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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 8, 2014

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Growing Green Awards Requests Nominations
  • Goat Forage Production Handbook Available
  • Resources on Urban Agriculture Impacts Available Online
  • Whole Foods Market Commits $25 Million to Local Producer Loans
  • Study Shows Biodiversity in Intercropping Increases Yields
  • Hydroponic Strawberry Project Works to Revitalize Southwest Production

Funding Opportunities

  • The FruitGuys Community Fund
  • Minnesota Livestock Investment Grants
  • Texas Agricultural Water Conservation Grants

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Business of Farming Conference
  • Tennessee Farmers Market Boot Camp Educational Program

News & Resources

Growing Green Awards Requests Nominations
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Berkeley Food Institute have announced the 2014 Growing Green Awards to recognize leadership in the field of sustainable food systems. The 2014 national award categories are Sustainable Food and Farm Educator, Sustainable Livestock Producer, Pollinator Protector, and Regional Food Leader. Online applications will be accepted until January 31, 2014.

Goat Forage Production Handbook Available
Sustainable Year-Round Forage Production and Grazing/Browsing Management for Goats in the Southern Region, developed by Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension, provides tools for developing cool-season pastures and improving warm-season pastures. The handbook also discusses browse and vine species suitable for supplementing goats' nutritional requirements and minimizing parasitic infestations.
Related ATTRA Publication: Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Pasture Management

Resources on Urban Agriculture Impacts Available Online
The University of California Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (SAREP) has compiled an extensive annotated bibliography on social, health, and economic impacts of urban agriculture. This bibliography is meant to provide policy makers and urban agriculture practitioners with articles that discuss researched impacts. It is accompanied by a quick-reference resource and a literature review.

Whole Foods Market Commits $25 Million to Local Producer Loans
Whole Foods Market announced that its Local Producer Loan Program has funded $10 million in low-interest loans to local and independent food businesses. The company has now committed up to $25 million in funding and welcomes new loan applications from producers seeking to expand their businesses. Loan recipients must meet Whole Foods Market's quality standards, use the funds for expansion, and have a viable business plan. Typical low-interest loans range from $1,000 to $100,000.

Study Shows Biodiversity in Intercropping Increases Yields
A study at Texas A&M has shown that intercropping vegetable species that serve a specific role improves crop yields over the entire system. The plants selected for their functions were okra as a pollinator attractant, peanuts and cowpea as nitrogen fixers, watermelon as a weed suppressor, and hot pepper for its allelopathic benefits. The researchers found that, overall, crop yields increased on a per-acre basis in the intercropping systems compared to the mono-crop treatments, with the most noticeable increases in per-plant production in a watermelon-okra-peanut intercropping system.

Hydroponic Strawberry Project Works to Revitalize Southwest Production
The Hydroponic Strawberry Project at the University of Arizona is working to reestablish strawberry production in Arizona, adapting hydroponic systems for Arizona's greenhouse industry. The project has been harvesting strawberries throughout the winter and is posting updates on its website.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

The FruitGuys Community Fund
The FruitGuys Community Fund supports small, independent American farms with grants of $2,500 to $5,000. The fund has several preferences for the 2014 award cycle: farms located within 150 miles of San Francisco, Philadelphia, or Chicago; sustainability projects focused on pests, pollination, or soil health; and farms that participate in efforts to increase low-income consumers' access to food.
Applications are due by February 15, 2014.

Minnesota Livestock Investment Grants
Minnesota Department of Agriculture has announced that $1 million in grant funding is being made available to livestock producers in the state for on-farm improvements. Qualifying producers would be reimbursed 10% of the first $500,000 of investment.
The deadline to apply is February 21, 2014.

Texas Agricultural Water Conservation Grants
Up to $2.1 million has been initially authorized for agricultural water conservation grants from the Texas Water Development Board's Agricultural Water Conservation Fund. Grant categories include metered agricultural water conservation monitoring for groundwater conservation districts; agricultural irrigation water use metering, monitoring, and/or measurement projects; and irrigation system efficiency improvements.
Applications are due by March 12, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 27 - March 1, 2014
La Crosse, Wisconsin

This conference, put on by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), has grown to become the country's foremost educational and networking event for the organic community. The farmer-focused event features more than 65 workshops, 10 pre-conference courses, keynote speakers, and 170 exhibitors.

Business of Farming Conference
February 22, 2014
Swannanoa, North Carolina

ASAP's Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for those involved in local food and farming. Area farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists will attend workshops, meet with restaurant and wholesale buyers, and tour Warren Wilson College's farm and garden.

Tennessee Farmers Market Boot Camp Educational Program
February 24, 25, or 26; or March 4, 5, or 6, 2014
Various Tennessee locations

The Center for Profitable Agriculture, UT Extension, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture are offering educational training opportunities for farmers market vendors in a free one-day workshop to be held in several different locations.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

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New Publication
Getting Into Farming - A Workbook for Beginning Farmers in North Carolina

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about bio-heated greenhouses?

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ATTRA Webinars
Join us January 23, 2014, for New USDA Cover Crop Termination Policy. Experts from NCAT, NSAC, and USDA will explain the new cover crop termination guidelines and then answer questions. Register now!

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