WVU Extension Agent Brandy E. Brabham (L) and Nola Wilson,
WV SARE's Outreach Coordinator (R) presents Bob Gregory
with the Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Award
Bob and Lynnita Gregory of Berea Gardens Agricultural Center in Orma, WV were one of four recipients of the 2012 Innovative Sustainable Producers in West Virginia Award sponsored by West Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) at the 2012 West Virginia University Extension Service's Small Farm Conference in Morgantown earlier this month.
This recognition celebrates the professional, innovative and sustainable approach of West Virginia farmers, showcasing their passion and raising the profile of the important role they play in West Virginia.
The recognition is designed to promote a positive image of West Virginia farmers and inspire and encourage career choices and investment in West Virginia agriculture.
"Bob and Lynnita Gregory deserve to be recognized as role models for other farmers across the state," says local WVU Extension Agent, Brandy Brabham.
Brabham nominated the Gregorys because she believes that they fit the criteria for using a whole-farm systems approach that enhances, rather than harms, natural resources.
While new to the area, the Gregorys have experienced success in making sustainable farming systems economically viable over the long term. They also lead and participate in several activities that support the community. They are committed to both the Calhoun County Farmers Market and the Grantsville Farmers Market.
They have been involved in the Calhoun County Health Coalition as part of the Change the Future West Virginia Initiative and lead several agricultural courses at their facilities on Milo Road.
They have also engaged the community by hosting workshops and partnering with local agencies to promote the importance of locally grown food and even explore the development of a produce growers group in the Mid-Ohio Valley Region.
Their farm is a diversified vegetable, fruit, and staple crop operation geared toward providing food self-sufficiency and also allowing for sufficient production to meet our economic needs through marketing to the community.
They currently use 4 of our 120 acres for intensive food production using a combination of high tunnels, low tunnels, raised beds and field culture systems.
They are in the process of planting and propagating a number of fruit tree varieties, as well as small fruits, mostly berries & grapes, with the intention of establishing an additional 4 acres of fruit crops.
To learn more about Berea Gardens and the Gregory's work, check their website at bereagardens.org
To learn more about WV SARE's educational resources and grants through the Northeast SARE region go to nesare.org