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ASD’s Agroforestry Program was founded in 2010 with the goal of helping farmers adopt agroforestry practices that support both conservation and specialty crop production. Historically, ASD has worked with government agencies to establish multifunctional riparian forest buffers with useful fruit and nut trees and shrubs along waterways, as well as food forests along public walking trails. Currently, ASD has funding to help farmers establish, process and market forest botanicals in a forest farming system or field grown medicinal herbs in an alley cropping system.

What Is Agroforestry?

Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees and/or shrubs are grown with crops and/or livestock. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has a variety of environmental and economic benefits, including crop diversification, soil erosion reduction, water quality improvement, wildlife habitat enhancement, and much more! There are several agroforestry practices, including: forest farmingriparian forest buffersalley croppingsilvopasturewindbreaks, and food forests.

What Are The benefits?


  • Increase diversity of crops and income
  • Improve yield and productivity
  • Enhance product quality
  • Maximize full economic potential of land
  • Energy bill conservation


  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce soil erosion and improve soil health
  • Increase pollinator and wildlife habitat
  • Mitigate risks of climate change
  • Increase biodiversity


  • Increase food access
  • Noise cancellation from roads, etc.
  • Block and filter pollution
  • Visual screens
  • Aesthetic landscape

Donate today and help Appalachian farmers finally make a profit forest farming, while also conserving at-risk medicinal plants. Your donation, no matter the size, makes a big difference for the people, plants and future of Appalachia.

Agroforestry Practices

Forest Farming: Cultivation and/or stewardship of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the forest understory.

Alley Cropping: Rows of trees or shrubs planted with herbaceous crops in between in the “alleyways”.

Interested in establishing these practices on your farm? Complete our Agroforestry Assistance Application below!

Assistance Application

Complete our agroforestry assistance application to see what services we can offer you!

If you are a landowner interested in diversifying your income, agroforestry may be a fit for you!

Please complete the application so we can learn a little more about your land, interests, and experiences. We can then offer assistance ranging from access to our newsletter, a technical assistance phone call, and/or an on-farm site visit based on our funding and availability. The demand for high quality, ethically sourced herbs is growing, so join the local herb farming movement today!

Please read the application description before starting the application.

Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub

Ready to process and market your medicinal herbs to premium priced buyers? Check out the Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub in Duffield, VA for assistance to help get you started!

Funding & Research Opportunities

Check out ASD’s guide to funding sources for Forest Farming, Alley Cropping, and Silvopasture.

Email Katie Commender for more information.

  • Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is now seeking mini-grant applications from Virginia nurseries to help expand the Commonwealth’s capacity to grow native forest botanical planting stock in bulk, wholesale quantities. In order to increase the number of sustainable forest farms in Virginia, farmers require increased access to bulk, wholesale quantities of forest botanicals for cost-effective farm establishment. The goal of this program is to establish 4 acres of forest botanical nursery stock to meet the growing wholesale demands of forest farmers in Virginia. This program is sponsored by a Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) grant.
  • Read the full Request for Proposal and apply at (Button linked to
  • Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is now seeking applications from forest farmers in Virginia for cost-share funding for forest botanical planting stock. This funding is intended to help start or expand a forest farming operation, by offsetting the start-up cost of planting stock. Forest farming helps preserve at risk forest botanical species by reducing stress on wild populations. This cost-share opportunity is made possible by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Regional Revitalization Commission (TRRC).
  • Read the full Request for Proposals and apply at (Button linked to

Upcoming Events

The Agroforestry Team

Katie Commender

Agroforestry Director

Email Katie | 276.623.1121

Ciera Wilbur

Forest Farming VISTA

Email Ciera | 276.623.1121

Chloe Yates

Agroforestry VISTA

Email Chloe | 276.623.1121

Michelle Bouton

Herbal Ed. Associate

Email Michelle | 276.623.1121

Robin Suggs

Procurement Manager

Email Robin | 276.623.1121


We have a collection of agroforestry resources, including information on planting, forest botanicals, native fruits and nuts, markets and more!

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