BRWIA announces grant recipients
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) announces the recipients for the 2014 Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant program.
For four years, the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant has assisted the local food system by supporting female farmers, ranchers and processors who plan to create innovative, sustainable solutions to production or marketing obstacles in the High Country.
This year, two awards of $2,000 have been presented to Elise McLaughlin and Amy Fiedler.
McLaughlin, of Blowing Rock, will use her award to plant a multilayer demonstration orchard, producing apples, pears, stonefruits, berries, fruiting vines, nitrogen-fixing plants and beneficial insect attractors, as well as benefitting birds and other wildlife. This orchard will maximize production, while minimizing single-crop risks, she said. McLaughlin will use the orchard as a demonstration site for a permaculture course at Appalachian State University and for other local farmers and beekeepers.
Fiedler owns and operates Springhouse Farm, a certified organic farm in Vilas. She plans to use her award to diversify her farm after intense flooding wiped out most of her crop in the summer of 2013. She will offer an alternative to factory-farmed pork by starting her own Certified Humane pastured pig and pork operation. She aims to become a premier local source of feeder pigs and an instructor to local farmers on humane pastured pork production.
“The Mary Boyer Sustainable Agriculture and Food Grants memorialize an extraordinary woman, and I believe Mary would be pleased to have her name associated with these grants because they serve a genuine-need population in this area,” BRWIA board member Amy Galloway said. “These grants are small, but they have the potential to produce a meaningful change in the professional lives of the recipients and to allow them to scale up their practices in modest increments.”
More information about the Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture grant and BRWIA’s programs can be found at http://www.brwia.org.