Forest Farming

Learning the traditional practice of cultivating crops under a forest canopy.

Shiitake Mushrooms growing on a log - forest farming

What is Forest Farming? 

Most farms in Western NC and the Southern Appalachians contain forested land. These forest farm tours and on-farm workshops aim to train beginning forest farmers and land stewards—novice and experienced—to understand the wealth and history of woodland botanicals and forest products. 

Additionally, these tours will explore the opportunities for land stewardship and possible income streams within existing farm operations while promoting health, respect, and diversity for forests.

Forest farming has long been practiced by the Indigenous people of our region, who have a significant relationship with native plants for food and medicines and are the original and current stewards of these forests. 

A Practice Rich in History and Tradition

On all the farms and lands we showcase, we want to name and acknowledge that the land we gather on is the traditional, unceded territory of the Tsalaguwetiyi/Cherokee People, today known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee (see this map).

At OGS, as an agricultural support organization, we feel it is essential to honor and offer our respect to the Cherokee people who have stewarded and farmed this land throughout the generations while fighting to retain sovereign rights to land and community.

Today, forest farming is a practice of cultivating medicinal, edible, decorative, and handicraft non-timber crops under a forest canopy. Forest farming contributes to healthy human and natural ecosystems and can contribute to land conservation, stewardship, and economic viability.