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2022 WNC Forest Farming Series 
 

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This series of forest farming tours is now over. Many thanks to all who planned, hosted, and attended this great series of events!

Thank you for a wonderful series of forest farming workshops and tours in Western North Carolina! With our partners the Organic Growers School, this series was based on the format for the CRAFT Farmer Network and Tour program, which connects beginning and experienced farmers and producers throughout the WNC region.

Our June session at Thatchmore Farm, "Integrating Forest Farming into Existing Farm Enterprises" had a great group. From heating greenhouses with wood, to yaupon holly and ramp propagation we had a day full of learning and sharing. Thank you to our hosts Tom, Karen, and Liz Elmore for sharing your time and knowledge.

In August we went to Madison County, NC for "Encouraging Mushroom Production within a Forest Ecosystem: A Practical Approach to Collaborating with Nature" with Forest Farmacy. We enjoyed a lovely day of integrating fungi into the forest farm practices. Our hosts Chris Parker and Kat Houghton generously shared their amazing knowledge and land. We got our hands dirty inoculating straw with spawn for participants to bring home.

We concluded the series in August at Green Heart Gardens in Buncombe County, NC. Our host Lori Burra of HerbMamma, offered her knowledge of planting a wild simulated forest farm and diverse methods for producing woodland botanicals and stewarding the forest plants. Participants enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with propagation, planting, and ginseng seed-sowing activities. 

2022 WNC Forest Farming Series:

Growing Under the Canopy in Western NC 

 

Join us to explore the world of forest farming during farm tours and workshops to develop an understanding of the wealth and history of woodland botanicals and forest products. Participants will dive into plant propagation and production, forest stewardship and observation, and alternative and value-added products. These tours will include hands-on workshops and site visits to offer beginning and advanced forest farmers valuable learning opportunities.

 

Most farms in Western NC and the Southern Appalachians contain forested land. These forest farm tours and on-farm workshops aim to train beginning forest farmers and land stewards, both novice and experienced, to understand the wealth and history of woodland botanicals and forest products. 

 

Additionally, this series will explore the opportunities for land stewardship and possible income streams within existing farm operations while also promoting health, respect, and diversity for forests.

 

Forest farming has long been practiced by the Indigenous people of our region, who have a significant relationship with native plants for food and medicines, and are the original and current stewards of these forests. 

 

On all the farms and lands we showcase, we want to name and acknowledge that the land we gather on is the traditional, unceded territory of the Tsalaguwetiyi/Cherokee People, today known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee (see this map). At OGS, as an agricultural support organization, we feel it is essential to honor and offer our respect to the Cherokee people who have stewarded and farmed this land throughout the generations while fighting to retain sovereign rights to land and community. 

 

Today, forest farming is a practice of cultivating medicinal, edible, decorative, and handicraft non-timber crops under a forest canopy. Forest farming contributes to healthy human and natural ecosystems and can contribute to land conservation, stewardship, and economic viability.

 

Organic Growers School offers this series of forest farm tours and workshops in partnership with the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC). ABFFC is dedicated to increasing opportunities for farmers and forestland owners in Appalachia and beyond. . Becoming a coalition member: join the ABFFC coalition to become part of the movement! 

 

Registration is open to anyone interested in beginning, maintaining, or expanding a forest farming operation. Click the links below for registration!

FOREST FARM TOURS & WORKSHOPS
 

Integrating Forest Farming into Existing Farm Enterprises

Tour Thatchmore Farm's ingenious use of forested land into diverse agricultural opportunities that include mushroom, timber, and energy sources for greenhouse use. Hands-on work showing nursery cuttings and propagation of woodland species. 

Encouraging Mushroom Production within a Forest Ecosystem: A Practical Approach to Collaborating with Nature

Join Chris Parker for a tour of the Forest Farmacy to better understand how to propagate and expand the forest production operation, including a tour of the mushroom spawn and grow rooms. Participants will work on observation and deepening awareness of mushroom and mycorrhizal forest systems and cultivation techniques, specifically how to use wood chip beds and pasteurized straw for mushroom cultivation. ​ Each participant receives a bag of inoculated straw and a bag of inoculated woodchips.

Planting and Propagation of Forest Farmed Botanicals

Tour Greenheart Gardens forest botanicals and learn how they are managed and tended to. They will demonstrate a wild-simulated planting and a workshop on other forest farming types, including woods grown and nursery-raised beds. Wild Yam, Ginseng, blue cohosh, Solomon's seal, wild ginger, and goldenseal will be the plants showcased. 

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