Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 11, 2006
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.
News & Resources
* New Guide to Organic Certification Available
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* Templates for Value-Added Producer Grant Program Offered
* London Mayor's Plan Promotes Local and Organic Food
* Agritourism Offers Opportunities, Challenges in North Carolina
* Organic Cotton Acreage Growing in U.S.
* Studies Consider Relationship Between Biodiversity and Invasive Species
* Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity
* Minor and Specialty Crops Integrated Pest Management Special Projects
* Conservation Innovation Grants National Competition
* Training on Disaster Assistance for Farmers
* 2006 Wisconsin Grazing Conference
* BioCycle West Coast Conference 2006
News & Resources
New Guide to Organic Certification Available
The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has produced the Guidebook for Organic Certification: Answers to Common Certification Questions. The 26-page guidebook outlines how to go about the process of becoming certified for organic production and offers suggestions on where to go for more help. The complete publication is available online (PDF / 456 KB).
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Farm Certification & the National Organic Program
Templates for Value-Added Producer Grant Program Offered
The Rural Business Cooperative Service has posted two new templates for applicants to use in filling out their applications for the Value-Added Producer Grants. There is a template for planning and feasibility grants and one for working capital grants. Applications for the Value-Added Producer Grants are being accepted until March 31, 2006. Several organizations offer informational or technical assistance to applicants for these grants, including the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
London Mayor's Plan Promotes Local and Organic Food
London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, has announced a plan to improve food health in London, reports Guardian Unlimited. The plan includes a high tax for polluting trucks, designed as a disincentive to incurring "food miles" by transporting food. In addition, the mayor's plan encourages schools and hospitals to buy local and organic food and will help bring fresh food to poor areas where it is not currently available. The mayor has said he wants his plan to serve as a model for cities across Britain and around the world. He emphasized a holistic approach that considers connections between agriculture, health, and environment.
Agritourism Offers Opportunities, Challenges in North Carolina
Interest in agritourism is on the rise nationally, according to a story in the Greensboro, North Carolina, News-Record, and many North Carolina farmers are finding that alternative activities boost their farm incomes. Agritourism is helping people fulfill a desire to reconnect with farms, and it's offering new farm-based career opportunities that are helping new generations of farm families stay on farms. A related story, however, points out that the agritourism business has risks of its own, from lack of insurance compensation for lost agritourism revenue to schools fearful of exposing students to animal-borne diseases. In addition, agritourism can mean extra labor and insurance costs for farms.
Related ATTRA Publication: Entertainment Farming and AgriTourism
Organic Cotton Acreage Growing in U.S.
A recent survey by the Organic Trade Association showed the amount of U.S. acreage devoted to organic cotton production rose from 2003 to 2004, says a USAgNet story. The survey found that in 2004, 12 farmers planted 5,550 acres of organic cotton in Texas, California, New Mexico and Missouri. That was an increase in acreage of nearly 37 percent over 2003. The story notes that actual acreage may be even higher than the survey reported, due to survey non-participation. Organic cotton farmers noted that their greatest marketing challenge is competition from international producers.
Studies Consider Relationship Between Biodiversity and Invasive Species
An article in Environmental Science & Technology reports on some recent studies that considered the relationship between species diversity and the success of invasive species on different types of land. One study shows that invasive species are thriving in landscapes that have the greatest diversity of native plants, such as river bottoms. Another study, though, showed that on a larger scale, field plots with a diversity of native plants were better able to resist invasive species than field plots with just one native species. Scientists are still debating whether biodiversity can be an effective tool to help manage plant invasions.
> More Breaking News
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Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announces the launch of Healthy Eating Research, an $11-million national program that will support research to identify, analyze, and evaluate environmental and policy strategies that can promote healthy eating and prevent obesity among children. Special emphasis will be given to research projects that will benefit children in the low-income and racial/ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. This first round of funding focuses on school food policies and environments. All proposals for this program must be submitted through the RWJF Grantmaking Online system.
Proposals are due March 7, 2006.
Minor and Specialty Crops Integrated Pest Management Special Projects
EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) announces the availability of up to $615,000 to address critical pest management needs of U.S. minor and specialty crop growers. The Agency anticipates funding up to five projects. The project period of performance is three years, with the possibility of extension. Proposed projects should address minor and specialty crop producers’ critical pest management needs and demonstrate the importance and relevancy of the project to implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA).
Proposals are due February 21, 2006.
Conservation Innovation Grants National Competition
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) requests applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications are accepted from all 50 States, the Caribbean Area, and the Pacific Basin Area. For FY 2006, up to $20 million is available for the National CIG competition. Funds will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. There are three CIG components available in FY 2006: Natural Resource Concerns Component, Technology Component, and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Component. Applications are requested from eligible government or non-government organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between one and three years in duration.
Proposals are due March 20, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Training on Disaster Assistance for Farmers
January 19, 2006
The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, in collaboration with the Farmers Legal Action Group, the Rural Advancement Foundation International and Farm Aid, is presenting a 1-day training on Federal disaster assistance programs for farmers and rural communities. This program is open to all individuals who advise farmers, including staff of community-based organizations, agricultural agencies, extension service, consultants, other professionals and concerned individuals, including farmers who plan to assist others in their community. For more information, contact Scott Marlow at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, contact Laura Freden at Farm Aid at Laura@farmaid.org or 1-800-327-6243.
2006 Wisconsin Grazing Conference
February 9-11, 2006
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
For anyone who is grazing or interested in grazing this is the conference to attend in the Upper Midwest. There will be presentations on transitioning to grazing, production and marketing of grassfed meats, seasonal vs. non-seasonal dairy grazing, dairy breeding for grazing, Irish Dairy, multiple species grazing, cost of production, analyzing your business, life after subsidies in New Zealand, pasture diversity, and much more. For more information, go to www.grassworks.org or contact Paul Nehring at 715-261-6009 or email@example.com.
BioCycle West Coast Conference 2006
March 20-22, 2006
This conference looks at composting, organics reuse and renewable energy, with a focus on building sustainable cities and communities. A field trip, 50 technical sessions, and exhibits are offered as part of the conference agenda.
> More Events
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