Farm Beginnings® Instructors
Shiloh Avery & Jason Roehrig
Tumbling Shoals Farm
Shiloh Avery and Jason Roehrig farm at Tumbling Shoals Farm in Wilkes County, NC. Tumbling Shoals Farm is a certified organic vegetable and fruit operation with about four acres in production. Tumbling Shoals sells produce through an 80 family CSA, at the Watauga County Farmers Market, at the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market, through a multi-farm CSA, and to a few restaurant and grocery clients. Shiloh has been employed full-time on the farm since 2008 and Jason since 2010. The farm also now employs a crew of six seasonal workers. Shiloh and Jason moved to Wilkes County from Pittsboro, NC, where Shiloh attended Central Carolina Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program and Jason was a program director at RAFI-USA—an agricultural non-profit. The two of them strive to practice sustainable farming, including being good environmental stewards, economically successful, and ensuring a good work environment for themselves and their employees.
Sara Jane & Jamie Davis
A Way of Life Farm
Sara Jane and Jamie started A Way of Life Farm in 2009 and have since added two boys, Alder and William, to the scene. We grow vegetables, strawberries and pasture-raised pork for sale. This commercial production fits within a broader permaculture design that also includes the development of fruit and nut orchards and mushroom production. In addition, we have perennials including blueberries, blackberries, and a wide array of home-use fruit trees, as well as bees. A combination of sustainable practices including bio-intensive raised beds, cover cropping, Kinsey-Albrecht method, keyline plowing, Holistic Management, and permaculture design are used throughout our land. About 90% of our time is spent growing vegetables. We start our own vegetable transplants from seed and propagate perennials in a permanent greenhouse. Over 30 types of vegetables and herbs are grown primarily outdoors in raised beds. We also grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and winter greens in a large hoophouse and other veggies in low-tech, movable caterpillar tunnels. A tractor is used for initial bed preparation, but most of our work—planting, weeding, harvesting—is done with hand tools. We both work full time on the farm, selling our products through farmers’ markets, CSAs, restaurants, and wholesale.
Against the Grain
Holly Whitesides owns and operates Against the Grain in Zionville, NC, with her husband, Andy Bryant, and 2-year old daughter, Beatrice. ATG was founded in 2012 and is a diversified 35-acre direct-market farm located 15 minutes from downtown Boone. In the spring of 2013, ATG began practicing Biodynamic farming, and became certified under Demeter, Int. in the spring of 2016. Approximately 2 1/2 acres of certified Biodynamic and Organic vegetables are grown on the farm, in addition to a hand full of seed crops. The farm also produces Animal Welfare Approved, pastured chicken, turkey, pork, beef and goat on the remaining pastures and woodlands. The focus at ATG is to nurture the soil in order to grow high quality, nutritious food for our local community.
Kimberly is a writer, speaker, and small business owner dedicated to developing the next four generations of entrepreneurs. She brings 25 years of business acumen and multiple sector experience and is a well-respected educator, strategist, and consultant to hundreds of leaders in WNC and the US. Kimberly enjoys various aspects of agriculture, including: field crops, livestock, weaving, sewing and writing.
Beacon Village Farm is family-owned and operated by Mike and Danielle Hutchison. Equipped with more than a decade of agricultural experience and education, the pair has been growing produce for the local community on land in Black Mountain and Old Fort since 2012. Mike and Danielle are dedicated to growing high-quality annual vegetables, while cultivating a viable farm operation where the couple is able to teach their two sons, Coen and Max to grow, learn and live sustainably. By participating in the New Sprout Network Grower program which sells organic produce to regional wholesale markets, Beacon Village Farm has been able to expand from one sustainably grown acre in production in 2014 to over thirty certified organic acres in production in 2017!
Off Grid in Color
Off Grid In Color (OGIC) is a homestead sanctuary of health and wellness. It’s mission is to lead others to greater self-sufficiency through farm raised food, birth coaching, and community outreach. OGIC’s small farm is located in west Rowan County.
Tou & Chue Lee
Lee’s One Fortune Farm
Lee’s One Fortune Farm is a small family owned business. Everything brought to market are locally grown. We practice the same traditional way of growing our food. We put into practice the means of growing our plants naturally using all natural composts.
Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy
Chris Link manages the operations on the trusts Community Farm. He works on building and sustaining the infrastructure, farmer education workshops, and the Beginning Farmer Incubator Program. Chris holds a degree in Planning & Landscape Architecture from Clemson University and a PDC from The Permaculture Institute. Previously, Chris farmed on a year-round CSA community land trust farm in New England, and then most recently on a small, bio-intensive farm in Bostic, NC. Both farms practiced organic methods and incorporated a variety of rotational livestock. Chris chose to learn at these specific farms because they demonstrate a symbiotic, productive relationship he sees as the future of sustainable land management, serving both the environment and the community.
William Lyons & Marie Williamson
William Lyons and Marie Williamson own and operate Bluebird Farm in Morganton, NC. Bluebird Farm produces vegetables using organic methods. Pork, chicken, beef and lamb are all rotationally grazed and fed certified organic feed. Their passion is feeding folks wholesome foods and managing a healthy farm ecosystem. Marie and William have been using holistic goals and financial planning to make Bluebird Farm provide full-time compensation for both of them for their full-time work. They continue to refine record keeping processes, management styles, and decision making tools to work toward a farm that is truly economically sustainable, properly compensating labor, paying for land, and providing long term stability. They met at Warren Wilson College where William worked in the organic garden and Marie worked with pastured sows and hogs. After studying biology, ecology, and sustainable agriculture and gaining experience on farms around the United States and Europe, Marie and William returned home to Western NC in 2009 and started Bluebird Farm.
Organic Growers School Staff & Facilitators
Farm Beginnings Facilitator
Nicole DelCogliano is the OGS Farmer Programs Coordinator. She and her husband, Gaelan, began their farm Green Toe Ground, a diversified organic farm in Celo, NC, more than 16 years ago. They’ve grown the farm over the years, and now manage 16 acres of diversified organic and biodynamic produce and livestock, train farm apprentices each year, and raise their two girls. Originally from NY, she has farmed and worked in education in NC for the last 20 years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from State University at New Paltz in New York, and has a Masters in Sustainability from the Center for Appalachian Studies in Boone, NC.
Farm Beginnings Facilitator
Cameron Farlow is the OGS Farmer Programs Director. She grew up in Greensboro, NC, with dairy farming in her blood, and has made her home in Western North Carolina. After earning her undergraduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill in Anthropology and Geography in 2006, 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 in May 2011. Gaining as much experience as she could she worked with several other regional nonprofits 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. When she isn’t visiting farms all around this end of the state as Farmer Programs coordinator you can usually find her digging in her garden or adventuring alongside her husband Walker, the farm manager at Hickory Nut Gap Farm.
William is the Co-Director of NC FarmLink, a NC State University Extension statewide program that links landowners with farmers. The program offers a venue for landowners to expose farmers to land that they have available for lease, for sale, or for business partnership opportunities. The program also offers land seekers a venue to create an online farmer profile so landowners can see who is looking for land. Registered website users can see each others contact information. NC FarmLink offers personal support to landowners and farmers to assist in formulating fair and reasonable lease agreements, referrals to sound local agricultural advisors, and general ongoing support for landowners and farmers as related to farmland and land use decisions.
For questions, please contact our Director of Programming, Nicole Delcogliano, at email@example.com
Thanks to our Media Sponsors for 2019!
OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: CLIF bar Family Foundation, Southern Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education UNFI Foundation, WNC Bridge Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, Walnut Cove, New Visions, and USDA Rural Development. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Earth Tools, Biltmore Company, Buchi, Living Web Farms, and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and BPR. .