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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 20, 2011

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

  • San Francisco Adopts Urban Farming Ordinance
  • Organic Industry Growing, Says Annual Survey
  • Minneapolis Adopts Urban Agriculture Plan
  • USDA Seeks Farmers Market Information for Directory
  • NOP Issues Clarification Regarding GMOs
  • Report Says Corn Belt Erosion Worse than Estimated

Funding Opportunities

  • EQIP Organic Initiative Second Round for 2011
  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
  • Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program

Coming Events

  • Food for Thought: Food System Literacy in Classrooms, Cafeterias, and Communities
  • American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference
  • The Business of Meat Processing: Planning & Profitability

News & Resources

San Francisco Adopts Urban Farming Ordinance
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed progressive legislation that amended the zoning code to allow agricultural activities in all parts of the city without a conditional use permit, and defined parameters by which urban agriculturists can sell their products.

Organic Industry Growing, Says Annual Survey
The Organic Trade Association's 2011 Organic Industry Survey reveals that the organic sector grew by 8 percent in 2010. The survey also noted 14,540 organic farms and ranches across the country, and says 96 percent of organic operations are planning to maintain or increase employment levels in 2011.

Minneapolis Adopts Urban Agriculture Plan
The Urban Agriculture Policy Plan for Minneapolis was approved by the mayor and city council on April 15, allowing farmers to use land for commercial farms. It also recommends incorporating urban agriculture into the city's long-range planning efforts.
Related ATTRA Publication: Start a Farm in the City

USDA Seeks Farmers Market Information for Directory
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service is updating the USDA National Farmers Market Directory. Farmers market managers can update their market listings at www.usdadirectoryupdate.com. The directory captures information about where and when farmers markets operate, if they participate in federal nutrition benefit programs, and detailed information about their seasonality and location.

NOP Issues Clarification Regarding GMOs
The National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a policy memorandum that addresses frequently asked questions concerning the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production and handling.

Report Says Corn Belt Erosion Worse than Estimated
Data based on tracking erosion after every storm over a period of years shows that Iowa farms are losing precious topsoil up to 12 times faster than government estimates, says Losing Ground, a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

EQIP Organic Initiative Second Round for 2011
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a second opportunity for application to the Organic Initiative during fiscal year 2011. Through the EQIP Organic Initiative, NRCS provides assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or agricultural operations transitioning to organic production.
After May 20, 2011, applications will no longer be considered for fiscal year 2011 Initiative participation.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
USDA is providing funding for up to $61 million in guaranteed loans and $42 million in grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds are available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.
Applications for clean energy project grants and combined grants and loan guarantees are due June 15, 2011.
Applications for renewable energy Feasibility Studies grants, Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assistance grants are due June 30, 2011.

Massachusetts Farm Viability Enhancement Program
The Massachusetts Farm Viability Program offers farmers environmental, technical and business planning assistance to expand, upgrade and modernize their existing operations. Capital is available in exchange for an agricultural covenant on the farm property for a fixed term of five or ten years.
The deadline for applications is June 23, 2011.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Food for Thought: Food System Literacy in Classrooms, Cafeterias, and Communities
June 16-17, 2011
Simsbury, Connecticut

This symposium is a two-day gathering of teachers, students, food service directors, sustainability coordinators, farmers, and community organizers to advance food system literacy in schools and communities around the nation.

American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference
June 12-15, 2011
French Lick, Indiana

This event will feature symposia, scientific posters, student contests, tours, exhibits and networking designed to advance the knowledge and use of forage as a prime feed resource.

The Business of Meat Processing: Planning & Profitability
June 2, 2011
Online

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network is offering a free webinar, "The Business of Meat Processing: Planning and Profitability," where business management and planning experts will address the topics of building a meat processing business and making it profitable, and answer questions.

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

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© 2011 NCAT

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New & Updated Publications
Farmer Profiles: Two Organic Grain Farm Case Studies

Apples: Organic Production Guide

Agroforestry: An Overview

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