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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 25, 2020

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.

Technical Resources on ATTRA Website Now Free of Cost
NCAT is pleased to announce that we are now providing all the technical resources on our ATTRA website at no cost. You no longer need to pay an annual subscription fee or individual publication fee to access any of our digital publications, videos, podcasts, and other resources and materials. Remember that we still rely on private income to make ends meet, and we hope you will consider a tax-deductible donation.

News & Resources

  • NSAC Provides Statement and Resources on COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System
  • USDA Service Centers Open by Phone Appointment
  • COVID-19 Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Offered by University of Vermont Extension
  • ASAP Organizes New Farmers Market Designed to Protect Shoppers and Vendors
  • Recorded Webinar on Online Sales Platforms for Farmers Posted
  • USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program

Funding Opportunities

  • American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund
  • Small Business Administration Disaster Loans in Response to Coronavirus
  • Mini-Grants for North Carolina Farmers Impacted by COVID-19

Coming Events

  • How to Create a Free On-line Store for Your Farm
  • COVID-19 Farm Roundtable: Emergency and Contingency Plans
  • Strengthening Our Food System Together in a Time of Crisis

News & Resources

NSAC Provides Statement and Resources on COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) issued a statement on how the pandemic will continue to cause both short- and long-term disruptions to our farm and food system. NSAC suggests that resilience will be essential and makes a number of policy recommendations designed to protect and sustain farmers, ranchers, and other affected individuals. The statement references two new NSAC resource publications, Support for Local and Regional Food Systems in COVID-19 Response and Mitigating Immediate Harmful Impacts of COVID-19 on Farms and Ranches Selling Through Local and Regional Food Markets.

USDA Service Centers Open by Phone Appointment
USDA has announced that USDA Service Centers will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. FSA and NRCS program delivery staff at the Service Centers will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. More information is available online at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus.

COVID-19 Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Offered by University of Vermont Extension
University of Vermont Extension has posted a document and a podcast discussing Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19. The resources provide information on health and food-safety steps that growers should take, as well as planning and communication advice for markets and farmers markets. They also provide examples of what leading farms and markets are doing to address risk.

ASAP Organizes New Farmers Market Designed to Protect Shoppers and Vendors
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) has organized an interim farmers market in Asheville, North Carolina, as a response to farmers market closures due to the COVID-19 emergency. This new market is designed to protect shoppers and vendors by maintaining social distances and mitigating potential virus transmission points. Products will be pre-packaged or bunched, and payments are made online.

Recorded Webinar on Online Sales Platforms for Farmers Posted
A one-hour webinar hosted by Oregon Tilth on online sales platforms for farmers is available as a recording. Watch this webinar to learn more about direct-to-consumer online sales platforms, including Barn2Door, Harvie, Local Food Marketplace, Food4All, and Open Food Network. Oregon Tilth has also posted questions to ask when considering online sales platforms.
Related ATTRA Video: Using Social Media to Grow Your Farm Business

USDA Seeks Peer Reviewers for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program
USDA is seeking qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers for fiscal year 2020 proposals for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program. This program helps socially disadvantaged, veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers own and operate farms and ranches and ensures equal access to USDA programs and services in agriculture, forestry, and related programs. If you are interested, send your resume to 2501grants@usda.gov, no later than April 30, 2020.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund
To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust (AFT) is launching a Farmer Relief Fund. A full 100% of donations to the fund will go directly to farmers. AFT's Farmer Relief Fund will award farmers cash grants up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs.
Applications are due by April 23, 2020.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans in Response to Coronavirus
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state's or territory's Governor, SBA will issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. This makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations. SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. A list of areas eligible for these disaster loans is available online.

Mini-Grants for North Carolina Farmers Impacted by COVID-19
Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) will be distributing emergency mini-grants of $500 to farmers who are drastically impacted by market sales disruptions caused by COVID-19. Funding is currently limited to farmers located in North Carolina.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

How to Create a Free On-line Store for Your Farm
March 25 or 26, 2020
Online
North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer two free webinars that walk participants step-by-step through the process of setting up a basic, free, on-line store through Square. This store accepts pre-orders and payments for items to be picked up at the farm, farmers market, or other location. Pre-registration is required.

COVID-19 Farm Roundtable: Emergency and Contingency Plans
March 26, 2020
Online
In this webinar from Washington State University Extension, presenters will share considerations for farm operations in an emergency, tips to help plan for contingencies, and tools to develop plans with your support networks.

Strengthening Our Food System Together in a Time of Crisis
March 27, 2020
Online
This discussion-based farminar from Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network will center on women's and gender-oppressed voices and welcomes all sectors of the food system. Bring your concerns, thoughts, ideas, and thinking caps and commune together to imagine solutions and coordinate action to address the challenges that we face now and will face in the future. Advance registration is requested.

>>More Events

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New ATTRA Blog
ATTRA Resources for Resiliency

Question of the Week
How can I use social media to direct-market my farm products during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ask an Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online or by calling 1-800-346-9140

Starting Seeds
Enjoy the first in a series of short videos featuring NCAT’s agriculture specialists sharing what they are doing on their farms and homesteads.

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