A video series by Growing Minds
Meet some of the people who grow your food! Our Meet Your Farmer and Junior Farm Tour videos provide students and families with virtual tours of family farms in Western North Carolina. Each video is paired with complementary educational resources, including comprehension questions, lesson plans, and more.
Cooperative Tierra Fértil es una cooperativa agrícola hispana, propiedad de trabajadores, en Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte. Conozca a María y Delia, miembros de la cooperativa, y escuche cómo este proyecto surgió de los sueños personales y colectivos de promover el acceso a los recursos y la capacidad de producir alimentos y estimular la justicia alimentaria y la equidad racial en el sistema alimentario y agrícola local.
Tierra Fértil Coop is a Hispanic, worker-owned farm cooperative in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Meet coop members Maria and Delia and hear how this project stemmed from personal and collective dreams of promoting access to resources and the capacity to produce food and stimulate food justice and racial equity in the local food and agricultural system.
Farmers Danielle Keeter and Mark McDonagh are co-owners of Mighty Gnome Market Garden in Waynesville, NC. They believe that a small farm can have a profound impact on their local food economy. They grow fresh, seasonal produce as sustainably as possible, all while following organic methods. Danielle explains that “everything is done by hand, we’re not riding on the back of a tractor. It’s just the two of us doing all of this. My favorite part about running the Market Garden is a toss-up between eating really great food and the community that has surrounded us here.”
Meet Farmer Chloe Moore, the farm manager for Southside Community Farm, an urban food space in the historically black Southside neighborhood in Asheville, NC. “Our focus is on community food. A farm like this is really important. It’s a place that people can come and enjoy being outside, where they can access free healthy food, and come together as a community and connect over food,” said Chloe.
The Liar’s Table Farm and Market resides in what was once an iconic greasy spoon in Elk Park, North Carolina in Avery County. The restaurant was home to the “Liars Table,” an open table where anyone could pull up a chair, order a cup of coffee, and be sure to hear some tall tales. Learn how farmers Amos and Kaci Nidiffer started their farm as a hobby and how it grew to support their community. “We hope that people will be able to access some fresh food, especially in Elk Park, we don’t have a grocery store. Our market is a lot more convenient for people,” said Kaci.
Lee’s One Fortune Farm is a small family owned farm located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in McDowell County. The Lee family is part of a community of Hmong farmers. The Hmong people are native to Laos and Vietnam, and many came to the United States as refugees after the Vietnam War. Western North Carolina is home to one of the largest Hmong communities in the United States. Lee’s One Fortune Farm specializes in growing Asian produce. They sell their produce at farmers markets where they encourage customers to try foods that they may have never had before!
The Forest Farmacy is a 30 acre forest farm nestled in Madison County, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kat Houghton and Chris Parker bring together their passions for fungus, food sovereignty, healing, soul, myth, mystery, mycelium and re-culturing.
The best part of being a farmer for Kat is “being so close to the natural world all the time. We are very dependent on what the weather is doing or what the animals are doing, how the plants and mushrooms are doing. I really enjoy that.”
Farmer Daniel Bryant practices minimal-to-no-till agriculture and takes great effort to nourish living soil while farmer Ellie Goldstein focuses on supplying and supporting the local community with rich produce, like their winter carrots. Find out why winter carrots are their favorite and what it takes to be good stewards of the environment.
Meet brother and sister Jorge and Paty Tomas of Tomas C Farms in Marion, NC. “Our vision for the farm is to try to improve the farm, help the community, help the environment, do best in taking care of the soil. Farming is not easy. Sometimes you have weather, diseases. You have to enjoy every moment. You have to go out and say okay, I can do this, I can do this better. I like farming. It’s a job, but I enjoy it,” said Jorge.
Meet Malcolm and the Banks family, the farmers at Yellow Mountain Garden in Franklin, NC. Set the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you will learn about small farming, agriculture, and why Malcolm grows a little bit of everything. The farm is set in the middle of a wetland area so you will see a lot of radishes being grown. You will also learn what motivates Malcolm and his family to be farmers, their community visions, and goals to help support food deserts with their local crops.
Meet Terry and Debbie Perry, the farmers at Perry’s Berry’s, a blueberry farm in Morganton, NC. Learn all about what blueberries do, what their health benefits are, and what the Perry family loves about farming. Perry’s Berry’s is an organic farm, they do not use pesticides on their crops. Their blueberries have a fruit sugar scale measurement of 13% on the brix scale, two times the normal fruit sugar of a normal blueberry. Plan a trip to Perry’s Berry’s, try a blueberry, and taste the sweetness of their fruit for yourself!
Join eight year old junior farmer Lyra for a tour of her family’s farm in Haywood County, NC. Two Trees Farm (home of the Sustainabillies, aka Lyra and her parents Sara and Dustin) is a sustainable homestead focused on supporting a healthy, diverse ecosystem while also growing food.
From picking blueberries and tasting garden-grown lettuce, to polliwogging for tadpoles and digging for worms, Lyra shares with other kids what it’s like to live on a small farm in the Appalachian Mountains.
Ever wondered how apples are grown in Western North Carolina? Join Natalie, Rylie, and JJ–the junior farmers at TK Family Farm in Rutherfordton, NC–for a kid’s perspective on growing apples and living on a farm. Hear about how farmers like the Klimstra family help to take care of their land, along with how apples are planted, grown, and processed for sale. JJ also shares his favorite things to do on the farm, plus tips for buying apples at the family’s self-serve farm stand!
Join junior farmer Finley Sleight for a tour of his family’s farm in Western North Carolina. Ever wonder what radishes taste like? Fin will tell you, plus give you tips on what to make with them! Fin also explains how farming requires experimentation and perseverance, and shows off some of the crops his family grows for local farmers markets, including one of his favorite veggies, dino kale.
Kituwah is the Mother Town–or original home–of the Cherokee people. The Cherokee have a long agricultural history, with community at its core. In this Meet Your Farmer video, join three members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians–Ty Boyd, David Anderson, and Mike Crowe–to learn about the history of this sacred place. See how Ty, David, Mike and others continue to farm their ancestral land communally, growing crops like potatoes, curly mustard greens, collards, pumpkins, sweet corn, and blueberries.
Cabbage is the key ingredient in many Southern Appalachian dishes, like coleslaw. In our latest Meet Your Farmer video, see how cabbage is grown at Deal Family Farms, a multi-generational farm located in Franklin, NC. Meet some members of the Deal family, including farmer Joe and his teenage son, Braxton. Find out what vegetables cabbage is related to, learn about photosynthesis, and see the difference between an immature cabbage head and one that’s fully grown and ready to harvest.
Spend an afternoon with farmer Chue Lee and her daughter Ariel at Lee’s One Fortune Farm in McDowell County, North Carolina. The Lee’s grow many interesting crops on their family farm, including the purple sweet potatoes and bok choy (an Asian leafy green vegetable that is related to cabbage) seen in this video. They also grow Asian pears and persimmons, bitter melon, several varieties of rice, and more. The Lee’s sell their produce at farmers tailgate markets throughout Asheville. Learn more about the history of this family farm and the rice they grow.
Meet Loretta Ball, the farmer and floral designer at The Never Ending Flower Farm in Barnardsville, NC. Loretta runs the farm with help from her husband, mother, and two sons, Quinn and Ledger. Loretta’s farming roots go back to her family’s tobacco farm. She and her family also grew a vegetable garden for many years, which gradually transformed into the u-pick flower farm business they run today. Watch our interview with Loretta to learn more about her family’s farm and the beautiful flowers they grow there.
Meet Chris and Cullen Owen, farmers at Spinning Spider Creamery, an artisan goat dairy in Marshall, NC. Learn about why the Owen’s chose to become farmers, find out what they love most about farming, and learn about the cheese making process. Learn more about Spinning Spider Creamery. Find Growing Minds educational resources that compliment this video below.