BFRDP Projects

Building a Regional Coalition in the Heart of Appalachia to Enhance Beginning Farmer Education with Experience in the Field
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $473,915
Grant Program: 2017 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Kathlyn Baker
Organization: Appalachian Sustainable Development


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The project applicants represent a regional coalition joined across the Tennessee and Virginia border in a region called the “Heart of Appalachia”. Our coalition represents a 20-year track record of building the local food economy from farm to fork, across all economic classes, across all ages. Through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program we improved start-up opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities. The coalition developed 4 main objectives in response to feedback from beginning farmers served by our organizations.

  • Enhance Regional Coalition: The Coalition  increased networking and communication channels through quarterly meetings, an active working relationship between the Program Coordinators, and the development of a mentor learning infrastructure that continues to be successfully executed.
  • Whole Farm and Local Market Education: In total 106 students participated in ARC&D's Winter Business Intensive and Field School. An additional 800 individuals particpated in the virtual Summer Field School held in 2020. A demonstration garden showcased the challenges and benefits of wholesale organic production.  Over the grant period,  12,500 lbs. of produce was harvested and approximately 966 individuals visited the sites.
  • Internship-Mentorship Networking: Farmer and Rancher Mentoring (FARM) was created for adult and youth beginning farmers. Throughout the project period, 47 interns (200 hour and 70 hour) successfully completed the internship program. 31 farmer mentors participated in the educational experience. 
  • Peer-to-Peer Circles: Peer learning circles are designed to create an educational and support network for farmers. A Women’s Farmer Roundtable was established in October 2018 in Tennessee and are still meeting regularly to date in 2020.The group plans to continue meeting after the project period. 

Number of Participants: 1394


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success