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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 4, 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

  • Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change Issues Final Report
  • Government Procurement of Local Food Covered in New Guide
  • Sustainable Agriculture Case Study Online
  • Conservation Practices Applied on 650,000 Chesapeake Bay Acres
  • Food Forward Premieres 'Urban Agriculture Across America'
  • Researchers Investigate 'Naked Oats' Rotation for Organic Chicken Production

Funding Opportunities

  • Organic Farming Research Foundation Education & Outreach Grants
  • Western Lake Erie Basin Water Quality Projects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural Energy Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Foraging Ahead Grazing Workshop
  • Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course
  • Beginner Farmer Training - Urban Workshop Series

News & Resources

Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change Issues Final Report
The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change released its final report, Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change, on March 28. The report says an integrated approach must balance how much food we produce, how we adapt to a changing climate, and how much agriculture contributes to further climate change. The Commission also launched a short animation that illustrates the key actions that are necessary to put humanity in a ‘safe operating space' for food security in 2050.

Government Procurement of Local Food Covered in New Guide
Public Health Law & Policy has released a new report, Local Food for Local Government: Considerations in Giving Preference to Locally Grown Food. This guide provides an overview of the factors affecting whether a state or local agency may procure locally produced food and agricultural products.
Related ATTRA Publication: New Markets for Your Crops

Sustainable Agriculture Case Study Online
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture has released its second "Profiles in Sustainable Agriculture" case study. A detailed narrative combines with embedded technical assistance. The new case study features Cindy Hale and Jeff Hall of Clover Valley Farms in Duluth, Minnesota, who raise pastured poultry and hogs, produce herbs, and grow heritage varieties of apples.

Conservation Practices Applied on 650,000 Chesapeake Bay Acres
A new report from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) shows that, with NRCS assistance, Chesapeake Bay region farmers, forestland owners, and other partners put conservation practices into place on more than 650,000 acres of working land between May 2010 and September 2011. Popular practices included manure management, planting grasses along streams, and other methods of preventing sediments and nutrients from entering waterways that feed into the bay.
Related ATTRA Publication: Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies

Food Forward Premieres 'Urban Agriculture Across America'
Food Forward has its broadcast premiere April 5 in Los Angeles with an episode titled "Urban Agriculture Across America." Food Forward is a documentary series about the chefs, scientists, farmers, fishermen, teachers, and others creating a healthier food system in America. The show will be airing in most of the country on PBS.

Researchers Investigate 'Naked Oats' Rotation for Organic Chicken Production
Ohio State University researchers have received a four-year grant to study the feasibility of incorporating a variety of oats without a hull, known “naked oats,” into organic farming rotations as a way to cut the cost of producing organic chicken. The goal of the study is to develop a way to reduce the cost of organic chicken feed by growing the cereal portion of the birds' diet on the farm. The study will be conducted at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's certified-organic research plots, where the birds will be kept in portable pens, with spelt and red clover as the other crops in the rotation.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Organic Farming Research Foundation Education & Outreach Grants
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has funding available for development of educational opportunities or materials on any agricultural production, social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic and transitioning producers. Special funding is available for projects in the categories of organic seed quality or crop breeding. OFRF particularly encourages farmers, ranchers, researchers, and Extension personnel to apply.
The application deadline is May 15, 2012.

Western Lake Erie Basin Water Quality Projects
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that $2 million in financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help farmers in designated parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana prevent phosphorus from entering Western Lake Erie Basin waterways.
Applications are due at local NRCS offices by April 27, 2012.

Massachusetts Agricultural Energy Grant Program
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources administers a competitive grant program that funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies by Massachusetts farms. The program offers grants of up to $25,000 for either energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.
The deadline for applications is April 30, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Foraging Ahead Grazing Workshop
May 18-19, 2012
Sequatchie, Tennessee

A two-day high-density grazing school and holistic management workshop with Ian Mitchell-Innes is offered for farmers interested in advancing their farms and their lives. There will be classroom sessions in the mornings, and pasture walks at Sequatchie Cove Farm covering all aspects of mob grazing in the afternoons.

Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course
May 15, 2012
Booneville, Arkansas, or Unity, Maine

This day-long short course offered by The Xerces Society will equip conservationists, land managers, farm educators, and agricultural professionals with the latest science-based approaches to increasing crop security and reversing the trend of pollinator decline, especially in heavily managed agricultural landscapes.

Beginner Farmer Training - Urban Workshop Series
May 9, 2012
Baltimore, Maryland

"Urban Soils" and "Starting a New Farm in a Baltimore Neighborhood" is the second session of a three-part workshop series. Presentations cover urban soils and potential contaminants relevant to urban farmers. In addition, farmers and community leaders will describe some of the joys and challenges of building a new urban farm.

>> 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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