What We Do
Support for Farmers
We provide support for female farmers and their families in various ways.
Explore our programs below to learn about previous ways we've helped female farmers and what opportunities await you.
Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grants
The purpose of the Mary Boyer Sustainable Agriculture and Food Grants are to strengthen our local food system by supporting female farmers, ranchers, and processors who plan to create innovative, sustainable solutions to producing or marketing obstacles in the High Country.
The grant is open to female farmers, ranchers, and producers in our service area including the NC Counties of: Alleghany, Avery, Ashe, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes, Mitchell, and Yancy, as well as Johnson County, TN.
The Grant Application period opens in January.
2013 Grant Recipients
Announcing the 2013 Grant Winners!!!
"Highland Handling to Reclaim the High Country"
Kae Arrington, in Mitchell County, NC, will use her award to build a minimal handling facility for her Highland cattle, which would enable Kae to handle the cattle safely alone or with one helper. Kae welcomes people to her farm to see and learn about the cattle and would enjoy the opportunity to help other women get started with basic cattle handling and care.
"No-till Organic Vegetable Production for Small-Scale Producers"
Shiloh Avery, Wilkes County, intends to put her award to use by demonstrating the feasibility of no-till organic farming. A no-till organic system could help farmers improve profitability of crops such as winter squash and pumpkins while also improving the soil health on their farms. Through successful demonstration of organic no-till, this project could provide High Country farmers with the opportunity to see a system that is scale-appropriate and replicable on their own farms.
Stay tuned to learn more about these women and their innovative projects!
2012 Grant Recipient
Holly Whitesides: Food Security through Grain and Seed Production
This project has enabled Holly to develop a market in seed and small grain production.
Her workshop "Seed Saving as a Farm Enterprise" is scheduled for January 24, 2013. More information here.
2011 Grant Recipients
Lee Carlton Swift: Water Conservation System using innovative irrigation and repurpose techniques.
Holly Roark: Used funding to explore the feasibility of top bar hive beekeeping.
Scholarships for Agricultural Conferences
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) regularly offers farmer scholarships to regional sustainable agriculture conferences. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Congratulations to Meredith Duke of Ripshin Goat Dairy and Holly Whitesides of Against the Grain Farm! With the support of the Organic Growers School and AgraQuest, BRWIA sent Meredith to the 2012 Organic Growers School Conference in Asheville.
Congratulations to Holly Whitesides, Ann Rose, Diane Baker, and Dorene Jankowski! Ann and Holly received free registration and lodging for Southern SAWG’s 2011 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference in Chattanooga, TN. Diane and Dorene received scholarships to attend the 2011 Organic Growers School Conference in Asheville, NC.