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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 1, 2009

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.

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News & Resources
* Minnesota Farm To School Toolkit Available
* Blog For Pasture and Range Production Launched
* Journalist Follows Steer From Field to Plate
* Minority Farmers Graduate From USDA Institute
* Land For Good Offers Land Leasing Tutorial
* Kentucky Offers On-Farm Energy Efficiency Assistance


Funding Opportunities
* Northeast SARE Agroecosystems Research Grant
* Quaker Oats Community Hunger Grant
* Rural Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grant


Coming Events
* Southwest Marketing Network
* Virginia Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship Program
* Sustainable Blackberry Production Workshop



News & Resources

Minnesota Farm To School Toolkit Available
The Willmar School District in western Minnesota has gradually incorporated locally purchased food into its cafeteria menu over the last four years. In response to requests to share their information, Annette Hendrickx Derouin (Willmar’s Director of Food and Nutrition Services) and Lynn Mader (U of M Extension, Family Development) have been working with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and an advisory team to develop an online toolkit for Minnesota school nutrition programs. The toolkit contains information and materials to assist in planning a farm to school program; sourcing, preparing, and serving local foods; and promoting the food to students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Ready-to-use items include cafeteria menus and recipes complete with nutritional information, sample newsletter and announcement pieces, posters, and tested methods for getting students to sample the food.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions


Blog For Pasture and Range Production Launched
A new Extension blog focused on pasture and range livestock production is up and running on the Internet. The South Dakota State University "South Dakota Pasture and Range Livestock Production" blog is now available. Extension Livestock Educator Rebecca Schafer is the author of the blog. "While it is very new, we hope it will help serve pasture and range livestock producers, giving them a chance to ask questions and get answers," said Schafer.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Pasture, Rangeland, and Grazing Management


Journalist Follows Steer From Field to Plate
Journalist Mark Neuzil, with MinnPost.com, recently documented the process of acquiring local, organic beef. His article, along with photos, follows a steer from the field to slaughter and processing. He outlines the steer's production, along with challenges to purchasing local meat.

Minority Farmers Graduate From USDA Institute
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today presided over the Washington, D.C., graduation ceremony of 26 minority farmers from the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, a 2-year course of study that gives small, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and/or minority farmers the knowledge to become successful agricultural entrepreneurs. The program is unique in that it is the only one in the country specifically targeting minority, socially disadvantaged and/or limited resource agricultural producers.

Land For Good Offers Land Leasing Tutorial
Access to farmland is one of the biggest challenges for new farmers. For many, leasing may be an effective strategy. Leases can provide affordable, flexible and secure access to farms, land, and buildings. Land For Good, a nonprofit offering education and assistance to owners and managers of working lands, entering farmers, and other-land use decision-makers, is offering an online land leasing tutorial. The tutorial offers four short, easy and informative modules that give basic information, lease examples and lots of linked resources.

Kentucky Offers On-Farm Energy Efficiency Assistance
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB) recently adopted policy and program revisions intended to broaden access to diversification funds and enhance accountability. In addition to the current investment areas, the County Agricultural Investment Program will include a new investment area called “On-farm Energy Efficiency & Production”. This investment area will be a tool to help farmers increase energy efficiency in their current production practices, while ultimately increasing net farm income through realized cost savings.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for Saving Money on the Farm


> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Northeast SARE Agroecosystems Research Grant
The Agroecosystems Research Grant program funds long-term research that explores the ecological interactions that are the basis of sustainable agriculture. The emphasis is on projects that improve understanding of these interactions and promote new models of farming that future farmers can adopt. Preproposals are due May 31, 2009.
Preproposals are due May 31, 2009.

Quaker Oats Community Hunger Grant
Quaker Oats is offering grants for projects that will help combat hunger in your community. The Quaker Go Grant program will select twenty winners each month from April through August 2009. Winners will each receive a $500 cash grant to fund their projects.
Application deadlines for the monthly awards are March 31, 2009, April 30, 2009, May 31, 2009 and June 30, 2009 and July 31, 2009.

Rural Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grant
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)/Energy Audit (EA)/Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) Grant Program will provide grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. State, tribal or local government, land-grant colleges, universities, or other institutions of higher education (including 1994 Land Grant (Tribal Colleges) and 1890 Land Grant Colleges and Historically Black Universities), rural electric cooperatives, and public power entities are eligible for funds to provide energy audits and renewable energy development assistance for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.
Proposals are due June 9, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Southwest Marketing Network
April 6-8, 2009
Durango, Colorado

This seventh annual conference offers a full schedule of workshops, networking meetings, and free time for informal networking, with a focus on good food networks. "Building a Good Food System in the Southwest" features presentations by Marty Gerencer of the National Good Food Network and a diverse panel of food system stakeholders who are building good food systems in their communities. Interactive workshops in four tracks are geared at helping participants identify and expand their roles in developing the local food system. Tracks are Scaling up to New Markets; Growing your Organization’s Capacity to Grow the Food System; Making your Farm/Ranch Business Work for YOU; Mooving More Livestock.


Virginia Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship Program
April 6, 2009
Charlottesville, Virginia

This workshop will provide information and training on how to start and operate a food-based business in Virginia. The program aims to increase the quality and quantity of regionally produced food and value-added food products as a means to incorporate sustainable agriculture into our local economy.


Sustainable Blackberry Production Workshop
April 8, 2009
Perkins, Oklahoma

Cimarron Valley Research Station will host this workshop. Good management starts with a well-grounded knowledge in the basics of blackberry culture. Control of common insects and diseases will be addressed in the workshop.


> More Events

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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.


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