“Caught in the middle, our small farmers struggle to balance wages with prices the market will bear, while treating workers fairly.”
Elmore rode a variety of routes around Leicester and north Buncombe County, beginning and ending at his own doorstep at Thatchmore Farm in Leicester. “It started off pretty slow — maybe 30 miles a week — and worked up to over 100 miles a week,” he says, noting that he ended the tour with a 100-mile day.
A program of the USDA shares the cost of organic certification with farmers, reducing the burden of obtaining organic certification and accessing a broader market for their produce. A recent change places the administration of the program with the Farm Service Agency, which operates out of 72 local offices across North Carolina.
A new program from Organic Growers School, WNC FarmLink and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy called Farm Pathways will combine peer support and land access with a structured curriculum centered around farm production and business.