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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 9, 2005

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.

News & Resources
* Organic Handbook Series Offered by NOFA
* 'Veriflora' Environmental Certification Standard for Flowers
* Vermont Sustainable Ag Farm of the Year Named
* Governments Meet on Trade Rules for GMOs
* Symposium Proceedings on Organic Biological Control Available
* City Encouraged to Eat Locally for One Month

Funding Opportunities
* USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program
* Kentucky Farmers' Markets Competitive Grants Program
* North Carolina Medicinal Herbs for Commerce Grants

Coming Events
* Basic Cheesemaking with Peter Dixon
* Heartland Apiculture Conference
* Mechanical Weed Control in the Context of Diversity Workshop


News & Resources

Organic Handbook Series Offered by NOFA
Northeast Organic Farming Association announces the completion of its Organic Principles and Practices Handbook Series: ten handbooks that present the most proven and successful practices of organic farmers around the region. The ten different handbooks, illustrated and 60-110 pages in length, are written by talented farmer-writers for serious gardeners and commercial growers. Titles available are Vegetable Crop Health; Whole Farm Planning; Compost, Vermicompost and Compost Tea; Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping on the Organic Farm; Marketing and Community Relations; Humane and Healthy Poultry Production; Organic Dairy Production; Organic Seed Production and Saving; Organic Weed Management; and Organic Soil Fertility Management. Books may be purchased individually or at a bulk rate. Development of the series was funded by the NOFA Interstate Council, NOFA/Mass, and SARE.
URL: http://www.nofa.org/store/manuals/index.php

'Veriflora' Environmental Certification Standard for Flowers
At the Eco Flower-Power symposium held recently in San Francisco, organizers Organic Bouquet and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) announced the new Veriflora™ certification standard for the American market. SCS, an established environmental standards developer and independent certifier, based the new standard on six principles: advanced agricultural practices, social responsibility, conservation of ecological resources, water conservation, waste management, and product quality. The standard addresses production practices ranging from soil preparation and seed planting through production, harvest, and post-harvest handling. The standard also includes procedures for verifying the integrity of certified flowers and ornamental plants throughout the chain-of-custody. SCS will accredit certifiers to conduct certification audits of flower farms and wholesalers. Quality Assurance International (QAI), a respected organic certifier and subsidiary of NSF, is expected to be the first certifier to be accredited. The Veriflora standard is available online as a PDF file (258 kb).
URL: http://www.scscertified.com/csrpurchasing/veriflora/

Vermont Sustainable Ag Farm of the Year Named
The Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council has selected Golden Russet Farm in Shoreham as the 2004 Sustainable Agriculture Farm of the Year, reports the County Courier. The 82-acre family farm is a diversified organic operation. The majority of the land is in forage production in cooperation with neighboring farms, but the Stevens family raises 10 acres of vegetable crops, using crop rotation, green manures, and compost. They also use ecological production practices in four greenhouses. The Stevens family's produce is sold at a local farmers' market and through a 53-member CSA.
URL: http://www.thecountycourier.com/index.php?

Governments Meet on Trade Rules for GMOs
The 119 member governments to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety met in Montreal last week to clarify international trade rules for genetically modified commodities. According to an i-Newswire press release, the five-day meeting of the treaty’s governing body was scheduled to make a decision on the detailed documentation requirements for bulk shipments of genetically modified corn, soybean, and other agricultural commodities that are intended for food, feed, or processing. The Biosafety Protocol aims at ensuring that the transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms does not adversely affect biological diversity. Specifically, the talks were addressing several key issues: the details to be provided in the documentation accompanying GM crop shipments; the percentage of modified material (“threshold levels”) that these shipments may contain and still be considered GMO-free; and whether to use a new stand-alone document agreed to under the Protocol or include the required information on existing commercial invoices. Meanwhile, in a move designed to coincide with the talks, GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace International launched the first on-line register of genetically engineered (GE) contamination incidents. The searchable Web site GM Contamination Register gives details of all the known cases of GE contamination of food, animal feed, seeds, and wild plants that have taken place worldwide.
URL: http://i-newswire.com/pr23076.html

Symposium Proceedings on Organic Biological Control Available
Symposium proceedings from a conference on biological controls held in Portland, Oregon, in November 2004 are now available online. The symposium was sponsored by Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and titled "Getting the Bugs to Work for You: Biological Control in Organic Agriculture." Oral and poster presentation topics covered mycoattractants and mycopesticides, successful farmscaping, designing pest resistant systems using living mulch, orchard floor management and soil quality, markets for small farms, and a host of other material, much of which is devoted to combating specific crop pests.
URL: http://csanr.wsu.edu/InfoSources/BugsWorkProceedings.htm
Related ATTRA publication: Biointensive Integrated Pest Management

City Encouraged to Eat Locally for One Month
A group of women calling themselves the Locavores are encouraging other residents of San Francisco to join them in a month-long challenge in August called Celebrate Your Foodshed: Eat Locally. Last week mayors from around the world gathered in San Francisco for World Environment Day to discuss solutions to environmental problems, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, and the women note that eating within your foodshed is one of the best ways to protect the environment and promote sustainability. The women have drawn an imaginary circle, with a 100-mile radius, around the city and are encouraging residents to buy, cook, and eat within that foodshed for the entire month of August. The article includes tips on choosing between local and organic, as well as recipes for an August harvest.
URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/01/...

For more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.

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Funding Opportunities

USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites science-based small business firms to submit research proposals under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, Fiscal Year 2006. The purpose of the SBIR program is to provide an opportunity for US-owned, for-profit small business firms to submit innovative, applied, research and development projects that address important problems facing American agriculture and have the potential to lead to significant public benefit if the research is successful. Research proposals are accepted in any of the following topic areas: 1) Forests and Related Resources; 2) Plant Production and Protection; 3) Animal Production and Protection; 4) Air, Water and Soils; 5) Food Science and Nutrition; 6) Rural and Community Development; 7) Aquaculture; 8) Industrial Applications; 9) Marketing and Trade; 10) Wildlife; 11) Animal Waste Management; and--new this year--12) Small and Mid-Size Farms. The SBIR program exists in three phases. The purpose of Phase I is to prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the proposed research and development effort. Phase II is the principal research and development effort and often involves moving the project from the laboratory to the field or the development of prototypes. Phase III is commercialization. Phase I applications are due on September 1, 2005.
URL: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/funding/rfas/sbir_rfa.html

Kentucky Farmers' Markets Competitive Grants Program
Kentucky has developed a Farmers' Market competitive grant program utilizing state Agricultural Development Funds. Regional and community farmers' markets that meet specified criteria are eligible to apply for matching grants, including feasibility and business planning grants. A total of $1.5 million in state funds is available in 2005. Applications for the second round of funding this year are due by July 1, 2005.
URL: http://agpolicy.ky.gov/funds/award_programs_farmersmarkets.shtml

North Carolina Medicinal Herbs for Commerce Grants
The Medicinal Herbs for Commerce project, as part of the North Carolina Specialty Crops program, is making an opportunity available for interested farmers in the mountains of western North Carolina to diversify their farms by producing medicinal herbs. Participation in this program will require growers to meet with the project coordinator at their farm as necessary, maintain production records, keep accurate financial records and receipts related to the project for the development of enterprise budgets, and be willing to host a field day for other growers and extension agents. In return, the project will provide a grant of $2,500-5,000 to each cooperating grower to offset the risk and expenses of starting a new crop. In addition, educational opportunities, agricultural, technical, and direct marketing assistance, seeds, and access to bulk drying barns typically unavailable in the mountain region will be provided. Completed applications must be postmarked by June 17, 2005.
URL: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/staff/jmdavis/2005medherbproject.html

For additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.

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Coming Events

Basic Cheesemaking with Peter Dixon
June 30 - July 2, 2005
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

PASA offers this Intensive Learning Program. The three-day class is designed for the novice cheesemaker and anyone considering cheesemaking for added income. You will leave with a foundation on which you can confidently build skills to make cheese for sale to public, restaurateurs and cheese shops. Instructor Peter Dixon, farmer and cheesemaker extraordinaire, is widely recognized as a first-rate instructor in the art of cheesemaking.
URL: http://www.pasafarming.org/programs/2005_cheesemaking.html

Heartland Apiculture Conference
July 7-9, 2005
Edwardsville, Illinois

Apiculture experts and experienced beekeepers from across North America will conduct approximately 50 presentations on all aspects of beginning and advanced beekeeping and hive products. Demonstrations and vendors are also planned.
URL: http://www.heartlandbees.com/

Mechanical Weed Control in the Context of Diversity Workshop
July 9, 2005
Hadley, Massachusetts

One of a series of Practical Farm Skills Workshops offered by NOFA Massachusetts. This workshop will cover a variety of weed control techniques employed at The Food Bank Farm, a 650 Shareholder CSA. Pre-registration is required.
URL: http://www.nofamass.org/programs/skills.php

More events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives Available Online
Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are now available online. ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
URL: http://attra.ncat.org/newsletter/archives.html

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is the Web site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.

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