Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 18, 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
* USDA Report Concludes More Control Over GE Crops Needed
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.
* Group Offers Assistance Preparing Community Food Project Grant Applications
* UC Davis Lecture Series to Explore Ag, Food, and Community Links
* Growers Find Success with Year-round Veggies
* Vineyards Comply with Lodi Rules for Sustainability
* Where Local Trumps Organic
* Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
* Fiskars Orange Thumb Community Garden Grants
* Pierce's Disease Research: Request for Proposals
* Farming for the Future Conference
* Reclaiming Our Local Food and Farms
* Farmer-Chef Connection Conference
News & Resources
USDA Report Concludes More Control Over GE Crops Needed
The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed an internal audit of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in December 2005 that examined APHIS’ controls over the issuance of genetically engineered (GE) organism release permits. The report concluded that APHIS needs to improve accountability for GE crops, improve inspections and enforcement, and provide better guidance to prevent the persistence of GE crops outside of field test sites. The report’s recommendations include requiring more information prior to and during field tests, formalizing the inspection process, and developing guidelines that address devitalization deadlines and edible crops. The complete audit report is available online (PDF / 2.37 MB).
Group Offers Assistance Preparing Community Food Project Grant Applications
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is offering free assistance in applying to the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program. A request for applications for the program was released on January 12, with letters of inquiry due by February 13, 2006. CFSC is providing a range of online resources for potential applicants, as well as one-on-one assistance. Several examples of successful Community Food Projects grant proposals are available online, as well as a Community Food Projects Planning Guide. A handout that covers the new Letter of Inquiry application process instituted this year will be available soon.
UC Davis Lecture Series to Explore Ag, Food, and Community Links
A weekly lecture series at the University of California Davis will focus on links among agriculture, food, and community. Nationally recognized speakers are scheduled for lectures in the series that takes place each Tuesday from January 10 until March 14. Speakers will address prison gardens, the global context of the U.S. farm bill and the impact of agricultural subsidies on family farmers worldwide, food insecurity among California farmworkers, grassroots efforts by Native American communities, high-school and university student groups' efforts to make their food systems more sustainable, and the importance of community and agriculture in sustaining farmers, farmland and food security.
Growers Find Success with Year-round Veggies
Paul and Alison Wiediger grow a full winter crop at their Au Naturel Farm outside Louisville, Kentucky. An article in The Courier-Journal highlights their operation and innovative practices. For example, the Wiedigers use high tunnels to grow leaf lettuce, braising mix, kale, mustard and spinach greens, bunching onions, carrots, beets, tomatoes, eggplants, and more - all year round. They sell their produce at a farmers’ market throughout the summer, and in winter they email their customers the week’s offerings and then accept return email orders. Other farmers will tour the Wiedigers’ operation this week as part of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's (SAWG) conference, Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms.
Vineyards Comply with Lodi Rules for Sustainability
On January 17 the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission honored the first vineyards in California to comply with the new Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing. The Lodi Rules, California's first set of appellation-wide sustainable viticulture standards, are peer reviewed by scientists, academics and environmentalists, and are endorsed by Protected Harvest. Growers must pass a third party audit of viticulture practices to achieve certification.
Where Local Trumps Organic
Buying organic food doesn't necessarily mean supporting family farms and principles of sustainability, particularly if that food is mass produced or shipped and trucked over great distances. A recent article in The New York Times profiled New Seasons, a chain of supermarkets in and around Portland, Oregon, where buying from local producers is as important as supporting organic agriculture. New Seasons markets label locally grown food with yellow shelf tags; about 27 percent of the items in a given store are so labeled, and all other meat and produce has country-of-origin labeling. "The New Seasons model is a brilliant concept because it brings back the days of food co-ops, the feeling of being closer to nature, to the food supply, to the neighborhood," said Phil Lampert, a market analyst. "What they are saying is, we are your store and we want to build a relationship with you. That lack of relationship has been the downfall of supermarkets."
> More Breaking News
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Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
Community Food Projects should be designed to: (1)(A) meet the food needs of low-income people; (B) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and (C) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues; and/or (2) meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for (A) infrastructure improvement and development; (B) planning for long-term solutions; or (C) the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers. Only private, nonprofit entities meeting specific program requirements are eligible to receive a grant under this program. The amount available for support of this program in FY 2006 is approximately $4,600,000. A two-step process for applying for a CFPCGP grant has been established for FY 2006. Eligible applicants are now required to submit a 500-word Letter of Intent. Applicants of acceptable Letters of Intent will be invited to submit a full application.
Letters of Intent are due February 13, 2006.
Fiskars' Orange Thumb Community Garden Grants
Fiskars Garden & Outdoor Living is now accepting applications for its 2006 Project Orange Thumb grants program. The company created Project Orange Thumb to support community garden groups in the U.S. with tools and materials. Grant recipients will receive grants of up to $1,500 in Fiskars Garden Tools (retail value), and up to $800 in gardening-related materials such as plants, seeds, mulch, etc. Recipients will also receive Project Orange Thumb t-shirts for garden members/volunteers. Gardens and/or gardening projects geared toward community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture, and/or horticultural education are eligible. Community garden groups, as well as schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, etc. are encouraged to apply.
Proposals are due February 17, 2006.
Pierce's Disease Research: Request for Proposals
The Pierce's Disease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the University of California (UC) Pierce's Disease Research Grants Program are accepting proposals for research projects on Pierce's disease and its vectors. Projects are being sought which will contribute to finding a solution to this serious disease of grapevines, and must be relevant to California conditions. Research contracts will be awarded for one to two years, beginning with fiscal year 2006-07 (begins July 1, 2006).
Proposals are due February 6, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Farming for the Future Conference
February 2-4, 2006
State College, Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Farming for the Future conference with the theme "Weaving a Diverse Landscape: Food as a Common Thread." In addition to over 75 workshops and six pre-conference tracks, the conference features locally-grown, organic meals, a sustainable marketplace, arts and music, and programming for youth and teens.
Reclaiming Our Local Food and Farms
February 2-5, 2006
The 2006 Rural Roots Annual Conference includes pre-conference workshops on weed control or season extension, a special farmers' market workshop, and conference sessions on eating locally, developing farmers' markets, getting started in farming, and more.
Farmer-Chef Connection Conference
February 6, 2006
During this one-day event, farmers and ranchers join forces with restaurant chefs, grocery retailers, specialty food store owners, food service operators, institutional buyers and distributors to cultivate partnerships. Participants take part in workshops focused on the how-to's of successful producer-buyer partnerships.
> More Events
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