Forest

About the ABFFC

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) is a network of forest farmers,

forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations

that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers.

Our collective aim is to increase awareness of forest-grown medicinal, edible plants and products (non-timber forest products or NTFPs) through education and relationship

building, and support conservation efforts through stewardship of existing plant populations and forest farming of these native botanicals.

 

Introduction

About Forest Farming


In case it is a new term, forest farming is an agroforestry practice that involves cultivating herbal, edible, decorative, and handicraft non-timber forest products under a forest canopy that is modified or maintained to provide shade levels and habitat that favor growth and enhance production. Forest farmers intentionally cultivate and rotate marketable non-timber forest products in the woodlands they own or have access to. They produce and sell raw material or value added products that are traceable, unadulterated, and sustainable.This can lead to market share and price-premiums because companies can trace and confidently sell verified NTFP-dependent products to discriminating consumers.




How does the ABFFC work?


Recent renewal funding from United States Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agruiculture ( USDA-NIFA) has allowed ABFFC to greatly expand membership and exposure. By recruiting and training new Appalachian beginning forest farmers we continue its tradition of providing in-depth, multi day training and technical resources for forest farmers on NTFP propagation and management. This website also houses a large agroforesty network as well as an ever growing list of resources that are freely available to anyone with an interest in forest farming. From publications and plant profiles to videos and events, we hope to unite the forest farming community through Appalachia and beyond. In addition, over the next three years, ABFFC will help expand the Forest Grown Verification program through United Plant Savers, increase forest farmer mentorship, and improve propagation and distribution of planting stock for forest farms. Two new initiatives have been added in 2020, and are currently under development with the help of input and surveys from our members. The American Forest Farming Council (AFFC), and the Point of Harvest Workforce Development Program (POH) are two new ways we hope to expand our reach and have a positive impact on the forest farming community.




Project Goals & Objectives


The coalition hopes to establish an inclusive Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition; educate, train, and support beginning forest farmers; and improve forest farm inventory and medicinal plant habitat management services for beginning forest farmers.

  • Build a coalition of new and beginning forest farmers across Appalachia and beyond.
  • Educate and train new and beginning forest farmers on production, marketing, and sales.
  • Train extension and state agency personnel on resource assessment and habitat management.
  • Technical assistance and training for forest farmers throughout Appalachia.
  • Forest farming training for natural resource professionals at upcoming meetings and events




ABFFC Project Team


The ABFFC is funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and is supported in part by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Our partners range from Georgia to Pennsylvania. The team includes: Potential and current forest farmers like you!
Non-governmental Organizations:
Appalachian Sustainable Development
The Yew Mountain Center
Organic Growers School
Rural Action
United Plant Savers Catawba Sustainability Center
Universities:
Virginia Tech University
North Carolina State University
Penn State University Warren Wilson College
Extension:
Southern Regional Extension Forestry
Agency Partners:
Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry
US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station




Advisory Board


Dana Beegle David Brown Chip Carroll Jim Chamberlain Bill Chioffi Edward Fletcher Jim Hamilton Michael McGuffin Katie Trozzo Bevin Clare





 
Forest Trees

Supporting Organizations

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USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. We invest in and support initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. Since the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) authorized its creation, NIFA has taken significant strides toward enhancing the impact of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. NIFA applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. NIFA collaborates with leading scientists, policymakers, experts, and educators in organizations throughout the world to find innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global problems. Scientific progress, made through discovery and application: • Advances the competitiveness of American agriculture
• Bolsters the U.S. economy
• Enhances the safety of the nation’s food supply
• Improves the nutrition and well-being of American citizens
• Sustains natural resources and the environment
• Builds energy independence In partnership with other federal science agencies, NIFA also serves as a vital contributor to science policy decision-making.




USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)


The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) accelerates the application of agroforestry through a national network of partners. Together, they conduct research, develop technologies and tools, coordinate demonstrations and training, and provide useful information to natural resource professionals.





 

ABFFC Partners

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USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. We invest in and support initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. Since the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) authorized its creation, NIFA has taken significant strides toward enhancing the impact of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. NIFA applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. NIFA collaborates with leading scientists, policymakers, experts, and educators in organizations throughout the world to find innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global problems. Scientific progress, made through discovery and application: • Advances the competitiveness of American agriculture
• Bolsters the U.S. economy
• Enhances the safety of the nation’s food supply
• Improves the nutrition and well-being of American citizens
• Sustains natural resources and the environment
• Builds energy independence In partnership with other federal science agencies, NIFA also serves as a vital contributor to science policy decision-making.




USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)


The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) accelerates the application of agroforestry through a national network of partners. Together, they conduct research, develop technologies and tools, coordinate demonstrations and training, and provide useful information to natural resource professionals.





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USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. We invest in and support initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. Since the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) authorized its creation, NIFA has taken significant strides toward enhancing the impact of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. NIFA applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. NIFA collaborates with leading scientists, policymakers, experts, and educators in organizations throughout the world to find innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global problems. Scientific progress, made through discovery and application: • Advances the competitiveness of American agriculture
• Bolsters the U.S. economy
• Enhances the safety of the nation’s food supply
• Improves the nutrition and well-being of American citizens
• Sustains natural resources and the environment
• Builds energy independence In partnership with other federal science agencies, NIFA also serves as a vital contributor to science policy decision-making.




USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC)


The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) accelerates the application of agroforestry through a national network of partners. Together, they conduct research, develop technologies and tools, coordinate demonstrations and training, and provide useful information to natural resource professionals.





 
 
Forest Trees

Organizational & Decision Making Guide

About Forest Farming


In case it is a new term, forest farming is an agroforestry practice that involves cultivating herbal, edible, decorative, and handicraft non-timber forest products under a forest canopy that is modified or maintained to provide shade levels and habitat that favor growth and enhance production. Forest farmers intentionally cultivate and rotate marketable non-timber forest products in the woodlands they own or have access to. They produce and sell raw material or value added products that are traceable, unadulterated, and sustainable.This can lead to market share and price-premiums because companies can trace and confidently sell verified NTFP-dependent products to discriminating consumers.




How does the ABFFC work?


Recent renewal funding from United States Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agruiculture ( USDA-NIFA) has allowed ABFFC to greatly expand membership and exposure. By recruiting and training new Appalachian beginning forest farmers we continue its tradition of providing in-depth, multi day training and technical resources for forest farmers on NTFP propagation and management. This website also houses a large agroforesty network as well as an ever growing list of resources that are freely available to anyone with an interest in forest farming. From publications and plant profiles to videos and events, we hope to unite the forest farming community through Appalachia and beyond. In addition, over the next three years, ABFFC will help expand the Forest Grown Verification program through United Plant Savers, increase forest farmer mentorship, and improve propagation and distribution of planting stock for forest farms. Two new initiatives have been added in 2020, and are currently under development with the help of input and surveys from our members. The American Forest Farming Council (AFFC), and the Point of Harvest Workforce Development Program (POH) are two new ways we hope to expand our reach and have a positive impact on the forest farming community.




Project Goals & Objectives


The coalition hopes to establish an inclusive Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition; educate, train, and support beginning forest farmers; and improve forest farm inventory and medicinal plant habitat management services for beginning forest farmers.

  • Build a coalition of new and beginning forest farmers across Appalachia and beyond.
  • Educate and train new and beginning forest farmers on production, marketing, and sales.
  • Train extension and state agency personnel on resource assessment and habitat management.
  • Technical assistance and training for forest farmers throughout Appalachia.
  • Forest farming training for natural resource professionals at upcoming meetings and events




ABFFC Project Team


The ABFFC is funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and is supported in part by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Our partners range from Georgia to Pennsylvania. The team includes: Potential and current forest farmers like you!
Non-governmental Organizations:
Appalachian Sustainable Development
The Yew Mountain Center
Organic Growers School
Rural Action
United Plant Savers Catawba Sustainability Center
Universities:
Virginia Tech University
North Carolina State University
Penn State University Warren Wilson College
Extension:
Southern Regional Extension Forestry
Agency Partners:
Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry
US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station




Advisory Board


Dana Beegle David Brown Chip Carroll Jim Chamberlain Bill Chioffi Edward Fletcher Jim Hamilton Michael McGuffin Katie Trozzo Bevin Clare





Contact Information

Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist
Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation Virginia Tech​

Extension Project Assistant
Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation Virginia Tech

Maintains and develops this website and its resources.

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Thank you for getting in touch!

Funding for the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

has been sponsored by the following:

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program