October Updates & Opportunities

Conferences and Events

  • 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.


  • Southern Coalfields Regional Foodshed Gathering, October 19, Welch, WV. At this event, producers and buyers of local food will attend trainings on production, post harvest handling, marketing and branding, and health education. Attendees will meet their peers, learn about service providers and will enjoy locally sourced foods. This foodshed gathering is sure to be a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, and share ideas and opportunities. Click here to register.


  • Farm Financials Workshop: Financial Statements, October 22, 5-7 pm, Abingdon, VA. (Free of cost). This workshop will cover the four financial statements, including income statements, balance sheet/net worth statement, statement of owner’s equity, and cash flow statements. These statements help you understand where your money was spent, and provides lenders with the information they need to help you plan your financing options. The Balance sheet allows you to see the big picture of your financial standing, and is also referred to as your farm’s “net worth”. Workshop presented by Appalachian Sustainable Development in partnership with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (Virginia Cooperative Extension), First Bank and Trust Company, and Farm Credit. Contact Tamara McNaughton at  (276) 623-1121 or asd@asdevelop.org for more information and to register.


  • Ag in the Foothills Field Day, October 22, Walland, TN. University of Tennessee’s East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center opens its gates at the center’s Little River Animal and Environmental Unit for the first-ever Ag in the Foothills Field Day. The free event will feature educational sessions of interest to beef, dairy, equine, and small ruminant producers as well as presentations and tours focusing on weeds and herbicides, waste management, and GPS on the farm. Click here to learn more.


  • Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit, October 22-23, Richmond, VA. Featured speakers will include Ben Greene with the Farmery in North Carolina, and Ben Flanner, head farmer and president of Brooklyn Grange Farm in Brooklyn New York. Many other speakers will take part in panels on optimizing success, social enterprise, and entrepreneurial development. The conference will also feature urban farm tours and opportunities to connect with fellow urban farmers. Click here for more information.


  • 2nd Annual WV Women in Agriculture Conference, October 23-24. Davis, WVDetails here.


  • Farm Beginnings with Organic Growers School, October 24, 2015 – March 13, 2016, Candler, NC. The Organic Growers School is proud to be the newest member of the Farm Beginnings® Collaborative, and the first to offer a Farm Beginnings® comprehensive farm production and business planning course in the Southeast. The course offers more than 120 hours of training, including planning and production training and mentoring. The course is open to aspiring, beginning and expanding farmers in Western North Carolina and surrounding Southern Appalachian states–Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. Click here for more information or to register.


  • Farm Financials Workshop: Talking with Lenders, October 27, 5-7 pm, Abingdon, VA. (Free of cost). This panel workshop will bring representatives from Farm Credit Virginias and First Bank & Trust of Johnson City. These lenders will provide overviews of the programs and lending their institutions offer, tell borrowers what they need to be prepared to provide a lender, and provide time for questions to be answered. Workshop presented by Appalachian Sustainable Development in partnership with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (Virginia Cooperative Extension), First Bank and Trust Company, and Farm Credit. Contact Tamara McNaughton at  (276) 623-1121or asd@asdevelop.org for more information and to register.


  • Virginia Healthy Food Retail Summit, October 28, 1-4 pm, Richmond, VA. The summit is aimed to examine the need for supermarkets and other healthy food retail across Virginia, explore challenges faced by healthy food retail operators investing in lower-income communities, review successful grocery store developments in underserved communities, discuss steps that key leaders can take to encourage healthy food retail development statewide. For more details and to RSVP email Melissa.assalone@heart.org, by October 13th.


  • 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.


  • Farm Financials Workshop: Enterprise Analysis. November 5, 5-7 pm, Abingdon, VA. (Free of cost). This workshop will cover the four budgets we can use to plan for a profitable future, and include enterprise, partial, whole farm and cash flow budgets.  This type of budgeting allows farm managers to compare different ventures and assess which option(s) would make the best use of existing financial, production, and human resources based on profitability estimates. With these budgets, you can make informed business decisions. Workshop presented by Appalachian Sustainable Development in partnership with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (Virginia Cooperative Extension), First Bank and Trust Company, and Farm Credit. Contact Tamara McNaughton at  (276) 623-1121or asd@asdevelop.org for more information and to register.


  • Sustainable Agriculture Conference. November 6-8, Durham, NC. Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference offers opportunities to learn from the experts about cutting-edge techniques and innovative programs and to connect with others who are just as passionate about rebuilding a healthy, local foodshed from seed to plate. Join farmers, health advocates, gardeners, homesteaders, agri-preneurs, ag-tivists, and consumers to learn, network, celebrate, and champion local and organic foods and farms. The event offers 66 workshops, five pre-conference bus tours, and 12 intensive sessions, exhibitors, networking, a seed exchange, and more. Click here for details.


  • West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition’s Local Food Lobby Day, January 26, 2016. Charleston, WV. The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition will be advocating for three impactful local food policies in 2016: expanding the list of foods that can be sold as cottage foods, a local preference law that allows public institutions such as hospitals, prisons and state agencies to preference locally grown food during their bidding process; and/or that reimburses public institutions up to a certain amount for purchasing locally grown food. a tax incentive for the costs associated with harvesting, storing and transporting food donations. For more information about these upcoming campaigns, please email Elizabeth Spellman at espellman@wvfoodandfarm.org.



  • Activate Your Network, October 5, at 1:30 pm. This webinar, hosted by Roots of Change, features Joann Lo, Co-Director of Food Chain Workers Alliance, and Frank Tamborello, Executive Director of Hunger Action Los Angeles in this webinar. Joann and Frank will highlight real world scenarios in how their organizations get their respective networks to engage in national, state, and local policy making. This will be an informative webinar, especially for those looking to take the next step in advocacy with inclusion. Register here.



  • Chesapeake Foodshed Network Virtual Coffee Talk: Impacts of Antibiotic Overuse and What We Can Do to Affect Change, October 6, 9:00-9:45 am. The purpose of this Coffee Talk is to discuss the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in agriculture and the effects on our health, the food system, and the environment. We will also identify opportunities to affect change. With resource expert Rebecca Rehr of the Maryland Environmental Health Network and presenters, Mae Wu of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Robyn Gilden of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Click here to register for the webinar. To learn more, or to suggest a future talk or presenter visit www.chesapeakefoodshed.net or email chesapeakefoodshednetwork@gmail.com


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.


  • Heart of the Community Grant Program. Applications are due by October 16. Project for Public Spaces is accepting applications for the 2016 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant program. Heart of the Community encourages more connections on the ground and to help residents feel a sense of ownership in the places they share. This community-driven program has supported the activation of public spaces in cities across the country. Heart of the Community provides direct grants and technical assistance to local community partners to bring new life to their public spaces. Find out more here.


  • Fund-a-Farmer Grants. Deadline: November 3, 2015. Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is now accepting applications from livestock farmers for its Fund-a-Farmer grants. The Fund-a-Farmer Project provides grants to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for projects that create and/or improve access to pasture-based systems. FACT is interested in funding working, independent family farmers that raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows, turkeys, and/or beef cattle. Applications will only be considered from farms already considered highly welfare-oriented as determined by holding or working toward a humane certification for their livestock or poultry. Click here to learn more about this grant.


  • 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.


  • Southern SARE On-Farm Research Grant Program. Deadline: November 13. Agriculture professionals in Cooperative Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, universities, NGOs, and government and non-government organizations who regularly work with farmers/ranchers are invited to apply for a grant that affords them the opportunity to conduct on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. Applicants must work with at least one farmer/rancher on the project to conduct on-farm research in sustainable agriculture. On-Farm Research Grants may be funded up to two years for a project maximum of $15,000. Find out more here.


  • Southern SARE Producer Grant Program. Deadline: November 13. The Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program is accepting applications for the producer grant from farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region. Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn’t so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project. Projects may be funded for up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. Click here to learn 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.