Training Innovative and Impactful Trainers to Provide Beginning Farmer Support in the Southern Appalachians

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $43,450.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Organic Growers School
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Cameron Farlow
Organic Growers School


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: apprentice/intern training, business planning, financial management, new enterprise development, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, partnerships, quality of life, social capital, social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    Organic Growers School is the premier provider of practical, affordable organic growing education in the Southern Appalachians. At OGS, our goal is clear: we want more organic farmers on the land. The Southern Appalachian region needs an influx of successful beginning and expanding farmers in order to sustain and grow regional food production.

    With SARE PDP support, our Farmer Training Team will be well equipped to help farmers accomplish their goals. By increasing our Farmer Training Team's capacity to understand, integrate, and teach sustainable agriculture, whole farm business planning, holistic farm management, agroecology, resiliency and financial literacy, we are raising the bar on the integrity, skill, and professionalism of farmer training in our region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Training in Farm BeginningsĀ® and Sustainable Agriculture Methods

    Farm Beginnings is a comprehensive farmer training method which includes sustainable agriculture, whole farm business planning, holistic farm management, agroecology, adult learning styles, resilience implementation and best financial practices.

    Educational Leadership and Team Development

    Research shows that farmer-to-farmer education results in higher rates of relevancy, retention and applicability for beginning and expanding farmers. Identifying, activating, and encouraging experienced mentor farmers towards leadership and collaboration will give strength to the farmer-led model and expand the use of farmer-to-farmer training models as a proven approach for increasing the number of farmers using sustainable agriculture systems.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.