Mink to give sustainable agriculture workshop Nov. 17

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mountain BizWorks on Thursday, Nov.17 from 6-8 p.m. will host Lee Mink’s free Sustainable Agricultural Workshop at the Mill Spring Ag Center.

The presentation will include real-life examples of challenges faced by the agricultural community, what to grow and how to grow it, marketing your business, as well as an opportunity for questions.

Mink started farming in Alabama as a home gardener in the 80s, with the aim of providing healthy food for his family. Less-than-ideal soil forced him to learn how to manage soil in the best way… through experience. He is a great proponent of using cover crops, green manure and compost to improve soil health.

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As Mink learned more about big agribusiness and its detriments to the health of land and humans, he became an activist in the sustainable farming movement.

Today, Mink owns Leap Farm in Polk County. This bio-diverse, GMO-free, sustainable farm specializes in organic methods. Mink chooses to sell his produce within 25 miles of the farm. He insists that at its essence, sustainable farming is all about local service – local farms providing food to local residents and restaurants. Mink is also an expert in marketing and value added products. He sells both wholesale and retail and knows there is a home for everything he plants when he plants it.

Mink is enthusiastic about educating and sharing his agricultural experience with people, especially young people. Additionally, this avid seed saver will create a passion in anyone that has an ear to hear about the awareness concerning the relationships among soil, plants, seeds, weather, the cycles of the year, and our roles as stewards that preserve this knowledge for future generations.

Mountain BizWorks (mountainbizworks.org) is a non-profit community development financial institution that provides lending, consulting, and training to small businesses in Western N.C. Its Community Agriculture Business Alliance (CABA) aims to build a more vibrant local economy in the region through agriculture.

Bring a dish and enjoy the peer group environment and networking session.

For more information about Mountain BizWorks or this event, call Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell at 828-894-1000, June Ellen Bradley at 828-899-2789, or Lynn Sprague at 828-894-2281.

This project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2010-49400-21817.

– article submitted by Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell