Historical contributions, local foods, and farming for the millennial generation are the centerpieces of the 2014 celebration of small-scale agriculture in North Carolina, sponsored annually by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The 28th annual observance of Small Farms Week is March 23-29, and features workshops, tours, demonstrations and the announcement of the 2014 Small Farmer of the Year.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the official founding of Cooperative Extension, established nationwide in 1914 by the landmark Smith-Lever Act, congressional legislation.
This year’s Small Farms Week theme of “Innovations for the Next Generation,” is emphasized through activities that include demonstrations at A&T’s University Farm for middle-school students; the screening of a film on urban agriculture, planned for a student audience; and a guest lecture by Robin Emmons, a young urban farmer whose concerns over food justice led her to establish and direct the organization, Sow Much Good.
Small Farms Week recognizes the small-scale producers in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less, annually, in agricultural gross sales.
Activities for the week are scheduled for:
Monday, March 24 - Small Farms Week Kickoff, Boone, N.C. 9:30 a.m. to noon - Boone First United Methodist Church, 471 New Market Blvd., Keynote Speaker, Dr. Manuel Reyes, professor, Biological Engineering Program, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, N.C. A&T. 1:30 p.m., tours of local farms in Watauga County, Panoramic Tree Farm and Moretz Mountain Orchard and Farms. 6 to 8 p.m. Webb Hall Auditorium, N.C. A&T, urban agriculture documentary screening, “Growing Cities.”
Tuesday, March 25 - N.C. A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C. 8 a.m. to noon, A&T University Farm, 3136 McConnell Road; Discover Agriculture: middle school students explore agriculture and agricultural careers (session full). 12:30 to 4 p.m., Coltrane Hall area of A&T; tours depart for Farlow Farm in Archdale and Smith Farm and Greenhouses in Gibsonville. 6 to 8 p.m. N.C. A&T, Academic Classroom Building Auditorium; Urban Agriculture Presentation by Robin Emmons, founder and executive director, Sow Much Good. A CNN Hero 2013, Emmons encourages students to think about their leadership and to use their skills to address food-system needs in African American communities. She will share what motivated her to start Sow Much Good, what she’s learned in creating an urban farm and how A&T and other universities can help communities establish access to healthy local food, employment and equal opportunities.
Wednesday, March 26 - Small Farmers’ Appreciation Day and Educational Forum, N.C. A&T State University. 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Academic Classroom Building, Atrium, Benbow Road. Educational/ Vendor Fair and Local Foods Tasting. Visit more than 20 booths representing all aspects of farming. Noon to 2 p.m., Small Farmers’ Appreciation Luncheon, Alumni-Foundation Event Center at A&T, Benbow Road, (advance registration required). Keynote speaker Dr. Ralph D. Christy, the J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. For more information about events, visit: www.ag.ncat.edu and click on “Cooperative Extension.”