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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 16, 2011

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

Funding Opportunities

Coming Events

News & Resources

FoodCorps Recruiting First Class of Service Members for School Food Systems
This week FoodCorps, a brand-new and much-anticipated national service program, opens applications for its first class of service members. Those selected will dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems--sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens. FoodCorps seeks up to 80 young men and women with a passion for serving their country by building healthy communities. Beginning in August 2011, service members will get their hands dirty in one of 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina or Oregon. Applications, more information, and the FoodCorps recruitment video, created by Peabody-winning filmmaker Ian Cheney, can be found at www.foodcorps.org. FoodCorps is a new national service organization that seeks to reverse childhood obesity by increasing vulnerable children's knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. FoodCorps was developed with funding from AmeriCorps and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with Occidental College, the National Farm to School Network, Slow Food USA, The National Center for Appropriate Technology and Wicked Delicate, as part of an open planning process that engaged thousands of stakeholders from around the country. Grow Montana, home of the nation's first FoodCorps, will retain a separate hiring process for 2011-2012. To find out more visit www.growmontana.ncat.org.

Report Examines Methane Digester Profitability
A new research brief from USDA's Economic Research Service estimates the number and type of hog and dairy operations that would find it profitable to use a methane digester system to capture methane from manure storage facilities for use as fuel to generate electricity or heat. The report finds that larger operations would be more likely to adopt a digester, and likely would earn substantially higher profits on average than smaller operations. Also, additional revenues from the sale of carbon emissions reductions (offsets) could substantially increase the number of operations that would adopt a biogas recovery system. Among States with the greatest number of dairies, the study finds that California, New York, Wisconsin, and Texas each have at least 100 such operations that would find it profitable to adopt a digester at a carbon price of $13 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent emissions. At the same price, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma each have at least 100 hog farm operators who would find a methane digester profitable.
Related ATTRA publication: Anaerobic Digestion of Animal Wastes: Factors to Consider

Food-Producing Animal Ordinance Drafted for Denver
Sustainable Food Denver is circulating a draft outline for a new Food-Producing Animals ordinance for Denver, prepared as a collaborative effort with Community Planning and Development, the Department of Environmental Health, and the City Attorney's office. The draft outline proposes the keeping of 8 female fowl or 2 dwarf dairy goats without requiring a permit. The intent of the draft ordinance is to promote the keeping of Food Producing Animals and concurrent food access and food security benefits, where most appropriate, while assuring compatibility with existing land uses and minimization of any adverse impacts on neighboring properties or neighborhood character. As part of the process for creating this draft, the team compiled detailed information on successful FPA ordinances in other major cities across the country, as well as neighboring cities along the Front Range. The group also looked at an analysis of the impact of chicken ordinances on cities, as part of a study done through De Paul University.

Study to Examine Best Organic Growing Practices
Iowa State University researcher Kathleen Delate is examining which organic vegetable growing practices are best for the soil, water, yields and even nutrition. The professor of horticulture and agronomy is undertaking perhaps the most comprehensive study of organic vegetable-growing practices by looking at the use of cover crops, manure, tillage and mulch. Using 36 farm plots that each employ different combinations of variables, Delate hopes to discover which practices work best. The vegetables in the research include tomatoes, broccoli, onions, beans, squash and lettuce. The research is conducted in partnership with the University of Florida, Gainesville, and funded by the Department of Agriculture through the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Sustainable Phosphorus Summit Issues Declaration
From 3-5 February 2011, more than 100 scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, farmers, policy-makers, educators, artists, and others took part in The Sustainable Phosphorus Summit on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. The event was part of an emerging global dialogue around the diverse dimensions of human phosphorus use. Participants in the Summit issued a consensus statement known as The Phoenix Phosphorus Declaration, which notes in part that phosphorus has a key role in global food security, that recycling phosphorus can reduce geopolitical and other uncertainties surrounding phosphorus fertilizer markets and enhance farmer prosperity, and that there are great economic opportunities to innovate and create new industries for phosphorus supply diversification and for improved agricultural phosphorus efficiency.

Study Shows Eggs Lower in Cholesterol, Higher in Vitamin D
According to new nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously thought, says an American Egg Board press release. The USDA-ARS recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent. Some researchers believe the natural decrease in the cholesterol level of eggs could be related to the improvements farmers have made to the hens' feed. Nutrition researchers at Iowa State University are compiling a report to outline potential reasons for the natural decrease in cholesterol in eggs.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grants
This grant is for graduate students who are researching topics in sustainable agriculture that will serve the interests of farmers and agricultural service providers--extension staff, NRCD personnel, and others in the agricultural community. Graduate Student Grants project proposals must contain two essential elements. Reviewers need to see: A direct link to agricultural sustainability; Potential to improve farm practices.
Proposals must be submitted online by midnight, May 31, 2011.

Growing Grapes for Wine Program
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) is offering grants to farms in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties of Maryland to aid in the purchase of wine grape vines. The grant program requires matching funds supplied by the farm owner for the purchase of grape vines of recommended grape varieties compatible with the region. To be eligible, an applicant must own or be co-applicant with the owner of at least 5 acres of land currently in agricultural use.
Grant applications are due by March 4, 2011.

Connecticut Conservation Innovation Grant
Connecticut's NRCS office is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2011 will be approximately $211,000. Maximum awards are $75,000. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Funds will be awarded through a competitive grants process.
Applications are due by February 25, 2011.

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Coming Events

Everybody Eats: Promoting the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Local Foods
April 2, 2011
Archbold, Ohio

This event focuses on workshops to provide education to producers in various methods of sustainable agriculture as well as workshops to educate consumers with practical information to make wise decisions to select and utilize food from the local food system. In addition, it will highlight regional efforts in local food production and ongoing educational opportunities for sustainable agriculture occupations in the community.

Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course
April 4-8, 2011
Tucson, Arizona

The topic for this course is "Growing Solutions for Tomorrow: Local Foods and Urban Agriculture". The agenda includes greenhouse basics such as environmental control and structure design, pollination, disease and insect management, as well as greenhouse applications, covering topics such as marketing and aquaponics.

Small Farm U
March 26, 2011
St. Paul, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Extension presents this day-long learning opportunity. Pick one of three tracks to learn about starting a poultry flock and building a poultry tractor/coop, starting a market garden, and managing your small farm business to realize your goals.

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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.

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New & Updated Publications
Micro-Hydro Power: Is It Right for My Farm?

Micro-Hydro Power: A Beginners Guide to Design and Installation

Community Gardening

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