Farm Beginnings® Instructors
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.
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.
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!
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.
Cultivating Resilience LLC
Laura Lengnick has explored agriculture and food system sustainability and resilience through more than 30 years of work as a researcher, policy-maker, educator and farmer. Her work in soil quality and sustainable farming systems was nationally recognized with a USDA Secretary’s Honor award in 2002 and she contributed to the 3rd National Climate Assessment as a lead author of the 2012 USDA report Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation. After more than a decade leading the academic program in sustainable agriculture at Warren Wilson College, Laura left the college in 2015 to create Cultivating Resilience, LLC a private firm offering climate resilience planning services. She is an affiliated researcher with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Local Food Research Center and a climate resilience planning consultant with Fernleaf Solutions, both located in Asheville, NC. Her book—Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate—was released in May 2015 by New Society Publishers.
TK Family Farm
TK Family Farm
TK Family Farm is a first generation family farm started by Jon Klimstra and his wife Brittany. Jon resigned his position as a Wildlife Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service so that they could return to North Carolina together with their 3 children; ages 3 and twins, 9 months old, in May of 2014. The dream was to start a small family farm where they could raise their children in a rural lifestyle and be closer to their food and their community. They currently farm 15 acres in the Southeast corner of Polk County in the Green Creek community. Our main enterprise is a high-density apple orchard, where rows are spaced approximately 12 feet apart and trees within rows are three feet apart. There are approximately 1,200 trees per acre with five varieties; gala, pink lady, golden delicious, granny smith, and Evercrisp. Advantages include: early crop, higher quality fruit, higher yield, and increased efficiency. We currently have 1.3 acres in production and plan to add another acre in 2019. Since our land is limited we are looking to the future for even more efficient planting systems. We hope to have around 300-400 bushels of apples in 2018. We sell apples from the farm, a CSA, at markets we attend, and local stores.
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 U.S. Kimberly enjoys various aspects of agriculture, including field crops, livestock, weaving, sewing and writing.
Wild Hope Farm
hawn Jadrnicek has nourished his interest in sustainability through work as an organic farmer, nursery grower, extension agent, arborist, landscaper, manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm and now as manager of Wild Hope Farm.
Wild Hope Farm is situated on 220 acres of rolling piedmont foothills south of Charlotte, N.C. Currently, 3.5 acres of vegetables, 60 pastured hens and 6 bee hives feed a 100-share CSA, farmers market and restaurants. The vegetable production is mechanized leaving most of our time to harvest and pack vegetables and our equipment and infrastructure is designed to scale up to 11 acres of production. Our unique CSA distribution employs an automated pickup system through a refrigerated trailer keeping the produce cool and giving our customers 24 hours to pickup. Our organic farming practices rely heavily on cover cropping. We use a roller crimper in conjunction with innovative no-till techniques to grow 50% of our crops mulched with cover crop residue. Equipment includes automated irrigation systems for greenhouse and fields, two tractors and walk behind tractor, disc harrow, rotary tiller, bed shaper, drip tape applicator and auto winder, cultivation toolbar with sweeps, S-tines and spider wheels, potato digger, flail mower, 3pt boom sprayer, roller crimper, manure spreader and mechanical transplanter. Infrastructure includes a passive solar greenhouse, high tunnel, compost heat extracting slab, pressure wash bin cleaning, roller conveyor produce wash/pack, brush washer and two pallet-friendly walk-in coolers.
Lauren & Michael Rayburn
Rayburn Farm is a small, diversified herb, berry, and seed-growing farm in Barnardsville, NC. Michael and Lauren established the farm in 2013 and currently have 1.5 acres in crop production. They primarily market their crops to Asheville’s value-added sector and restaurants. The Rayburns view their operation as an everyday experiment in producing flavorful ingredients and quality seed. Michael is a horticulturist with 10+ years of experience and now works full-time on the farm. He is responsible for crop planning, all field operations, deliveries, and sales. He also enjoys maintaining the farm’s Instagram feed. Lauren has full-time off-farm employment and handles the farm’s numbers and general farm administration. She loves looking at spreadsheets and grant writing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For questions, please contact Farmer Programs Coodinator, Nicole DelCogliano at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to our Media Sponsors for 2018!
OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant #2016-70017-25341, USDA Rural Business Development Program, Community Foundation of WNC, Polk County Community Foundation, CLIF Bar Family Foundation 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 Hendersonville Community Co-op, and WNCW.