Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 14, 2007
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
* Web Site Service For Small Farms
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.
* UC Sets Aside Land for Organic Research
* Growing Growers Program Seeking Participants
* ISU Dining Services Solicits Local Growers
* Resource Guide Helps Get Local Foods into Low-Income Neighborhoods
* Sustainable Foods a Hot Trend Among Chefs
* Wisconsin Dairy Farm Transition Grant
* Utah's Own Acreage Enhancement Pilot Grant Program
* Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
* Organic Orcharding Workshop
* Herb Society of America Educational Conference
* All Things Organic
News & Resources
Web Site Service For Small Farms
A new service, Small Farm Central, is working to provide web sites to small farms. The goal of Small Farm Central is to bridge the gap between rural food producers and urban consumers by allowing farmers to easily and cost-effectively set up their own farm web sites. Small Farm Central is a new company that assists small-scale farmers in marketing their farm and their products on the web.
UC Sets Aside Land for Organic Research
The University of California is designating 10 acres at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center near Parlier for organic research. The three-year transition period needed to meet organic standards began this winter. The Research Advisory Committee will entertain proposals from UC farm advisors, specialists and campus-based scientists who wish to conduct research on the organic farmland at Kearney. Louise Ferguson, chair of the Research Advisory Committee, said the committee believes the organic research at the center might also benefit the state's conventional growers.
"We are committed to serving the research needs of all segments of agriculture," said Fred Swanson, director of the Kearney REC. "Organic agriculture is an area of increasing interest and economic value to California agriculture, and we are there to provide science-based information to help growers make important production decisions."
Growing Growers Program Seeking Participants
The Growing Growers program is seeking potential producers in west-central Missouri and east-central Kansas to be a part of its mentoring program. The program networks successful market farmers with new and aspiring growers. Missouri Ag Connection reports that the program includes educational workshops as well as on-farm apprenticeships.
ISU Dining Services Solicits Local Growers
Iowa State University is steadily increasing the amount of local food it purchases for its dining facilities. In fact, Nancy Levandowski, director of ISU Dining, has developed a five-year plan that will significantly increase local and regional specialty foods used by the college.
In a recent meeting hosted by the Leopold Center, Levandowski issued an invitation to some 30 farmers, ranchers and specialty processors from around the state who currently don't supply the college with food, to become vendors. The invitation aims to help expand markets for Iowa farmers, as well as to provide healthy foods, protect the environment, and strengthen local economies.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing Local Food to Local People
Resource Guide Helps Get Local Foods into Low-Income Neighborhoods
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has published a new resource guide to help community leaders address public health issues associated with poor diets and food insecurity in low-income neighborhoods. 10 Ways to Get Healthy, Local Foods into Low-Income Neighborhoods: A Minneapolis Resource Guide (PDF / 204 KB) provides a number of useful ideas and creative approaches, as well as links and other resources, that can help officials get started with programs that increase low-income access to local, healthy foods.
Sustainable Foods a Hot Trend Among Chefs
Restaurants across the nation are increasingly turning to sustainably grown foods in their dishes. According to this report on QSRweb.com, this sustainable foods movement has been called one of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry. Chefs are focusing on healthier ingredients, such as organic and locally grown produce, whole-grain breads and grass-fed meat products, and turning away from food treated with pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. As a result, the National Restaurant Association has begun a multi-year project that will guide the restaurant and foodservice industry towards sustainable practices and also develop policy initiatives focusing on sustainability.
> More Breaking News
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Wisconsin Dairy Farm Transition Grant
Grants of up to $7,500 are available to help dairy farmers get started in business or for existing dairy farmers to transition to or enhance organic or intensively managed grazing operations. Cow, goat or sheep operations may apply.
Proposals are due December 31, 2007.
Utah's Own Acreage Enhancement Pilot Grant Program
Utah's Own Acreage Enhancement Pilot Grant Program (PDF / 56 KB) will award up to $2,000 to farmers to help them expand the number of acres they have in vegetable production.
Proposals are due March 31, 2007.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the availability of approximately $7 million in block grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. State departments of agriculture interested in obtaining grant program funds are invited to submit applications to USDA. The SCBGP assists State departments of agriculture in enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Examples of enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: Research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives.
Proposals are due October 11, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Orcharding Workshop
April 21, 2007
This second offering in MOFGA's Organic Orcharding Workshop series focuses on grafting fruit trees and spring orchard care. Learn to propagate and reproduce your favorite fruit tree varieties.
Herb Society of America Educational Conference
May 3-5, 2007
This conference will cover a range of topics focusing on the botany and horticulture of herbs and the use and delight of herbs.
All Things Organic
May 5-8, 2007
As the only exclusively organic event in North America, All Things Organic serves up more organic exhibitors and products than any other industry trade event. Touch, taste and see everything from new products, new faces, new trends, new companies, and new contacts to established companies at the root of this fast growing industry. Expand your organic base with a comprehensive education program and top notch networking events.
> More Events
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