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Appalachian Sustainable Development offers Forest Farming Expo and Field Day

ABINGDON, Va. – Registration is now open for two events designed to offer networking opportunities for experienced and beginning forest farmers, herbal product makers, and herb buyers. Both events are hosted by Appalachian Sustainable Development and the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition, and generously sponsored by Gaia Herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and United Plant Savers. Forest Farmer Grower-Industry Expo and Training: May 19, 9:00am-5:00pm, Renaissance Center, 1200 E Center St., Kingsport, TN. $15 fee, includes breakfast, lunch, expo, panel and training sessions. Registration required: www.regonline.com/asd-2018.

This event will bring together herb companies, apothecaries, and herbal product makers with experienced and aspiring forest farmers for a day of networking and learning. Panel discussions with forest farmers and herb buyers will share valuable experiences and advice, and technical training sessions will be offered for all skill and experience levels. Topics will include herb cultivation and propagation techniques, plant conservation, certification, harvest and post-harvest handling, value-added production and more.

Farmers of all experience and readiness levels and businesses of all shapes and sizes who are interested in sustainable sourcing of forest botanicals are encouraged to attend. Vendors are also welcome, with a limited number of tables available at no charge. Those who wish to have table space at the expo will be given an option to reserve during registration.

The Forest Farmer Field Day: May 20, 10:00am-3:30pm, Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub, 280 Boone Trail Rd., Duffield, VA. $15 fee, includes lunch and site visits. Registration required: www.regonline.com/asd-2018.

Start the day with a tour of the Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub and a discussion on the economics of cultivating forest-grown medicinal herbs. After lunch, attendees will visit forest farmer Ryan Huish’s farm, learning about his plans for cultivating forest herbs, plant identification, site selection and more. The tour will include a mildly strenuous hike through diverse forest ecosystems.

About the Appalachian Harvest Food and Herb Hub
Since 2000, Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Appalachian Harvest food hub has helped produce farmers access markets by securing orders from food brokers and retailers, providing aggregation and distribution support, training in food safety and handling, organic certification and marketing services. In 2017, an herb hub was established at Appalachian Harvest, offering the same services to medicinal herb farmers. Appalachian Harvest farmers have sold more than $15 million worth of produce its products are sold to wholesale grocers and food brokers who have access to approximately 3,800 stores from Maryland to Georgia.

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.