COVID-19 Emergency Response Resources
- ASAP’s Appalachian Grown Farmer Immediate Needs Grant is intended for farmers with lost sales and farm income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers may apply for up to $500 to make strategic investments in meeting new market requirements.
- A list of grants and loans for farms during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here. This list will be updated regularly.
- Free social media series for farmers. Learn to leverage social media as a tool for connecting with customers in the face of the stay home, stay safe order.
- Update your Local Food Guide listing to reflect online ordering, delivery, or COVID-19 pickup options.
- Take advantage of a 25 percent discount on Appalachian Grown packaging materials.
- Recommended protocols for COVID-19 exposure at your farm or food business.
The resources linked below support farmers and producers of value-added products at all stages of starting and running a business. Many of these documents are collected in ASAP’s Farmer Toolkit (free PDF version; print copies available to Business of Farming Conference attendees). While not meant to be comprehensive, the Toolkit offers an overview of available support and resources.
In addition to these resources, take advantage of:
- Individual support: ASAP and partner organizations offer one-on-one consultations to farmers in Western North Carolina.
- Conferences and workshops: ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference in February and other workshops throughout the year offer expertise in business planning, branding, financial management, marketing, and more.
- Networking and mentorship: Learn from established farmers and producers via groups such as Organic Growers School’s Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) and the WNC Young Farmers Coalition.
Appalachian Grown™ Program
ASAP’s Appalachian Grown™ certification tells customers that your farm products were grown or raised in the Southern Appalachians. The Appalachian Grown logo helps you tell your farm’s story and communicate the value of local food. With Appalachian Grown certification, you can create a free listing in ASAP’s Local Food Guide, a comprehensive directory, online and in print, of local food and farms in the region.
- Apply for Appalachian Grown certification and create a Local Food Guide listing
- Get Appalachian Grown packaging and promotional materials
- Make the Most of Your Local Food Guide listing (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
Every farm is a business, and it’s important to start yours on the right foot. By taking the time for business planning before you ever put a seed in the ground, you’ll guarantee that your farm has sufficient access to land, capital, and market opportunities. It’s also important to consider the necessary regulations for local food and farm businesses. These business planning resources can help you develop your farm dream or perform a checkup on your current operation.
- Business Plan Overview (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Regional Support Agencies for Farm Business Planning (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Find Land with WNC Farm Link
- First Few Steps (NC Cooperative Extension PDF)
- The Regulatory Environment for Farms in Western North Carolina (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Accessing Capital
- Market Opportunities for Farmers (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Should crop insurance be part of your farm’s risk management plan? (ASAP webinar, 2015)
Branding and Storytelling
Good branding instantly gives your customers an idea of what they can expect from your farm and helps your products stand out in a crowded market. Branding encompasses your farm’s name, mission, tagline, and logo.
- Storytelling Toolkit (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Developing Your Farm Brand (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Photography Tips for the Farm (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- A Social Media Guide for Farmers (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Press Releases: Guidelines and Template (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Working with a Graphic Designer (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
Your farm financials are as crucial to your success as soil or irrigation. The following resources give you the basics for keeping records of your farm’s financial activity, buying insurance against farm risks, and setting prices for sustainable returns on your efforts.
- Basics to Recordkeeping (RAFI PDF)
- Accessing Capital
- Insurance Basics (NC Cooperative Extension PDF)
- Setting Prices for Various Markets (PDF)
- Produce Packaging Standards (PDF)
- Mud to Money – Farm Financials Benchmark Report (PDF)
- How to Pay for it—Grant, Loan, and Cost Share Options for Farms (ASAP webinar, 2015)
- AgriLogic’s MARS App – Recordkeeping Tool
Direct sales give your farm great flexibility for connecting with customers and allow you to market your true value. Farmers markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs all put you in control of where and how to sell your products. The resources below will help you get started in exploring these market opportunities.
Be sure to check out ASAP’s farmers markets page for places to sell your products throughout the Southern Appalachians.
- CSA Toolkit (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Marketing Your Farm (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Roadside Farm Stands (University of California Santa Cruz PDF)
- Tips for Selling at Farmers Markets (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Sell What You Grow – Diversifying Your Market Opportunities (ASAP webinar, 2015)
- Sell More At Farmer’s Markets (ASAP webinar, 2013)
Agritourism is a way of sharing your farm story with the community. Opening your farm to visitors helps you engage people in a discussion about local food production and the importance of family farms in our region, as well as diversify your farm marketing and income. Use the following agritourism resources to help grow your current offerings or determine if tours are a good match for your farm operation.
- Activity Ideas for Hosting Children and School Groups on Your Farm (PDF)
- Agritourism Guide (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Agritourism Liability Law (NC Department of Agriculture PDF)
- Farmer Classroom Visits (PDF)
- Farmer Field Day Toolkit (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education PDF)
- Growing your Agritourism Venture (ASAP, Mountain Bizworks, and USDA Slidshare)
- Hosting School Groups on Your Farm (PDF)
- Integrating Safety into Agritourism (National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety)
- Planning U-Pick (Center for Profitable Agriculture and UT Cooperative Extension PDF)
Wholesale and Retail
Wholesale and retail outlets can take your farm to the next level of product volume. Restaurants, groceries, and distributors all buy in larger quantities than do individual customers, but selling to these markets requires extra attention in pricing and packaging. The resources below will help you get started in exploring these market opportunities.
ASAP’s Wholesale Local Food Guide is constantly updated with new products that wholesale buyers are seeking in the Southern Appalachians.
- Guide to Selling Wholesale (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
- Produce Packaging Standards (PDF)
- Product Codes for Retail Grocers (NC Growing Together PDF)
- Selling to Intermediate Markets (Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide PDF)
- Tips for Selling to Restaurants (National Center for Appropriate Technology PDF)
- Tips for Buyers and Sellers (Farmer Toolkit PDF)
These resources are supported by the following organizations: