Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - June 9, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Organic Handbook Series Offered by NOFA
* 'Veriflora' Environmental Certification Standard
* Vermont Sustainable Ag Farm of the Year Named
* Governments Meet on Trade Rules for GMOs
* Symposium Proceedings on Organic Biological
* City Encouraged to Eat Locally for One Month
* USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program
* Kentucky Farmers' Markets Competitive Grants Program
* North Carolina Medicinal Herbs for Commerce Grants
* 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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,
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.
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.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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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.
Heartland Apiculture Conference
July 7-9, 2005
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.
Mechanical Weed Control in the Context of Diversity Workshop
July 9, 2005
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.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.
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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.
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
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