September Updates & Opportunities

Conferences and Events

  • Harvest Conference, Asheville, NC, September 11-12. The Organic Growers School presents the second Harvest Conference, a fall event featuring all the popularity of the Spring Conference with a focus on fall & winter growing, home cooking, fermentation, preservation, homestead skills, self-reliance, backyard wonders and more. Click here for more information.
  • West Virginia School Garden Symposium, Charleston, WV, September 13. This one-day conference is presented by the West Virginia School-Based Health Assembly. Participants will leave with valuable experience in the following areas: teaching children to be gardeners, harvesting and preparing food safely, and looking at special interest areas within gardening that will allow them to begin or continue to grow your own school garden. Click here to learn more.
  • West Virginia Urban Agriculture Conference, Institute, WV, September 17-19. The conference is a dynamic gathering of farmers, gardeners and homesteaders hosted and planned by WVU Extension Service, WVSU Extension Service, the Capitol Conservation District, the WV Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the WV Food and Farm Coalition, the WV Farmers Market Associationand Northeast SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education). Workshops will focus on topics such as horticulture, homesteading, conservation, marketing, adaptive gardening, livestock and more. Click here to find out more and to register.
  • Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend, Cairo, WV, September 18-20. Held every Fall since it’s inception in 1968, this event provides education and experience finding, processing, and feasting on edible wild plants and other foragables in a beautiful park setting in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Find out more by clicking here.
  • ASAP Farm Tours, Western North Carolina Counties, September 19-20. ASAP’s Farm Tour is your chance to experience firsthand how food is grown and raised in the mountains, taste farm fresh products, hang out with farm animals, and meet the community’s food producers. Discover some of Western North Carolina’s unique and beautiful working farms through tours, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Simply grab a tour map, plan your route, and bring along your family and friends on your own farm adventure. Click here for details.
  • 2nd Appalachian Food Summit, Abingdon, VA, September 26, 2015. The Appalachian Food Summit is a community of writers, chefs, farmers, scholars, community activists and traditional mountain food enthusiasts gathered around the table to honor the past, celebrate the present and support a sustainable future for Appalachian food and people. [This years summit is sold out]. Click here to learn more about the summit.
  • Mushroom Cultivation & Application Course, Asheville, NC, October 2-4. Join Radical Mycology founder Peter McCoy at the Landing in Asheville for a 2.5 day intensive on the art, science, and regenerative applications of mushroom cultivation. Whether you are looking to grow your own edible and medicinal mushrooms for personal use or start a mushroom farm, this course will cover the core skills needed to hit the ground running. Click here to find out more.
  • North Carolina Meat Conference, October 12-13, Winston-Salem, NC, October 12-13. Farmers, chefs, and industry leaders convene to celebrate, network, and advance the niche meat resurgence. The Carolina Meat Conference, hosted by NC Choices, is a nationally-recognized event focused on bringing together independent meat producers, processors, James Beard award-winning chefs, scientists and field experts, industry buyers, and allied professionals for cutting edge exchange to promote success in niche meat markets. Hands-on workshops, whole animal butchery demos, and expert sessions combine for unmatched learning and networking opportunities. Click here to find out more about the conference and to register.
  • West Virginia Agriculture Innovation Showcase Event, October 16-17, Moorefield, WV. WV’s first statewide agricultural technology symposium! Learn more here.
  • 2nd Annual WV Women in Agriculture ConferenceOctober 23-24, 2015. Davis, WV. Details here.
  • Southeast WV Regional Foodshed Gathering. Fairlea, WV, November 2. At this event, producers and buyers of local food will attend trainings on hands on farm skills, as well as the business of farming. Attendees will meet their peers, learn about service providers and will enjoy locally sourced foods. This foodshed gathering is sure to be a great oppurtunity to newtwork with like minded individuals, and share ideas and opportunities. Click here to learn more and to register.


Funding Opportunities 

  • Appalachian Grown™ Cost Share. First-come, first serve. ASAP, through support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, has funds available for Appalachian Grown™ certified farms in North Carolina to be used in the promotion of locally grown food. These funds can be used for design and production of labels, packaging, or promotional materials featuring the Appalachian Grown logo. The promotion must reach the public and support farmers within one or more of the Appalachian Grown counties in North Carolina. The maximum ASAP cost share for each calendar year is $1,500 for an individual farm and $5,000 for a farmer group, dependent upon total number of farms in group. Click here for details.
  • Local Foods, Local Places Technical Assistance. Deadline: September 15. Local Foods, Local Places will provide direct technical support to selected communities. A team of experts will help community members develop action plans that use local foods to support healthy families and communities and to drive downtown and neighborhood revitalization. The assistance process features a community workshop that brings people together to develop shared goals and steps to achieve them. Together, EPA, USDA, CDC, DOT, ARC, and DRA are investing $800,000 in this round of Local Foods, Local Places. Click here to learn more.
  • Western North Carolina AgOptions Deadline to apply: November 13, Contact your extension agent for information by October 16. WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses. WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $178,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2016. WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures with $3,000 and $6,000 grants. Click here to find out more.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Grassroots Organizing for Social Change. Organizing for Social Change Program offers general or project support to non-profit organizations throughout the United States and is BJF’s most competitive grant program. BJF makes one-year grants for up to $20,000, to organizations with budgets under $500,000. Only organizations with 501(c)3 status, or who have a fiscal agent with this status are eligible to apply. Click here for more information.
  • Golden LEAF Foundation Open Grants Program. The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina’s long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. In the Open Grants Program, Golden LEAF’s grantmaking is focused in the areas of Agriculture, Job Creation, and Retention and Workforce Preparedness. In agriculture, Golden LEAF sees particular promise in the areas of value-added processing, market expansion, and projects targeting alternative crops, livestock, and aquaculture. Eligible applicants are governmental entities and 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations. First, applicants complete a letter of inquiry. Applications are reviewed on a bi-monthly basis. Click here for more information.
  • Cedar Tree Foundation. Letters of inquiry are accepted at any time. The Cedar Tree Foundation is a small family fund whose grant making focuses on sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and environmental health. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, but welcomes letters of inquiry for U.S.-based work from non-profit organizations working within its program areas. Click here to learn more.
  • The Harry Chapin Foundation. The Foundation Board meets three times a year on an as-needed basis. The Harry Chapin Foundation funds 501(c)(3) not-for-profit programs that operate in the United States that fall within the areas of Community Education Programs, Arts-In-Education Programs, and Agricultural and Environmental Programs. Grant sizes range from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $10,000. Find out more about applying here.


Employment Opportunities

  • WVU Foodlink hiring Food Justice Outreach Coordinators. Three nine-month positions (10-­20 hours/week) over the 2015­-2016 academic year. Work will be conducted from the Food Justice Lab housed in West Virginia University’s Department of Geology and Geography. The primary focus of the position is to assist the WV FOODLINK director to organize the public outreach component of the project’s research output, including the coordination of a statewide food justice conference in the Spring of 2016. The position also involves maintaining regular communication with food access and anti­hunger stakeholders across West Virginia and bringing them into conversation with WV FOODLINK’s ongoing research findings. Click here for more information.


Other Opportunities

  • Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives. Deadline: December 18, 2015. In celebration of their 100th anniversary, Farm Credit seeks nominations to identify and honor 100 rural leaders who are changing the future of agriculture and rural communities for the better. Once the panel of experts has evaluated the nominees, the top 100 “Fresh Perspectives” honorees will be announced in March 2016. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone you know for their influential work in rural agriculture, visit the Farm Credit 100 website.