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Weekly Harvest Newsletter


Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - June 30, 2010

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.

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News & Resources
* Handbook Helps Farmers Markets With SNAP Benefits
* Local Food Supply Chain Report Released
* Case Studies Highlight Innovative Small Dairies
* Louisiana Launches Market Maker
* MOSES Releases Organic Tree Fruit Publication
* Partnership Provides Resources for Sheep Genetic Evaluation


Funding Opportunities
* North Carolina Golden LEAF Grant
* Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program
* Green Across America Grant


Coming Events
* Organic Production in Northern California
* Seeds of Hope Farm Tour
* Herb Association Conference



News & Resources

Handbook Helps Farmers Markets With SNAP Benefits
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at Farmers Markets: A How-To Handbook (PDF/1.1MB). The handbook provides the managers of farmers markets with a step-by-step guide to installing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) machines and accepting SNAP benefits. The handbook was developed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in cooperation with the Project for Public Spaces. It provides essential guidance for farmers market managers who are thinking about implementing EBT technology at their market sites to allow them to accept SNAP benefits (previously known as food stamps). Topics addressed in the handbook include how to install an EBT machine and how to make the program work successfully for vendors and customers. The handbook also features a list of resources, a glossary of important terms, and several case studies from farmers markets that have successfully implemented EBT technology.

Local Food Supply Chain Report Released
The USDA Economic Research Service has released a new report, Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains. This report is a series of coordinated case studies that compares the structure, size, and performance of local food supply chains with those of mainstream supply chains in delivering locally produced food to consumers. It includes interviews and site visits with farms and businesses, supplemented with secondary data, to describe how food moves from farms to consumers in 15 food supply chains.

Case Studies Highlight Innovative Small Dairies
The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce the publication of a new book of profiles NY Small Dairy Innovators: Successful Strategies for Smaller Dairies (PDF/1.5MB). The book features 7 small dairies all over New York State that have found methods of increasing profit and leisure time even in the face of a very challenging time for the dairy industry.

Louisiana Launches Market Maker
The LSU AgCenter has launched a new online service to help agriculture businesses market their products. Called Market Maker, the service is offered via a website so anyone in the world 24 hours a day can search for items to purchase. Its like a matchmaker service bringing together buyers and sellers, said Dwight Landreneau, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor. Market Maker originates out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and 17 states including Louisiana are members.

MOSES Releases Organic Tree Fruit Publication
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has released a new organic tree fruit fact sheet. Whether you are transitioning a currently bearing orchard, planting a new one or renovating an old orchard, there are similar issues you will need to address in order to grow and market organic tree fruit. Learn more from this four page fact sheet full of helpful information and resources.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Tree Fruit: Organic Production


Partnership Provides Resources for Sheep Genetic Evaluation
The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) has forged a partnership with LAMBPLAN, Meat & Livestock Australia's (MLA) national genetic evaluation program. The partnership will allow sheep producers to take advantage of LAMBPLAN's human resources, technical ability and advanced software that will allow expected progeny differences (EPD) to be created for more traits. Production traits such as growth rate, fat and muscle depth, wool weight and quality, reproduction and internal parasite resistance can be processed and delivered to the producer within two weeks.

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Funding Opportunities

North Carolina Golden LEAF Grant
The purpose of Golden LEAF is to fund projects that promise to bring significant economic improvement to the tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities of North Carolina. The Open Grants Program places high priority on the areas of agriculture, job creation and retention and workforce preparedness. In agriculture, Golden LEAF sees particular promise in the areas of value-added processing, market expansion, and projects targeting alternative crops, livestock and aquaculture.
Proposals are due August 26, 2010.

Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program
The USDA Rural Development's Community Programs provide loans and grants and loan guarantees for water and environmental projects, as well as community facilities projects. Community facilities projects develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas and can include local foods projects. Community Facilities Program received $44 million in federal funding and an additional $31 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) funds that must be awarded by August 2010. Projects could include for example, kitchen equipment or salad bars to serve locally-grown products in the school cafeteria. However, the program is not limited to Farm to School, and these funds can be used for other innovative regional food system projects like slaughter facilities, community kitchens, regional food hub buildings, and food desert solutions such as installation of water for community gardens.

Green Across America Grant
Engage and inspire your K-12 students to increase sustainable, earth-friendly behavior in their neighborhoods and communities. NEAs Green Across America grants of up to $1,000 are available to help you implement your innovative education program, activity, lesson or event to excite students about going green, caring for the earth and creating a sustainable future.
Proposals are due July 30, 2010.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Production in Northern California
July 8, 2010
Chico, California

The program is aimed at crop consultants, organic input suppliers/retailers, and organic growers. CEU hours will be offered for PCAs and CCAs. Subjects include fertility, weed and insect control.


Seeds of Hope Farm Tour
July 9, 2010
Tiffin, Ohio

Seeds of Hope Farm is a small diversified farm dedicated to sustainable agricultural methods. The 12 acre farm produces a wide variety of annual vegetables and herbs that are sold through a self-service farm stand, CSA, nursing homes, and to several restaurants. Seeds of Hope also has a flock of 150 laying hens and seasonally raises about 300 pastured poultry meat chickens.


Herb Association Conference
July 9-13, 2010
Collinsville, Illinois

With tours, public education, business and marketing sessions, hosted dinners, silent and live auctions, and the annual awards banquet on tap, these five days figure to be exciting, entertaining, exhausting, and most importantly, educational. Herbs are the reason for the gathering, and herb people make the gathering warm and friendly. Come and share all or a part of this herbal extravaganza.


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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home pageThe 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 Web site for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

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