On Sunday, June 25, we hosted an educational farm workshop titled “Protecting Your Biggest Asset on the Farm: Your Body” led by Jamie Davis from A Way of Life Farm. This is the second year we have hosted this informative workshop to teach farmers (and others) best practices for protecting crucial parts of our bodies from injuries related to tedious physical work. Jamie, a native of Polk County, NC, shared his background with injuries, along with tips for caring for one’s body. Read more
Thanks to our visitors from Evergreen Community Charter School for coming out to tour the Discovery Trail at our Community Farm. Productive farming and a healthy, sustainable environment go hand-in-hand — and our Community Farm provides a trendsetting model to learn best management agricultural practices. We offer guided, educational farm tours throughout the year for groups of all ages. To find out more about the workshops and tours we offer through our farm and new Education Center, contact Chris@appalachian.org.
SAHC’s Community Farm work is funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2016-70017-25341 for Farm Pathways: Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The hearty pineywoods cattle on our Community Farm have interesting personality quirks, according to farmer Gina Raicovich. The herd has been growing, with eight cow-calf pairs currently thriving. Gina has diversifed her Sparrow Hill Farm agricultural enterprise and is looking for grazing land for the herd after her time in our Farmer Incubator Program.
“It’s been really fun to watch how they function as a herd,” says Gina. “They are very good natured and have basic instincts that seem more like a free-range herd. I watched one mother give birth, and then every other cow came over and licked the baby, helping out while the mother recovered. I haven’t seen other cattle do that. At other times, I’ve seen them take turns as one mom ‘babysits’ all the calves while the other cows graze. They can be very inquisitive and charismatic, too.” Read more
Although the skies loomed dark, rain held off long enough for students of the YMCA Horizons after school program to tour our Community Farm Discovery Trail on March 30. Chris Link, our Community Farm & Food Associate led the group of about 30 AC Reynolds Middle School kids to learn about resilient Pineywoods heritage breed cattle, crop rotation, winter vegetable production, stream restoration, erosion prevention, and shortleaf pine. Read more
We welcomed the French Broad River Academy Girls for a volunteer work day on our Community Farm on March 2. The middle school students explored the farm on an educational hike led by Chris Link, our Community Farm and Food Associate. Then they volunteered in the vegetable production area, doing bed preparation to transition from the winter to spring growing season. The girls volunteered in the greenhouses, caterpillar tunnels, and fields on the farm. They were particularly excited to find some remaining carrots to harvest! Thank you for your volunteer service! Read more
This month, twelve 7th grade boys from the French Broad River Academy (FBRA) volunteered at our Community Farm. We are grateful for assistance from these positive, hard-working students! Service learning is a vital piece of the FBRA curriculum, and they partner with us several times a year to help out with various projects at the Community Farm.
We had a challenge for the student volunteers: we needed to re-grade an erosion-prone section of the Discovery Trail and build a retaining wall on the up-slope side. The boys got to work right away, with half of them using tools to carve out a small wall and re-grade the dirt along the trail. The other half teamed up to carry logs for the wall as our farm manager, Chris, felled and bucked a few already-dead trees on the property. Read more
SAHC, Organic Growers School (OGS), and WNC Farmlink have been awarded a $600,000 federal grant over three years to continue developing Farm Pathways: Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access.
Farm Pathways was selected this year as one of 37 projects across the nation to receive funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which aims to educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. Read more
Why choose a two-wheel tractor for your home garden or small farmstead, instead of a standard four-wheel tractor or tiller?
This small but mighty tractor is a versatile investment. With over forty implements available, it is designed to be an all-in-one performer for hobby farms, market gardeners, and backyard homesteaders alike. It is a favorite around the world, known for comparative ease of maintenance and operation, with a lower initial price that puts it within reach of beginning and small-scale growers.
“The two-wheel tractor is just right for many operations — not too big and not too small,” said Community Farm & Food Program Associate Chris Link. “They are also particularly nimble and user-friendly on our hillsides and small pathways, and therefore, more efficient when you are working with a compact site.” Read more
“Black Soldier Fly” — the name resonates with fear and dread, and perhaps even conjures an image of winged, facet-eyed soldiers wielding guns. In reality, black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) are useful native critters that chew through organic remnants, helping turn organic material into compost while producing tasty treats for chickens.
The black soldier fly is a non-pest tropical and warm-temperate region insect useful for managing small and large amounts of biosolids and animal manure. They are native to this region but do not like to come indoors — so you won’t find them buzzing around the dinner table. They do not feed as adults or spread disease like other flies. Although large and potentially scary-looking, since the females can be about the size of a large wasp, they do not bite humans or livestock. After black soldier fly residue is vermicomposted, it can be used as a soil amendment. Read more
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