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  • Forest Farming | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    APPALACHIAN BEGINNING F OREST FARMER COALITION GROWING OPPORTUNITIES BENEATH THE CANOPY Join our forest farming coalition learn more About forest farming Connect with our forest farming community gro w training and events What is the Coalition? 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. Recipient of the 2020 AHPA Herbal Insight Award Community Forest Farming Calendar The Northeast Forest Farmers Coalition (NFFC) is a partnership of individuals, farms, universities, nonprofits, businesses, and other organizations with the shared goal of growing forest farming opportunities and education within the Northeast region.


    ABFFC Feedback Page aims to be a perennial resource f or forest farmers of all experience levels. We value and welcome your feedback to help us improve this website and its resources. Website Feedback First Name Last Name Email Phone Message Submit


    Technical Service Providers In June 2021, the West Virginia Forest Farming Initiative, in partnership with Appalachian Beginning Forest Farming Coalition, hosted an online training for Technical Service Providers called, Forest Farming Training for Natural Resource Professionals: Capacity for Landowner Assistance. Below are the links to the recorded sessions and pre-recorded videos that were part of the training. Forest Farming 101: Introduction to Growing & Marketing Non-Timber Forest Products 51 minutes - Instructor: Tanner Filyaw* This presentation provides an introductory overview of common forest farming methods, as well as market options for producers. Commonly Produced Forest Botanicals 40 minutes - Instructor: Robin Suggs** In this presentation we explore some of the more commonly produced eastern North American NTFPs used in the botanical trade. Topics include general range, site and habitat requirements along with information regarding their chief uses and markets. Introduction to Site Assessment & Evaluation 60 minutes - Instructor: Tanner Filyaw* This presentation will provide a more in depth discussion of site selection and evaluation, and compare and contrasts potential production sites using photographs and habitat characteristics. Site Assessment Video Tour 10 minutes - Instructors: Tanner Filyaw* & Robin Suggs** @ The Yew Mountain Center This video provides an on the ground perspective of the site selection and evaluation process, including identifying and discussing site conditions as they relate to the production of forest botanicals. Forest Farming in Practice 35 minutes - Instructor: Katie Commender** and Kate MacFarland~ This presentation helps put forest farming into practice and content for natural resource providers. It highlights how forest farming meets the needs and interests of forest landowners, how it addresses natural resource concerns, and even hot it ties into state forestry action plans and federal cost-share programs, like NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Instructor Affiliations *Tanner was with Rural Action when these videos were made. He is currently with United Plant Savers . **Robin and Katie are with Appalachian Sustainable Development. ~Kate MacFarland is with the USDA National Agroforestry Center . ​

  • About | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    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. About the Coalition ABFFC Team & Contact John Munsell, ABFFC Project Director Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist Department of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation Virginia Tech​ Margaret Bloomquist, ABFFC Associate Director ABFFC Associate Director Research Associate, Horticultural Science North Carolina State University Sara Jackson, Website Administrator Maintains and develops this website and its resources. DOWNLOAD / READ / PRINT ABFFC Partner Organizations ABFFC Partner Universities ABFFC Supporting Organizations Funding for the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition has been sponsored by The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program ​

  • 404 | ABFFC

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    ​Proposed Work Long Term Goals Regional Toolkit Project Design ARC Alignment Project Activity Regional Activities Technical Initiatives Accelerating Forest Farming in Central Appalachia: Strengthening Market Connections and Collaboration for Long-Term Sector Impact and Sustainability ​ ​ Accelerating Forest Farming in Central Appalachia: Strengthening Market Connections and Collaboration for Long-Term Sector Impact and Sustainability” is a regional and multistate project designed to support continued expansion of the ABFFC work and prepare for ARISE implementation funding. The work will result in long-term transformational goals all critical to establishment of the Appalachian forest farmers as leaders in this global market. ​Proposed Work Long Term Goals ​Proposed Work – Planning into Implementation ​ The ARISE Project uses a multifaceted strategy to support Appalachian forest farmers, traditional wild harvesters who implement sustainable forest farming methods, and associated regional stakeholders. The planning work prepares for a five-year project to accelerate technical assistance, value-added market and technology development, sector capacity and efficiency initiatives, as well as efforts to raise industry investments and consumer awareness all of which underpin the economic viability of individual and collective business ventures across Central Appalachia and increase the long-term sustainability of a value-added NTFP supply chain. The project strengthens existing partnerships and programs in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Proposed programs and services will deliver a broad spectrum of market-centered opportunities for Appalachian residents and localities to transform a deeply rooted, traditional economic sector and create a sustainable platform for continued growth as the marketplace evolves. Planning will allow for an intensive focus on some of Appalachia’s most distressed communities, places where many individuals have knowledge of and experience with NTFPs but have long been poorly compensated for their efforts. Further, access to individuals in these communities can be challenging for a variety of reasons (lack of broadband, limits to enterprise development due to income challenges, despair factors linked to persistent poverty). The planning project will establish implementation methods and pathways to expand outreach, increase value-added trade, and encourage participation in a rising trend: just compensation and increased economic benefits for the citizens and communities where these natural resources thrive. This multistate project will touch 133 counties across Central Appalachia in seven states. ​ ​ ​ ​ Long Term Implementation Goals ​ ​ The work will result in long-term transformational goals all critical to establishment of the Appalachian forest farmers as leaders in this global market. Long-term transformational goals include: ​ Position Central Appalachia’s forest farming sector at the forefront of the region’s future bio-economy; Become the global marketing, processing, aggregation, and distribution model for sustainable forest farmed products; Capture an unprecedented share of local, regional, national, and international value-added forest farming markets; Develop an Appalachian forest farming brand recognized the world over; Ramp and revolutionize forest farming planting stock, seed sales, mycelium and spore production, and tree-tapping equipment enterprises; Elevate, coordinate, and connect forest farming tourism, cultural identity, and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives; Grow the number of financially sound forest farming businesses predicated on sustainable whole-forest management; Leverage and sustain highly successful ongoing technical training and assistance for forest farmers and technical service provider consultants; Increase the reach and impact of current forest farming business recruitment, public awareness, and workforce development programs through product placement, experiential and technical education, and community engagement and tourism initiatives; Expand market activity and the physical presence of medium- and large-scale forest farming dependent industries in Appalachia; Celebrate Appalachian forest farmers as ecosystem services stewards who protect land, water and air quality, climate,biodiversity, and other natural resources; and Spur the next phase of Appalachian forest farming in meaningful, impactful, and sustainable bioeconomic regional development. Regional Toolkit Intersecting the ARISE Regional Multistate Collaboration Toolkit Insights and Strategies Project Design Project Design Process and Figures Section ARC Alignment Project Activity Alignment with ARC Strategic Investment Goals and Objectives ​ Primary ARC Goal: Building Appalachian Businesses - Individual producers become small- and medium-sized business owners through technical assistance and participation in regional activities. Existing businesses (forest farming operations, primary buyers, nurseries, cottage businesses, tourism enterprise) expand revenue as supply chains grow and national and international investments increases. Secondary ARC Goals: Building Appalachia’s Workforce Ecosystem - By building and strengthening relationships, and coordinating and facilitating trainings, we will create an enabling environment for agroforestry to be a viable industry cluster for Central Appalachia. ​ Building Regional Culture and Tourism - Appalachia has a rich history of forested homesteading combined with use and celebration of our resilient and fecund forest commons. Build producer networks, NTFP markets, and connecting these with the broader tourism economy allows this rich history to take center stage in narratives about Appalachia, and in tourist experiences of Appalachia. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Project Activity Rationale, Framing, and Coordination ​ The following summary identifies key focus areas, informed by previous and ongoing work, specifically designed to address the need for additional resources and expansion of the ABFFC footprint for transformational sector growth. The impact of ABFFC initiatives to date is clear. Training and recruitment events are sold out, the number and scale of forest farms is growing, forest farming is increasingly celebrated in regional, national, and international media, communities in the region increasingly extol forest farming, and sector challenges and opportunities have led to on-the-ground solutions. Building on the coalition’s success requires additional investments to expand sector growth and sustainability. The number of potential forest farmers who seek assistance is on the rise in terms of enterprise development (such as start-up support and training) with potential to maximize returns on investments. They seek business diversification by incorporating NTFPs into their production systems and/or by participating in substantial public and private investments in climate-smart commodities as well as carbon sequestration and water quality trading income streams. The project is designed to maximize impact using known strengths of ABFFC partners to support specialized technical activities combined with partner organizations who bring standing networks and relationships along with deep knowledge of their respective landscapes and goals. Knowledge and skills are shared across the seven-state region with a neutral facilitator assisting in the equitable distribution of financial resources, project administration, and scheduling support. The framework for managing a balanced and broadly impactful project occurs across two simultaneous tracks: 1) sub-region baseline activities that continue producer recruitment and support, market connections and promotion, and sector sustainability; and, 2) region-wide technical initiatives that address existing bottlenecks identified over the course of the Coalition’s growth. Regional Activities Sub-region Baseline Activities ​ Local partner organizations oversee direct engagement and support in their particular areas of responsibility, known in this project as a sub-region (state, collection of counties). Baseline activities include providing technical assistance and training along with producer and entrepreneurial recruitment and outreach. Outreach and support activities also engage existing technical service providers to integrate agroforestry support services into existing land-use programs. As needed, the VT/ABFFC facilitator coordinates support by local or regional partners. Newer and longstanding partners are positioned to expand the ABFFC footprint and its role in continuing regional growth. This allows for provision of coalition-forged practices to a broad region. Further, because local partners best understand their networks and localities, community engagement and public awareness/education are delivered through them to realize proximal impacts supporting coherent multi-state goals and objectives. Local community engagement activities receive support through the neutral facilitator/lead applicant by connecting with communications and outreach professionals engaged in the project. These measures include an intentional focus on traditionally underserved communities (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, socially disadvantaged) based upon an ongoing financial producer support program funded by a private family foundation. To summarize, sub-region baseline activities include: Continuation of technical assistance and training, as well as ongoing market development Producer/business recruitment and outreach Community engagement and public awareness/education including direct engagement with local development district and locality leadership ​ ​ ​ Region-wide Technical Initiatives ​ Select partner organizations address specific challenges identified through ongoing work and prepare the cluster to accelerate regional and direct producer impact. Leadership assignments are based on specialized expertise and experience that chosen partner organizations possess and are informed by input from all partner organizations via technical topic committees. Initiative leaders are also responsible for advancing the state of knowledge in their respective technical specialties and distributing information along with documenting findings for distribution to all participants across the region. It is important to note that all technical leaders receive a high level of support from other organizations. Cooperative relationships exist through past and ongoing ABFFC efforts, allowing for efficient and effective launching of proposed work by virtue of ARISE investments. Technical activities have been identified as critical needs in order to advance the Appalachian agroforestry economic cluster toward a broadly coordinated and efficient regional NTFP sector: ​ Technical Initiatives

  • Point Of Harvest Program| Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    Point-of-Harvest (PoH) Program Check back here for more information about upcoming 2023 trainings in southwest VA! We are creating a new PoH program that will offer free training to wild harvesters and buyers of woodland roots, barks, etc. Training topics may include: plant identification, safety, sustainable harvest, post-harvest handling, and more. POH will be designed to offer access to premium priced markets. ​ Take our quick online survey and/or get in touch to help shape the program! Keep scrolling down to learn more. Thank you for your interested in the Point of Harvest (PoH) Program! TAKE OUR SHORT SURVEY CONTACT PoH Program Update November 2022 About We are excited to announce the launch of our first round of PoH program trainings in southwest Virginia! In September 2022, the first PoH training was held in Buchannan County, VA with 9 trainees. Morning classroom discussion covered safety, land access, regulations, sustained yields, marketing, and record keeping. The afternoon field session included hands-on learning for plant identification, sustainable harvest practices, and post-harvest handling and storage methods. PoH certified harvesters now have access to premium-priced markets for high quality, sustainably sourced forest botanicals! ​Check back here for more information about upcoming 2023 trainings in southwest VA coming soon! For questions regarding the PoH Program or upcoming trainings, please get in touch with the ABFFC team . ​The PoH motto is Keep It Wild! Please help us spread the word with other wild harvesters and buyers in your community, and take our quick survey below. Thank you for your input!​ Survey More Information about the PoH Program The ABFFC is in the process of developing a Point-of-Harvest (PoH) training and market development program for wild harvesters. The PoH program will focus on supporting environmentally responsible and economically viable wild NTFP enterprises. Our goal is to offer PoH harvester training that is free of charge and recognized by the industry and large landholders such as the US Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. Potential PoH training topics include, among others: safety technology harvesting & propagation plant identification & botany raw material storage & processing marketing & bookkeeping Local instructors will lead the way helping PoH participants become more competitive in the marketplace and make the most with their products in the supply chain. ​ The PoH program is a workforce development project and will depend on support from the companies that buy these materials. If you are a harvester or buyer of raw or value-added material, we need to hear from you about how the PoH program should be designed. Click here to provide your input today. ​ For questions regarding the Point of Harvest Program or the upcoming input meetings, please get in touch with the ABFFC team . CONTACT Take our quick online survey and/or get in touch to help shape the program! Your thoughts are important to us while we design this pilot program . TAKE OUR SHORT SURVEY Thank you from the Point of Harvest team!

  • Introduction to Forest Farming | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    Forest Farming Introduction Forest farming is an agroforestry practice which cultivates medicinal, edible, decorative, and handicraft crops under a forest canopy that is managed to provide shade levels and habitat which favor growth and enhance production. Forest farming supplies marketable non-timber forest products like edible plants and fungi, medicinals, decorative and ornamental and handcrafts, as well as other practices such as beekeeping and silvopasture. ​ ​ What is forest farming? Forest farming FAQ Who are forest farmers? WHAT IS FF What is Forest Farming? What is forest farming? Play Video Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Copy Link Link Copied FAQ Forest Farming FAQ WHO ARE FF? Who Are Forest Farmers? Connect with other forest farmers in our community! The Forest Farmer's Handbook: A Beginner's Guide to Growing and Marketing At-Risk Forest Herbs FREE PDF (22MB) PAPERBACK

  • Resources | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    Forest Farming Resources Part of the coalition's mission is to create and host a "clearinghouse" of forest farming resources. These resources are free and available to the public. If you want to help us make more of these resources available, please become a member , sign up for our email list to stay informed, or fill out a survey to help us learn more about what our members need! ​ ​ ​ NEW TO FOREST FARMING? 🌳 START HERE! 🌳 ABFFC Free Membership MEMBERSHIP Forest Farming Video Library Watch Non-Timber Forest Products or NTFPs NTFPs Ask a Question & FAQ ASK Local Centers & Facilities LOCATE Forest Farming in Focus: 2022 Winter Webinar Series Forest Focus Introduction to Forest Farming START HERE Forest Farming Publications READ Value-Added Products or VAPs VAPs Online Resources & Training LEARN Technical Service Providers Training

  • Membership | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    ABFFC Membership Through your participation and support, the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition can provide free access to many resources for agroforestry, and an ever growing network of support though partners , communities , technical assistance and essential training to forest farmers like you. ​ We promise to protect your information, and privacy. Please read through our privacy policy for more information about how we use your survey answers for demographic purposes only, and to better connect to our members through events, regional conferences and hands on training. Member Become a Member (it's free) Help us improve and expand the coalition by filling out our short membership survey! We promise to protect your information and privacy . Membership Sign-up Membership Benefits Hands-on Training & Support Hands-on workshops on all aspects of operations: choosing and preparing a site, management planning, organic production and certification, forest grown verification, best handling and processing practices, value added production techniques, forest farming business planning and record keeping.​ Unique opportunities to see value-added facilities and productive forest farms. Forest Farming Resources This coalition clearinghouse website houses a wide array of online and video resources for forest farmers on diverse topics from industry basics to cultivation to value added production and beyond. The coalition will also help link members to free and reduced rate seed distribution programs and house an equipment share forum to assist growers in accessing tools for harvest and processing. Bi-annual Appalachian Forest Farmer Chronicle. Connecting and Networking Growers Forest farmer and industry stakeholder meetings will offer opportunities for growers to connect with buyers, organic certifiers, representatives from verification and other labeling programs. ​Growing communities full of folks interested in all aspects of forest farming and every skill level. Regional Technical Assistance Network Forest farmer to forest farmer mentorship program. Access to university extension and other agency personnel for FAQs and assistance with site and habitat management planning. Other ways to support the Coalition! J oin our email list Share the word about ABFFC Learn more about forest farming in our video library Participate in our forest farming community on Facebook Check out our Forest Farming Footnotes newsletter and archive Attend online or in person events and trainings Fill out a survey , which helps inform our resources, and future projects Follow ABFFC on Facebook and Instagram

  • Calendar | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

    Community Forest Farming Calendar The ABFFC calendar features training, workshops, webinars and regional events, from the ABFFC as well as our partners . Please like and follow our Facebook page to keep up to date about online learning opportunities from our partners! Help us bring the future of forest farming to your area by becoming a member and filling out our quick membership survey so that we can learn more about your forest farming interests and needs. Forest Farming Office Hours - Spring 2023 Community Forest Farming Calendar View Past Events

  • 2022 Events | ABFFC

    2022 ABFFC Partner Events A big thank you to all of our participants and hosts in the ABFFC partner events of 2022. From the mountains of Western North Carolina to the forests of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, forest farmers from all around gathered to share in hands-on learning opportunities and community building. Please see highlights for each events below and be sure to keep up with our regional partners! If you are a beginning forest farmer, we invite you join our newsletter to hear about forest farming news, updates and events near you, or bring your forest farming questions to our FB community . 2022 West Virginia Forest Farming Forum 2022 Southern Ohio Forest Farming Conference 2022 WNC Forest Farming Series 2022 Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival & Forest Farming Conference WVFFF 2022 West Virginia Forest Farming Forum We would like to thank all of our partner groups and attendees for making the 2022 West Virginia forest farming forum a huge success in Marlinton WV! On Saturday we enjoyed a beautiful day of networking and learning with teachers and speakers, culminating in a dinner at the Pocahontas County Opera House. Thanks to all who visited the Yew Mountain Center on Sunday to finish off the weekend with yet another day of immersive learning. Please continue to stay in touch and utilize the resources provided by Yew Mountain Center and the ABFFC. If you have any follow-up questions, we invite you to get in touch or ask and start discussions about forest farming topics in our FB group . SOFFC 2022 Southern Ohio Forest Farming Conference We would like to thank all of our partner groups and attendees for making the 2022 Southern Ohio Forest Farming Conference a wonderful event for two years running! All weekend we enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary and our hosts Rural Action , as we covered all the forest farming bases, from beginner basics to advanced business practices. ​ Please stay in touch and utilize our forest farming resources. If you have any follow-up questions, we invite you to get in touch or ask and start discussions about forest farming topics in our FB group. WNC FFS 2022 WNC Forest Farming Series Thank you for a wonderful series of forest farming workshops and tours in Western North Carolina! With our partners the Organic Growers School , this series was based on the format for the CRAFT Farmer Network and Tour program, which connects beginning and experienced farmers and producers throughout the WNC region. " Integrating Forest Farming into Existing Farm Enterprises " at Thatchmore Farm Our June session at Thatchmore Farm , "Integrating Forest Farming into Existing Farm Enterprises " had a great group. From heating greenhouses with wood, to yaupon holly and ramp propagation we had a day full of learning and sharing. Thank you to our hosts Tom, Karen, and Liz Elmore for sharing your time and knowledge. " Encouraging Mushroom Production within a Forest Ecosystem: A Practical Approach to Collaborating with Nature " at the Forest Farmacy In August we went to Madison County, NC for "Encouraging Mushroom Production within a Forest Ecosystem: A Practical Approach to Collaborating with Nature " with Forest Farmacy . We enjoyed a lovely day of integrating fungi into the forest farm practices. Our hosts Chris Parker and Kat Houghton generously shared their amazing knowledge and land. We got our hands dirty inoculating straw with spawn for participants to bring home. " Planting and Propagation of Forest Farmed Botanicals " at Green Heart Gardens We concluded the series in August at Green Heart Gardens in Buncombe County, NC. Our host Lori Burra of HerbMamma , offered her knowledge of planting a wild simulated forest farm and diverse methods for producing woodland botanicals and stewarding the forest plants. Participants enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with propagation, planting, and ginseng seed-sowing activities. 2022 Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival & Forest Farming Conference SassyFest What a plant-filled and inspiring weekend! A giant thank you to our hosts, partners, vendors and everyone who attended. We are grateful to be part of this wonderful event and this outstanding community. Read more about SassyFest here! On September 24, an incredible 2,500 people attended the Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival in downtown Erwin, TN to explore products from 40+ herbal vendors and learn from speakers at 7 FREE herbal classes. Then, on September 25, ABFFC & ASD co-hosted the SOLD OUT Sassafras Moon Forest Farming Conference at Blackberry Blossom Farm. We enjoyed concurrent classroom sessions in the morning and hands-on learning stations at a local forest farm throughout the afternoon.

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