The Central Appalachian Food and Agricultural Systems Working Group (FASWG) Beginning Farmer is a gathering of individuals working to support the next generation of farmers. This group includes employees of agriculture or community development organizations, researchers and students, and other food system advocates. Our virtual gatherings are open to anyone interested in strategizing around how to move Central Appalachia towards our North Star Goals:

  1. Producers have robust land access across the region that allows Central Appalachia to feed Central Appalachians.
  2. Producers have the support, tools, and capital necessary to establish and sustain their farms.
  3. Farming is equitable and profitable because the risk and reward of farming is balanced.


Similar to other CAN working groups, we meet monthly to strategize, collaborate on regional projects, share resources, and learn from one another. Working groups have four functions:

  • Think tanks focused on understanding and analyzing local and regional needs, economic trends, and gaps in sector capacity and infrastructure
  • Strategy development hubs that build sector capacity and connectivity in key sectors
  • Clearinghouses for resources and technical assistance
  • Peer-learning spaces that develop organizational and leadership capacity for community economic development efforts


We have an open invitation to all who are invested in beginning farmers to join the conversation. We ask that all participants follow our Community Agreements.


This Working Group meets every third Thursday of the month at 10 am EST. Contact CAN to join the meeting.



Beginning Farmer Programs By State – Across central Appalachia, programs are available to beginning and early-career farmers to help them achieve their goal of creating a sustainable farm business. These programs can help beginning farmers develop skills and knowledge to create whole farm business plans, financial management, and more.


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