Last Tuesday me and Grow Appalachia participant Richard Mason were given the opportunity to attend the “Small, Limited Resource, Minority Farms Conference” at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. This opportunity was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Clay County Extension Office/Clay County Ag Development Council and Red Bird Mission’s Grow Appalachia and Red Bird Farmers Project programs. We spent two days in tracks learning the many valuable resources available for small farmers in Kentucky. We also had time to speak with other farmers and find out what they were doing with their farms and what kind of problems and successes they have had.  I learned a lot of new ideals for planting and some helpful hints on Farmer’s Markets. We also learned of ways to create income from your forested property from timber improvement grants to cultivating medicinal plants such as Golden seal and Ginseng that can be sold annually.
Small Farmers conference at Kentucky State University

Small Farmers conference at Kentucky State University

 Small Farmers conference at Kentucky State University

 Small Farmers conference at Kentucky State University

Harvest Display on KSU campus

Farmers conference at Kentucky State University

some conference particpants back at the Capital Plaza Hotel

Red Bird Mission Grow Appalachia Field Worker
Chad Brock At Capital Plaza Hotel

Conference Banquet and awards ceremony

Conference Banquet and awards ceremony
Thursday, November 17, 2011, Red Bird Mission held a workshop on Exploring Entrepreneurship for Grow Appalachia participants and members of the Red Bird Farmers Project. The speaker Ian Mooers, is the Executive Director for the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology at Eastern Kentucky University. He explained what entrepreneurship is and explored real possibilities for some of our farmers.   He discussed recognizing opportunities to start a business and what resources are available and provided participants with handouts on how to develop a business plan.  He encouraged farmers to contact him for an individualized discussion, as these and many more services are free.  He shared information about many of the free services availa
ble through the Kentucky Small Business Development Center.  We had twenty five participants come to the workshop which was a pretty good turnout.
To learn more about the EKU Center for Economic Development Entrepreneurship and Technology services go to, or contact Ian Mooers at
To learn more about the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s free planning, consulting and training services you can go to and click “resources”.
Other business resources: MACED   The New Horizons Project provides financing and technical assistance to existing or startup businesses in Kentucky’s 54 Appalachian counties.  The goal is to create employment opportunities for low-income people.
Jeff Casada, the Clay County Extension Ag Agent also shared training and grant opportunities in the County.  There is a grant to assist with registration to the upcoming SSAWG Conference in Arkansas.  He requested feedback from our participants to help develop the next 4 year plan for the Extension office to meet community adult educational needs. Last he discussed that Clay County has been approved for CAIP (County Agriculture Investment Program) funding.  Advertisements will be in the local newspaper soon.
After the work shop we distributed fruit trees to participants who had requested them. Participants were very thankful for the trees and overall well pleased with the workshop.
Jeff Casada Clay County Ag agent
Jeff Casada giving Rodney Caldwell a handout

Ian Mooer

workshop presenter

Workshop Presenter, Ian Mooer and some of our participants

Henry and Georgia Ledford
Grow Appalachia Participants
left:Tracy Nolan ,Director of Community Outreach at Red Bird Mission/Grow Appalchia Technical Support
right: Jeff Casada                                                                                              

Field Worker,
Chad Brock