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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 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

  • Maine Town Declares 'Food Sovereignty'
  • Final Rule Extends Allowable Use of Synthetic Methionine
  • State of Organic Seed Report Released
  • UN Expert Makes Case for Ecological Farming Practices to Boost Food Production
  • Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Invites Stakeholder Participation
  • Analysis of EPA Data Shows Factory Farms Emit Pollutants on Industrial Scale

Funding Opportunities

  • Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act Partnership Grants
  • Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
  • Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels

Coming Events

  • Food Policy from Neighborhood to Nation
  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production
  • Embedding Sustainable Agriculture Strategies in Companies

News & Resources

Maine Town Declares 'Food Sovereignty'
Sedgwick, Maine, has adopted "The Ordinance to Protect the Health and Integrity of the Local Food System," a four-page document that invokes the town's right to self-governance, and states that local producers and processors may sell food to consumers without licensing, reports Food Safety News. Maine Ag Commissioner Walter Whitcomb said the state Attorney General's office is investigating the issue of local food regulation, and is drafting a formal legal response to the town.

Final Rule Extends Allowable Use of Synthetic Methionine
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has adopted as final an interim rule that extends the use of synthetic methionine in organic poultry production until Oct. 1, 2012. Based upon the National Organic Standards Board recommendation and comments received, the National Organic Program adopted the interim rule without change.
Related ATTRA publication: Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine

State of Organic Seed Report Released
Organic Seed Alliance recently released an extensive report that serves as the first comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities in building the organic seed sector. The report, titled State of Organic Seed: Advancing the Viability and Integrity of Organic Seed Systems, is an ongoing project to monitor the status of organic seed systems in the United States. The full report is available online.
Related ATTRA publication: Directory of Organic Seed Suppliers

UN Expert Makes Case for Ecological Farming Practices to Boost Food Production
Small-scale farmers can double food production in a decade by using simple ecological methods, according to the findings of a new United Nations study, which calls for a fundamental shift towards agroecology. "Today's scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live -- especially in unfavorable environments," says Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report, entitled "Agro-ecology and the right to food."

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops Invites Stakeholder Participation
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a system for measuring sustainable performance throughout the specialty crop supply chain. The Metrics Review Committee is inviting interested stakeholders to participate in developing stewardship metrics. The group is aiming to have an initial set of SISC Working Metrics available for public use by July 2011.

Analysis of EPA Data Shows Factory Farms Emit Pollutants on Industrial Scale
Recently released EPA data shows that factory farms emit hazardous air pollutants on an industrial scale, yet have escaped regulation under the Clean Air Act and pollution reporting laws. The Environmental Integrity Project reviewed the study results and found that pollution levels at some facilities exceed Clean Air Act standards, worker health recommendations, and emissions reporting thresholds.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act Partnership Grants
EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs is soliciting initial proposals to advance partnerships that focus on pesticide risk management issues with a special focus on integrated pest management (IPM) approaches. The maximum funding level is $250,000 per project for Agricultural IPM and Community IPM.
Applications must be submitted by April 22, 2011.

Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
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. The Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants offer a one-time project maximum of $10,000 to enrolled graduate students in the Southern Region.
Proposals must be submitted by June 1, 2011.

Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels
The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels works to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels by providing payments to eligible advanced biofuels producers making fuel from renewable biomass. Details on how to apply are available in the March 11, 2011 Federal Register, page 13345.
The deadline to apply is May 10, 2011.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Food Policy from Neighborhood to Nation
May 19-21, 2011
Portland, Oregon

Community Food Security Coalition's conference will bring together people from across North America who are working to influence local and state food, agriculture, or nutrition policy. The agenda includes exciting field trips, educational and skill-building workshops, and networking opportunities.

Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production
May 14 and 28, June 11, July 9, August 13, 2011
Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania

Designed for aspiring and new organic vegetable producers, this five-part course offered by Penn State Extension will cover soil preparation, seeding, transplanting, weed and pest management. Emphasis on hands-on instruction and farm planning will give you a full toolbox as you start or refine your farm.

Embedding Sustainable Agriculture Strategies in Companies
May 3-4, 2011
Winter Park, Florida

Developed by IMD's Center for Corporate Sustainability Management and the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, this master class focuses on sustainable agriculture and its business relevance for companies, individual units and functions.

>> More Events

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© 2011 NCAT

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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

An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm

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