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Appalachian Sustainable Development launch region’s first Farmer and Rancher Mentorship

ABINGDON, Va. –

Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), a local non-profit committed to transitioning Appalachia by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food, has partnered with Appalachian RC&D Council and Rural Resources to launch a 200 hour, on-the-farm Farmer and Rancher Mentorship (F.A.R.M.). F.A.R.M. is designed for beginning farmers who are unemployed, underemployed or who do not plan to attend college. It will also provide re-entry inmates from the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail opportunities to learn about careers in agriculture.

F.A.R.M. aims to prepare interns for successful careers in farming and food production by providing them with a direct learning experience with a local farmer/mentor. Interested farmers with at least 1 year of general farming experience are encouraged to apply at: www.asdevelop.org/farm/apply. Interns who successfully complete the program in the 2018 growing season will receive a certificate of completion and a $500 award stipend. F.A.R.M. is a 3 year program being implemented in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia and is funded by a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, https://nifa.usda.gov/program/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp.

Jenni Roop, ASD’s Regional Coalition Coordinator explains, “Our goal is to generate economic opportunities by creating a workforce of farmers and food producers. To meet the growing demand for local food, we need more farmers. And we hope to recruit and retain younger farmers who will stay in our region and thrive. By offering a mentorship program, where beginners can learn from long-time farmers, we expect to have high rates of success.”

About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people with healthy food. Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include eastern WV and KY and southeast OH. ASD uses 6 strategies to accomplish its work: closing the knowledge gap, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to www.asdevelop.org, Facebook or Twitter.