Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 13, 2019
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
- Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications
- Global Crop Diversity Declining, Study Shows
- Food Hubs Play Role in Local Health and Economy
- Author Highlights Promise of Regenerative Agriculture
- Nominations Sought for New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award
- Rodale Institute to Open Midwest Organic Center
- NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
- Frontera Farmer Foundation
- New Mexico Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Louisiana Small Farmers Conference
- Saffron: Production Progress & Market Promise
- Off-Season High Tunnel Production Field Days and Workshops
News & Resources
Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications
National Farmers Union's Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) is a free training program that prepares beginning farmers of all ages and operation types for a successful future in agriculture. Applications for the 2019-2020 BFI cohort are open through April 15, 2019. Participants will attend three in-person learning sessions over the course of the year, one each in Washington, D.C., Northern California, and Savannah, Georgia.
Related ATTRA Resources: Beginning Farmer
Global Crop Diversity Declining, Study Shows
An international study led by the University of Toronto found that global crop diversity is declining, with more of the same kinds of crops being grown on large-scale industrial farmland worldwide. The study found that soybeans, wheat, rice, and corn together occupy just less than 50% of the world's agricultural land. Furthermore, there is a lack of genetic diversity within individual crops, with six genotypes comprising 50% of all corn.
Food Hubs Play Role in Local Health and Economy
A feature in the "Michigan Good Food Stories" series looks at the role that food hubs are coming to play in local communities. For example, ValleyHUB is not only selling produce from local farms, but also growing food indoors in an urban setting. ValleyHUB is supplying food to local grocery stores, restaurants, and Bronson Healthcare. Together, ValleyHUB and Bronson are exploring how to make local food more affordable and accessible to a broad section of the community.
Related ATTRA Resources: Food Hubs
Author Highlights Promise of Regenerative Agriculture
Writing in The Conversation, author Stephanie Anderson explains the concept of regenerative agriculture, which restores resources. Anderson says regenerative agriculture can help farmers deal with climate change by making their operations more resilient and sequestering carbon. She cites examples of some farmers who are already practicing regenerative agriculture, and notes that Project Drawdown estimates 1 billion acres worldwide will be devoted to regenerative agriculture by 2050.
Related ATTRA Webinar: Regenerative Grazing: Learning from Nature. Stockpiled Grass
Nominations Sought for New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is accepting nominations for the 2019 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. This award supports early-career scientists pursuing research that sustainably enhances agricultural production or improves health through food. FFAR will grant a maximum of 10 awards, each up to $600,000 over three years. Institutions of higher education, nonprofit research institutions, and USDA can nominate candidates until February 28, 2019.
Rodale Institute to Open Midwest Organic Center
Organic research and education organization Rodale Institute has announced that it will open the Midwest Organic Center near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this year. Rodale Institute announced that the center will provide resources and support for Iowa's organic farmers and enhance the growth of more organic farms throughout the region. The site will also be home to grain production, vegetable production, and a long-term systems trial.
>>More Breaking News
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NCR-SARE Professional Development Program
North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) is accepting proposals for its Professional Development Program. This program provides funds for projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector serving the food and fiber system. Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding is capped at $90,000 per project. A total of approximately $900,000 will be available.
Proposals are due by April 3, 2019.
Frontera Farmer Foundation
Frontera Farmer Foundation awards grants up to $12,000 for capital improvements. Grants are offered to small and mid-size farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin that sell their food products to customers in the Chicago area at farmers markets and otherwise. Farmers must have been in business for at least three years and must demonstrate how the grant will improve both their farm's viability and the availability of locally grown food products in the Chicago area.
Applications are due by March 1, 2019.
New Mexico Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in either domestic or foreign markets. Projects may include developing local and rural food systems, improving food access in underserved communities, and conducting specialty crop research, feasibility studies, marketing projects, and more.
Proposals are due by March 7, 2019.
>>More Funding Opportunities
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Louisiana Small Farmers Conference
March 14-16, 2019
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center hosts "Transforming and Elevating Louisiana Small Family Farms," with engaging speakers, informative sessions, networking opportunities, and more.
Saffron: Production Progress & Market Promise
March 15, 2019
The North American Center for Saffron Research & Development is presenting a full-day workshop for growers, marketers, and researchers. It will provide specific information about how to grow, process, and market saffron, as well as updates on research.
Off-Season High Tunnel Production Field Days and Workshops
February 14 or 21, or March 8 or 29, 2019
Hope, Fayetteville, Lonoke, or Clarksville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Extension is offering two free afternoon field days and two low-cost, full-day workshops on off-season high tunnel production. They provide an opportunity to look at high tunnel operations and learn about planning, irrigation, pest management, and production in high tunnels.
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