Monday, December 6, 2010

Catawba Valley Farmers Market Holiday Celebration

Growers' Academy Announcement

Start Your Vegetable Production Business Today

Attend the Growers Academy for Small-Scale Vegetable and Flower Growers

Those with a dream of providing flowers and organic herbs and vegetables to the region will want to attend the Growers Academy.

The Growers Academy is an 8-week learning series offered on Tuesday nights starting January 11, 2011, from 6 – 9 pm, at the VT Roanoke Center in the Roanoke Higher Education Building in downtown Roanoke. The Growers Academy is offered through VT EarthWorks in partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension (

Registration for the Academy is $215 per person for the 8-week series.

You can register online at

Registration is requested by January 5, 2011.


As many know, it is one thing to yearn to sell your backyard’s vegetable bounty to local stores and restaurants. It’s another to master the tools of business plans, loans, and market connections.

The Growers Academy is a learning series designed to build a peer cohort to help new and transitioning vegetable production businesses succeed.

Academy topics include production planning, low-input vegetable production, soils and cover crops, pest and weed management, business plan development, rotational plantings, equipment, marketing, and more. Each weekly session is presented by subject matter experts, including successful producers. Previous participants value hearing from the “local speakers who actually work in the markets, restaurants, and farms.” Participants complete the course with a preliminary business plan for their new enterprise and are provided an opportunity to sell directly at a nearby farmers market.

If you don’t have land and still want to pursue your vegetable production dream. No worries, graduates of the Growers Academy receive a preliminary membership to VT EarthWorks and are eligible to lease land through VT EarthWorks at the Catawba Sustainability Center in Catawba, VA.

For more information, contact Christy Gabbard, Director of VT Earthworks (tel. 540-767-6114; email:, or Sheri Dorn, Virginia Cooperative Extension – Roanoke (tel. 540-772-7524; email: for more information or to receive a Growers Academy registration form.