Mink presents ‘Getting your farm to scale’ workshop Feb. 8

Published 10:02 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Join Mountain BizWorks’ FARE of the Carolinas on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 from 9 a.m.-noon for Lee Mink’s “Getting Your Farm to Scale,” workshop.

The presentation will be held at Mill Spring Agriculture Center. This presentation includes real life examples of how to get your farm to just the right scale, growing not too much and not too little, as well as an opportunity for questions and answers. If you are interested in learning a high-yield system of sustainable agriculture, what to grow and how to grow it, this is a workshop you will not want to miss.

Lee Mink started farming in Alabama as a home gardener in the 1980s, with the aim of providing healthy food for his family. Less-than-ideal soil forced Lee to learn how to improve, conserve and enrich soil organically. This is his first passion for ensuring the highest and healthiest yields off his farms, and he works this instruction into every program he presents.

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“I didn’t choose farming; farming chose me,” Lee said.

As Lee learned more about big agribusiness and its detriments to the health of land and humans, he became an activist in the sustainable farming movement, running year-round workshops and working as a founding-farmer for Slow Food Foothills, a sub-chapter of Slow Food Asheville.

His 2013 farming workshop series encourages the concept that “a sustainable successful tomorrow depends on the gardens we are planting today.”

Today, Mink owns Leap Farm, located in Polk County.

This bio-diverse, GMO-free, sustainable farm specializes in organic methods and growing diversity for local markets. Lee chooses to sell his produce within a 25-mile range 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. Lee is also an expert in marketing and value added products. He sells both direct, wholesale and retail and will share his method for having everything sold before the seeds go in the ground.

The workshop will also cover tips for marketing your business including direct sales, tailgate markets, roadside stands and honor-system stands. Developing your market for everything you grow is key to a successful business plan.

Diversity of crops, specialty crops and value added products are the building blocks of great sales. Diversity spreads risks and increases profitability. Lee is enthusiastic about educating and sharing his agricultural experience. He firmly believes that building successful local economies is based on local agriculture.

This is a presentation you will not want to miss. Join the group at 9 a.m. for coffee and light refreshments. This event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP.

Mountain BizWorks is pleased to sponsor this workshop and to have Lee Mink share his expertise with the community to help local farmers learn to grow their businesses to scale and increase profitability.

“We are lucky to have Lee Mink farming in our community,” said Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell, director of rural entrepreneurship at Mountain BizWorks, “and even luckier that he is so willing to share his knowledge and wisdom with the community.”

Participants are sure to come away with knowledge, connections, and a new way of looking at sustainable agriculture.
Mountain BizWorks is a non-profit organization providing lending, consulting, and training to small businesses in Western NC.

FARE of the Carolinas, an initiative of Mountain BizWorks, aims to build a more vibrant local economy in the region through agriculture and rural enterprise development.

For more information about Mountain BizWorks or this event, contact Ashley Epling, ashley@mountainbizworks.org or 828-253-2834 ext. 27; or register online at www.mountainbizworks.org/calendar.

The ag center is located at 156 School Road, Mill Spring.

– article submitted by Carol Lynn Jackson