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 plants through education

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



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 woodland 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 products in the woodlands they own or have access to. They produce and sell raw material that is 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 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. 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.

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: Five non-governmental organizations: Appalachian Sustainable Development The Yew Mountain Center Organic Growers School Rural Action United Plant Savers Three universities: Virginia Tech University North Carolina State University Penn State University Extension: Southern Regional Extension Forestry Three agency partners: National Agroforestry Center Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station along with potential and current forest farmers like you! The Yew Mountain Center Warren Wilson College Catawba Sustainability Center



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