Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - May 14, 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
* CSP Sign-up Extended
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.
* Research Validates Low-external-input Cropping
* Food Service Contractor Pledges Support for Local, Sustainable Food
* South Dakota to Start 'Buy Fresh, Buy Local' Chapter
* Farmers' Markets Find New Vendors
* Study Correlates Local Food Environment with Disease Risk
* Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grant
* EPA Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program
* Water Conservation Field Services Program
* Organic Winegrowing Conference
* Mountain Farm & Garden Tour
* Wisconsin Grazing School
News & Resources
CSP Sign-up Extended
Producers in 51 eligible watersheds nationwide will have two additional weeks to apply for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2008. The sign-up now ends on May 30, 2008. CSP, a voluntary Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program, encourages and rewards producers who practice outstanding stewardship on working agricultural land by offering financial incentives that increase with the level of conservation effort. Soil and water quality are the primary focus of this program; however, program goals also include improved wildlife habitat, air quality, and environmentally responsible energy production.
Research Validates Low-external-input Cropping
Results from an ongoing research project by Iowa State University, funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, show that Low-external-input (LEI) cropping systems can be productive and profitable. The research project compares two LEI cropping systems with a conventional corn-soybean system. Researchers found that a four-year rotation managed with low levels of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can match or exceed yield, weed suppression and profitability of a conventionally managed two-year rotation. These results appeared in the May-June 2008 issue of Agronomy Journal. "The results suggest that large reductions in agrichemical use can be compatible with high crop yields and profits," said study coordinator Matt Liebman.
Food Service Contractor Pledges Support for Local, Sustainable Food
Newton, Massachusetts-based food service contractor Unidine became the first food service management organization servicing health care to commit their support for nutritious, local, sustainable food by signing Health Care Without Harmís (HCWH) Food Service Contractor Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment which outlines steps the Food Service industry can take to support their client hospitals' interest in local sustainable food, and steps it will take as an organization to educate, track and report its progress on adoption of nutritious, local, sustainable food. Health Care Without Harm reports that by signing the Pledge, Unidine agrees
to support local, sustainable food. This commitment may include sourcing rBGH-free dairy
products, working with local farmers to increase availability of fresh local foods, support for
labeling of genetically engineered foods, and annual reporting on their progress.
Related ATTRA Publication: Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions
South Dakota to Start 'Buy Fresh, Buy Local' Chapter
South Dakota Specialty Producers Association, the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, The Co-op Natural Foods Cooperative of Sioux Falls, and several farmers' market associations are partnering to start a "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" chapter in the state, says South Dakota Ag Connection. The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association is hosting meetings across the state during May, inviting participation by anyone who wants to become involved in the effort.
Farmers' Markets Find New Vendors
Farmers' markets are growing rapidly in popularity in the United States, but the farmers who supply those markets are aging. The Los Angeles Times took a recent look at who the vendors of future farmers' markets will be. The number of vendors in Southern California markets, at least, was holding steady, with retiring producers being replaced by a mix of young idealists, immigrant farmers, and younger generations of current farm families. Succeeding in making a living from farmers' market sales isn't without challenges, however. New farmers interviewed in the story face long waiting lists to gain space at large farmers' markets, and a need to carve a market niche for themselves, as well as challenges of land prices and weather.
Study Correlates Local Food Environment with Disease Risk
A landmark study by PolicyLink, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy shows direct correlation between where people live in California and their risk for obesity or diabetes. The groundbreaking study, Designed for Disease: the Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes, examines the correlation between the health of nearly 40,000 Californians and the mix of retail food outlets near their homes. The key finding: people living in neighborhoods crowded with fast-food and convenience stores but relatively few grocery or produce outlets are at significantly higher risk of suffering from obesity and diabetes. The full report is available online.
> More Breaking News
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Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grant
The Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive Grant Program supports the development of superior germplasm, establishment and extension of various methods of planting, cultivation, harvesting, processing, and transfer of such applied research from experimental sites to on-farm practice as soon as practicable. FY 2008 funding will support Canola research. Research to be funded should focus primarily on field production, including, but not limited to, genetic improvement. Grants up to $180,000 will be awarded.
Proposals are due June 9, 2008.
EPA Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program
EPA annually awards grants and cooperative agreements under the Source Reduction Assistance (SRA) Grant Program to support pollution prevention/source reduction and/or resource conservation projects that reduce or eliminate pollution at the source. This solicitation announces that nine of the EPA's Regional Pollution Prevention Program Offices anticipate having up to approximately $130,000 per region, or anticipate having up to approximately $1,090,000 in total award funding to issue SRA awards in FY 2008 Ė FY 2009. EPA will issue the award funds in the form of grants and/or cooperative agreements. All funding will be awarded and managed by the nine EPA Regional P2 Program Offices participating in this announcement.
Proposals are due June 9, 2008.
Water Conservation Field Services Program
The Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Northwest Region, Snake River Area (SRAO) is requesting proposals to fund projects for activities in support of its Water Conservation Field Services Program, in Federal fiscal year 2008. To be eligible for financial assistance under this Funding Opportunity, a proposed activity must have a defined relationship to one of the Reclamation Projects listed in the Funding Opportunity that falls within the administrative boundary of the SRAO. The objective of this Funding Opportunity is to invite eligible applicants to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on projects that will conserve water, increase water use efficiency, or enhance operational efficiency. Irrigation and/or water districts, state or local water agencies, and water-related nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.
Proposals are due May 21, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Organic Winegrowing Conference
July 17-18, 2008
Napa Valley Grapegrowers annually presents the only all-organic conference in the wine industry. The event is held at the beautiful Frog's Leap Winery in Rutherford and provides a wealth of information and networking opportunities for those interested in organic farming. Presentations and an equipment show are scheduled.
Mountain Farm & Garden Tour
June 28-29, 2008
Western North Carolina
The 13th annual Mountain Farm & Garden Tour is an opportunity to reconnect with where food comes from and with the farmers who grow it. Come and enjoy the scenic beauty of the mountain farms that make up our picturesque mountain landscape. See farm animals, fruits and vegetables in the field, and enjoy the best-tasting artisan farm products available anywhere. Purchase a ticket and choose from a list of open farms to visit during two afternoons.
Wisconsin Grazing School
June 24-25, 2008
This school is offered several times around Wisconsin during the summer. The school includes sessions on economic considerations in grazing, agronomics, soil fertility, pasture monitoring and grazing systems layout and design.
> More Events
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