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The Summer Field School has 8 on-farm classes to explore production methods and farm enterprises that are thriving in Southwest Virginia. Classes are held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday during the months of May through August at 6:00pm.

Thursday, May 2, 2024: Season Extension w. Tamara McNaughton

Join us at TNT Farm N Greenhouse for a class of Season Extension. Season extension provides early and late harvests, winter harvests, and longer harvest windows. These techniques also offer pest and disease control. These opportunities translate into more income.

TNT began in 2012 as a greenhouse and vegetable farm selling retail at three farmers markets, selling wholesale to Appalachian Harvest, and peddling to local restaurants. From 2012-2015 TNT was USDA GAP certified and from 2012-2020 was USDA Certified Organic. In its beginning years, TNT established itself at the Abingdon Farmers Market and with a couple restaurants. The 1 acre wholesale garden was eliminated in 2015. 2021 was a fallow year for TNT and in 2022, now focuses on edible garden transplants, perennial edibles, and mostly heirloom fresh vegetables selling at the Abingdon Farmers Market and restaurants. TNT is 4000 sq ft greenhouse, 3000 sq ft high tunnel tomatoes, and a quarter acre garden. Practices on TNT are still in tune with Nature and food safety although I have chosen to no longer carry the USDA Organic or GAP certifications.

Thursday, May 16, 2024: SmaLL SCALE FARM TOOLS

Creative Seeds Farm is Certified Naturally Grown. They began by selling a wide variety of produce to one local farmers market eventually seeing a customer need for fresh greens (specifically lettuce) year round. They began focusing their production based on customer demand and removed tilling to improve their soil.

They focus strictly on providing their customers with lettuce and “salad fixings” year round. Learn about small scale farm tools from the best that will help you work smarter, not harder, while also increasing environmental and economic resiliency.

Creative Seeds Farm

Thursday, June 6, 2024: Greenhouse Management and Hemp Production w. Lisa K. Worley

Singing Wood Lane is the location of ASD’s future agriculture campus where the first piece of groundbreaking to place with the construction of a greenhouse and an alley cropping demonstration site (coming March 2024). Join us on site for a class on a variety of topics to include greenhouse management, high tunnels, cat tunnels, season extension, garden layout & planning, integrated pest management, succession planting & hemp production. Lisa Worley is ASD’s Groundwork Garden Supervisor & Mentor and is eager to share her wealth of knowledge with Summer Field School students.

Singing Wood Lane

Thursday, June 20, 2024: Management Intensive Grazing w. Trevor Hansard

Red Tail Grove is a 10-acre regenerative farm with a focus on multi-species intensive grazing and market gardening. They are entering year two of the business, and year three of farming. Grass-fed lamb, organic eggs, various veg, and some cut flowers. Their products are produced utilizing intensively managed grazing practices that produce high quality meat and eggs, while simultaneously improving the soil and pasture vegetation. Intensive Grazing also dramatically reduces overhead costs (permanent fencing, tractors, meds, feed, etc. all unnecessary), improves soil/plants over time (which leads to increased stocking rates), promotes pasture diversity (aesthetically attractive, good for native bird/insect species).

They sell their products direct to consumer, to businesses/restaurants, and will be at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market in 2023 with greatly expanded veg/flower production going into the Spring. Additionally, Red Trail Grove will have egg producing hens the entire year (started them as chicks last spring), and should actually have lamb in a couple months (which will provide their first animals to sale).

Red-Tail Grove

Thursday, July 11, 2024: Sustainable Practices w. Justen Dick

Integrating operations is key to incremental success in farming.  Farms aren’t about single product lines, but about how you can design your operations to support each other and build your assets (and soils) for the long haul.  Shift away from extractive farming methods and focus on long term success.  At Kelly Ridge, Justen will discuss their experience (both successes and failures) with building synergy in farm operations.  Topics under discussion will include livestock (pigs, sheep, horses, chickens), alternative feeds, composting, pasture maintenance, kid rearing, specialty crops (such as hops), integrated processing services, fertigation, and more.

Kelly Ridge Farm

Thursday, July 25, 2024: Beekeeping w/ Steve Payne and Chad Overhold

Begin in the Farm Clubhouse, where Steve and Chad will describe how to start your own apiary and then move to the apiary and open a hive (extra protective suits are available). The hope is to convince participants that this is hard, interesting, lots of fun, and well worth doing. You will learn about how to connect with other beekeepers, to learn more and develop a support team. Steve’s beekeeper and good friend, Chad, will assist him. “He knows a lot more than I do,” says Steve. If you are interested in starting your own hive, Chad and Steve will be glad to assist; however, you will need to wait until next spring, when they typically start new hives.

Reserve Farm Apiary

Thursday, August 8, 2024: Apple Orchards w. Tom McMullen

Visit Tumbling Creek Cider Company’s expanding orchards to learn about cider apple varieties, propagation, planting, maintenance and how to re-establish the apple industry in our region. We’ll tour the Old Orchard where we are rejuvenating 50 year-old trees and have planted many 3 year-old trees, the New Orchard as a high-density trellised system and the tree nursery.  The tour will end at the cider barn to sample some of our hard cider.

Kelly Ridge Farms Orchards

Thursday, August 22, 2024: Forest Farming w. Ryan Huish

If you are interested in getting back to your Appalachian roots, what better way to do that than Forest Farming? Ryan and family have been gardening/farming for several decades at various places. At their current location, they steward a forest farm (growing edible, medicinal, and handicraft plants), practice permaculture, no-till, animal rotation, and alley cropping. They also raise dairy goats, chickens, pigs, cows, and livestock guardian dogs. Sustainable agriculture and native food/medicine plants could be considered their specialty. During this class, students can expect to learn about this specialties as well as funding sources to begin this important work.

Appalachian Cove Forest Farm and Homestead


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