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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 18, 2015

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

Sound and Sensible Organics Workshops in Louisiana
The National Center for Appropriate Technology and Quality Certification Services are continuing a series of free workshops on organic certification for producers in the Gulf States with full-day events on March 31 and April 1, 2015, in Alexandria and Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Register at www.ncat.org/events/.

News & Resources

  • Growing Food Connections Announces Eight 'Communities of Opportunity'
  • New Resource to Help Food Hubs Support Farm to School Programs
  • Ceres Trust Reports on University Organic Activity in North Central Region
  • New Organic Spinach Variety Released
  • CSP Renewals Accepted until March 31
  • NOSB Spring Meeting Announced

Funding Opportunities

  • Local Food Promotion Program
  • USDA Farm to School Grant Program
  • North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant

Coming Events

  • Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management
  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • California Grazing Academy

News & Resources

Growing Food Connections Announces Eight 'Communities of Opportunity'
As part of the Growing Food Connections (GFC) initiative, eight communities across the country will receive training and assistance to link family farmers and local residents who lack access to healthy food. Over a three-year period, GFC will help local governments create their own plans, policies, and partnerships and make public investment to support family farmers and enhance food security.

New Resource to Help Food Hubs Support Farm to School Programs
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has published Using Food Hubs to Create Sustainable Farm to School Programs, which explores the key roles that food hubs can play in the development, support, and maintenance of successful Farm to School programs. Four case studies demonstrate different ways food hubs can utilize their existing infrastructure and expertise to support and strengthen Farm to School programs. The new publication is available online in PDF.

Ceres Trust Reports on University Organic Activity in North Central Region
The Ceres Trust has issued Organic Research and Outreach in the North Central Region—2015, documenting growth in university organic research, extension, outreach, and teaching in the 12-state North Central Region. The report includes state-specific details about student organic farms; organic research land and animals; sources of organic research funding; dissemination of research results; and organic academic curricula. The report includes descriptions of on-farm research activities in each state.

New Organic Spinach Variety Released
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) has announced the release of a new spinach variety for organic farmers, called "Abundant Bloomsdale." OSA plant breeders worked with eight farms on the Olympic Peninsula to develop the variety, which is currently available for commercial purchase from several seed companies.

CSP Renewals Accepted until March 31
USDA is offering a renewal option through March 31, 2015, for eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners with expiring Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts. The renewal process is optional but benefits CSP participants with expiring contracts because it is non-competitive.
Related ATTRA Publication: Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

NOSB Spring Meeting Announced
The National Organic Standards Board will have its spring public meeting in La Jolla, California, from April 27-30, 2015. During the meeting, the board will address several petitions pertaining to changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Written comments on the proposals can be submitted until April 7, 2015.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Local Food Promotion Program
The Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) offers grants to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises. Two types of project applications are accepted under LFPP: planning grants of $5,000 to $25,000 and implementation grants of $25,000 to $100,000.
Applications are due May 14, 2015.

USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Designed to increase the availability of local foods in eligible schools, these grants help new farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts. Four types of grants are available: planning grants, implementation grants, support service grants, and funds to support training and technical assistance.
Proposals for planning, implementation, and support-service grants are due by May 20, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due April 30, 2015.

North Central Region SARE Graduate Student Grant
This program provides funds to students in graduate programs or in veterinary medicine residence programs at accredited colleges or universities who are exploring some aspect of sustainable agriculture as part of their educational program. Individual grants of up to $10,000 can fund projects lasting up to 36 months.
Proposals must be submitted by May 5, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management
March 27-28, April 24-25, and May 29-30, 2015
Hunt, Texas

This workshop series is part of HMI's Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management program. Three two-day workshops cover Introduction to Holistic Management and Ecosystem Function, Holistic Grazing Planning, and Holistic Land Planning.

Mother Earth News Fair
April 11-12, 2015
Asheville, North Carolina

This event will feature more than 150 practical, hands-on demonstrations and workshops, as well as hundreds of vendors. Topic areas include modern homesteading, real food, and animal husbandry.

California Grazing Academy
April 24-25, 2015
Browns Valley, California

The California Grazing Academy emphasizes practical application of controlled grazing principles to improve the environment and increase ranch profit. This year, there will be added presentations and activities related to drought planning.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2015 NCAT

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Upcoming ATTRA Webinar
There's still time to register for Selling to Institutional Markets: Strategies and Considerations for Montana Producers on March 26, 2015.

Question of the Week
What can you tell me about growing tart cherries in the South?

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