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April 19, 2019
Lee Warren
Executive Director
(828) 214-7833
For Immediate Release:

Patagonia Awards $10,000 to Organic Growers School for Mentoring Growers

Asheville, NC. Organic Growers School (OGS), received a $10,000 grant from Patagonia, in April of 2019, for its project “Reclaiming Agriculture through Mentoring for Success.” This project will serve growers of all sizes and scales throughout the Southern Appalachian region. Patagonia gives environmental grants, typically between $2,500 and $15,000 to hundreds of groups every year. Patagonia pledges at least one percent of sales or 10 percent of pre-tax profits—whichever is more—to environmental groups. They give at the grassroots level to innovative groups overlooked or rejected by other corporate donors. They fund activists who take radical and strategic steps to protect habitat, wilderness and biodiversity.

This grant award will allow OGS to design, develop, and implement a programmatic framework for their Mentor program and one-on-one coaching services, offered to growers of all stages including Farm Beginnings® students and other regional farmers (aspiring, in-training, beginning, and seasoned) as well as backyard, homestead, and urban growers of all scales, sizes, and scopes. These one-on-one mentoring services will provide technical assistance, systems development, land management, site-planning, infrastructure development, and business and marketing planning.

“OGS is pleased to partner with Patagonia,” says Lee Warren, OGS Executive Director. “The grant makes a world of difference for a small non-profit organization with a regional reach and we love what Patagonia stands for,” she adds. According to Patagonia’s website, they acknowledge “As a company that uses resources and produces waste, we recognize our impact on the environment and feel a responsibility to give back. For us, it’s not charity or traditional philanthropy. It’s part of the cost of doing business. We call it our Earth Tax.”

The benefits of mentoring to local growers include the following:

  • Increased problem solving and troubleshooting skills by working on project- and site- specific issues.
  • Enhanced and customized connection to regional allies, resources, and services.
  • Innovative and creative transfer of skill and knowledge through direct contact.
  • Movement from inspiration to doing through goal setting, accountability, and actionable steps.
  • Higher success rates through introduction to regional best practices.
  • Bridging to further learning and success.
  • Stronger networks within the growing community by building allies and strengthening friendship.

As growers thrive, they care for the land, strengthen their communities, generate income for themselves and others, and produce food for their region. In addition, they enhance their personal food security, self-reliance, and grow their capacity for environmental stewardship, ecological awareness, and best land use practices.

In fact where there is a population of folks dedicated to regional interdependence, community resilience, and local food sovereignty, there is a collective voice to advocate for more equitable, sustainable and accessible food systems and a vibrant, engaged community.

About Organic Growers School:

Organic Growers School (OGS) is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians. Since 1993 OGS has been building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic growers.

About Patagonia Foundation:

The Patagonian Foundation endeavors to protect and preserve the Patagonian culture and environment by promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability. The Foundation forms cooperative partnerships with individuals and regional, national and international organizations to develop and implement programs that will promote sustainable and responsible economic growth, maintain quality of life, and preserve and permanently protect Patagonia’s vast land and diverse ecosystems.



Lee Warren

Author: Lee Warren

Lee Warren has been homesteading and farming for more than 25 years. She is the former Executive Director of Organic Growers School and the manager of Imani Farm, a pasture-based cooperative farm in Rutherford County, NC. Lee is also an herbalist, writer, teacher, and food activist, with an avid interest in rural wisdom, sustainable economics, and social justice issues.

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