PRESS RELEASE September 5th, 2016

MEDIA INQUIRIES, CONTACT: Cameron Farlow, Farmer Programs Director (828) 338-9465; cameron@organicgrowersschool.org

For Immediate Release – Organic Growers School Presents Forest Farming Intensive for All Levels of Growers

Asheville, NC – Organic Growers School, in partnership with the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmers Coalition and Warren Wilson College, is pleased to host a two-day Forest Farming Intensive for farmers, and forest landowners of all skill levels in Appalachia and beyond who are interested in starting, expanding, or diversifying a forest farming operation. The event will be held at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC on September 30th & October 1st, 2017.

In the Southern Appalachians, many farms and homesteads have woodlands or forests. Forest farming is a practice of cultivating medicinal, edible, decorative, and handicraft crops under a forest canopy. The Appalachian region is home to many forest farmable plants creating a unique habitat to produce non-timber forest products. The annual one billion dollar market in the US for forest-based production continues to increase and can contribute to the financial bottom-line for regional farmers. “Being able to make better use of parts of your land not suitable for traditional farm crops and creating diversified income streams are crucial for farmers of all stages,” says Cameron Farlow, the Farmer Programs Director at the Organic Growers School. “We’d like to see more farms on the ground, and mores farmers meeting their income goals; forest farming can be an important piece of that puzzle,” Farlow says.

Forest floor

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Forest Farmers Coalition

The goal of the event is to train novice and experienced forest farmers, landowners, and land lessees to develop income streams while also promoting forest health and diversity. This two-day intensive will provide 14 workshop sessions and 3 field demonstrations in two ‘tracks’ to accommodate all levels of experience and interests – an Introductory Track for aspiring and beginning forest farmers with 0-2 years of experience, and an Intermediate/Advanced Track for seasoned forest farmers with 3-10+ years of experience.

The teachers and topics for both days of the Forest Farming Intensive represent a wide array of regional wisdom on all aspects of forest-based production and marketing. The Saturday schedule also includes a catered local meal in the Warren Wilson Pavilion. Participants will hear a keynote address from a special guest, and have the opportunity to network with other growers and buyers of forest products.

Cost for the two-day event is $100, and includes lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and dinner Saturday. Breakfast is available on-site at the Warren Wilson College Campus for an additional price. Scholarships are available.

More information and registration can be found online at http://organicgrowersschool.org/farmers/forest-farming-intensive/ or by emailing cameron@organicgrowersschool.org

About Organic Growers School:

Organic Growers School (OGS), a 501(c)3 non-profit, is the premier provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region. Since 1993, the OGS hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships strengthen and celebrate each grower’s move towards self-reliance. OGS has served to reinforce Western North Carolina’s role as a regional leader in organic growing.

About the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmers Coalition:

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition is a network of forestland owners, universities, 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.

Cameron Farlow

Cameron Farlow

Cameron Farlow is the Farmer Programs Director. Hailing from Greensboro, NC with dairy farming in her blood, she has now made her home in Western NC. After earning her undergraduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Cameron dove headfirst into the realm of sustainable agriculture and local food systems, and later completed her Master’s Degree in Appalachian Studies and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. She also brings experience in the realms of farmland preservation, food security, farm to university, and land access for farmers. She came on board with OGS in April 2012. In addition to her work with OGS, Cameron is a beekeeper, dancer, baker and avid adventurer.