offerings of agriculturally-oriented majors and minors. “Warren Wilson is the country’s only liberal arts college with a national student body and integrated work and service programs. Through a blend of strong academics, work and service called the Triad, our students graduate not only with a rigorous liberal arts education, but also with skills such as problem-solving and team leadership that equip them for life. It’s an innovative approach to a well-rounded education that has stood the test of time.”
  • WNC AgOptions: “In February 2016 the WNC Agricultural Options program awarded 33 farm businesses grants totaling $177,000 to assist in farm diversification and expansion. Seven of the farm businesses received $3,000 and 26 received $6,000. Projects increase the economic sustainability of farm businesses as well as provide demonstration to other transitioning farmers.”
  • WNC CRAFT: “WNC CRAFT is a farmer-led coalition & coordinated effort to bring established farmers, farm apprentices, and aspiring farmers together for a year long training in the art and science of sustainable agriculture, straight from the hearts, mouths, and fields of seasoned local farmers in Western North Carolina (WNC).”
  • WNC FarmLink: “WNC Farm Link is a partnership facilitating successful relationships between farmers looking for land to farm, and landowners aspiring to keep their farm and forest land in agriculture.”

 

***For more on NC Land Access, please see our “Land Access & Conservation” section below.

Veteran's Farming Resources
  • Armed to Farm Training (NCAT/ATTRA): “Armed to Farm is Sustainable Agriculture Training for Military Veterans. NCAT has been involved in targeted veteran outreach and assistance since 2010. NCAT agriculture specialists have hosted and been involved in at least 17 veteran focused trainings, reaching over 800 veterans across the US. NCAT has partnered with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Farmer Veteran Coalition, University of Arkansas, Growing Warriors, and other sustainable agriculture organizations to train veterans interested in sustainable agriculture careers.”
  • Farmer Veteran Coalition: “The Mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition is Mobilizing Veterans to Feed America. We cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. We believe that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems. We believe that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.”
  • Homegrown by Heroes Certification: “Homegrown By Heroes (HBH) is the official farmer veteran branding program of America. The HBH logo serves to inform consumers that products donning the logo were produced by military veterans. The program is available to farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and value-added producers of all branches and eras of military service.”
  • NC Military & Veterans Affairs Scholarships: “Scholarships in appreciation for the service and sacrifices of North Carolina’s war veterans, a four-year scholarship program at approved schools in North Carolina has been established for the qualifying natural or adopted (before age 15) children of certain class categories of deceased, disabled, combat or POW/MIA veterans.”
  • New Life Farm: A Homegrown by Heroes certified farm in Lenoir, NC. They advertise for work opportunities on OGS’ Apprentice Link database.
  • Veterans Healing Farm: “Transitioning from military life back into the civilian sector is a challenge all veterans face. Unfortunately, many veterans lack the tools, support network, and resources needed to meet this challenge.  The results are an alarmingly high rate of veteran suicide, depression, divorce, homelessness, and substance abuse.
    Our mission is to serve our nation’s veterans by growing and donating high-quality fruits, vegetables, and flower bouquets to veterans and their caregivers free of charge. Additionally, we support veterans by offering workshops on innovative gardening techniques and foster a thriving micro-community of veterans and civilians who build deep friendships and cultivate emotional, physical, and spiritual health.”
  • The Vets Farmacy: A 501(c)(3) non-profit in Candler, NC training veterans on growing, processing, and distributing medicinal herbs. The program was started by OGS Farm Beginnings® Graduates. Read more about their start-up adventures on this blog post.
Sourcing Organic/Non-GMO Feed in Western North Carolina

 

Brant Bullock of King Family Farm
(423)484-8186
info@thekingfamilyfarm.com

Currently carried at Ag Care in Enka, NC, 635 Smoky Park Highway, Candler, NC 28715, 828.581.4000

 

Reedy Fork Organic Farm
George & Cherry TeagueRFF-Logo-web
(336) 449-4888

Reedy Fork Farm is located in Elon, NC. They are a certified organic farm and use no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and none of their grains are genetically modified. You can choose blends they make or create your own custom blend. Here is their feed price list.

Reedy Fork also has resellers in the 28801 area. Search their map for your area, or the list below for stores close to Asheville.
Town Location
Asheville, NC
Candler, NC Candler Feed & Seed
Weaverville, NC Heritage Farm Supply
Mills River, NC Valley Ag Farm & Garden

 

New Country Organicslogo
info@newcountryorganics.com
(540) 946-8080

New Country Organics delivers product orders on a monthly route within a range of about 135 miles of their offices in Waynesboro, VA.
Shipping Costs to one of their listed drop-off locations are: 1-5 bags: $6.75 minimum 6+ bags: $1.30 per bag

New Country Organics also has resellers in the 28801 area. Search their map for your area, or the list below for stores close to Asheville.

Town Location
Asheville, NC
Candler, NC AgCare Products
Weaverville, NC Heritage Farm Supply
Waynesville, NC Frog Holler Organiks
Nelon’s Feed
Taylors, SC The Grain Loft

Sunrise Farms, Inc.
sunrisefarmsva@gmail.com

(540) 337-3773

Sunrise Farms, based in VA, offers bulk shipping to individual customers in our area with a minimum of a 2 ton order. 5th Season Gardening in Asheville also carries their feed.

Hiland Naturals
205 W Main Street, Sugarcreek, OH 44681
866.809.8290
info@hilandnaturals.com
http://www.hilandnaturals.com/

Hiland Naturals carries non-GMO animal feeds and are Non-GMO Project Verified so every bag of feed is tested. Hiland offers a range offeeds for poultry, goats, swine, horses & cows along with a variety of grains and supplements. Pricing and ordering details are available here.

Graham Roach in Winston Salem, NC carries it. He can be reached at: 336-757-6198, farmers@winsteadfarm.com. The feed comes in 50lb bags and for large orders 40 bags per ton on a pallet.  The feed is available for pick up in Winston-Salem, or we can arrange shipping to your location either from Winston or direct from the mill based on the shipping costs.

Other resources for sourcing feed…
Certification Options
  • Agricultural Services Certified Organic, LLC: “We are accredited by the USDA-National Organic Program to certify operations who wish to market their products as organic in the following areas: Crop Production, Handler/Processor, Livestock and Wild Crops. We provide continuing education and skilled guidance for our clients.  Attention to detail and personal service with integrity are commitments at ASCO. We further aide our certified clients by advocating for laws and policies that advance organic agriculture through active memberships in associations and committees.”
  • Americert International: “Americert International (formerly known as OIA North America) is a USDA accredited certifying agent under the USDA National Organic Program providing organic certification for producers, processors, and handlers. Providing organic certification in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and throughout the United States and the world, Americert International focuses on flat fee, customer-service oriented organic certification for operations of all types and sizes. To learn more about Organic Certification, please go to our Organic programs page.”
  • Animal Welfare Approved: “Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. The program was founded in 2006 as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind. As a program accredited to ISO guideline 17065, you can trust in the AWA label while making food choices when you can’t visit the farm yourself.”
  • Appalachian Grown: “The Appalachian Grown™ logo is displayed with farm products grown or raised in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. When consumers see the logo—at stores, restaurants, tailgates, and other businesses—they know they’re buying fresher foods that support your family farms, strengthen our local economy, preserve rural culture, and protect the region’s natural beauty.”
  • Baystate Organic Certifiers: “Focuses solely on certification of organic operations and is a National Organic Program accredited organic certifying agent owned and operated by Massachusetts Independent Certification, Inc. (MICI). MICI is a non-profit business dedicated to sustainable agriculture and food certification organized as a 501(c)3 corporation. MICI is dedicated to providing affordable certification services to farms using sustainable agriculture practices and to food processing and handling operations that purchase sustainable agriculture products.”
  • California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF): “CCOF is more than just a certifier; we’re your partner in the organic movement.
    We support and promote organic through certification, education, and advocacy. Buying organic is a direct investment in the future of our planet, so we work to grow the organic market and our members’ businesses by educating consumers about this important relationship to our food.
  • Certified Naturally Grown: “Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) offers peer-review certification to farmers and beekeepers producing food for their local communities by working in harmony with nature, without relying on synthetic chemicals or GMOs.”
  • Demeter, USA: “The Demeter Biodynamic® Farm Standard applies to the certification of farms and ranches for the purpose of allowing their farms and ranches and resulting agricultural products to carry the Demeter certification marks “Biodynamic®”, “Demeter®” and Demeter Certified Biodynamic®.  The Demeter Biodynamic Farm and Processing Standards meet the minimum requirements set by Demeter International.  These base standards form a common legal foundation and agricultural framework for Biodynamic practice worldwide.”
  • Ecocert: “From its creation, Ecocert has specialized in the certification of organic agricultural products and has diversified its range of services to include organic and natural cosmetics, ecoproducts, fair trade, green spaces, etc. Ecocert Inc. answers to US clients’ request to receive a worldwide, well-known certification brand. In 2010, Ecocert Inc. continued to develop its activities in the USA by purchasing Indiana Certified Organic LLC. Indiana Certified Organic began offering organic certification in 1995 and was one of the first certification agency to be accredited by the National Organic Program.”
  • Food Justice Certification: “We provide farms and food businesses with technical tools to improve work and trade practices from farm to retail, including extensive toolkits and templates, one-on-one technical assistance, and a stakeholder-driven certification program for high bar social justice standards — Food Justice Certification (FJC), the gold standard for labor and trade practices in North America. We support and partner with third-party certifiers and worker organizations that carry out the certification and inspection process for the FJC program. Food Justice Certified products can be found on grocery store shelves, farmers markets, CSAs and roadside stands. We maintain a Social Justice Fund, through which five percent of all grants received are set aside, and a portion is used to subsidize certification fees through our cost share program for small family farms and independent retailers and cooperatives that have excellent labor practices, but are experiencing economic hardship.”
  • Global Organic Alliance: Canadian and US organic certification.
  • Gluten Free Certification Organization: “Established in 2005, The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), an industry program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), is dedicated to providing certification services to producers of gluten-free products using quality assessment and control measures throughout production, in order to provide assurance to consumers of the safety of their foods.”
  • International Certification Services, Inc. (ICS):”ICS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Where Food Comes From, Inc., specializing in organic, gluten-free and related certification services. ICS was one of the first organic certification companies in the U.S., founded in 1979 as Farm Verified Organic, Inc. … The company has played an integral role in establishing organic standards and certification processes and procedures over the last 35 years, and continues to be a leader in the organic certification industry today.”
  • Living Wage Certification: “In March 2008, Just Economics launched our Living Wage Certification Program, which identifies and promotes local employers that pay a Living Wage. Although the program originated in Buncombe and Transylvania, we now have employers in several counties in WNC.  Since 2008, we have Certified 400+ local employers.”
  • NC Department of Ag & Consumer Services Cost Share Program: Cost share for the fees associated with getting USDA Organic Certification for NC farms.
  • Non-GMO Project: “The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to building and protecting a non-GMO food supply. We do this through consumer education and outreach programs; marketing support provided to Non-GMO Project Verified brands; and training resources and merchandising materials provided to retailers.”
  • Oregon Tilth: “Over the past 40 years, Oregon Tilth has led the way in organic agriculture and sustainable production methods, playing a leading role in the formation of a federal USDA National Organic Program and expanding organic sustainability beyond agriculture to textiles and other products. We believe in a holistic approach to food production and encourage producers to create organic systems that improve soils, preserve natural resources and minimize public health risks. Our work with processors, handlers and marketers of organic products ensures the organic integrity of products from the farm to the table, and everything in between.”
  • Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO): “To ensure the integrity of organic products and provide education, inspection, and certification services that meet the needs of our members. PCO provides services to operations based in Pennsylvania, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) is a USDA-accredited organic certifying agency that educates and certifies growers, processors and handlers of organic crops, wild crops, livestock and livestock products in Pennsylvania and adjoining states.”
  • Quality Assurance International (QAI): “Quality Assurance International is a leading USDA-accredited organic product certifying agency. Founded in San Diego, California in 1989, QAI has been an active leader in the organic industry, advocating for high integrity organic regulations since its beginning. QAI is committed to ensuring organic integrity at every link in the organic production chain and providing excellent customer service, domestically and internationally. Today, QAI is a member of the NSF International family of companies.”
  • Stellar Certification Services: “Stellar Certification Services was formed so that Demeter certified producers [biodynamic producers] could also legally label as organic. Stellar was one of the first NOP accredited organic certifiers in the country.”
Land Access & Conservation
  • Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy: Offers incentives for farm and forest landowners to voluntarily protect their land with conservation easements. Serves Buncombe, Henderson, Rutherford, Polk, Jackson and Transylvania counties.
  • Farm Pathways: A North Carolina based partnership of WNC Farm Link, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and Organic Growers School, aimed at completing the circle between farmer training and land access.
  • Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina: Offers incentives for farm and forest landowners to voluntarily protect their land with conservation easements. Owns and operates many foothills “preserves.” Serves Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, and Rutherford Counties.
  • Land for Good Toolbox: Although based in New England, their website provides an excellent toolbox on land access, information on how to write lease agreements, tenure, and land transfer issues.
  • Land Loss Prevention Project: “The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina.  LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983.  The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina.”
  • Mainspring Conservation Trust: Helps farm and forest landowners voluntarily protect their land with conservation easements. Serves Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.
  • North Carolina Farm Link: An online classifieds-style linking service for land seekers, land owners, and service providers covering the state of NC.
  • Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy & Incubator Farm Program: In addition to assisting landowners with implementing conservation easements on their farms, SAHC has started a farm incubator program in Alexander, NC to provide beginning farmers with access to land and equipment at reduced rates for a certain period of time to help initiate new agricultural businesses. Applications available through the website.
  • WNC FarmLink: “WNC Farm Link is a partnership facilitating successful relationships between farmers looking for land to farm, and landowners aspiring to keep their farm and forest land in agriculture.”
Farm Business Planning
  • Ag Biz Planner – Carolina Farm Credit: A six month online business training program to assist young, beginning, small and minority farmers in becoming more successful business people through knowledge of the marketplace, financial and business management topics.
  • AB Tech Small Business Center: Free one-on-one business counseling for your small business and start-up venture, and  provides a variety of training including free business seminars, interactive workshops, and classes.  On the AB Tech Enka Site also has a library that provides professional resources to increase your business knowledge.
  • Bird’s Eye Business Planning & Consulting: A business planning and consulting team based in Asheville, North Carolina. Work with a business coach to define priorities, learn new business skills, and make a plan for sustainable success. They also offer a series of business planning classes with a food and farming focus.
  • Blue Ridge Food Ventures: An agribusiness incubator where artisan food entrepreneurs, natural products manufacturers, farmers, chefs, caterers and bakers can use the equipment to make value-added product in a certified kitchen. Space can be rented by the hour, and they also offer other technical support services.
  • Enterprise Budgets – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association: The budgets developed in Microsoft Excel enable users to calculate their own projected costs and returns, and allow you to develop enterprise budgets specific to your organic operation.
  • Farm Beginnings: OGS’s year-long farmer business training class, covering topics from marketing and networking to soil science and agroecology.
  • Farm Pathways: A North Carolina based partnership of WNC Farm Link, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and Organic Growers School, aimed at completing the circle between farmer training and land access.
  • Mountain Biz Works (MBW): MBW provides business loans and coaching to emerging and established small businesses in WNC. They have a particular focus on working with businesses unable to access financing from banks and other traditional sources, as well as low-income, minority, women, and immigrant entrepreneurs, and businesses that operate within the local food system.
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Business, financing and production resources for the new sustainable farmer.
  • SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business: A (free) excellent resource for general business advice and guidance.
  • Veggie Compass: An ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin Madison that involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and workshops directed to diversified organic fresh market vegetable growers. Their tools are designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.
Financing Farm Businesses
  • Accelerating Appalachia: Sara Day Evans is the founder and director of “the world’s first nature-based business accelerator, connecting innovative businesses, investors and mentors aligned with people, place and prosperity.” They attract and scale high-impact, seed-stage businesses in the following sectors: Sustainable Food, Farming, Clean Energy, Forests, Fiber/ Textiles, Green Building, Craft Brewing/Distilling, Nutraceuticals/integrative medicine and other innovative triple bottom-line businesses with special consideration for innovators and entrepreneurs from marginalized populations.
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) Grants and Loans Listing: A list of grants and loans specifically available to WNC farmers.
  • Carolina Farm Credit: “We’re part of the Farm Credit System, which has been serving the credit needs of rural America for 100 years. With our long tradition, local know-how and agricultural expertise, we provide our members with a dependable source of credit generation after generation. More than $1.2 billion in loans are outstanding to more than 9,000 members who own our cooperative. Our directors are also farmers, and they oversee our organization to protect the interests of our members at all times. We have branches located throughout our 54 North Carolina counties to make visiting us more convenient.”
  • Farm Beginnings: OGS’s year-long farmer business training class, covering topics from marketing and networking to soil science and agroecology.
  • Funding Farm Businesses in WNC: Organic Growers School: Information on microloans, form funding programs, and grants for minorities and women.
  • Kiva Zip: Zero interest loans for small businesses.
  • Mountain BizWorks: “Mountain BizWorks’ mission is to generate jobs and ensure economic resiliency in Western North Carolina by helping small businesses start, thrive, and grow. We do this by providing loans and peer-to-peer business coaching to those businesses that may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources.”
  • Natural Capital Investment Fund: “Natural Capital Investment Fund finances and advises small to mid-sized enterprises, primarily in rural and under-served communities across a nine-state region. We help innovative entrepreneurs build locally-owned enterprises that create lasting jobs and community wealth, while using natural resources responsibly. For example, NCIF borrowers build local food systems; conserve energy and water; support eco-tourism; find creative outlets for recycled materials; and provide essential community services.”
  • NC Department of Ag & Consumer Services Cost Share Program: Cost share for the fees associated with getting USDA Organic Certification for NC farms.
  • Rudolf Steiner Foundation: Excellent foundation for investing in good causes, and getting funding for anthroposophy or Steiner-based projects (such as biodynamics, Waldorf schools, etc.)
  • Self-Help Credit Union: “Self-Help’s mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all. We do this by providing responsible financial services; lending to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits; developing real estate; and promoting fair financial practices across North Carolina and the nation.”
  • Slow Money NC: Locally supported, low-interest loans directed towards supporting entrepreneurs in NC.
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program: “Since 1988, SARE has funded more than 5,000 projects with grants for farmers, ranchers, extension agents and educators, researchers, nonprofits, students, communities and others.”
  • The Support Center (NC): “The Support Center is a statewide nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small business loans and financial training to start-ups and existing businesses and lending services to community-based organizations. Since 1990, The Support Center has been offering services to create economic opportunities for individuals, families and entrepreneurs throughout North Carolina. Our primary activities include small business lending, business services, our Western Women’s Business Center, and policy research.”
  • Thrive, NC: Offers capital investments to small businesses. Has a “food processing and manufacturing” branch.
  • USDA Guide to FSA Farm Loans: “This guide was written for people who need assistance starting, expanding, or owning a farm or ranch. If you are thinking about borrowing money to start or expand your business, it is a good idea to ask yourself several questions before you begin. Before you borrow money, you need to invest time in learning about your options and the procedures to apply for a loan. This guide will help you identify concerns and questions you may have before you start the loan process.”
  • USDA Fact Sheet: Loans for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans to beginning farmers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers.”
  • USDA Small Farm Funding Resources: “This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, technical assistance contacts, disaster assistance, and organizations with resources.”
  • USDA Transition Incentive Program: Provides for the transition of expiring Conservation Reserve Program land from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
  • WNC AgOptions: “In February 2016 the WNC Agricultural Options program awarded 33 farm businesses grants totaling $177,000 to assist in farm diversification and expansion. Seven of the farm businesses received $3,000 and 26 received $6,000. Projects increase the economic sustainability of farm businesses as well as provide demonstration to other transitioning farmers.
Legal Resources
  • Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (outside of Washington D.C.): “The FTCLDF protects the rights of the nation’s family farms, artisan food producers, consumers and affiliate communities to engage in direct commerce free of harassment by federal, state and local government interference; it protects the rights of farmers and artisanal producers to make their products available and the rights of consumers to access the foods of their choice from the source of their choice.”
  • Land Loss Prevention Project: “The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina.  LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983.  The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina. “
  • National Agricultural Law Center: “The National Agricultural Law Center is the only agricultural law research and information facility that is independent, national in scope, and directly connected to the national agricultural information network. As a result of the expanding scope of agricultural law and its convergence with related areas, the Center also includes food law in the scope of its coverage.”
National Farming Resources
  • American Farmland Trust (AFT): Focusing on farmland conservation, with information on political outreach and agricultural land easements. “American Farmland Trust (AFT) began in 1980 after a small group of farmers and conservationists asked an important question: What will happen to the nation’s food supply if we continue to wastefully develop our best farm and ranch land?”
  • Beginning Farmers: “Beginning Farmers seeks to be a resource for employers and job seekers alike. In addition to offering job posting services, we want to connect job seekers to as many resources as possible that can help in the job search.”
  • Georgia Organics: “Georgia Organics is a member supported, non-profit organization connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. We believe food should be community-based, not commodity-based. An outgrowth of a grower’s association established in the 1970s, Georgia Organics is devoted to promoting sustainable foods and local farms in Georgia.”
  • The Greenhorns: Open job posting page within the general website. “The Greenhorns is a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators. Our mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers. We do this by producing avant-garde programming, video, audio, web content, publications, events, and art projects that increase the odds for success and enhance the profile and social lives of America’s young farmers.”
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA): “ATTRA is a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) … Its programs deal with sustainable and renewable energy, energy conservation, resource-efficient housing, sustainable community development, and sustainable agriculture.” ATTRA has a database of farming internship opportunities organized by state.
  • National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC): “NYFC represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. We envision a country where young people who are willing to work, get trained and take a little risk can support themselves and their families in farming. The National Young Farmers Coalition supports practices and policies that will sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future.”
  • North East Farming Association (NOFA): “In 1971, the Natural Organic Farmers Association was formed in Vermont and New Hampshire and in 1982 chapters were added in Massachusetts as well as Connecticut and New York. Later, chapters were formed in Rhode Island and New Jersey. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association was formed right around the time that NOFA was established. Together these two organizations have been the most powerful forces for education regarding organic agriculture in the Northeast for the past 40 years. NOFA changed its name to the Northeast Organic Farming Association in 1989. By that time the word “natural” had become somewhat commercialized. By changing “farmers” to “farming” the NOFA leadership attempted to be more welcoming to those who support organic farming, along with those who practice it.”
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA): “In existence since 1992, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is a diverse network of growers, businesses and consumers that facilitate and enable viable farming systems to provide healthy food as locally as possible through innovative programs of education, marketing and advocacy in service to its members and the general public.”
  • Rodale Institute: “For more than sixty years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.”
  • Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (Southern SARE): “The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) was authorized as part of the 1985 Farm Bill and first funded in 1988 as LISA (Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture) program. The name was changed to SARE in the early 1990s to reflect the broader scope of the principles of sustainable agriculture and to express the dual mission of research and education.”
  • Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG): “The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, commonly known as Southern SAWG, was founded in 1991 to foster a movement towards a more sustainable farming and food system – one that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane. We function as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states. By building partnerships, sharing information and conducting analysis, we transform isolated ideas and innovations into practical tools and approaches for widespread use.”
  • Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture: “Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. On 80 acres just 25 miles north of New York City, we operate a highly diversified, four-season farm and an education center that hosts over a hundred thousand visitors each year. As a nonprofit, we work to experiment with an improve sustainable farming practice, training beginning farmers, help children discover the sources of their food, and increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.”
  • Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA): “The SAEA champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices. The SAEA exists to serve and connect educators, teachers, students, staff, and administrators who focus on the teaching and learning of sustainable agriculture at the adult level. Our activities include hosting participatory conferences, collecting sustainable agriculture educational program listings, and developing a digital curriculum library.”
  • USDA Economic Research Service: Publisher of data on organic production, including “US Organic Agriculture” with a listing of the number of certified acres by state. Other useful statistics summarized in reports on website.
  • USDA National Organic Production Handbook: “The goal of the Handbook is to provide those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the USDA organic regulations. It is important to note that the National Organic Program (NOP) Handbook is non-binding and any citation issued needs to reference the USDA organic regulations.”
  • USDA National Organic Program (USDANOP): Oversees national organic standards, accredits organic certification agencies, and provides general information on its policies and activities through its website.
  • USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA): RMA provides resources for farmers for protecting their operations from risk, through Federal Crop Insurance and information on other risk management strategies.
  • Veggie Compass: Whole farm profit management training videos available with their online videos. “Veggie Compass is an ongoing project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that involves the development of whole farm profit management tools and workshops. Our tools are designed to help growers improve on-farm decision making and financial farm planning in order to maximize profitability and ensure the continuation of sustainable farms.”
  • Wallace Center for Sustainable Agriculture: Provides an awesome FREE resource page of scientific studies with published data on topics such as high-stock density grazing, GAP, grass-fed beef financial calculators, etc.
Conferences & Summits
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Business of Farming Conference (Asheville, NC): “ASAP’s annual Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for farmers and those seriously considering farming as a profession. Our conference offers business and marketing workshops, networking opportunities, and resources to help farmers grow and diversify their businesses.  The conference also features meetings with wholesale buyers, 1:1 legal consulting, business and agricultural exhibits, and a locally sourced lunch.  The Business of Farming Conference is your step towards building a more sustainable farm business.”
  • EcoFarm Conference (Pacific Grove, CA): “For over three decades, EFA’s flagship event has brought food system stakeholders together for education, networking and celebration.”
  • The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Conference (Madison, WI): The largest organic/sustainable agriculture conference in the county. “The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is a nonprofit organization based in Spring Valley, Wis. We promote organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed.”
  • National Heirloom Expedition (Santa Rosa, CA): “The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism. Our third annual event held mid-September 2013 in Santa Rosa, California drew more than 18,000 people from around the country and beyond. With more than 100 speakers and 300 natural food vendors, the event was the largest gathering in pure food history! The Heirloom Expo has gained incredible interest among home growers, farmers, school groups and the general public–so much so that it is being called the “World’s Fair of Pure Food”!”
  • Organic Growers’ School Harvest Conference (Asheville, NC): “Organic Growers School presents the second Harvest Conference, a fall event featuring all the popularity of the Spring Conference with a focus on the Fall & Winter Growing, Home Cooking, Fermentation, Preservation, Homestead Skills, Self-Reliance, Backyard Wonders and more…all organically of course. We pride ourselves on bringing you down-to-earth advice on growing and sustainable living, while remaining affordable and accessible.”
  • Organic Growers’ School Spring Conference (Asheville, NC): “The Spring Conference offers practical, regionally-appropriate workshops on organic growing, permaculture, homesteading, urban farming, and rural living plus a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction, children’s program, and pre-conference, on-farm events. More than 70 sessions per day in themed tracks including Gardening, Soils, Livestock, Primitive Skills, Permaculture, Herbs, Alternative Energy, Sustainable Forestry, Homesteading, Cooking, Poultry, Farmers I and Farmers II, Mushrooms and Food Resilience.”
  • Organic Seed Growers Conference (Corvallis, OR): “The biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference brings together hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, researchers, university extension, certifiers, food companies, seed production and distribution companies, and other organic stakeholders in two days of presentations, panel discussions, and networking events.”
  • Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference (Lexington, KY): “The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, commonly known as Southern SAWG, was founded in 1991 to foster a movement towards a more sustainable farming and food system – one that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane. We function as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states. By building partnerships, sharing information and conducting analysis, we transform isolated ideas and innovations into practical tools and approaches for widespread use.”
  • Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) Conference (rotating location): “The goal of convening national conferences is to encourage the continued development of learning and teaching within sustainable agriculture programs by facilitating a national dialogue. Our conferences create a stimulating working environment in which faculty, students, staff and administrators feel free to share ideas and questions. Conference participants discuss what they have done and want to do in their education programs, what works, what doesn’t work, and what educational resources they have found most valuable.”
Food for Thought: Classes and Readings
  • Ask Tom: Outwardly Calm: “Tom – I would like to be more like you, you know, be a cool farmer, helpful, concerned and engaged yet never ruffled. How do you manage to stay composed when everything seems to be flying apart all the time? Thanks,  Pete Dixon”
  • Farmer to Farmer Podcast: “Chris Blanchard is a veteran farmer and educator who draws on over 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that go into making a farm work.  Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, his down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers – and the occasional non-farmer – will be time well spent.  The Farmer to Farmer Podcast provides a fresh and honest look at everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy.”
  • Managed Grazing Tutorial (ATTRA): “Have you heard that changing the way you manage your grazing animals can change the condition of your land and finances for the better? Interested in finding out more about how managing your livestock can improve your soil health, your pasture condition and your bottom line? This tutorial features sessions taught by National Center for Appropriate Technology specialists who are also livestock producers. They share years of experience managing their own pastures to inspire you to start wherever you are and build or refine your own managed grazing systems. Detailed presentations and real-world examples will get you on the road to managed grazing.”
  • Non-GMO Dairy Transition Guide (ATTRA): “Increased consumer demand, a reduction in corn-insect populations due to Bt corn, and comparable feed-grain yields make non-GMO dairy production a viable option for many producers. However, making a transition requires considering alternative pest management strategies and establishing a system of traceability of all inputs to the system in order to verify the non-GMO status of milk products. This publication will assist producers in making a decision by discussing feed-crop and livestock management, pest control, non-GMO standards, and economics. A list of resources for further reading is included.”

Questions about this program? Contact Sera, Farmer Programs Associate, at farmer-programs@organicgrowersschool.org.

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and funding in part by the Community Foundation of WNC,  CLIF Bar Family Foundation, Organic Valley, Simply 1%, Carolina Farm Credit, French Broad Food Co-op, and by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of USDA-NIFA, Grant #2016-70017-25341. Read more about Farmer Programs' Funding Partners here.