Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Project
1. Economic stimulation and viability.
The primary investigator, J Jackson, has continued to provide monetary support for the project. Two additional greenhouses, a 20×100 quonset and a 24×70 Cravo, have been donated to the project for a total market value of $30,000. These additional greenhouses will increase production of native azaleas and allow us to move forward with containerized blueberry and sustainable food production.
A greenhouse grower was hired in May 2006 and replaced with a new grower in November 2007.
2. Educational benefits derived from the Horticultural Education/Demonstration Center.
The project held two grower workshops in 2007. Both workshops were attended by 20 participants. In total 40 people have engaged in conversations at these workshops regarding best production methods for native azaleas.
3. Demonstration of “Green energy” technologies in agricultural production.
A 24×96’ Quonset greenhouse was fully constructed, with a Subterranean Heating and Cooling System, and propagating the 2008 crop starting in November 2007.
4. Demonstration of Sustainable Agricultural methods of producing native plants and organic vegetables.
5. WEB based marketing of crops produced through the project. Co-op style procurement of materials needed for the growing of these crops.
Appalachian Native Plants web site was launched in December 2007. The market page of our site is under construction as of May 2008. Outreach has been conducted targeting suppliers of organic materials that will be made available to growers in the area.
6. Job and wealth creation through value added agricultural enterprises
1. ANP will demonstrate/produce/market crops of native plants from seed. These economically viable methods will be taught to other interested growers.
Two grower workshops were held, one in May 2007 and one in November. Five new growers have shown interest in beginning native azalea production in 2009. Two growers have shown interest in production of sustainable/organic food crops.
2. Construction of a commercial sized “passive solar” greenhouse with an attached classroom, passive solar growing structures, trial gardens and display gardens will be the foundation of the educational initiative.
First 24’ x 96’ greenhouse with SHCS is in place and functioning by October 2007.
3. Use of passive solar growing structures and possible supplemental heating in the greenhouses from landfill methane extraction will demonstrate practical “green energy” applications in agricultural production.
Landfill gas to energy system installment feasibility and cost assessment was completed in June 2007. These reports were provided on a pro-bono basis, a $13,778.45 value.
4. Production of native plants from seed and organic vegetables in passive solar growing structures and the creation and maintenance of display gardens will demonstrate economically and environmentally sound methods for other growers.
8,000 native azaleas were produced in 2007. We began taking orders for these plants in November 2007 to be picked up in 2008.
5. By working with UT at this early stage in implementing a WEB based marketing plan commercial viability will be achieved early in the life of the project.
Web site was launched in December 2007 by a more local web designer.
6. Sustainable Agricultural production tends to be labor intensive. ANP expects to hire 4 full time employees within 5 years. Many other jobs could be created in nursery/food growing and landscaping trades in the county and region.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Our first commercial size greenhouse has been completed and is currently producing about 30,000 Native azaleas and Rhododendron.
The University of Tennessee is conducting an ongoing energy study of the greenhouse. Initial data indicates energy savings of 30-38% over a conventional greenhouse of the same design.
Our WEB site has been set up and is receiving numerous “hits”. www.appalachiannativeplants.com
Improvements to the landfill site continue and Johnson County continues to support the project.
Native plant material provided to 10 growers in the region.
We have forged a new connection with North Carolina Extension (UNC) agents in regards to native azalea production.
Appalachian State University provided graduate student internship.
Three newspaper articles and one TV spot on WCYB TV, Presentation to City Council.
There has been further development of old and creation of new partnerships in Johnson County, NW TN, and SW Virginia.
Outreach to and meetings with farmers interested in cooperative work.
We conducted three native plant growing seminars that were attended by about 70 persons from our region. The project continues to be a resource for interested producers.
Our first crop of seedlings are now being marketed and sales have been very good.
Appalachian Native Plants Inc
508 N Shadey St
Mountain City, TN 37683
Office Phone: 4237275265