FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/06/2016 Contact: Tamara McNaughton Agriculture Program Manager Executive (276.623.1121)


Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) announces Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge winners

Abingdon, Virginia, December 6, 2016 – Appalachian Sustainable Development, a local non-profit committed to transitioning Appalachia by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food, announce three winners of the Whole Farm Business Plan Challenge. The winners are: Richard Calkins, Camille Cody and Denise Peterson. The challenge was offered by ASD with support from the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and corporate partners, BB&T and Wells Fargo.

From September through early November, eighteen farmers in northeast Tennessee and far southwest Virginia participated in a series of six webinars covering topics such as: business planning, financial needs assessments, forms of incorporation, record keeping and more; all elements critical to a farmer’s success. Over the course of the webinars, farmers wrote sound business plans and submitted them to the Challenge for scoring. Awardees were selected based on these scores. Many of the farmers that participated are beginning farmers who have either just started farming in the last couple years, have been working on other people’s farms and just starting their own, or whose families have farmed for generations and they are taking the farm in new directions.

Tamara McNaughton, ASD’s Agriculture Program Manager shares, “ASD strives to offer workshops on topics requested by growers. We’re always looking to offer necessary education and support to food farmers growing for local markets and help create the infrastructure and technical skills they need to be successful in building a thriving local food system.”

About the winners:

Richard Calkins started Harbin Hill Farms in Mountain City, Tennessee in 2015. His vision is to develop a financially successful and environmentally sustainable intensive market farming operation based on an integrated production model involving an apiary, organic produce and free range poultry. Calkins wants his farm to be a progressive agricultural enterprise, one that combines the powers of nature with the best available technology to deliver the highest quality products to his customers.

Camille Cody manages Serenity Knoll Farm in Jonesborough, Tennessee which cultivates an acre of Certified Naturally Grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs. Cody has an educational background in Holistic Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture and has worked on several different farms across the country and internationally, and teaches cooking and herbalism workshops in the off-season. Cody hopes to operate Taproot Farm in the near future. Taproot Farm will be a Certified Naturally Grown small scale diversified produce farm focusing on using sustainable methods of cultivation and production. Her mission is to grow a diverse array of nutrient-rich, high-quality produce in as sustainable a manner as possible and to connect with a variety of local customers in order to build and enhance a local food system.

Denise Peterson has been operating Blue Door Garden in Abingdon, Virginia for 15 years. Blue Door Garden is Peterson’s full-time endeavor where she and her husband aim to offer the best full-service, locally-grown floral services to discerning customers in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee by growing the freshest blooms using earth-friendly, organic practices and by providing personalized service in the harvest, design and installation of stunning floral arrangements.

About Whole Farm Business Planning:

The 2016 Whole Farm Business Planning webinars have been archived and are available for viewing on the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition website at

Folks that need support in writing a farm business plan should complete the quick survey at to express their interest.

About Appalachian Sustainable Development

Appalachian Sustainable Development is dedicated to its mission to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people with healthy food. Since 1995, ASD has been serving northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. As ASD’s work continues, it will expand its focus to include regional partnerships that build important connections to increase market access and bring necessary resources to the rural communities in its physical footprint. ASD operates programs in sustainable agriculture and food access. For more information please visit, Facebook or Twitter.

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