- Fruits: melons
- Vegetables: beans, broccoli, cabbages, cucurbits, eggplant, peas (culinary), peppers, tomatoes, turnips
- Animal Production: housing, free-range
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, risk management, value added
- Pest Management: biological control, competition, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, flame, integrated pest management, mulches - killed, mulches - living, physical control, mulching - plastic, precision herbicide use, prevention, row covers (for pests), sanitation, smother crops, trap crops, traps, mulching - vegetative, weed ecology
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
- Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, organic matter, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, employment opportunities, sustainability measures
A two year education, training and marketing project focused on transitioning tobacco farmers to organic produce and free range eggs led to a near doubling in the number of farmers raising these products commercially, increased the involvement of Cooperative Extension in organic research and training activities, and substantially expanded sales to supermarkets, small grocers and restaurants and college dining services. The project focused on farmers in the Appalachian region of Virginia and Tennessee, particularly limited resource farmers.
This grant in the amount of $40,000 which supports the Value Added Sustainable Agriculture Initiative will come to a close in 2009. We have enjoyed working with Wright Equipment, various chapters of Farm Bureau. Cooperative Extension, Virginia and Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, Virginia Tech, East Coast Fresh Cuts Food City and the Virginia Highlands Community College on this project. The Principal investigators, Anthony Flaccavento and Kathlyn Terry can be reached at 310 West Valley Street, Abingdon, VA or (276) 623-1121.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
1. Increase the number of organic and sustainable farmers from 40 to 60 in 2007, and 75 in 2008 including those selling certified organic produce and free range eggs through the Appalachian Harvest network. Building the base of growers and adequately preparing and supporting them for the transition to organic is at the heart of this project.
2. Expand income opportunities for 40 existing AH farmers, leading to an overall increase in organic farm sales to at least $550,000 in 2007, and $750,000 in 2008. With current demand more than double our supply, existing organic growers will be encouraged to expand acreage and diversify their crops.
3. Strengthen existing ancillary businesses – organic greenhouses, organic inputs – and add 2-4 additional enterprises built around local sustainable agriculture. As the acreage under production increases, so too will the demand for certified organic plants and, potentially, seeds from local producers.
4. Solidify partnership with existing buyers, by increasing sales and the consistency and quality of supply of organic produce and free range eggs. The major partners include: Food City (Abingdon), Ukrops (Richmond), Earth Fare (Asheville, NC), Ingles (Asheville, NC), Whole Foods, South (Duluth, GA), Lancaster (Landover, MD) and Kroger (Roanoke, VA). These buyers represent nearly 500 individual stores and are the key to continued expansion of markets for high value farm products.
5. Develop partnerships with East Coast Fresh Cuts and possibly other food companies to produce fresh salsas from local, organic produce. This partnership was begun in 2006, leading to $7,300 sales of AH produce, most of it the “seconds” that are difficult to market. We project a tripling in this business in 2007, and continued increase in 2008, improving income for many of the farmers in AH. Unlike a previous attempt at a “salsa partnership”, this venture is simpler and lower risk for ASD, as East Coast is already in the salsa business and is expanding and transitioning to more local and organic ingredients.