Local News

Story published: 01-30-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Grant available to women in agriculture in Johnson County

The Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture or BRWIA is an organization based out of Boone, North Carolina. Though BRWIA is based in Boone, the grant and educational programs cater to many surrounding areas, including Johnson County.

The various programs offered by BRWIA and its sub-organizations are geared toward women, however, it’s clear that BRWIA is a community minded-organization. Through their many programs they aim to strengthen not only a community’s economy, but also its health. Sponsored by BRWIA, the “Seeds of Change” program targets five surrounding counties including Allegany, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes, and Johnson. The mission of Seeds of Change is similar to that of BRWIA’s general mission, to promote economic stimulation, healthy lifestyles, and sustainability. Seeds of Change is also focused on bringing an end to hunger by being an advocate for local food production.

The Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture grant is currently being offered through BRWIA and is available to Johnson County residents. The grant is made available to “female farmers, ranchers, and processors who plan to create innovative, sustainable solutions to producing or marketing obstacles in the High Country.” BRWIA has currently issued a call for proposals from grant recipient hopefuls. Past grant recipients include Holly Whitesides (Against the Grain Farm) and Colette Nester (Cross Creek Farm). Whitesides received the grant to help fund her seed and grain production venture and Nester, who employs a holistic approach to the raising of livestock, to fund equipment that enables her to smoke the meat harvested from her animals. Both Whitesides and Nester have used the grant to help raise their capital gain and build the future of their businesses. They were both chosen as a result of their sustainable practices and their desire to promote a future of positive change for Southern Appalachia’s food system.

For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.