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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - February 19, 2014

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

  • Organic Matters Film Highlights Organic Food and Agriculture
  • Pesticide Testing of Active Ingredients May Underestimate Potential Hazards
  • Hoop House Symposium Videos Online
  • NOP Grants Temporary Variance for Organic Ruminant Producers in California
  • American Farmland Trust Receives Grant To Expand Local Markets for New York Farmers
  • Real Food Media Contest People's Choice Award Voting Open

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
  • Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants
  • West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Agriculture & Food Conference of Southeastern Massachusetts
  • Northwest Ohio Berry Production and Marketing School
  • MOFGA Spring Growth Conference

News & Resources

Organic Matters Film Highlights Organic Food and Agriculture
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont has released a short film, Organic Matters, about the importance of organic food and agriculture to human and environmental health. This nine-minute video features certified organic farmers across Vermont talking about why they believe in certified organic, how it defines their approach to their land and to food production, and why organic is important to the overall food movement. The film can be viewed online.

Pesticide Testing of Active Ingredients May Underestimate Potential Hazards
Scientists from the University of Caen in France tested commercially formulated pesticides on human cell lines and found that the inert ingredients in formulations can amplify the toxic effects of the active ingredients by hundreds of times, reports Environmental Health News. They concluded that studies focused solely on the active ingredients of commercial pesticides substantially underestimate potential hazards.

Hoop House Symposium Videos Online
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has posted three videos from its Basic AG Hoop House Symposium. The videos include a five-minute piece on types of structures, a nine-minute piece on construction materials and end-wall options, and a 16-minute segment on site selection and preparation and hoop house installation.

NOP Grants Temporary Variance for Organic Ruminant Producers in California
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has granted a temporary variance to provide relief for drought-affected California organic ruminant livestock operations that may not be able to meet the organic pasture requirements in the USDA organic regulations. The variance for the 2014 grazing season applies to producers located in California counties designated as primary disaster areas.
USDA has also announced several forms of additional assistance to help farmers, ranchers, and residents affected by severe drought in California.
Related ATTRA Publication: Pasture for Organic Ruminant Livestock: Understanding and Implementing the National Organic Program (NOP) Pasture Rule

American Farmland Trust Receives Grant To Expand Local Markets for New York Farmers
American Farmland Trust has received a $200,000 grant from the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation to expand new, local markets for farmers through the Farm To Institution New York State Partnership. The two-year grant will help advance the Farm To College initiative with universities in the SUNY network, as well as expand local food purchasing by senior centers, emergency food providers, and other nutrition programs. The grant will also help support development of a communications network between food growers and institutions.

Real Food Media Contest People's Choice Award Voting Open
The Real Food Media Contest has announced 10 short-film finalists and has opened voting for the People's Choice Award. Organizers are encouraging people to gather for screenings of the four-minute sustainable food and agriculture films and to vote for their favorite. Voting is open until March 2, 2014.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has announced that funding is available for research projects on any agricultural production, social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers or ranchers. OFRF invites proposals from all applicants residing in Canada, Mexico, and the United States for funding of up to $15,000 per year. OFRF will now accept proposals in the spring for one annual grant cycle, rather than the previous system of two grant cycles per year.
The deadline for proposals is Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants
The Southern Region USDA Program on Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is requesting proposals for graduate student research projects that address issues of sustainable agriculture of current and potential importance to the Southern region and the nation. This grant offers a one-time maximum of $11,000 for graduate students enrolled at an accredited college or university in the Southern region.
Proposal deadline is May 5, 2014.

West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. All projects must provide exclusive industry programming for research, education, production increases, or marketing of specialty crops. Funding in 2014 is expected to be approximately $180,000.
Concept proposals are due by March 14, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Agriculture & Food Conference of Southeastern Massachusetts
March 22, 2014
New Bedford, Massachusetts

This seventh annual conference includes workshops for the general public, as well as info-packed sessions for farmers and gardeners of all experience levels and workshops specific to organic methods.

Northwest Ohio Berry Production and Marketing School
March 19, 2014
Wauseon, Ohio

Researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center will conduct a berry-grower workshop. The workshop will include information on how to grow plasticulture strawberries, information on wine-grape production, and guidance on how growers can get started in blackberry, raspberry, and other alternative berry production, as well as discussion of legal and food-safety concerns.

MOFGA Spring Growth Conference
March 22, 2014
Unity, Maine

The Spring Growth conference of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association focuses on weed control this year. There will be a keynote speaker, as well as workshops and discussions on how best to control weeds throughout the season.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

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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