Cultivating a Sustainable Future: Local Farmers and Organic Growers School
In the vibrant Western North Carolina (WNC) region, a community of passionate farmers is working diligently to cultivate a sustainable future. Organic Growers School supports and guides these farmers and is committed to providing comprehensive training and resources for individuals interested in sustainable agriculture. Through partnerships with local farms and businesses like Mother Earth Food, Organic Growers School fosters the growth and success of farmers in the Asheville area and beyond. We'll highlight some remarkable farmers who have benefited from our programs and initiatives: Ivy Creek Family Farm, Wild East Farm, Black Trumpet Farm, TendWell Farm, Gaining Ground Farm, and Clem's Organic Gardens.
CRAFT: Building Knowledge & Connections
One of the valuable initiatives offered by the Organic Growers School is CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training). CRAFT brings together established farmers, farm apprentices, and aspiring farmers for hands-on training in sustainable agriculture. This farmer-to-farmer approach allows participants to learn directly from experienced farmers in WNC. CRAFT empowers farmers to enhance their skills and practices by fostering a strong network and sharing their knowledge. This program has been instrumental in supporting farmers like those at Wild East Farm, who are committed to producing pastured livestock and perennial foods while practicing no-till and organic methods in their vegetable gardens.
Farm Beginnings®: Nurturing the Next Generation of Farmers
For those embarking on the journey of starting a farm business, Organic Growers School offers Farm Beginnings®. This program equips aspiring farmers with the skills needed to establish and expand successful farm operations. Through a year of farmer-led training, mentoring, and networking, participants develop a strong foundation in agriculture.
Ivy Creek Family Farm, nestled on 38 acres of land, is a testament to the success of Farm Beginnings®. From humble beginnings on a quarter-acre borrowed garden, Anna and Paul Littman's passion and dedication have grown Ivy Creek into a thriving enterprise that provides ecologically sound and organic produce to restaurants, tailgate markets, CSA members, and the local community.
Nurturing Stewardship & Community at Black Trumpet Farm
Jay and Gwen, the dynamic duo behind Black Trumpet Farm, embody the spirit of community food security. With a background in permaculture, agroecology, and plant biology, they have dedicated themselves to promoting a sustainable local food economy. As active members of WNC CRAFT and Organic Growers School Farm Beginnings® graduates, Jay and Gwen are constantly expanding their knowledge and skills. They contribute to the community by providing affordable, medicinal, and nutritious mushrooms while retaining resources within their bioregion. Their commitment to designing efficient farming systems and using regenerative practices sets a commendable example for aspiring farmers.
TendWell Farm: A Story of Collaboration & Growth
TendWell Farm is a testament to the determination and commitment of two families working together. As a first-generation, certified organic farm, Danielle Hutchison and Steven Beltram have transformed their small farm dream into a sprawling 200-acre organic production powerhouse. Their focus on restorative farming practices ensures the production of healthy, fresh organic vegetables. With a specialization in a diverse range of products, including tomatoes, peppers, kale, and lettuce, TendWell Farm has become a leader in produce quality within the WNC community. They also prioritize safe and supportive working conditions for their farm crew, recognizing the indispensable contribution of their employees.
Clem's Organic Gardens & the Pursuit of Land & Climate Sustainability
Clem Swift's farming vision embraces land and climate sustainability. Working on a 10-acre farm that was once fallow, Clem incorporates regenerative agriculture practices such as crop rotation and cover cropping. He maintains a healthy work-life balance by selling exclusively to wholesale markets, focusing primarily on growing certified organic root vegetables. Clem's dedication to growing carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and winter squash reflects his commitment to providing fresh, organic produce to the local community.
Gaining Ground Farm: Growing Healthier Food in Harmony with Nature
Anne and Aaron Grier, the stewards of Gaining Ground Farm, have made it their mission to raise healthier food for consumers and easier on the environment. Their commitment to sustainable practices is evident in their use of green manure, composted chicken manure, and approved organic products for disease and pest management. The farm's diverse crops, supported by good soil fertility and wild borders, produce wholesome, healthy vegetables.
Transforming the Farming Landscape
Our unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture in Western North Carolina helps transform the local farming landscape. Through programs like CRAFT and Farm Beginnings®, we provide farmers with invaluable training and resources, empowering them to grow successful and environmentally conscious businesses. The stories of Ivy Creek Family Farm, Wild East Farm, Black Trumpet Farm, Gaining Ground Farm, TendWell Farm, and Clem's Organic Gardens illustrate the power of knowledge, community, and sustainable farming practices in creating a more resilient and nourished future for all. As Organic Growers School and its partners continue to support local farmers, organizations like Mother Earth Food are crucial in sourcing and distributing the region's bountiful harvest, ensuring that the community has access to fresh, nutritious, and sustainably grown food.