FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/03/2019
Contact: Jenni Roop
Regional Coalition Coordinator
ABINGDON, Va. – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), a local non-profit that is transitioning Appalachia by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food; is recruiting experienced farmers to act as mentors in the third year of the 200 hour, on-farm, Farmer and Rancher Mentoring (F.A.R.M.) program. Interested farmers with at least 3 years of farming experience on their own farming operation are encouraged to apply at: www.asdevelop.org/farm.
F.A.R.M. prepares aspiring and beginning farmers for successful careers in farming and food production by providing them with a direct learning experience with mentors willing to transfer practical knowledge. The program serves a diverse group of beginning farmers – youth, adults and veterans; teaching them about careers in agriculture as well as pathways to employment. Free information sessions for new mentors will be held in October:
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Appalachian Sustainable Development (downstairs conference room)
1096 Ole Berry Road, Suite 100
Abingdon, VA 24210
Friday, October 25, 2019, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Farm Bureau Insurance (basement)
1103 Boones Creek Road
Jonesborough, TN 37659
Jenni Roop, ASD’s Regional Coalition Coordinator explains, “Our goal is to boost economic opportunities by creating a regional workforce of farmers and food producers. To meet the growing demand for local food, we need more farmers. And we also need various kinds of farmers. For example, there is growing demand for Appalachian herbs from herbal supplement and cosmetic manufacturers. To build that supply, we hope to also connect interns with forest farmers who have experience sustainably growing and harvesting herbs from their land. We feel the best way to prepare new farmers for success is to pair them with experienced mentors, on working farms. In 2018, 4 interns learned on 4 mentor farms. In 2019, that number increased to 10 interns and 8 mentors! As we look to 2020, a strong pool of farmer/mentors will be critical to this program’s future.”
F.A.R.M. was launched in 2017 as a 3 year program in partnership with Appalachian RC&D Council and Rural Resources. Serving northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia, F.A.R.M. is funded by a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, https://nifa.usda.gov/program/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp.
Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.
Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include eastern WV and KY and southeast OH. ASD uses 6 strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to www.asdevelop.org, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.