WNC Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is a farmer-led effort to bring established farmers, farm apprentices, and aspiring farmers together for 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).
Not from our region? Visit www.craftfarmer.org to connect with a CRAFT group near you, or learn how to start your own!
How did CRAFT begin?
In 2008, the Organic Growers School staff met with several farmers in Western North Carolina to gain a deeper understanding for how to generate and train future growers. Overwhelmingly, we heard the need for a networking and educational forum for local organic growers and their workers. CRAFT, a program that originated in the northeastern United States, was a perfect model.
The success of WNC CRAFT is simple: farmers learn best from other farmers. Farmer-driven and farmer-led, CRAFT cultivates successful farmers of all levels in Western NC.
What are the benefits of CRAFT?
Farm tours = held monthly from April through October and focus on a specific aspect of sustainable farming. Check out the tour schedule and read blog posts about past tours.
CRAFT farming handbook = farmer-generated, regionally specific information on all aspects of farming.
Round-table discussions = a place for farmers to come together to discuss advanced farming topics.
Farmer network = includes both farmers and farm workers and is built on a farmer-to-farmer exchange of ideas.
Why join CRAFT?
Expand your training opportunities beyond your farm to bolster the robustness of your apprenticeship offerings.
Attract aspiring farmers to your apprenticeship positions to cultivate success and improve the future of our region’s agriculture.
Who is CRAFT for?
Member Farms = have apprentices/interns/employees and are committed to 1) enrolling their workers in the core CRAFT program and 2) sharing their expertise and experience with regional prospective farmers. They also might serve on the CRAFT Steering Committee that guides the direction and planning of the regional CRAFT program.
Associate Farms = do not have apprentices, interns, employees.
Student Members = non-farming community members who are interested in becoming apprentices.
Friends of CRAFT = non-farming community members with an interest in the program content.
For more information on this program, please contact Avi Li, Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: Blooming Prairie Foundation, Community Foundation of WNC, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, Cornell Douglas Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, New Visions Foundation, Patagonia, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, UNFI Foundation, Walnut Cove Members Association, WNC Bridge Foundation, and USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Award #2021-70033-35717. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Buchi, Living Web Farms, and Gaia Herbs. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and Blue Ridge Public Radio.