Current Projects

Will and Maggie BowlingMaggie and Will Bowling grow organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers on their 55-acre farm near Oneida in Clay County. Products are sold in markets in Manchester and Hazard, to food services including Manchester Memorial Hospital, and area restaurants including Thersey’s in Manchester. Produce can be order directly through the Old Homeplace Farm website at In addition, Maggie was previously the Grow Appalachia site coordinator at Pine Mountain Settlement in Harlan County. The SOAR Production Loan Fund provided Maggie & Will Bowling a loan to purchase a new 30’x 90’ high tunnel greenhouse.

jJ3Founded in 2010 by Julian Turpin as a roadside fruit stand near Somerset, J & J Farm Produce Market & Deli sells organic vegetables, fruit and other produce grown by the owner and the Amish community in Lincoln County. The company also supplies produce to local supermarkets in Pulaski County. The SOAR Production Loan Fund provided the J & J Farm Produce financing to purchase coolers and a cargo trailer to transport produce.

StanleyandLundyJohn Stanley and Heather Lundy – Moving to the Bybee area of rural Madison County from Nova Scotia in early 2014, John and Heather continued the organic farming efforts they had begun seven years earlier. They’ve started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and began to sell their products at the Farmer’s Market in Berea. Their 11-acre farm includes eleven 2,500 s.f. plots growing a variety of produce, two high tunnels constructed by Grow Appalachia, free-range chickens for eggs and a number of herbs. With the $7,500 working capital loan from the SOAR Production Farm Loan Fund, John and Heather will extend their farm practices that conserve and build soil health, expand their produce operation, add more laying hens and grow their CSA for next year.

Melanie Gross photo for onlineMelanie Gross, along with her husband James, have been involved with organic farming and Grow Appalachia for several years. With the SOAR Production Farm Loan, the Gross’ will purchase several beehives and bees to expand their honey operation and construct a high tunnel greenhouse to add vegetables to their mix of products.

PhotoLCLaurel County African American Heritage Center - Founded in 2004 by Wayne Riley.  He lived with relatives near Mill Street and 14th Street in London.  The family land includes approximately 7-acres which is currently the site of the Grow Appalachia gardens which Mr. Riley manages as the County Coordinator.  The project involves the Laurel County African American Heritage Center relocating a house that has been donated by the city of London to a new site next to the center.  The house, which is in good condition, was scheduled to be torn down to make room for an expansion of the Community Center.  The SOAR Small Production Fund loan of $7,500 will be used to help relocate the house which is being converted into a community kitchen.

DengelphotoPaul and Cortney Dengel - The Dengels have a 3-acre farm in Whitley County where they grow organic vegetables over three seasons in a 30’x72’high tunnel.  Produce includes tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, kale and carrots.  They are certified Organic Producers by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as well as members of the Whitley County Farmers’ Market.  The SOAR Small Production Loan of $7,500 is being used to purchase additional equipment, including a PTO driven Rotary Tiller and a chisel plow.  In addition, they will air condition their Cool bot cold storage unit will and purchase a trailer to become a mobile cold storage unit.  

ValCarmichaelPhoto2Valerie Carmichael – Valerie Carmichael operates a dairy herd share program from her 17-acre farm in the White Oak community of Whitley County.  The dairy herd currently includes seven cows, primarily Jersey and Guernsey, with some cross between breeds.  Each person that owns a share of the herd is entitled to receive a certain amount of raw milk each week.  The typical share owner is entitled to receive one gallon of raw milk each week and will pay $7.00 as a fee for the farm providing feed and labor in caring for the herd.  The Carmichael herd share program has approximately 50 owners.  The SOAR Small Production Loan of $7,500 will be used to upgrade the milking room and milk processing area.  The project will winterize and heat the milking room; place concrete on the milking room floor and entry/exit areas; construct an elevated stanchion; purchase a new hay feeder, and, purchase a refrigerator for additional milk storage.  This will allow Ms. Carmichael to increase her herd and milk production.

Fox BrothersFox Brothers Farms – Donnie and Daniel Fox have been growing 3-4 acres of produce in the Canadatown community of rural Whitley County for more than 10-years. Retired teachers, the brothers focus on corn, watermelons, beans and tomatoes. Their products are sold through the two Whitley County Farmer’s Markets, at their roadside produce stand and by direct sales. With the SOAR Production Farm Loan of $7,500, Fox Brothers Farms clear land for added production, purchase additional equipment and fence the area around their gardens to prevent loss from deer and raccoons.

PhotoTerrySimpsonTerry and Mildred Simpson – Lifelong residents of Wayne County, the Simpsons took over operation of the family farm on which Terry grew up in the early 1980’s. Included in their diverse farm operations, Terry and Mildred have operated a certified Kentucky Proud roadside market near their home for the past 15-years to sell produce and flowers. The Simpsons have always embraced new technologies allowing them to expand their production and markets. The SOAR Production Farm Loan of $7,500 will be used to purchase a “cool room” to maintain fresher product during the floral and vegetable season and to purchase a mulch film lifter to remove and conserve the plastic mulch film from the ground at the end of each growing season.

MarkWaldenPhoto2Mark Walden has a 14-acre farm in southern Madison County on the Rockcastle County line. On the property, he grows a variety of produce sold at different outlets.  With the SOAR Farm loan, Mr. Walden will add fruit production to his mix as he feels that fruit is a highly marketable farm product in the region.  Fruit are primarily perennials and take 6-months to three years before production is consistent.  With proper management, a fruit installation can increase yields by up to 30% per year until they reach maturity at 8-10 years old.  Apples, peaches, pears and plums will be among the fruits grown.

DonWeberPhotoBeth Curlin Weber and Don Weber – Beth Curlin Weber and Don Weber are using a $3,135 loan from the SOAR Production Loan Fund to construct a 12’x 40’ high tunnel greenhouse on their 16- acre farm in Garrard County to expand their vegetable production and extend their growing season. In addition to being small farmers, Beth Curlin Weber is a program officer for the Brushy Fork Institute and Don Weber is self-employed as a woodworker and blacksmith.  They also sell produce at the Berea Farmer’s Market and operate Bodger’s Best, a crepe/taco cart at the market and other venues.  The food cart uses vegetables and herbs grown on the farm.  Don Weber also has a micro-processing license and will soon begin to make rubs, sauces and pickled items to sell.  The Weber’s keep bees for pollination and some honey production.

JeffBarnettPhotoJeff Barnett - Jeff Barnett has been a life-long small farmer and who grew tomatoes for many years when the vegetable co-op was active in Wayne County.  He currently grows corn and vegetables for family use and re-sale, along with about one-acre of tobacco.  With the $7,500 loan from the SOAR Small Production Loan Fund, Jeff will complete site work and run irrigation lines and then have Grow Appalachia construct two high tunnel greenhouses to expand his vegetable production.

PhotoMikesMike’s Produce – Larry and Amy Jackson, brother and sister, are the third generation to supply fresh produce to Bell County and surrounding communities.  Their grandfather founded the company in 1960, with the business being passed from generation to generation.  Larry took over the day-to-day operations of the company in 1996, and continues to manage the daily operations.  Amy provides the accounting and office management for the company.

Starting as a small rural market, the company has grown into a regional supplier of fresh produce and eggs to local schools, community markets and restaurants within a 125 mile radius of Bell County.  The $7,500 loan from the SOAR Small Production Loan Fund will be used by Mike’s Produce a used 1-Ton refrigerated box truck to expand the delivery of fresh produce to area consumers.

BaysAnne and John Bays operate a naturally raised livestock farm of 325-acres on the Knox-Whitley County line.  The Bays' raise grass-fed beef, free range chickens, eggs and pork which they sell under the name of Moonlight Farm, LLC.  With the $7,500 SOAR Production Loan, the Bays will construct a 12'x24' barn to be used as a nursery to house their chick brooder and baby pigs. Moonlight Farm is both a Kentucky Proud and Appalachian Proud producer.  The Bays' were also named as one of three finalist for the Kentucky Farm Bureau "Farmer of the Year" award in November 2015.  To read more about their nomination, please visit

FoothillsFoothills Products & Services - In October 2015, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) completed a six-month study of Foothills Products & Services on how to increase sales, improve operations and upgrade all aspects of the business.  The company is already Kentucky Proud and supplies no antibiotics, no preservative pork sausage, pork tenderloin and pork burgers to outlets, including Good Foods Co-Op in Lexington.  One important element KCARD recommended was that Foothills Products & Services needed to add a refrigerated delivery vehicle if they were ever to get product into grocery stores and other sizeable outlets.  Currently, Foothills Products & Services delivers in a company van with product in coolers which is not acceptable for Kroger’s and IGA for example.

James Dunn 2James Nunn farms approximately 10-acres in Bell County in the Blackmont community near the Harlan County line.  Mr. Nunn’s farm is part of the family homestead that he began working to improve 8-years ago.  On the farm, Mr. Nunn cuts hay and raises cattle.  The hay he uses personally or sells to local farmers.  The cows are raised without hormones or antibiotics and are sold privately to individuals.  The beef is then processed at H&M Butchering in Manchester. The SOAR Farm Loan will be used to help purchase a tractor and cattle trailer.


Griffith FamilyGriffith Family Farms -  Chester and Melissa Griffith are natives of Johnson County who have farmed all of their lives.  Their farm of about 200-acres that was part of a land grant tract given to his family seven generations ago.  The Griffiths produce traditional vegetables of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, eggs and hay.  Their products are both Kentucky Proud and Appalachia Proud certified.  The Griffith’s will use the SOAR Loan Fund proceeds to construct a greenhouse to grow starter plants for transplant and some sale.  This will allow an earlier and more control start for the season and help with weed control.   More information on their business can be found at

Sweet Bee GardensSweet Bee Gardens ( is a family-owned organic vegetable and fruit business operated by the Fields family located in Greenup County. Products are sold primarily at local farmer’s markets and include tomatoes, peppers, eggs, seasonal greens, herbs, berries and fruit, etc.  The farm processes some of what they grow into value added products, including jellies, spice rubs and canned products in their certified kitchen.  Sweet Bee Gardens also grows some more unusual vegetables and herbs for which they are beginning to develop a market.  With the SOAR Farm Loan of $7,500, the farm will construct a pond for irrigation and upgrade their greenhouses.

Mulberry Family Farm MushroomsMulberry Family Farms - Casey Muncy, along with his family, established Mulberry Family Farming in 2014 to focus on growing “nutrition rich, organic produce” ( farmgrows a variety of vegetables, herbs and cut flowers which are sold at farmer's market and directly on the farm one day each week.  Beyond vegetables, the farm has developed a shitake mushroom market.  In addition, the farm hosts “Farm-to-Table” dinners four times annually.  With the $7,500 loan from the SOAR Loan Fund, Mulberry Family will continue to expand its overall operation by growing additional vegetables, increase mushroom production, expand the egg operation, start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and add more products to the mix.  

Roark PhotoBrandon Roark - Brandon Roark grew up in the Artemus community of Knox County and has farmed in the area for half his life, or about 16-years.  He cuts hay which he rolls for sale and owns a herd of cattle.  The farms on which Mr. Roark works are scattered throughout the community.  His tractor can be difficult to move and limits some of the areas where he can cut hay.  With the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan, Mr. Roark will purchase a second smaller tractor to  allow him to lease more hay pasture and improve his efficiency as he will not be having to continuously move tractors from field-to-field.

The SOAR Small Production Loan Fund is a low-interest financing resource designed to assist small producers grow healthy, nutritional foods so that they can move into commercial production. The goal is to support and educate growers to develop a strong local food system in eastern and southern Kentucky that will be market-supported and result in a profit for the growers.


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