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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 21, 2012

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

  • Study Explores Role of Local Food Distributors
  • U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award Winners Announced
  • MSU Offering Free Online Metropolitan Agriculture Course
  • List of Certified Organic Operations Updated
  • GAPs to Become Increasingly Important, Says Study
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Releases Farm Bill Policy Platform

Funding Opportunities

  • Southern SARE Graduate Student Grant
  • New York Fresh Connect Program
  • Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant

Coming Events

  • Sustainable Livestock Production Workshop
  • Piedmont Farm Tour
  • Sequim International Lavender Conference

News & Resources

Study Explores Role of Local Food Distributors
A new USDA report, Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution, shows how producer networks are tapping into the growing demand for local food products, creating additional economic opportunities, and expanding healthy food access. The study details how eight different organizations around the country help local and regional producers overcome bottlenecks in the food marketing system through collaborative and transparent planning and adherence to a shared set of operating principles. The new study serves as a resource for producers, food processors, and marketers.

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award Winners Announced
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® has announced the winners of the inaugural U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, a program to recognize dairy farms, dairy companies, and collaborative partnerships for efforts that advance the sustainability of the dairy industry. Short profiles of the winners are available online.

MSU Offering Free Online Metropolitan Agriculture Course
Michigan State University is offering MetroAg, a free six-week open online course, to facilitate the discussion on how we integrate agriculture back into metropolitan areas. The course began on March 12 and will offer a weekly webcast by one of the instructors, an interactive forum, videos, website links, a free e-book, news, and academic articles.

List of Certified Organic Operations Updated
The National Organic Program has updated its searchable online list of certified organic operators. As of the end of 2011, there were 17,673 organic farms and processing facilities in the United States certified to the USDA organic standards.

GAPs to Become Increasingly Important, Says Study
Pennsylvania supermarkets will continue to purchase fresh produce from local growers but increasingly will require them to show proof of employing good agricultural practices, or GAPs, according to a study by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. For Pennsylvania growers to maintain wholesale market opportunities, they will have to put forth substantial effort to comply with and verify their on-farm food-safety practices, the study concluded.
Related ATTRA Publication: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Safe Produce on Your Farm

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Releases Farm Bill Policy Platform
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its comprehensive 2012 Farm Bill policy platform, Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food & Farm Bill. This platform is the culmination of two years of policy work with a broad, diverse coalition of over 90 grassroots organizations from across the country. The platform can be viewed online.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

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. The program will consider proposals by graduate students enrolled at an accredited college or university in the Southern region.
Proposals are due June 4, 2012.

New York Fresh Connect Program
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has announced the availability of $300,000 in funds to support Governor Cuomo's initiative, the Fresh Connect Program. This program will award grants up to $10,000 for eligible projects that increase access to locally grown, fresh foods by low-income and/or underserved communities across New York State.
Applications are due by April 2, 2012.

Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grants to support projects that enhance the competitiveness of Colorado-grown specialty crops. Colorado estimates a USDA allocation of approximately $680,000 for FY12 specialty crop grants. Producer groups, organizations, and associations, as well as state and/or local organizations, academia, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply.
Proposals must be received by April 4, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Sustainable Livestock Production Workshop
April 21-22, 2012
Marshall, Arkansas

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is accepting registrations from new and beginning farmers who want to attend two-day "Farm Foundations: Planning for Success" specialty crop and livestock production workshops. This livestock workshop will teach farmers how to manage risk through business planning, recordkeeping and budgeting, and marketing strategies. It will combine educational presentations with a tour of Falling Sky Farm and hands-on training on topics including pasture poultry, pastured pork, and grass-fed cattle.

Piedmont Farm Tour
April 28-29, 2012
Greensboro - Durham, North Carolina

For this self-guided tour, participants buy a button and obtain a map of participating farms and sites located throughout the Triangle. Participants can visit any farm in any order during the two afternoons of the tour.

Sequim International Lavender Conference
April 27-30, 2012
Sequim, Washington

This comprehensive conference focuses on the farming of lavender as well as on product development and lavender's diversity of applications and uses. The conference will combine classroom workshops with field events at Sequim lavender farms.

>> More Events

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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 was funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2012 NCAT

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