Who we are
The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) is a network of forest farmers, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers. The collective aim is to increase awareness, capacity, and long-term viability through education, networking, and conservation.
Recent renewal funding from USDA NIFA has allowed ABFFC to greatly expand membership and exposure by recruiting and training new Appalachian beginning forest farmers and continue its tradition of providing in-depth, multiday 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, increase forest farmer mentorship, and improve propagation and distribution of planting stock for forest farms.
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.
The Coalition represents a diverse group of stakeholders including:
Appalachian Sustainable Development
United Plant Savers
Organic Growers School
The Yew Mountain Center
Warren Wilson College
North Carolina State University
Penn State University
Virginia Tech University
Catawba Sustainability Center
The project 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. Partners are located from Georgia to Pennsylvania. The team includes five non-governmental organizations (Appalachian Sustainable Development; The Yew Mountain Center; Organic Grower’s School; Rural Action; United Plant Savers), three universities (Virginia Tech; North Carolina State; Penn State), extension (Southern Regional Extension Forestry), three agency partners (National Agroforestry Center; Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry; and US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station), along with forest farmers and other key stakeholders.
• 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. Visit nifa.usda.gov for more information.
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. To learn more, visit www.yewmountain.org
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. Visit http://sustainableherbsproject.com for more information.