Weekly Run Down: February, Meeting People and Settling In

Hello and welcome to the final week of fundraising! DONATE HERE: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/octopus-garden-nc-a-project-with-f-i-g-farm/x/6158660

My first week here in Valle Crucis was filled with snow, and last week followed it with a flurry of activity.

There were many opportunities to make connections with others in my community. I attended an event put on by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) at a local farm starting a hazelnut orchard, that included a tour and a meal afterward. I met several area farmers and also people from local organizations that support and offer educational opportunities for farmers, like Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), the Watauga County Extension agent, Richard Boylan, and spent time with my good friends from BRWIA.

On Thursday all of us who will be involved in farming the piece of land at the FIG Farm met together for the first time! It was kind of a chilly day and we had several small children in tow, but we walked the property and everyone chose where they will be planting this spring. We also brainstormed some ideas of how we can share in that space with each other in collective efforts to improve the space and also make it more profitable for all of us, as well as ways we can involve our community. Though we all have separate plots, we plan to farm a back acre together in crops that require quite a bit of room, potatoes this spring and early summer, followed by winter squash.

We also hope to sell at a roadside stand on the property and are thinking of a fall fundraiser with bands and a farm to table meal. We have considered keeping a couple pigs at FIG to raise through the season and slaughter for that meal. The other two women who will be farming at FIG are very interesting, Lee, who has been farming for several years and specializes in cut flowers, and Rashell, who is a yoga teacher and herbalist and hopes to start an herbal CSA this year and also have experiential opportunities at the farm, especially for children. Both of their expertise will be great to glean from, since I am trying do some cut flowers and herbs in addition to vegetables. Our mentor, Matt, farms in the same valley and will be helping us with the potato and squash project and will be a resource and presence through out the season.

On Saturday I was at the Appalachian Enterprise Center at 8 am for an all day event with other area entrepreneurs, learning about how to move our business forward, what our local resources are, and workshopping each other’s ideas and sharing ideas for overcoming specific obstacles. I had a great time at the event and it was wonderful to connect with other area entrepreneurs, though most of them are doing things very different from me. I realized that the root of many of our ideas was an interest in local businesses as a way to bolster community and promote sustainability. I am excited to work with this group of people into the future, and I am very interested in trying to brainstorm ways that we can collaborate and support each other because many of us have a similar mission.

Other than that, I’ve been getting to know the area better; learning the short cuts for driving from A to B, eating at restaurants, visiting coffee shops, discovering new hikes, getting my library card, and meeting new friends. Since Boone is a small town, it has felt relatively easy to become familiar with people and places, though I know there is much more to learn, and I’m looking forward to it! I love being here so far!

I also found out that I was accepted to the Watauga County Farmer’s Market! So I will selling all season, starting May 3, at the Watauga Market in Boone. I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful market and looking forward to the season so much!

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