Forest Farming Intensive: Sat.–Sun., Sept. 30–Oct. 1, 2017—Develop new income streams and promote forest health and diversity. For novice and experienced forest farmers!

Forest Farming Intensive

A Two-Day Training Program

This two-day intensive is offered in collaboration with the NC State, Warren Wilson College, and the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC), which is dedicated to increasing opportunities for farmers and forest landowners in Appalachia and beyond who are interested in starting or expanding/diversifying a forest farming operation. Join the ABFFC coalition to become part of the movement! Info here.

When: Saturday, 9/30/17 & Sunday, 10/1/17
TimesSaturday from 8:30am-7:30pm (including dinner) AND Sunday from 9:00am-4:30pm
Schedule: Choose from 17 classes and hands-on field sessions. Schedule coming soon!
Location: Warren Wilson College, 701 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC 28778.
Cost: $100 per person, includes lunch and dinner on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday. You have the option to purchase breakfast for an additional $7 at the Warren Wilson campus cafeteria on both days. There are a limited number of full and partial scholarships available!
Instructors: Meet the Teaching Team here.
Saturday Dinner, Keynote & Networking Opportunity: Gather with your fellow participants for a catered local meal in the Warren Wilson Pavilion, and hear from keynote address from a special guest. Seize the opportunity to network with other growers and buyers of forest products.


Most farms and homesteads in the Southern Appalachians contain forested land. Forest farming is a practice of cultivating medicinal, edible, decorative, and handicraft crops under a forest canopy, a unique habitat to produce non-timber forest products and the Appalachian region contains native habitat for more than 15 forest farmable plants. Due to an ever-increasing market (one billion dollars annually in the US and rising), forest-based production can contribute to the financial equation for regional farmers.

Yet forest farmers need technical, administrative, market, sales, and regulatory training in this promising field. In partnership with the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farming Coalition, Organic Growers School will be hosting a two-day forest farming intensive meant to deepen the grower’s skill-set and allow them to further their own forest farming operations at home. The goal of this workshop is to train beginning forest farmers, both novices and experienced farmers, landowners, and land lessees to develop income streams and economic growth while also promoting forest health and diversity. This two-day intensive will provide two ‘tracks’ to accommodate all levels of experience and interests: Beginning/Introductory AND Intermediate/Advanced.


Beginning Forest Farmers (0-2 years of experience):

  • Get an overview of botanical forest farming from the forest floor to the shelf.
  • Understand the basics of growing woodland medicinals.
  • Explore the economics of forest products, value-added, and natural product development.
  • Participate in dialog and networking opportunities with advanced forest farmers.
  • Gain in-depth knowledge on a variety of plants including ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, ramps and more!

Intermediate/Advanced Forest Farmers (3-10+ years of experience):

  • Learn advanced botanical propagation methods in a hands-on environment.
  • Discuss best practices and processing methods with other experienced forest farmers.
  • Gain background knowledge on certification options and verification regulations.
  • Get an overview of the regional economics of forest products, value-added, and natural product development.
  • Participate in networking opportunities with other regional growers and buyers.


About the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farming Coalition (ABFFC)

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition is a network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers. Our collective aim is to increase awareness of forest-grown medicinal plants through education and relationship building, and support conservation efforts through stewardship of existing plant populations and forest farming of these native botanicals.

The team includes four non-governmental organizations (Appalachian Sustainable Development; Blue Ridge Woodland Growers; Rural Action; United Plant Savers), three universities (Virginia Tech; North Carolina State; Penn State), extension (Southern Regional Extension Forestry), three agency partners (National Agroforestry Center; Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry; and US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station), along with forest farmers and other key stakeholders.

Scholarship Information

The cost of this event does not cover the program expenses and as such is subsidized by Organic Growers School and our project partners. That being said, we want regional farmers of all economic means to have access to this educational event. Please reach out to us if you need funding support. To request a scholarship, please write a brief description of who you are, why you are requesting a scholarship and what you hope to learn at the training session. Send your description to Cameron Farlow at by September 8th.