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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 2, 2005

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
* New Report Offers Guidance on Selecting Veggie Varietals
* SAN Issues Call for Manuscripts
* Natural Compound Shows Promise as Agricultural Fungicide
* Consumers Open to Purchasing Based on Social and Environmental Values, Survey Finds
* Report Makes Case for Collaborations between Sustainable Ag and Health
* 'Help Wanted: Organic Farmers' Campaign Launched

Funding Opportunities
* USAID Cross-Sectoral Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation
* EQIP Assistance Irrigation Technical Services for California
* National Research Initiative: Land Cover/Land Use Change Research

Coming Events
* Minnesota Grown Marketing Conference
* California Agriculture Symposium
* The New Food Entrepreneur: Value-Added Processing Conference

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News & Resources

New Report Offers Guidance on Selecting Veggie Varietals
A new tool offered by Purdue Extension can help vegetable producers in the Midwest select varieties that are most appropriate for local growing conditions. The “Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial Report for 2004” contains information from more than 40 vegetable trials, including several trials involving peppers, pumpkins, sweet corn, tomatoes, and watermelons. According to horticultural extensionist Chris Gunter, coordinator of the report, "Appropriate variety selection can make all the difference when you're trying to maximize production and minimize inputs." The report is available free online or for $15 by calling Purdue Extension at 888-EXT-INFO.
URL: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html3month/2005/
050221.Gunter.report.html

SAN Issues Call for Manuscripts
The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), the national outreach arm of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, has released its 2005 call for manuscripts. SAN will publish books, bulletins, and online resources highlighting SARE-funded project results and other innovative research. Most of SAN’s published material covers an issue from a national perspective. Examples of existing bulletins and other published materials are available on the SARE Web site. SAN also seeks proposals to develop other outreach tools, such as Web sites, databases, spreadsheets, and creative online resources. Proposals are due May 2, 2005.
URL: http://www.sare.org/coreinfo/publishing_w_san.htm

Natural Compound Shows Promise as Agricultural Fungicide
Agricultural Research Service and University of Mississippi scientists have been issued a patent to use a naturally occurring compound called sampangine as a broad-spectrum, low-toxicity control of fungal plant pathogens. According to the new patent, sampangine-based compounds can control such fungi as Botrytis cinerea, which causes gray mold on tomatoes; Colletotrichum fragariae, which produces anthracnose crown rot and wilt in strawberry plants; C. gloeosporioides, which sickens numerous plants, including grapes, strawberry, citrus and papaya; and Fusarium oxysporum, which induces vascular wilt in crops such as potato, sugarcane, and many ornamentals.  
URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2005/050223.htm

Consumers Open to Purchasing Based on Social and Environmental Values, Survey Finds
A recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems sought to determine what consumers want to know about their food purchases and what factors most influence their purchasing habits. Based on five focus groups and almost 500 surveys completed by randomly selected households in Central Coast counties, the researchers found that the top concern of consumers was food safety. Consumers also wanted more information on the nutritional value of their food, how animals are treated during production, the environmental impacts of production methods, and working conditions of agricultural laborers. “Food retailers, processors, and growers should all start looking closely at these issues because people are interested in supporting them through their purchases,” said researcher Phil Howard. “Broadly speaking, ethical consumerism is an emerging force, and people on the Central Coast appear eager to make more informed purchases.”
URL: http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=629

Report Makes Case for Collaborations between Sustainable Ag and Health
The Building Bridges project of Prevention Institute is trying to create opportunities to promote a just and sustainable food system by making connections between public health and the sustainable agriculture movement. The Institute explores these connections in a September 2004 report titled Cultivating Common Ground: Linking Health and Sustainable Agriculture (PDF 516 KB). The report documents links between agriculture and health, identifies overlapping issues that provide opportunities for collaboration, notes issues that need to be resolved before engaging in partnerships, and makes recommendations for developing a collaborative movement. The report also explains that the time is ripe to connect agriculture and health and lists 10 reasons why, including: everyone cares about health, good eating habits are key to preventing chronic disease, concern over rising obesity levels, and health disparities across race and income level that are related to the food system.
URL: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/buildingbr.html#ccg

'Help Wanted: Organic Farmers' Campaign Launched
The Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service has just launched a major educational campaign, "Help Wanted: Organic Farmers" that will provide interested farmers with the information they need to consider converting to organic agriculture. Organic Valley Family of Farms announced its full support for the effort. "The MOSES 'Help Wanted: Organic Farmers' campaign will play a key role in helping producers understand how organic can be a lifeline," said Organic Valley CEO George Siemon, noting that his organic cooperative is seeking dairy, livestock, produce and grain producers. Producers can contact MOSES for more information on the campaign, at (715) 772-3153.
URL: http://www.organicvalley.coop/newsroom/article.html?cat=1&id=92

For more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.

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Funding Opportunities

USAID Cross-Sectoral Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation
The United States Agency for International Development, Economic Growth and Agriculture Trade, Office of Natural Resource Managementís Biodiversity Team (USAID/EGAT/NRM/B) is accepting submission of concept papers for cross-sectoral approaches for biodiversity conservation, as the first step of a two-step competitive process that will invite applications as the second step. Projects must demonstrate success in addressing threats to biodiversity while capitalizing on opportunities for conservation results across diverse sectors and develop, apply and share innovative knowledge, skills, capacities and tools to advance cross-sectoral approaches to biodiversity conservation. USAID has a particular interest in several sectors related to biodiversity conservation, one of which is sustainable agriculture. USAID anticipates awarding up to two Cooperative Agreements each year, for a maximum of three years. Each award will have a total estimated cost of $150,000 to $250,000 per year. U.S. Organizations and Non-U.S. organizations are eligible to submit concept papers, which are due electronically by April 4, 2005.
URL: http://www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/AID/OP/WAS/M-OP-EGAT-
04/Attachments.html#upload4300

EQIP Assistance Irrigation Technical Services for California
The California State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Assistance Irrigation Technical Services. The NRCS expects to award up to two cooperative agreements that will be based on proposals submitted and benefits derived for the current fiscal year. Funds available for the current fiscal year under this request for proposals are approximately $104,000, for Central Siskiyou County (Shasta Valley) and for Western Siskiyou County (Scott Valley). Phases of the project must include irrigation system design and layout, inspection and verification of conservation practices, and reporting. Applications are due to the state office by March 17, 2005.
URL: http://fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/NRCS/NCRS-CA/NRCS-10-CA-
05/Grant.html

National Research Initiative: Land Cover/Land Use Change Research
This is a USDA-NASA interagency research opportunity that addresses the Land Use/Land Cover Change element of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and represents USDA/CSREES' contribution to the U.S. Climate Research Initiative. Both NASA and CSREES' National Research Initiative are interested in studies on land cover and land use that are coupled with climate variability and global change and are likely to affect the resources and services that agriculture, forest, and rangelands provide to society and the natural environment. Participation is open to domestic and foreign organizations, including educational institutions, industry, non-profit institutions, NASA research centers, and other government agencies and laboratories. Letters of intent are due by April 28, 2005. Final applications are due August 1, 2005.
URL: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/fundview.cfm?fonum=1360

For additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.

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Coming Events

Minnesota Grown Marketing Conference
March 15, 2005
St. Paul, Minnesota

This annual conference for marketers of specialty crops and livestock is especially powerful and dynamic because of the diversity of its attendees. Garden centers, fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, farmers' market vendors, Christmas tree growers and other specialty crop producers who market directly to consumers all find this conference extremely valuable. The mixture of marketers leads to great networking opportunities and access to slightly different perspectives that often result in a new idea that will transform your business.
URL: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown/conference.htm

California Agriculture Symposium
March 23-24, 2005
Sacramento, California

This event offers cutting-edge information on water, trade, environmental pressures, sustainability, biotechnology and more. It addresses commodity-specific topics ranging from the development of salt tolerant alfalfa varieties to the technology for growing mushrooms from recycled urban waste.
URL: http://www.calagsymposium.org/

The New Food Entrepreneur: Value-Added Processing Conference
April 1-2, 2005
Auburn, Washington

Washington State University's Small Farms Team and Oregon State University's Food Innovation Center present an opportunity to learn from successful farmers, food business entrepreneurs and processing specialists from around the nation and the region. Topics include financing and starting a community kitchen or cooperative, processing methods, branding, and food safety.
URL: http://csanr.wsu.edu/calendar/details.asp?event=271

More events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.

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URL: http://attra.ncat.org/newsletter/archives.html

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.

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