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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - July 1, 2009

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
* Report Discusses Food Deserts
* Land Tenure Project Starts in Iowa
* Nebraska Launches Rangeland Monitoring Program
* Report Shows Small Slaughterhouses in Decline
* Guide to Selling Local Food Available
* USDA Garden to Be Used for Education

Funding Opportunities
* Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund
* Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants
* Leopold Center Grants

Coming Events
* Organic Field Day at University of Minnesota's Southwest Research and
    Outreach Center
* Heartland Apicultural Society Conference
* Central Coast Lavender Festival

News & Resources

Report Discusses Food Deserts
The USDA Economic Research Service has released "Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress." This report fills a request for a study of food deserts—areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food—from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts.

Land Tenure Project Starts in Iowa
Sustainable agriculture and land tenure are the focus of a new research and outreach collaboration between Drake University and Iowa State University. The two-year jointly funded program -- the Iowa Landowner and Sustainable Agricultural Land Stewardship project -- will be carried out by a partnership between the Agricultural Law Center at Drake and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU. The project will explore trends in Iowa farmland ownership and the transition of land to a new generation of owners, many of whom will rent or lease farmland to others.

Nebraska Launches Rangeland Monitoring Program
The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition announces the launch of its Rangeland Monitoring Program and has contracted with two new Rangeland Technicians to implement on-site technical monitoring assistance. Funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service of Nebraska, the new NGLC Rangeland Monitoring Program helps landowners and managers identify grazing management goals and implement a monitoring system to measure change. The program is available across the state on a first-come, first-serve basis for a low cost of only $25. Participants will receive an initial on-site consultation and training session with an NGLC Rangeland Technician who will provide assistance in identifying a monitoring plan, establishing one monitoring site and collecting samples.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Pasture, Rangeland, and Grazing Management

Report Shows Small Slaughterhouses in Decline
A new report issued today by Food & Water Watch examines how the slow demise of local small slaughter and processing operations in the United States is preventing farmers and ranchers from fully satisfying rising consumer demand for meat from sustainably raised livestock. Entitled Where’s the Local Beef?, the report identifies the reasons for the disappearance of small plants, presents examples of the next generation of processors and offers policy solutions to rebuild the small slaughterhouse sector of the meat industry.

Guide to Selling Local Food Available
The newly-published "Farm to Market, North Dakota's Guide to Selling Local Food," (PDF/835KB) a handbook of direct farm marketing, is now available from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA). The 36-page booklet is a valuable reference both for experienced direct marketers as well as for producers considering direct marketing.

USDA Garden to Be Used for Education
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a weekly summer workshop series at 'The People's Garden' to teach area residents and tourists about the many aspects of growing a garden. The "Healthy Garden" Workshop Series will be held every Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. from June 19 through Sept. 25, at 'The People's Garden,' located at 12th St. and Jefferson Drive, SW at the USDA Jamie L. Whitten Building on the National Mall in Washington, DC. "In many ways, USDA's 'People's Garden' is the nation's demonstration plot, showing how small steps can mean important gains in mitigating global warming and producing a safe, sustainable and nutritious food supply," said Vilsack. "The garden concepts we're teaching this summer can be your contribution to providing healthy food, air, and water for people and communities across the country."

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund
The Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) fund provides a way for their cooperative's farmers to identify and support key issues facing the organic marketplace and organic agriculture. The organic farmers of CROPP Cooperative, who produce the high quality organic products for Organic Valley® and Organic Prairie®, voluntarily contribute to the fund on an annual basis, and a committee of CROPP farmers reviews proposals and decides how to distribute the funds. The FAFO Farmer Committee accepts proposals from individuals and organizations seeking funding for particular projects or programs dedicated to furthering organic education, organic farming or product research, and organic advocacy.
Proposals are due September 1, 2009.

Northeast SARE Research and Education Grants
The Research and Education program funds projects offering research, education, and demonstration projects that engage farmers as cooperators in the exploration of sustainable farm practices. Projects should be directed toward research results that will translate quickly into farmer benefit, and farmers, extension staff, and other stakeholders should be involved in planning the project content.
Proposals are due July 31, 2009.

Leopold Center Grants
The Leopold Center’s work is organized in three initiative areas—ecology, marketing and food systems, and policy—each aimed at enhancing the condition and viability of Iowa’s natural resources in varying, yet integrated ways. Pre-proposals for projects addressing these three initiatives are being accepted. Investigators may represent any Iowa nonprofit organization/agency and/or educational institution (such as soil and water conservation districts, schools and colleges, and regional development groups). The Center strongly encourages the involvement and collaboration of farmers, landowners, and farm-based businesses in the pre-proposal process.
Proposals are due August 19, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Organic Field Day at University of Minnesota's Southwest Research and Outreach Center
July 9, 2009
Lamberton, Minnesota

Field tour stops will include: organic high tunnel; no-till roller/crimper research; soil pit comparing organic and conventionally managed soils; variety trials; forage research; weed control plots; and much more! Hear presentations on Tricks and Trades for Weed Control, Farm Business Management, and UMN Organic Research Reports, as well as brief presentations by exhibitors.

Heartland Apicultural Society Conference
July 9-11, 2009
Oberlin, Ohio

This annual event is a three-day beekeeping educational conference with some of the top speakers in the United States. This event will include keynote talks by leading apiculture researchers and educators, classroom sessions, lab sessions, and hands-on sessions in the apiary.

Central Coast Lavender Festival
July 11, 2009
Paso Robles, California

The first annual Central Coast Lavender Festival will be held in the Downtown Paso Robles City Park on July 11, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The free event celebrates the lavender industry -- an emerging local product -- and features lavender producers, growers and farms from throughout the county, who will serve tastes of lavender cuisine, dipping sauces, lavender ice cream, and sampling of fine varietals of lavender essential oils and bath and body creations, with an education on lavender, lavender growing, and sustainable farming practices.

There will be free seminars on distilling lavender, benefits of lavender, and demonstrations throughout the day in the City Park Gazebo.

Features: Music, a special children's activities area, local lavender growers and vendors, arts, a Lavender Tasting Garden with tastes to purchase, and free samples and demonstrations.

Accompanying the Lavender Festival is a juried arts show, plus a variety of food and festival vendors.

A production of the Central Coast Lavender Growers Association, Inc. and community partners Paso Robles Main Street Association, Inc.

> More Events

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