Forest Farming 101
The ABFFC mission is to educate, train and connect future and beginning forest farmers from all across the Appalachian region and beyond. Our aim is to increase accessibility to this information as well as support local programs and individual forest farmers. This Forest Farming 101 section provides an outline and detailed information about basic forest farming practices and common non-timber forest products (NTFP) species.
In addition to these online resources, please find your local area partner, as they host regular events, trainings, and programs, and have access to technical service providers for your location, as well as other important contacts and tools like county extension, grant funding, mentorships and nearby forest farmers.
Before diving in, please note that forest farming is not like regular agriculture where there is a yearly planting, harvest and yield. Learning and working with your forest and the species that grow there is crucial, and takes time. In fact, it can take several years to plant, steward and harvest a high value crop such as goldenseal from seed.
As many forest farmers have discovered, good stewardship can lead to multiple opportunities such as: collecting seeds to plant and sell, selling/trading planting stock along the way, working with value-added products (VAPS) or folks who make them, as well as managing repeated sustainable harvests for years to come, and a legacy of stewardship and forest conservation.