Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 17, 2018
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
- Farm Bureau Panel Discusses Challenges and Rewards of Organic Farming
- Study Quantifies Benefits of Urban Agriculture
- Year-Round IPM Programs Available
- Fruit Freeze-Damage Tools Help Farmers Deal with Extreme Weather
- Hawaii Schools Enjoy Harvest of the Month
- Minneapolis Invites Applications to Lease City Lots for Community or Market Gardens
- California Pest Management Alliance Grant Program
- Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant
- Vermont Local Food Market Development Grants
- MOSES Organic Farming Conference
- Business of Farming Conference
- Tuskegee Farmers Conference
News & Resources
Farm Bureau Panel Discusses Challenges and Rewards of Organic Farming
A panel of Farm Bureau members who farm organically discussed the challenges and rewards of choosing organic farming at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 2018 Annual Convention. Panelists mentioned the financial viability of organic production, customer demand for organic products, and enjoyment of organic farming methods as motivations.
Related ATTRA Resources: Organic Farming
Study Quantifies Benefits of Urban Agriculture
A team of researchers led by Arizona State University and Google assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at a global scale. Researchers estimated the annual value of food production, energy savings, nitrogen sequestration, and avoided runoff provided by existing vegetation in urban areas to be on the order of $33 billion. They estimate that with intense urban agriculture implementation, the overall annual worth of urban agriculture could reach as much as $160 billion.
Related ATTRA Resources: Urban Agriculture
Year-Round IPM Programs Available
The University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program has introduced year-round IPM programs that provide an annual plan of action for a range of crops. The plans highlight the most important pests—insects, mites, weeds, diseases, nematodes, animals—and actions growers can take to manage them for each season or crop growth stage. Programs are available online for alfalfa, asparagus, cherry, corn, grape, lettuce, potato, and many other crops.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic IPM Field Guide
Fruit Freeze-Damage Tools Help Farmers Deal with Extreme Weather
The Cornell Climate Smart Farming Program has developed free, climate-based agricultural decision-support tools for farmers. For example, the CSF Apple Freeze Damage Probability tool and the Grape Hardiness and Freeze Risk tool allow Northeast growers to chart temperatures and compare them with plant-hardiness information to assess potential for freeze damage. Other applications monitor drought, assist in selecting cover crops, and measure growing-degree days.
Related ATTRA Publication: Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times
Hawaii Schools Enjoy Harvest of the Month
The Hawaii State Department of Education kicked off its 'Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program in December with locally grown beef. In January, all public schools will serve fresh bananas. Local farms will supply approximately 34,000 pounds of bananas, which students will consume in either fresh Banana Pie or Banana Crumble. The program is changing the way food is purchased, prepared, and delivered, as well as offering an opportunity for Hawaii's agriculture community.
Related ATTRA Video: The Montana Harvest of the Month Program
Minneapolis Invites Applications to Lease City Lots for Community or Market Gardens
The City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is inviting applications to lease available vacant City-owned lots for community gardens and market gardens. Properties are available for one- to five-year leases, depending on the property classification. All properties have been soil tested. Annual lease prices range from $51 for a community garden to $200 for an urban farm. All gardens must comply with the Pollinator Friendly City Policy. Applications will be accepted through February 9, 2018.
Related ATTRA Publication: Community Gardening
>>More Breaking News
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California Pest Management Alliance Grant Program
California Department of Pesticide Regulation's (DPR) Pest Management Alliance Grant Program funds projects that focus on adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) practices in agricultural, urban, or wildland settings. Projects should promote adoption of established IPM practices that reduce use of pesticides of human-health or environmental concern through the guidance of a collaborative team known as an Alliance. DPR will consider proposals requesting $50,000 to $400,000.
Concept proposals are due February 2, 2018.
Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant
Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting concept proposals for approximately $550,000 in Specialty Crop Block Grants. Projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of Colorado specialty crops. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia, and other specialty-crops stakeholders are eligible to apply. A 25% match is required.
Concept proposals are due February 1, 2018.
Vermont Local Food Market Development Grants
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is accepting project proposals for $3,000 to $10,000 from Vermont farmers, producer groups, and value-chain facilitators to further institutional and other in-state wholesale market development in Vermont. Proposed projects must improve quality, efficiency, or food safety; address distribution challenges; or mitigate the financial risks associated with scaling up to meet new market demands. A 25% funding match is required.
Applications are due January 24, 2018.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 22-24, 2018
La Crosse, Wisconsin
This major event offers 66 workshops, as well as inspiring keynotes, engaging roundtables, and vendors. It is preceded by an Organic University with 11 full-day courses.
Business of Farming Conference
February 24, 2018
Asheville, North Carolina
This annual conference brings together farmers from across the Southeast to share resources, tools, and information to build more viable farm businesses. Learn about marketing, business planning, telling your farm's story, and management.
Tuskegee Farmers Conference
February 13-16, 2018
This educational forum features tours, panel discussions, interactive demonstrations, and concurrent workshops. Sessions address emerging issues surrounding small farmers, farm families, and rural communities.
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ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
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