Home | Newsletter Archives

ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - April 23, 2014

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

  • Open Source Seed Initiative Releases 29 New Crop Varieties
  • Marketing Course Offered Free, Online for Farmers
  • Locavore Index Ranks States' Commitment to Local Food
  • Report Explores Fire Blight Control in Organic Fruit
  • USDA Announces Creation of Rural Business Investment Company
  • USDA Offering Specialty Crop Block Grant Funding for States

Funding Opportunities

  • Western SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program
  • Michigan Farm to School Grant Program

Coming Events

  • Mother Earth News Fair
  • Local Food Enterprise Summit
  • Biological Monitoring with Holistic Management

News & Resources

Open Source Seed Initiative Releases 29 New Crop Varieties
On April 17, the Open Source Seed Initiative announced the release of 29 new varieties of crop seed, reports National Public Radio. Plant breeders developed new varieties of carrots, kale, broccoli, and quinoa, which are being distributed under an "open source pledge." The pledge is intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners, and plant breeders to share those seeds--and future plants derived from them--freely. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses, or any other kind of intellectual property.

Marketing Course Offered Free, Online for Farmers
The Farmers Market Federation of New York and the NY Farm Viability Institute are cosponsoring Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success, a free, online course for farmers. The course materials are also available at no charge for use by educators. The curriculum includes five components: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment. Successful completion of all sessions will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Locavore Index Ranks States' Commitment to Local Food
Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local-food advocacy group, has released its third annual Locavore Index. The Index is a state-by-state ranking of commitment to local foods based on the number of farmers markets, the number of consumer-supported agriculture operations (CSAs), and the number of food hubs—all compared on a per-capita basis—plus the percentage of each state's school districts with active Farm to School programs. The top three states for locavorism are Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Report Explores Fire Blight Control in Organic Fruit
The Organic Center is making a new Critical Issue Report available online. Fire Blight Control Program in Organic Fruit offers grower lessons and emerging research for developing an integrated non-antibiotic fire blight control program. This 28-page report in PDF details methods that have been successfully used to prevent fire blight in organic systems without the use of antibiotics.

USDA Announces Creation of Rural Business Investment Company
USDA has announced the creation of the Rural Business Investment Company, a new investment fund that will allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Advantage Capital Partners, which will manage the new fund, and their partners from eight Farm Credit institutions have pledged to invest nearly $150 million into the effort. The fund is being formed under the USDA's Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP).

USDA Offering Specialty Crop Block Grant Funding for States
Approximately $66 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants will be available to state departments of agriculture from USDA for projects that help support specialty-crop growers through research, programs to increase demand, and more. As directed by the Farm Bill, the block grants are now allocated to U.S. States and territories based on a formula that takes into consideration both specialty-crop acreage and production value. Nearly all states are seeing an increase in funds.

>> More Breaking News

Back to top


Funding Opportunities

Western SARE Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has issued a call for proposals for graduate student grants in sustainable agriculture up to $25,000. Masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full time at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region are eligible to apply. Projects must conduct both research and education.
Proposals are due by May 14, 2014.

Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grants Program
Under the Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive (SACC) Grants Program, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will support the development of canola as a viable supplemental and alternative crop. The goal of the SACC program is to significantly increase crop production and/or acreage by developing and testing of superior germplasm; improving methods of planting, cultivation, and harvesting; and transferring new knowledge to producers. Applications may be submitted by colleges and universities, other Federal agencies, and private-sector entities for grants up to $210,000.
Applications are due by May 8, 2014.

Michigan Farm to School Grant Program
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems is accepting applications for the Michigan Farm to School Grant Program for the 2014-2015 school year. Food service/nutrition directors/providers of schools/districts or early child care and education programs with at least 50% free and reduced-price meal enrollment are eligible to apply for Planning Grants or Implementation Grants.
Applications are due by May 1, 2014.

>> More Funding Opportunities

Back to top


Coming Events

Mother Earth News Fair
May 31 - June 1, 2014
Puyallup, Washington

Mother Earth News Fairs feature practical, hands-on workshops on renewable energy, green building, gardening, and small-scale agriculture. Topics will include butchering, beekeeping, alpacas, foodshed financing, choosing livestock, aquaponics, livestock guardian dogs, and more. Keynote speakers include Joel Salatin and Jo Robinson.

Local Food Enterprise Summit
May 31 - June 4, 2014
Miami, Florida

This Financial Permaculture event focuses on designing replicable, regenerative local food enterprises and growing resilient local-food economies. Keynote speakers include Eric Toensmeier, Judy Wicks, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Elizabeth Ü.

Biological Monitoring with Holistic Management
May 31, 2014
Cresco, Iowa

This is the final event in a series of regional Holistic Management workshops presented by Land Stewardship Project and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

>> More Events

Back to top


Subscribe to the Weekly Harvest

Comments? Questions? Contact us

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

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.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2014 NCAT

Back to top

New ATTRA Publication
California Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farms

Question of the Week
How are paddock systems designed for sheep different from those for cows?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
Submit questions to our professional staff online

ATTRA Webinar
Remember to register for our webinar taking place on April 29, 2014 ~ Urban Farms: Commercial Farms or Socially Minded Operations?

ATTRA Spanish Newsletter
Subscribe to Cosecha Mensual (Monthly Harvest), ATTRA's Spanish-language e-newsletter

ATTRA is on Facebook!
We feature breaking news on sustainable agriculture topics several times a week. Add us to your Facebook friends list today!

Find us on facebook

 

Follow us on Pinterest

 

 

 

Support the ATTRA Project



Home | Newsletter Archives