Union Grove, NC – Iredell County non-profit We Are All Farmers offers training and experience that can help save the family farm and get the younger generation in touch with a way of life we are in danger of losing.
When We Are All Farmers co-founder Edward Marshall returned to Iredell Co. in 2011 to the farm he lost in 2002, he knew a couple of things for sure: he could not again pull 70 – 80 hour work weeks as he did before as a small organic farmer, and, he could not subject himself again or his family to the isolation of independent homestead living. A little over a year later, through his work with the non-profit agricultural education institute he founded with his wife, he has met both of these goals.
Fall 2012 welcomed both the first class of 15 permaculture students to the We Are All Farmers space in northern Iredell County for a series of weekend workshops on systems design for agriculture and livestock, land management, gardening, and butchering prep and its first sets of WWOOFers—usually younger people interested in learning the ins and outs of organic farming. In exchange for room and board and learning applicable agricultural skills, WWOOFers commit to a certain amount of work hours on the farm or homestead.
This fall’s course focused on teams creating solutions for a local Iredell County homesteader in need of systems to make care of her livestock, property, and horses more manageable for her and her teenaged children.
The workshop drew many participants from surrounding counties, but also from as far away as Maryland. Participant Brian Koser lauded We Are All Farmers for the skills he has learned, “Everything we have learned to date is directly applicable to improving the quality of not only our surroundings, but also the interactions we have with others. Your farm is an amazing place.”
Our upcoming course will also focus on the needs of a site in the Appalachian-Piedmont region. In March 2013 we also will bring permaculture deep into the West Virginia coalfields for a unique volunteer opportunity. Participants in our fall 2012 and spring 2013 permaculture design workshop will be invited to participate in and help facilitate this unique two-day workshop on a reclaimed mine site and also at a community garden for a housing project, potentially teaching up to 40 people from the coal fields some permaculture systems design strategies.
For more information about our spring permaculture design course, to get involved with our volunteering opportunities, or to work with us to provide a free permaculture workshop to your nonprofit or community group, please visit our website at www.weareallfarmers.org.