Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 2, 2008
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.
News & Resources
* Organic Research Symposium Summaries Posted Online
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* Local Food Sourcing a Challenge for Restaurant Chain
* New Farmers' Markets to Serve Chicago Food Deserts
* 'Operation Strip-Till' Introduces Strip Tillage in Iowa
* Ohio Agriculture Department Files Revised Dairy Labeling Rule
* CCOF Achieves Half Million Acres of Certified Organic Production
* North Central Region SARE Professional Development Program
* Wisconsin Value Added Dairy Initiative Dairy Processor Grant
* Southern Region SARE Graduate Student Grant
* SPIN Cities: Farming Where We Live
* Operating an Efficient Farmers' Market
* Sustainable Agriculture Tour
News & Resources
Organic Research Symposium Summaries Posted Online
The 1st Organic Research Symposium was co-hosted by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and MOSES February 21-23, in conjunction with The Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference. The full set of research summaries from the symposium is now available online from OFRF online in PDF (2.07 M). Topics addressed include weed management in organic systems, organic livestock, vegetable and fruit production, soils, pest management, and economics of organic systems.
Local Food Sourcing a Challenge for Restaurant Chain
The Chipotle Mexican Grill in Charlottesville, Virginia, is now serving carnitas made with pork raised by renowned farmer and local food advocate Joel Salatin, reports The Washington Post. For years the Chipotle chain has had a local and natural food purchasing policy, buying pork from Niman Ranch and others striving for humane and sustainable production. However, as the chain has grown in recent years, finding local sources for meat has become more challenging, since individual farmers often can't supply meat in the quantities needed. Featuring Salatin's Polyface Farm pork in Charlottesville meant investment by Chipotle in infrastructure improvements for transporting the meat and cooking it on site, as well as efforts by Salatin to ramp up production for the restaurant's demand.
New Farmers' Markets to Serve Chicago Food Deserts
Three new farmers' markets slated to open this spring on Chicago's South Side will bring fresh food and a sense of community to areas not served by major grocery stores, says The Chicago Tribune. All three new markets will accept Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, and are eager to serve lower-income customers. They are also recruiting African-American-owned sustainable farms as vendors. In order to improve the community's access to a wider variety of fresh foods, one market will be allowed to set aside a Chicago policy that vendors must sell only produce that they grew, and no processed food
'Operation Strip-Till' Introduces Strip Tillage in Iowa
Farmers in north central Iowa have a chance to try strip tillage without having to purchase new equipment, thanks to a program called "Operation Strip-Till." According to Iowa Ag Connection, the program lets Webster County farmers sign up to have a portion of their acreage strip tilled for just an equipment rental fee. Strip tillage offers some of the fuel and soil conservation benefits of no-till farming, yet provides a warm seedbed like conventional tillage. An informational seminar sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Learning Farm convinced attendees to try strip tillage on 1,900 acres. The program will be demonstrating strip-till farming, hosting informational events, and making experts available to offer advice on using the method.
Ohio Agriculture Department Files Revised Dairy Labeling Rule
The Ohio Department of Agriculture refiled its proposed dairy labeling rule with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review on March 25. Under the modified rule, milk product labels generally may not make "compositional absence claims" like "Hormone Free" or "rbST Free." Labels may make accurate "production claims." Along with any permissible production claim about the use of rbST, labels must contain a statement regarding the FDA’s determination that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows. The department will host a public hearing April 8 at 10 a.m. on its campus in Reynoldsburg to gather public testimony on the modified proposed rule.
CCOF Achieves Half Million Acres of Certified Organic Production
California Certified Organic Farmers, CCOF, one of North America’s oldest and largest organic certifiers, surpassed a half million organic acres in its certification program in March. CCOF has experienced 129% growth in certified organic acreage over the last two years, along with a phenomenal 141,317-acre increase in 2007, representing a 40.7% single-year acreage growth. CCOF’s 501,066 organic acres is split roughly evenly between livestock and produce operations. In 2007, CCOF completed more than 2,300 on-site inspections of land and facilities to ensure their compliance with the standards of the National Organic Program. The organization also expanded its geographic reach. CCOF certifies acreage in 29 different states as well as five foreign countries.
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North Central Region SARE Professional Development Program
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP) is requesting pre-proposals for professional development projects that provide training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), other governmental agencies, and educators in the profit and non-profit sector serving the food and fiber system. Approximately $400,000 will be available for funding projects. The North Central Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Proposals are due May 26, 2008.
Wisconsin Value Added Dairy Initiative Dairy Processor Grant
Wisconsin will make $300,000 in grant funds available over the next year to help dairy processors create and sell more products. Anyone involved with dairy products processing, including cheese companies, milk bottlers, artisan and farmstead operations, or yogurt makers, is eligible to apply. The maximum grant award is $35,000. The grants are for individuals or groups, businesses and organizations to help fund projects geared at innovation, market development or modernization of dairy processing. Eligible project expenses include working capital, marketing expenses, and professional services necessary to implement the project.
Proposals are due May 30, 2008.
Southern Region 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 sustainable agriculture issues of current and potential importance to the Southern Region and the nation. The Southern SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture award a one-time project maximum of $10,000. The Southern SARE program will only consider proposals submitted, and to be conducted, by graduate students (masters and Ph.D.) enrolled at an accredited college or university in the Southern Region. The Southern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Proposals are due June 1, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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SPIN Cities: Farming Where We Live
May 19-20, 2008
Sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the SPIN Cities & Campuses: Farming Where We Live & Learn workshop will bring together aspiring and practicing farmers with university students to learn SPIN-Farming techniques. These methods are helping to re-establish agriculture at the center of urban and suburban economies and family and civic life. SPIN-Farming is a no-technical, easy to-learn, and inexpensive-to-implement farming system that makes it possible to generate significant income from land masses of less than an acre. It is organic-based and provides a step-by-step process for creating a high-income producing backyard, front lawn or neighborhood-based commercial farm. Taught by Wally Satzewich, veteran urban farmer and developer of SPIN-Farming.
Operating an Efficient Farmers' Market
May 12, 2008
Purdue Extension presents this workshop that offers an overview of state regulations for food handling as well as updates on the WIC program. They will also be sharing the results of a Farmers’ Market Survey and a Farmers’ Market Pricing Study. Participants will leave the workshop with renewed energy and enthusiasm for operating and collaborating with farmers’ markets.
Sustainable Agriculture Tour
May 13, 2008
East Peoria, Illinois
For the sixth consecutive year, University of Illinois Extension is offering tours that highlight sustainable agriculture operations around the state of Illinois. The first tour in the 2008 series visits Eagle Dancer Ridge Llamas. Registration at least one week in advance is required.
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