Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Descriptions By Track

Community Food

Community Gardens for Good
Isa Whitaker

Discover the assets of community gardens and their power to encourage good physical and mental health, strengthen community, and engage youth. Combine gardening with Hip-Hop as a way to bring awareness of nature connection and getting youth to expand outside the box.

Cooperative Farming Models
Kimberly Hunter

Description coming soon.

Farming While Black
Leah Penniman

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Learn how Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.

Sowing the Seeds of Racial Equity
Natilee McGruder

Racial inequities hold our entire community back. Learn to address these issues in food system head-on and create a plan of action to incorporate racial equity work into your work and daily life. 

Understanding the Root Cause of Hunger
Janice Brewer

Everyone is hungry for something and everyone has something to give. Dive deeper into the roots of hunger while exploring the intersections of emergency food assistance and community farming. Learn to disrupt the systems that keep people in loops of food insecurity.



Kaleb Wallace

Description coming soon.

Cherokee Staple Foods
Tyson Sampson

Description coming soon.

Food Diaspora
Georie Bryant

Description coming soon.

Wild Mead Making
Marissa Percoco

The ancient art of mead making mixes honey with fruit, flowers, roots and herbs to create beverage bliss. We’ll cover handling, harvesting, and preparing ingredients including ratios and qualities of sweeteners and yeasts, and bottling and storing. The focus is on wild, open, and cultured fermentation.


Earth Skills

Ethnobotany: Learning from Invasives
Lauren Bacchus

Instead of vilifying invasive plants, understand their value and uses through ethnobotany. Used for millennia by traditional peoples, rediscover the history and uses of mulberry, kudzu, and others for food, fiber, and medicine. Human-use is an effective form of species management.

Primal Play
Elija Strongheart

Description coming soon.

Traditional Sustainable Foods of the Cherokee
Mary Crowe

Discover traditional foods gathered in the Great Smokies by the Cherokee including spring gathering of various wild mountain salads and plants. Including but not limited to Ramps, Sochan, Poke Salad, Jellico, mushrooms, berries and nuts.

Woodslore & Wild Woods Wisdom
Doug Elliott

Whether he’s singing about ginseng, pontificating on possums, talking turtle, telling wild snake tales, or wailing out a jivey harmonica tune, storyteller/naturalist, Doug Elliott, will take you on a multifaceted celebration of the human connection to the natural world.

Farming: Beginning

Black Farmers: The New Generation
Kendrick Ransome

Stories of a beginning black farmer and he is sustaining human and economic development in his communities. Discuss how to establish more black farmers, the importance of privileged and minority farmers to coexist and share (markets, equipment, etc.) and identify community allies.

Intergenerational Mentorship
Felicia Bell & DJ Baker

Experienced farmers need to team up with beginning farmers for intergenerational mentorship. This prevents costly pitfalls, provides access to wisdom and traditional knowledge, provides potential for land opportunities, and the assists in the long-term success of new farmers.

Smart Tools, Healthy Body
Nazirahk Amen

Belief in only hard work can lead to aches and pains. Working smarter is the more enduring path. From hand tools to tractors and plant protection to harvesting equipment, discover useful tools to help make life easier in the field. 

Sustainable Agriculture 101

Description coming soon.

Farming: Experienced

Advanced Enterprise Development & Strategizing
Nicole DelCogliano & Kimberly Hunter
Panel: Carol Coulter & Holly Whitesides

Farming requires a variety of production, management, and business skills. Understanding how financial and production records translate to business development can sometimes be challenging. Group discussion on advanced enterprise development and adaptive management strategies for beginning and advanced small farmers. 

Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties for the Organic Market
Inga Meadows
Panel: Tom Elmore, Madeline Ashwill

The use of grafted tomatoes in sustainable production has the potential to increase yields depending on several variables. Explore applications of grafted tomatoes including disease resistance and many factors to consider when growing grafted tomatoes. 

Gearing for Stability & Growth: Designing a Small Farm for Financial Success
Elliot Seldner
Panel: Evan Chender, Lucas Howerter

Double down on profitability. Topics covered: setting financial goals, four-season cash flow, growing in greenhouse/high tunnel environments, and more. Useful for vegetable growers both actively farming as well as those in the planning and development phase. 

Organic No-Till Techniques
Shawn Jadrnicek
Panel: Russell Hedrick, Cedar Johnson, Rachel Klein

Tools and techniques for no and low-till agriculture being used on NC farms. Discuss techniques like weed-free cover crops, raised-bed production, delaying cover crop maturity, adding mulch to extend weed control, cover crop mixes, seeding rates and equipment for all scales. 


Gardening: Beginning

10 Easy Vegetables for Beginners
Clint DeWitt

Explore how easy gardening can be! Discover the basics of ten vegetables that are easy to grow, seamlessly scaled up or down, and best of all, can provide fresh produce throughout the year. 

Gardening 101: A Holistic Approach
Krista Fayette

Learn the basics of creating a garden, starting with our connection to the land and what we want to receive from it. We will discuss garden bed preparation and maintenance as well as basic plant care from seedling to harvest. 

The Seed Garden
Pam Dawling

Learn to grow seed crops. Discover: selection and marking plants for improvement, best population size and isolation distances, drying and cleaning, storage and germination testing. Examples of easy-to-grow wet and dry seed crops. Use hoophouses for seed growing in summer.

The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration
Chris Smith

Okra is an easy to grow, productive, nutritious, and beautiful heat loving crop. Let’s celebrate this wonderful vegetable and explore using the whole plant (from seed to stem) for a wide range of culinary applications and beyond. 


Gardening : Experienced

Cultural Growing Techniques
Tarinii Shanai
Sarah Seldin, Tyson Sampson, Zaire Sabb-Hubb

Discover the traditional sustenance gardening techniques, specific crops, and diverse cultural foods from West Africa, Israel, and other regions, and how they relate to growing and eating in Appalachia. These nutritious foods can be incorporated into your garden and kitchen.

Forest Gardening
Jeanine Davis & Marc Williams
Panel: Osker Brown

With even a small shaded area, you can create a forest garden for food and medicine as well as a beautiful place in which to “forest bathe.” Learn the basics basics on how to grow, procure seeds and plants, and maintain a plentiful forest.

Grow Great Vegetables in North Carolina
Ira Wallace
Panel: Cindy Trisler

Tips and techniques for growing garden fresh salads year-round, inclding vine ripened tomatoes, crisp green peppers, outstanding winter collards, and dozens of other delicious edibles. Discussion of soil building, planting dates, succession sowing, mulch, managing water, selecting the best varieties, and more.

Growing Sweet Potatoes From Start to Finish
Pam Dawling
Panel: Annie Louise Perkinson

Grow your own sweet potato slips, plant them, cultivate healthy crops, harvest good yields, and select suitable roots for next year’s slips. Cure and store roots for top quality and minimal losses. Useful for beginner and experienced growers alike. 


Grief & Trauma Support with Plant Medicine
Kelbi Morris

None of us escape the trials and tribulations of life. Thankfully there are many safe, accessible, and effective tools to help with the impact of trauma. Discover plant based medicines and nervous system support that can support us through difficult times. 

Growing & Selling Herbal Products
Patricia Kyritsi Howell

Transform your herb crops into a lucrative revenue stream by making and selling your own herb products. Learn the regulatory and financial considerations related to the home-made manufacture as well as marketing and sales of teas, salves, lotions, and bath products. 

Hemp Production
Michael Lewis

Description coming soon.

What’s the Buzz on Adaptogens?
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright

Adaptogens strengthen immunity, improve mental and physical function, and relieve the impact of stress. Our ancestors across the globe incorporated adaptogens effectively. Learn to appropriately utilize these powerful herbal allies including some recipes to try at home.



Digital Skills for the Homesteader
Jason Contreras

Connecting with an online community through social media and video platforms is a common path for homesteaders. Learn from a skilled and self-taught homesteading videographer about sharing and monetizing your land-based living. 

Home-Scale Grain Production
Mark Dempsey

Are you wanting to produce more of the staple foods you eat or feed your livestock? Explore the many methods to successfully produce a wide variety of grains—cereals, legumes, and more—a small-scale. We’ll cover growing, harvesting, cleaning, and storage. 

Practical Skills for Food Storage
Ashleigh Hillen

Practical skills for storing food through the winter. Learn a variety of storage methods including dehydrating and drying, canning, fermenting, freezing, root cellaring, storage of root crops in the ground, and ongoing rotation for freshness. Create at-home food resiliency. 

Homesteading 101
Angelica Watkins

From city dweller to homesteader. Hear stories of wrangling chickens, raising rabbits, gardening, harvesting grapes, butchering goats, making sourdough and weaving washcloths. Discover ideas about setting up your homestead, how to gain practical knowledge, and learn lessons from others.


All About Minerals
Greg Stewart

Explore the macro and micro nutrients essential for optimum animal health, develop a holistic supplementation program, discover the minerals that might be lacking in mountain soils, implement the best method of supplementation, and experience the resulting nutrient density of your products.

Sustainable Meat Rabbits: Down the Rabbit Hole
Sarah Hopton

Start or scale up a meat rabbit enterprise, for home or business. Learn feeding, breeding, rearing, housing, diseases, cures, processing options, marketing (direct, restaurants, distributors), and financial data. Get a realistic sense of the costs and benefits at various scales. 

Livestock Learning Curves: The Biggest Things I’ve Learned From Animals
Meredith Leigh & Panel

Learn from seasoned farmers about a variety of species. From business to spiritual, discover the hard knocks and sweet gifts of livestock management. Equal parts philosophy, embarrassing stories, and technical tips, plan for a lively and educational conversation and Q&A. 

Raising Bacon: Understanding Feed Rations & Alternative Feed Ingredients
“Pork” Rhyne Cureton

Although swine can close the loop on food waste, it’s not enough to just feed pigs scraps! In this session we will discuss how feed is formulated, differences in food rations depending on age or breed, how feed affects pork quality, which feed ingredients to stay away from, and the cost effectiveness of procuring alternative feeds.



Fermenting with Fungi: Molds & Yeasts
Erica Gunnison

Discover fungal cultures as a way to preserve the harvest, increase nutrient availability, and create intoxicants! Work with molds and yeasts to create tempeh, meads, miso, and others. The world of fungi is vast and not limited to mushrooms. 

Fungi in the Soil
Leif Olson

Fungi are heavy lifters in the natural building and maintenance of soils, and provide many benefits to the farm, garden and landscape. Learn about fungal activity in the soil, from mushroom production, to increased plant health, to feeding the soil food web and more.

Medicinal Mushrooms
Cornelia Cho

Covering both ancient knowledge and current research, learn how mushrooms can help us with many health issues including eczema, Parkinson’s disease, glucose regulation, dementia, immune regulation, addiction, depression, and more. Grow your own—often delicious—medicine on agricultural waste.

Mushrooms 101
Jon Martin

Learn basics of mycology, wild foraging, and cultivation. Participants will understand the mushroom lifecycle, basics on the process of identifying mushrooms, common edibles in the southeast, practical cultivation methods for at home grows, cardboard cloning, cooking with mushrooms, and more!



Holistic Aid: International Permaculture
Lucas Trotman

Over the last five years, the Asheville based nonprofit, WovenEarth, has worked in Lebanon, Nepal, India, and Indonesia to rebuild homes and orphanages and provide agricultural reform. Learn of our endeavors and discover the power of permaculture and community organizing. 

Permaculture 101
Laura Ruby

Learn about permaculture including ethics and principles for land, livelihood, community engagement, and more. Discover this holistic design system used to create regenerative human settlements and food systems while working harmoniously with nature and ecological systems.

Permaculture Land Assessment
Luke Costlow

Description coming soon.

William Padilla-Brown

Integrate algal allies into your systems including a practical understanding of the top five algae cultures. Focus on spirulina due to ease of cultivation and safety for consumption. Discover media preparation, culture maintenance, batch culturing, harvesting and consumption. Hands-on.



Hentopia: DIY Chickens
Frank Hyman

Go on vacation without a chicken sitter! Discover low-tech self-filling waterers, vending machine feeders, best nest boxes, and a nearly free coop made of pallets. Slides, handouts, Q&A, and props! Cut the time and money you spend on chicken keeping.

Poultry Husbandry & Management
Meagan Coneybeer

Learn the various pastured poultry management styles including using pasture and landscaping to benefit poultry. Discussions on coop and forage styles based on terrain and predator pressure, management of broody hens, raising chicks, utilizing manure, as well as health and wellness.

Predator Protection for Poultry
Tim Burke

Learn to protect your birds from predators of all kinds and avoid devastating losses to your flock. Understand each predator and learn strategies for protection. Specifically we’ll discuss containment options for specific breeds of poultry.


Changing the Paradigm of Fertility Management
Robin “Buz” Kloot

Soils are more than a medium to grow plants, they are a living, dynamic ecosystem. As we expand the paradigms that govern soil fertility, this influences the ways in which we view, tend, engage, and benefit from soils. 

Park Your Tiller: No-Till Methods for the Small-Scale Grower
Cedar Johnson

Cut back on tilling and cultivation to improve soil health even on a garden or small farm scale. Learn practical, methods and accessible approaches used by small-scale growers to cut back on tilling while still growing a successful crop. 

Soil Food Web
Troy Hinke

Understand and steward the life in your soil to promote healthy plants and sustainable profits. Discover the soil food web and techniques for living soil using compost and compost teas. Three to five days of training condensed into 90 minutes.

Soils 101
Mark Dempsey

Soil is complex, but with some basic knowledge of how soil works, you can farm better. Come learn how the many properties of soil interact, and how you can manage for both healthy soil and healthy plants.


Sustainable Forestry

Forest Farming Enterprises in Appalachia
Jeanine Davis

Learn how woodland medicinals can provide long term income as a component of your forest management plan. These medicinal herbs can be grown to harvest and sell, produced as nursery and seed crops, or be part of an agritourism/educational business.

Forest Planning
Mary Vann Johnston

Learn the role of the forest in your land plan through stewardship planning, intentional design, and management strategies. Discover the resources and tools for a variety of options that will help you achieve your forest goals and objectives. 

Growing Fruit Organically in the Southeast
Andrew Goodheart Brown

Growing fruit organically in WNC can be a challenge. Discover what you need to know to design for success. Make good decisions prior to starting your fruit growing, though all levels can benefit!

Making Maple Syrup in the South: From Back-yard Sugaring to Small-Scale Farming
Wheeler & Michael Waldeck

Tap into something sweet! Delve into the lost art of sugaring in the south. Top to bottom tutorial on how to make maple syrup, whether you’re tapping a single tree, or pursuing a small-scale farming enterprise.


Sustainable Living

Funding Your Transition to Regenerative Farming Practices
Mari Stuart

Co-operate WNC’s new initiative helps farmers transition to climate-resilient, regenerative farming and land management practices. The program leverages cooperative funding mechanisms to implement these practices. Learn about the benefits of regenerative farming and how your farm can participate as a pilot site. 

Solar Energy for Home & Farm
Matthew Bennett (SATURDAY)/Chavo Krenek (SUNDAY)

Apply the most current solar technology and equipment to your home or farm, including battery storage options. Discuss the current financial incentives, such as federal tax credits and the solar rebate program for Duke customers in NC.

Tiny Homes
Jeramy Stauffer

The tiny home and portable house movement has swept the country. It advocates for simple living, a smaller ecological footprint, & an architectural design that meets all human needs. This class will discuss technical approaches, design concepts, rules & regulations, construction issues, infrastructure, and homesteading tips.

Water Resilience for the Homestead
John Henry Nelson

In an age of climate change and water challenges, it’s important to design and build in water resilience on your homestead or farm. Learn about collection, storage, and use. Discover how to prepare for a changing future of water challenges. 


Thinking Big

Climate Advocacy& Resilient Farming: It’s Not Too Late to Begin
Steffi Rausch & Asher Wright

Farmers are at the center of emerging solutions for a changing climate. Learn tangible strategies to build resilience into your farm as well as communication strategies to effectively engage with legislators on federal climate policy. We need both to mitigate effectively. 

Growing Out Loud: The New American City
Rashid Nuri

The current paradigm of commercial agriculture is not sustainable. Small farms and urban agriculture can improve the future of the world’s food production, improve health outcomes, and build strong communities. Discover history and guidance as this new generation of food revolutionaries.

Healing the Matriarch
Zaire Sabb-Hubb

There is a growing shift in consciousness in women around the world. Women are done with being sick and tired and ready to emerge into their full potential. Discover the imbalanced scales and ways to heal the imbalance.

Rural Justice in an Unsettled Land
Charlie Thompson

An intimate portrait of the joys and hardships of rural life, in a search of community, equality, and tradition in Appalachia. Learn what thrust Charlie into organizing, teaching, and documenting in his quest for rural justice in the US and Latin America. 

Stewardship Dowsing: Applied Intuition
Lee Barnes

Simple Dowsing/Divining techniques allow us to ask clearer questions and tap into superconscious awareness. When we allow our muscles and body a “voice,” it helps for more informed decision making by inviting both our conscious experiences and subconscious connections. 


Half Day Workshops


The ABCs of CBD
Franny Tacy

CBD receptors are found throughout the entire body including brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. This incredible Endocannabinoid System serves as a bridgeway between the body and the mind. Learn about the CBD Business from seed to sale.

Beekeeping Basics: Natural Products With Honey
Oxx Simeina

Learn the basics of keeping a colony of bees without the use of pesticides. Discuss the most delicious byproducts of the honeybees and learn to process them into products at home. Lipbalm product demonstrations.

Kudzu Vine Basketry
Nancy Basket

Make beautiful use of this prolific weed! Split mature kudzu vines, prepare fibers, and weave a unique, elegant, and useful basket. Go home with more knowledge about different ways to use this fast-growing invasive and a basket of your own.

Organic Plant Propagation
Thomas Leonard

Explore the reproduction of your favorite medicinal herbs, trees, and other plants through this hands-on workshop. Learn seed saving including harvesting, processing, and storing as well as cloning through vegetative propagation.


Growing & Eating Tropical Perennials in Appalachia
Chris Smith

Tropical perennials are stunning plants with limited pests and diseases, offer a diverse diet for a changing climate, and can be grown locally. Learn open-field practices and culinary applications for taro, arrowroot, yacon, turmeric, ginger, water chestnut, sweet potato, ube, and cassava.

Growing Soils with Vermicompost
Rhonda Sherman

Learn how to recycle food scraps, garden waste, and carbon into food for worms that makes nutritious vermicompost. It will make your soil healthy and maximize production! Learn about worm bins, production methods, and the benefits to soil and plants.

Herbal Products 101: Oils & Teas
Noelle Joy

Explore the basics of making herbal infused oils and herbal teas. We’ll cover how to get started, which methods are best to use for which herbs, and formulating your own products. Take home a handcrafted salve and herbal tea.

Living with Fermentation: A Comprehensive Exploration into Fermented Foods
Marissa Percoco

Historical preservation through fermentation from around the world, including jun, kombucha, kvass, kraut, kim chi, kefirs, sodas, meads, sour dough, and more. Explore techniques and tricks to create nutritious, delicious fermented delights in your own kitchen using seasonal and local foods.

Author: OGS

Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.