Organic Growers School
Organic Growers School is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region.
Our hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships strengthen and celebrate each grower’s move towards self-reliance.
Organic Growers School inspires, educates, and supports people to farm, garden, and live organically.
We are building a mutually supportive network of prosperous farmers, productive gardeners and informed consumers engaged in creating healthy communities.
Our History & Work:
The Organic Growers School is a 501c3 non-profit organization that grew out of the volunteer efforts of a group of farmers and extension specialists who, in 1993, gathered to discuss the need for nuts and bolts, region-specific crop growing information applicable for farmers in Western North Carolina. From this meeting, OGS was born, along with a mission to deliver practical information about organic agriculture at a reasonable price.
The first Organic Growers School Spring Conference was held in 1993, with just over 100 participants. Since then, the event has grown exponentially. In 2012, 1906 farmers, gardeners, educators, students, consumers, and chefs gathered from over 18 states and Canada, making the OGS Spring Conference the largest event of it’s type in the Southeast.
In addition to a successful Spring Conference, the OGS offers educational opportunities for organic farmers all year long through our farmer education initiative. CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) in both western NC and eastern TN gathers farmers and their workers together for peer-to-peer, hands on learning about farm production and business management. Apprentice Link matches farmers to farmworkers and offers consultation about structuring labor on the farm.
· Quality and believe that adhering to high standards ensures educational success and participant satisfaction.
· Integrity and believe that care and truthfulness in our words and actions are key to advancing organic farming, gardening, and living.
· Accessibility and affordability and believe that everyone deserves access to information and resources about how to grow organic food and live a healthy life.
· Practicality and believe that OGS’ role is to put useful information in the hands of people striving for a more sustainable life.
· Community and believe that strengthening local connections between people, food, and land builds our individual and collective resilience.
· Organic farming and gardening practices and believe that they benefit the grower, the community, the consumer, and the earth.
· Growing Food and believe that it empowers us to take more control of our lives and to make our communities more resilient.