March Updates and Opportunities

Conferences and Events

  • Farm Foundations: Planning for Success. March 5, 2016. Williamson, West Virginia. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Growing Warriors, Williamson Health and Wellness Center, and Refresh Appalachia to host a three-part beginning farmer workshop series for military veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. The first workshop in the series will focus on whole-farm planning, business management, and starting a sustainable farming operation. It will include business planning activities and a hands-on component at a developing farming site. There is no cost, but space is limited. Click here to learn more.
  • WVSU Extension Service Alternative Agriculture Workshops. March 9, 2016. Welch, West Virginia. West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Service will present a free series of workshops to help beginning and experienced gardeners learn a variety of alternative agriculture techniques. The workshops will include sessions on alternatives to traditional gardening such as hydroponics, a soilless growing method, as well as the AgrAbility program, which showcases agricultural techniques for individuals with disabilities. To register, contact Randy Ross at (808) 208-5099 or Click here for more details about the workshops.
  • Organic Growers School Spring Conference. March 11-13, 2016. Asheville, North Carolina. The Spring Conference offers practical, regionally-appropriate workshops on organic growing, permaculture, homesteading, urban farming, and rural living plus a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction, children’s program, and pre-conference, on-farm events. More than 70 sessions per day in themed tracks including Gardening, Soils, Livestock, Primitive Skills, Permaculture, Herbs, Alternative Energy, Sustainable Forestry, Homesteading, Cooking, Poultry, Farmers I and Farmers II, Mushrooms and Food Resilience. Find out more by clicking here.
  • WV Agritourism & Farm-Based Education Initiative hosted by WVU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources. Five Workshops: Saturdays 8:30-4:30: March 12, April 9th and May 14th. Lewisburg, WV. Agritourism is a hybrid concept that merges elements of two complex industries—agriculture and tourism – to open up new profitable markets for farm products and services, and provide travel experiences for a growing segment of interested travelers. Agritourism/farm-based education operators can play a catalytic role in strengthening WV’s agriculture and tourism industries. This project will develop and provide technical training, planning tools, supplemental resources and industry contacts to 25 existing and/or new agritourism/farm-based education operators in three counties in WV. More information is available here.
  • Appalachian Conference on Social Enterprise. March 17-18, 2016. Huntington, WV. Join business and community leaders for an exciting exploration of business’ power to do good. Do you have an idea for investing in your community and earning profit? Do you believe profit is more than the money we can make? Join in for the region’s first social enterprise conference and connect with other pioneers in this powerful sector. Click here for details and registration information.
  • The Appalachian Virginia Food Systems Network Convening:Building Connections for a Strong and Vibrant Regional Food System. March 18, 2016 (9am-4pm). Wytheville, VA. If you are working in southwest Virginia on issues related to food, agriculture, community development, health, and/or social justice, please join the Appalachian Virginia Food System Network for a dynamic, engaging convening! The Appalachian Foodshed Project will share findings from the southwest Virginia Community Food Security Assessment, and participants will have the opportunity to explore resources and tools that promote and enhance communication across the swVA region.  Click here for details and registration information.
  • National Food Hub Conference. March 30 – April 1 2016. Atlanta, GA. This third biennial conference is presented by the Wallace Center at Winrock International. The conference theme is “Maintaining Values While Building Value.” Conference tracks include mitigating risk, money, maintaining values, growth and efficiencies, cutting-edge hub models, core hub functions, and value chain facilitation. The agenda includes pre-conference full-day and half-day intensive trainings, area tours, concurrent sessions, and curbside consulting. Find out more about this conference and how to register by clicking here.
  • The Appalachian Virginia Food Systems Network Convening: Building Connections for a Strong and Vibrant Regional Food System. Friday, March 18th 9am-4pm. Wytheville Community College (Galax Hall), Wytheville, Virginia. If you are working in Southwest Virginia on issues related to food, agriculture, community development, health, housing, environment, and/or social justice, please join the Appalachian Virginia Food System Network (AVFSN) on March 18th, 2016 (9am-4pm) for a dynamic, engaging convening! The AFP will share findings from the Southwest Virginia Community Food Security Assessment, and participants will have the opportunity to explore resources and tools that promote and enhance communication across the VA region.  Help shape the future direction of the AVFSN and network with others working on these issues across the region! Space is limited! Register hereLunch will be provided.
  • 2016 Food Tank Summit- Washington, D.C.April 20-21, 2016. Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is excited to announce the 2nd Annual Washington, D.C. Food Tank Summit. This two-day event will feature more than 70 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including; nourishing the planet, improving nutrient density, the future of organic, investing in the food movement, legislating change in the food system, and more. The event will feature interactive panels moderated by top food journalists, networking, and delicious food. This is the first in a series of four two-day Summits in 2016 which will bring together some the world’s most impactful food system leaders. Last year, the Food Tank Summit sold out in minutes and drew in more than 15,500 livestream viewers. Click here to register today!
  • Save the Date: Appalachian Food Justice Conference. May 19-21. Morgantown, WV. More details to be announced.
  • Save the Date: National Small Farm ConferenceSeptember 20-22. Virginia Beach, VA. Virginia State University will host the 7th Annual National Small Farm Conference in collaboration with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the USDA. The Conference will feature strategies for small farmers and ranchers to enhance farm income and stories from small farm activities. Registration for the Conference will open in early 2016. Save the date!


  • Food Safety. March 3, 2:00 PM EST. How can we ensure the safety of farm fresh food? We’ll share local food safety best practices, including identifying safety measures for school gardens and school salad bars. Click here to register.
  • Legal Levers of Food Policy. Tuesday, March 8, 2:30 – 3:45 pm ET. Food systems are complex and identification of appropriate policy changes to improve the food system in your community can seem daunting. Learn about the legal, regulatory and administrative levers that your food policy council can pull to achieve effective changes in you community.  The CLF welcomes Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic to share their expertise on the legal concepts surrounding local food systems. Learn about an upcoming release of the updated Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities toolkit (originally published in 2012) and explore emerging food policy issues being addressed by food policy councils across the nation. This event is co-sponsored by Chesapeake Foodshed Network. Register Today!
  • Value-Added Producer Grant Webinar. March 10th, 1:30 – 2:45 ET. Hosted by the Southern Rural Development Center. Rural Development staff will provide an overview of the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, including purpose, basic program requirements, and resources, to prepare participants for introductory outreach to potential applicants and stakeholder groups. Preregistration is not required. Simply join the session through this link. Type in your name, then enter as guest.
  • Food Tank Webinar: The ABCs of the GMO Debate, Do we really need GMOs to feed the world? Wednesday, March 16th from 12pm to 1pm ET. The next installment of Food Tank’s Exclusive Webinar Series will feature Anna Lappe, author, educator, activist, Project Director of Food MythBusters and Real Food Media Project, and co-founder of Small Planet Institute and the Small Planet Fund. Lappe will present on “The ABCs of the GMO Debate: Do we really need GMOs to feed the world?” The event will take place. Lappe will give a 30-minute presentation, followed by a 10 to 15 minute question-and-answer session. Click here for more information. Register early, as space is limited.​
  • Promoting Your Farm to School Program. March 17th, 2:00 PM ET. You’ve put in so much hard work! Now, how do you promote your farm to school program to ensure student, school, and community engagement? Hear about programs that have successfully promoted farm to school programs while managing a tight budget. Click here to register.
  • Appalachian Foodshed Project Webinar–Stories of Community Food Work in Appalachia: Possibilities for Hope and Transformation. Tuesday, March 22, 2016 from 11am-noon ET. Join Kim Niewolny, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, & Community Education at Virginia Tech to hear about this exciting work, the methods used to create the narratives, the people involved in this process, and the significance of using story in making space for creativity, transformation, and hope as we work toward community food security and more.  Click here for more information.

Funding Opportunities

  • Food Sovereignty Assessment Grant Program. Applications are due by March 15, 2016. First Nations Development Institute is accepting proposals from Native communities interested in conducting food sovereignty or community food assessments. Under the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, First Nations plans to award up to 10 grants of up to $10,000 each to Native communities looking to conduct food assessments and gain a better knowledge and understanding about the historical, current and future state of their local food systems. This grant opportunity is intended to support efforts of Native communities looking to gather information and data to understand the evolution of their food systems and make data-informed decisions about the future. Click here to learn more.
  • Appalachian Grown™ Cost Share. These funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 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. Find out more by clicking here.
  • 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.

Job Opportunities

  • Refresh Appalachia is seeking two Crew Members to work on their Mingo County, West Virginia crew. This is a unique, challenging, and rewarding position for those interested in developing a career in the agriculture sector. Click here to learn more about these positions.