Friday, July 29, 2011

Become a Friend of the NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program

Budget cuts are forcing us to get creative! If you think our program is valuable and would like us to continue to conduct research on medicinal herbs, organic agriculture, and new crops and to continue offering educational programs and online resources on these topics, please consider becoming a friend of our program by making a donation. Any amount would be helpful. We are requesting these funds to pay for the things that the grants won't usually cover. These are rather mundane, but so very important. Here are some examples: maintenance and parts for our two old pick-up trucks, general office supplies, refreshments to be served at educational programs, printer ink cartridges, long-distance phone charges, and internet charges. To make a donation, print this form, fill it out, and mail it in with a check made payable to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation. All donors will be listed as "Friends" here on my blog and on my websites unless you indicate otherwise. Thank you for your support.

When I first wrote this in July 2011 we were raising funds to pay for a 1997 Ford F-150 pick-up truck which we desperately needed.  My colleague agreed to let us have it if we could buy a camper cover for his other (much newer) truck.  The camper cover cost $1700.  Such a deal! 

UPDATE: As of May 2012, we have two Friends of our program. We were able to buy the camper so we have another pick-up truck in our program. Thank you!

UPDATE: As of January 2013 we have seven Friends of our program. Because of their generosity we were able to put two new tires and windshield wipers on our 1997 Ford pick-up truck, serve refreshments at several of our workshops, and purchase a subscription to a herbal publication we need for our studies. Thank you. I know this sounds like small stuff, but it makes a big difference in our program.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do You Grow or Wild-Harvest Medicinal Herbs? Are You Looking for Local Suppliers of Medicinal Herbs?


  WNC Naturally Events
Do you wild-harvest or grow medicinal herbs?  Are you looking for a buyer?
Do you make products with medicinal herbs? Are you looking for local suppliers?
Are you a forest landowner looking to make some extra income from your land but don’t know which plants to harvest or how to do it sustainably?
Do you want to start cultivating medicinal herbs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, register to attend one of three “WNC Naturally Events” being held in three convenient locations in western North Carolina.  These are inexpensive, participatory events with sessions led by people who have been involved in the natural products (medicinal herb) industry for many years.  They are all the same, so pick the one most convenient for you.
The first event is coming up real soon, so sign up now!  Here are the details:

Events:                 Three WNC Naturally Events
Dates and Locations:
1.  August 6, 2011, The Almond Center, Swain Community College, 60 Almond School Rd., Bryson City, NC 28713           

2.  August 27, 2011, Haynes Confernce Center, AB Tech Enka Campus, 1459 Sandhill Road, (Intersection of US 19/23 and Sandhill Road), Candler, NC 28715.  Directions: Driving directions from I-40 west bound or east bound: Take Exit 44. At the traffic light at the end of the exit ramp, turn right (south on 19/23). Go to the fourth traffic light and turn left on Sand Hill Road. Go to the second entrance on the left and turn into the campus. The Haynes Conference Center will be on your right

3.  October 22, 2011, Mill Spring Agricultural Center, 4 School Road, Mill Spring, NC 28756.  Directions:  From Asheville, take I-26E about 40 miles to Exit 67 toward NC-108/Columbus/Rutherfordton. Go about 1.7 miles and take Exit 163, NC-108 toward Columbus/Mill Spring. Turn left onto NC-108 and go about 3 miles. Turn left onto NC-9N.
Contact:               Alison Dressler, Alison_Dressler@ncsu.edu,
                              828-684-3562

The WNC Natural Products Project, the NC Natural Products Association, and the WNC Forest Products Project invite you to attend one of these events designed to strengthen the natural products industry in western NC.   Growers, wild-harvesters, manufacturers, buyers, and all who are interested in working with or in the natural products industry are invited to attend. These day-long events will consist of short introductory sessions followed by participatory break-out sessions where you choose which topics you want to learn more about. The topics that will be covered include plant identification, voucher preparation, sustainable harvesting techniques, GAPs, cultivation, washing and drying product, packaging, traceability, GMPs, product testing, value-added processing, selling to small local markets, selling wholesale, and business planning. Speakers include buyers, small manufacturers, university researchers, business experts, and more.  Price is $15 per event if you pre-register (up to two days before the event) and $20 at the door. Lunch and light snacks are included.  For more information, or if you would like to have a table to promote your business or organization at one or more of these or would like to sponsor these events, contact Alison at alison_dressler@ncsu.edu or 828-684-3562.  To register on-line, please visit our EventBrite site at: http://wncnaturallyevents.eventbrite.com/.

Speakers include (these may vary from location to location)
·         John Bonham, Mountain BizWorks
·         Annice Brown, Small Business Technology and Development Center
·         Daphne Carson, Mountain BizWorks
·         David Cozzo, Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources
·         Jeanine Davis, Dept. of Horticultural Science, NC State University
·         Kara Errickson, CoCoChi
·         Ed Fletcher, Strategic Sourcing
·         Jackie Greenfield, VP Global Sourcing and Sustainability, Gaia Herbs, Inc.
·         Joe-Ann McCoy, Bent Creek Germplasm Repository, Bent Creek Institute, NC Arboretum
·         Chris Reedy, Blue Ridge Food Ventures
·         Jane Renfroe, Mountain BizWorks
·         Ceil Salvadori, President, New Sun
·         Sarah Schober, Natural Products Laboratory, Bionetwork, A-B Tech Community College
·         Lisa Ziperman, Golden Needle

This notice was provided by Jeanine Davis, Dept. of Horticultural Science, NC State University.  For more information on the projects and the NC Natural Products Association, please visit http://ncherb.org.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vegetable Workshop on July 27, 2011 at the Mountain Research Station


Broccoli variety trial

The Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC will offer a Vegetable Workshop on July 27, 2011 from 1:30 to 5 pm.  This workshop is open to the public and will showcase a wide variety of field studies.  Highlights of the tour include the Organic Unit with studies on heirloom and heirloom-type hybrid tomatoes, cowpeas and pigeon peas, weed control barriers, and a cover crop demonstration.  The North Carolina site for the East Coast Broccoli Project features two plantings (early and late) of 36 varieties of broccoli.  The truffle demonstration orchard with filberts in their second season of growth, will also  be open for viewing (although not officially on the tour).  Additional studies on tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, and other vegetable crops will also be included.  Directions can be found at:   http://www.ncagr.gov/research/mrs.htm.  More information will be posted here as it becomes available.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three Events for Growers, Wild-Harvesters, Manufacturers, and Buyers of Natural Products

Vicky Heatherly working in the Chinese medicinal herb test plots at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River, NC

WNC Naturally-Three Events at Three Locations

August 6, 2011
Almond Center, 60 Almond School Rd., Bryson City, NC

August 27, 2011
Haynes Conference Center, A-B Tech Enka Campus, Enka, NC

October 22, 2011
Mill Spring Agricultural Development Center, 4 School Rd., Mill Spring, NC

All events are from 9 am to 4 pm.

The WNC Natural Products Project, the NC Natural Products Association, and the WNC Forest Products Project invite you to attend these events designed to strengthen the natural products industry in western NC. Growers, wild-harvesters, manufacturers, buyers, and all who are interested in working with or in the natural products industry are invited to attend. These day long events will consist of short introductory sessions followed by participatory break-out sessions where you choose which topics you want to learn more about. The topics that will be covered include plant identification, voucher preparation, sustainable harvesting techniques, GAPs, cultivation, washing and drying product, economics, enterprise budgets, packaging, traceability, GMPs, product testing, value-added processing, selling to small local markets, selling wholesale, and business planning. Speakers include buyers, small manufacturers, university researchers, business experts, and more. Price per event is $15 if you pre-register and $20 at the door. Lunch and light snacks are included. If you would like to have a table to promote your business or organization or would like to sponsor one of these events, we welcome you to contact Alison at alison_dressler@ncsu.edu. For more information and to register, please visit the Event Brite Website.  Since Google doesn't seem to like direct links to this site, please copy and paste this into your browser:  wncnaturallyevents.eventbrite.com 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Updated Announcement for Research Hop Yard Tour-July 16th


If you are a western NC hops grower, considering becoming a hops grower, a local brewer, or just interested in hops, we welcome you to visit our new research hop yard on Saturday, July 16th starting at 9:00 am. The hop yard is located on the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River. Directions (http://www.ncagr.gov/research/MountainHortDirections.htm). When you get to the research station, turn onto Butler Farm Road which is on the opposite side of the road from the station (there will be signs). Follow that out to the hop yard.

The event will take place from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. We will show off the trellis system, explain where we got the poles, hardware, and plants, and tell you why we built it the way we did. There are ten varieties in production that you can study. The sister project in Raleigh will also be described. Cooperators on the project will explain issues related to growing hops in western NC, including diseases, insects, weeds, and marketing. Growers from the Eastern Hops Guild (http://www.easternhopsguild.blogspot.com/) will be present to share some of their experiences, too.

The event will take place rain or shine, so come prepared. There might be a nominal fee of $2 per person to offset the costs of putting on the event, so please bring a little cash. After the event, consider attending the 2nd Annual Hops Festival in Weaverville: http://www.echoviewfarm.com/content.php?s=what's_new.

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To reduce the possibility of spreading diseases or insects from hop yard to hop yard, please do not visit your hop yard right before coming to ours and clean your shoes and hands before entering yours after visiting ours.
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This project and event is made possible with funding from a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant administered through the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.