|Piney Woods Farm cows on Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy's incubator farm in Alexander, NC. Photo courtesy of SAHC.
(February 2016) Two Food and Farming grants totaling $75,000 were recently approved by CFWNC. With these grants, the Foundation has invested more than $745,303 in this funding focus area that supports a sustainable local food system, opportunities for farmers and food entrepreneurs and the sustainability and profitability of WNC Farms. CFWNC also works to address food insecurity and nutrition in the region.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) received $45,000 to help farmers develop personalized marketing relationships by "telling the farm story." Over the past 10 years, ASAP has developed the Appalachian Grown (AG) brand now familiar in grocery stores, farmers' markets, restaurants and other food outlets to identify authentic local agricultural products throughout the region's food system. With this grant, more than 200 farmers will be trained to develop marketing skills using unique farm stories, and ASAP will develop and share materials, including a Story Telling Toolkit. An anonymous fundholder partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) received $30,000 to continue development of its agricultural incubator that provides land, equipment, support and training for beginning and limited resource farmers. The farm incubator, located at SAHC's 100-acre farm in Alexander, operates two agricultural businesses: Second Spring Market Gardens (marketing greens and other cold-hardy vegetables year round) and Piney Woods Farm (featuring a heritage breed of cattle that forage on underutilized pastureland). The Incubator Farm hosts educational workshops for farmers to learn state-of-the art production and operational techniques through in-field demonstrations. CFWNC grant funds will support infrastructure improvements and equipment and staff costs. The Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.
"CFWNC continues to support local efforts to provide access to land, training and markets for new and expanding family farms," said Tim Richards, Senior Program Officer. "ASAP and SAHC are key partners in a strong network revitalizing the local food system and preserving the region's farming tradition."