PO Box 67 | Lower Level, 171 Grand Blvd
Boone, NC 28607
General About the Organization/Mission
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.
The basis of the local food system should be able to protect the environment, strengthen the local economy, alleviate hunger and poverty, and continuously improve community health.
We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape.
There are a lot of women farmers that don't always have access to all the resources they need to get their farm started. Bankers even now still disregard women's business ideas that fallout without proper funding. Despite the work load of being a farmer, women are fully capable to farm effectively and the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture focuses on this issue. It helps promote women farmers as a community, which before the organization there was no true cohesive bringing that together. Connections and education among the women is a major platform for this enterprise. Many different aspects of the food system are pulled together to communicate ideas through the Blue Ridge Women resource platform.
|Type of Organization||Non-profit|
Phone Number: 828.386.1537
Issues of Focus
The Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is dedicated to strengthening High County's local food system, not only does it support local women working for the community but also supports their families with resources, education and skills that all aim towards the greater goal of understanding and implementing sustainable food systems and agriculture. Long term goals of the organization include:
- Increase the economic viability of farming and food processing, especially among women.
- Encourage farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices.
- Educate the public about sustainable food and agriculture.
- Improve food security.
To support building these local sustainable food systems and increase the economic viability of farmers one can join the Blue Ridge Women by becoming a member of the foundation.
History of Organization
In 2003, The Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture had begun as a grassroots project by a group a women farmers, gardeners and agricultural supporters. All they needed was space and support to kickstart their network of sharing resources and information. Only a year later in 2004, the ladies obtained the 501 (c) 3 non profit status in order to advance the organization's mission and work to create positive change in our community surrounding sustainable agriculture.
Programs and Projects
- Blue Ridge CRAFT: Blue Ridge Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) cultivates meaningful mentor relationships between aspiring and experienced farmers. We believe that the educational and professional development of tomorrow’s growers and producers informs the health of our diverse local-food system and rural economy. The CRAFT has internship listings for the High Country and workshops for farmer training. (Website)
- Annual High Country Farm Tour: The Farm Tour connects the public with local food sources, teaches consumers how food grows, and allows all of us to celebrate agricultural heritage while enjoying our rural landscape. In 2014, the Tour featured 20 diverse farms across three counties in the High Country. Takes place the first weekend in August. Website
- HomeGrown Workshop Series: Throughout the year, we partner with local experts to present seasonal, educational workshops that promote sustainable living and self-sufficiency. These workshops are meant to serve as educational tools to raise awareness for our local food system. We know that healthy food systems depend upon community support and provide opportunities for people outside of the farming community to learn about local agriculture and actively participate. Community workshops, events, and meetings are designed to encourage and reawaken the High Country's appreciation for the local food system. Link
- Profile Project: Occasionally throughout the year we profile a Woman in Agriculture in our region. These women are diverse - they have come from a variety of backgrounds and include farmers, homesteaders, and activists. They exemplify the multitude of ways women are working to connect with and change our food system. Link
- Greening My Plate: A series of events in spring are organized by the 'Greening My Plate Gang', a coalition of non-profits and individuals. This coalition is dedicated to improving the economic and personal health of our community by encouraging the consumption of fresh, locally produced food. BRWIA is one of the core member organizations and hosts the website where the events are posted.
- Subscribe to BRWIA Newsletter: The best way to stay connected with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is to receive our monthly e-newsletter! Our newsletter is full of events and opportunities put on by us or other organizations. Although not all your information is required - the more you tell us, the better we can serve you. Subscribe to stay tuned to all the sustainable farming and local food happenings in the High Country!
- Become a member of BRWIA: Financial support from people who understand the importance of BRWIA’s work is essential to fulfilling our long-term vision of an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable food system in the High Country. Your support of female farmers, producers, and ranchers is critical to helping more women enter farming and earn a livable income. Membership benefits include a free copy of the Blue Ridge Farm Book : A Series of Farm Profiles from Northwest North Carolina, $5 discount on BRWIA's HomeGrown Workshops, and more.
- Donate: If you want to simply donate some money instead of becoming BRWIA member, you can go to this Paypal link. Your donation will help BRWIA continue working to support local farms and farmers, build a strong local food economy, and educate our communities about food and farms.
- Volunteer: There are a variety of ways to volunteer at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. Whether you are helping us raise funds or educating the average eater, our volunteer opportunities provide a fulfilling way to support the High Country food system. No matter your skill set or level of time commitment, we can always use an extra hand. Thank you for your support! Email[email protected] with your interest for more information.
- Board Commitee Opportunities: Currently, we are looking for individuals to work on our Board Committees. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please email [email protected] Thank you for your interest in us and our work!
- Purchase from BRWIA Store: Items from our lovely store include an organic cotton BRWIA tote bag, a Farm Tour t-shirt, a BRWIA baseball cap, and a collection of 10 High Country Farm Tour greeting cards.
Partners and Frequent Collaborators
- High Country Local First
- Hospitality House of Boone
- Watauga County Farmers' Market
- North Carolina Extension Service, Watauga County
- The Clabough Foundation
Future Developments for This Wiki
- Further information on Partners working with the women.