Community Farm Updates, Fall 2021
SAHC’s 140-acre farm hosts beginning farm businesses, educational workshops, and service learning experiences. It’s a working model that blends productive agriculture and responsible land management with educational opportunities and community engagement. Contact us for more info about the programs, event space, or opportunities to visit the farm (by appointment).
This fall, we have been joined by multiple volunteer groups who assisted with diverse projects, including the French Broad River Academy boys and girls schools, the Willows Recovery Center and the accounting firm of Corliss & Solomon, PLLC. Community Farm Associate Tamarya Sims continues to focus on outreach, education and volunteer engagement. Tamarya has been working to analyze the local food system and explore ways SAHC can better serve our community. Thank you to everyone involved in these efforts!
The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program has awarded a $600,000 grant over three years to support Beginning Farmer Success:
Farm Pathways To Long-Term Land Tenure, in which SAHC partners with the Organic Growers School (OGS) and NC Farm Link (NCFL). This ongoing strategic partnership provides much needed, high value resources for beginning farmers to create, run, and maintain successful, resilient farm enterprises throughout WNC.
We will offer the following programs to provide a trajectory of support:
1) OGS offers Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training, a year-long comprehensive program (the only one of its kind in the Southeast) to promote holistic, practical, whole-farm business, financial, and marketing education. They offer Mentoring and Technical Assistance to provide long-term, targeted, and farmer-specific support, and they will host a new Journeyperson: Advanced-Beginner Farmer Education Program for farmers in years 3-10 designed to serve the beginning farmer from start-up to establishment.
2) SAHC provides a Farmer Incubator Program which offers land, infrastructure, and equipment along with support, training, and coaching for beginning farmers. We also host the Farm Production Workshops Series. SAHC’s Agricultural Conservation Easements and Farmland Acquisition services assure long-term availability of affordable farmland for beginning farmers.
3) NCFL contributes Land Matching Services, which link beginning farmers with farmland owners. They provide one-on-one consultations for both landowners and farm seekers, including succession planning support.
Our Community Farm work is funded in part by grants from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and a cost-share grant from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.