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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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





ABFFC Partners

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Appalachian Sustainable Development


Appalachian Sustainable Development is working to make a difference in Central Appalachia. Food insecurity, poverty and job loss in the 15 counties they serve are extremely high. So, what are they doing about it? They’re giving Appalachians the tools they need to fight poverty, revitalize their communities and protect their natural resources. In the Appalachian region where ASD operates, there is great need for collaborative strategies that make the most of the limited resources available. In addition to the high rates of poverty, unemployment and lifestyle diseases, the people who live in this beautiful area are often geographically and topographically distant from markets, services, and each other.




The Yew Mountain Center


The Yew Mountain Center provides programs that explore Appalachian ecology, culture, and arts while promoting community and personal wellness. The Yew Mountain Center will show that Appalachian communities who invest in their local economy, honor the cultural heritage of all residents, encourage scientific and artistic discovery, and promote ecological stewardship create prosperity and resilience for all families.




Rural Action


Rural Action’s mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. They envision a region of clean streams, healthy forests, thriving family farms, meaningful jobs for everyone, lively towns that remember local history and celebrate their stories, music, arts, and crafts, and people working together to make this vision a reality. Rural Action builds model sustainable development projects and encourages a broad civic conversation around Appalachian Ohio’s assets in order to create sustainable development paths for the region. Although chartered for all 32 counties in the Appalachian Ohio region, Rural Action’s home office is based in northern Athens County. Its members and projects are concentrated in Athens and the six counties surrounding it: Meigs, Vinton, Washington, Hocking, Morgan, and Perry. We also work in Tuscarawas, Stark, and Carroll County. Rural Action gladly responds to requests for partnership and information from around the Appalachian region.




United Plant Savers


United Plant Savers’ mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. Where once herbal enterprises were few and far between, it is now a competitive marketplace which has increased the demand on wild medicinal plant resources. Furthermore, other countries with an uninterrupted tradition of herbalism are experiencing a severe shortage of medicinal plants and look to the North American continent for supplying these herbs. This increased usage along with habitat destruction is causing an ever-increasing shortage of wild plant resources, including some of our most treasured medicinal species. The work of United Plant Savers involves research, education and conservation of native medicinal plants and their habitats. To join this worthwhile and important mission, visit www.unitedplantsavers.org. UpS is a 501 (C)3 non-profit organization.




The Sustainable Herbs Project


The Sustainable Herbs Project began because we were struck by the disconnect between the philosophy of herbal medicine and the reality of what it takes to produce herbal products on a large scale. This disconnect impacts the efficacy of these medicines. And it calls into question the promise of herbal medicine as safer, less expensive, and healthier for humans and the earth. Our mission is to create a movement supporting high quality herbal products, sustainable and ethical sourcing, and greater overall transparency in how herbs reach end users. We work to achieve this by educating end-users and industry about the issues involved and by sharing best practices to inspire more companies to implement higher standards of sustainability.




Organic Grower's School


Organic Grower’s School is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region. Our hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships inspire, educate, and support people to farm, garden, and live organically.





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NC Alternative Crops & Organics


NC Alternative Crops and Organics is an outreach tool for Jeanine Davis in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University to share information from her agricultural research and extension programs on organic farming, medicinal herbs, hops, truffles, and other alternative crops. Visit http://ncherb.org for more information.




VT College of Natural Resources & Environment


Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment is one of the top programs in natural resource management in the United States. Our top-flight education and research focus on the latest applications to uncover the science needed to manage forests and other natural resources. Our programs are diverse and approach critical natural resource issues from many disciplinary perspectives. From protected areas management and economic policy to forest soil productivity, urbanization, and genomics, we seek to discover new knowledge and technology to address the global challenges to come.




PS Shaver’s Creek


Penn State – Shaver’s Creek was founded in 1976 as a resource for the community, and as a field laboratory for Penn State students to get hands-on experience teaching about the natural world. The programs at our Environmental Center, Outdoor School, Raptor Center, and Team Development Center provide a mix of educational and recreational opportunities for families, schools, corporate groups, and Penn State students. Meet Eric Burkhart, Director, Appalachian Botany and Ethnobotany Program




Warren Wilson College


Warren Wilson College – For several decades now at Warren Wilson, students, faculty, and staff have used the College Forest to develop innovative ways to make profitable forestry a reality through non-timber forest products. They are developing innovative, scale-appropriate, entrepreneurial endeavors that landowners can use to bring value to their land until their timber is due. Through these projects, students learn not only sustainable forestry – they gain business and marketing skills as well. Visit www.warren-wilson.edu/about/land-innovation/ for more information.





 
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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Funding for the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

has been sponsored by the following:

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

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