Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - July 7, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Berkeley Schools Headed for Organic Garden Lunches
* Conservation Security Program Sign-ups Begin
* National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture Seeks Board Nominations
* Multi-Species Grazing DVD Released
* Arizona Rancher Becomes Model Conservation Steward
* Report Documents Value of Community’s Farmland and Open Space
* Southern SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grants
* Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative
* Agriculture and Rural Communities Grant Programs
* Field Analysis of Food Systems Course
* 2004 NOFA Summer Conference
* Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Summer Field Days Event
News & Resources
Berkeley Schools Headed for Organic Garden Lunches
With the financial backing of chef Alice Waters, a Berkeley, California school district will be turning school lunch into a course on growing organic food, says a story in the Berkeley Daily Planet. Waters has committed to raise nearly $4 million over the next three years, so that switching to organic food won't cost the school district extra money. Meanwhile, students of all ages will take an active role in growing their own lunches: planting seeds, raising crops, cooking food, and learning about sustainable ecosystems and nutrition. "The plan is to engage every single solitary kid," Waters said. "This seems like the one permanent solution for the obesity epidemic in our country."
Conservation Security Program Sign-ups Begin
Starting today and for the remainder of the month, farmers in 18 USDA-selected watersheds covering portions of 22 states may offer to enroll their farms in the new Conservation Security Program (CSP). During the sign-up process, farmers interested in participating must complete a conservation self-assessment survey for their farm and then visit their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for an interview. Those selected for the program will develop a long-term contract and conservation plan in August and September. The CSP is designed to provide incentive payments to farmers committed to exceptional stewardship of natural resources and the environment. For more on the CSP program, visit the web sites of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Land Stewardship Project.
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture Seeks Board Nominations The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture is now soliciting nominations of people to serve on its Board of Directors. The National Campaign seeks to achieve a diverse and balanced Board of Directors that represents to the greatest extent possible the diversity of regions, issues, sectors, genders, cultures, constituencies and organizational sizes that comprises the national network. Nominations should be sent by email to National Campaign Administrative Director, Sheilah Davidson (email@example.com) by July 21, 2004. Nominations must include name and contact information of nominee; organizational/farm affiliation; brief summary of person's experience, if any, with the National Campaign; nominee's resume or bio; and a very brief (150-300 word) letter of nomination that describes why the nominee would be a good candidate and what they might be expected to contribute to the National Campaign Board.
Multi-Species Grazing DVD Released
Washington State University is making available a new DVD that depicts the activities of a 2-year regional project funded by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development program. "Healing the Land through Multi-Species Grazing" is about the use of multi-species grazing (i.e., cattle, sheep and goats) as a tool in an integrated approach to the control of noxious weeds on rangeland in the Pacific Northwest. Multi-species grazing can also be used to reduce fuel loads for fire prevention and in areas where the use of herbicides, fire or mechanical control is not possible. The 37-minute DVD is available for $30.
Arizona Rancher Becomes Model Conservation Steward
A feature article on Headwaters News profiles Arizona rancher and conservationist Jim Crosswhite. When Crosswhite purchased the 300-acre EC Bar Ranch in 1996, the range lands were producing poorly and the streambanks were trammeled and unhealthy. After learning that the creek running through his property was home to an endangered species and that it exceeded standards for clean water, Crosswhite decided to work with officials and implement several state and federal recommendations. To date, he has implemented a riparian restoration plan, increased irrigation efficiency, and improved pastures by adding fencing, reducing erosion, and eliminating invasive plants. Now a strong supporter of sustainable agriculture and conservation, Crosswhite’s Web site documents many of his conservation experiences and successes.
Report Documents Value of Community’s Farmland and Open Space
A new study by American Farmland Trust finds that agricultural and open lands in Bexar County, Texas, generate nearly six times as much revenue as the county spends on them in services. In contrast, Cost of Community Services (COCS): The Value of Farmland and Open Spaces in Bexar County finds that tax revenues from residential development fail to cover the costs of customary services for new residents, draining community coffers. The results show that for every dollar that agricultural and open lands generated in taxes, the county spent only 18 cents to provide them with services. However, residential development required $1.15 in services for every dollar it contributed from property taxes and other revenues. With a population of 1.4 million and rapid growth, Bexar County must determine how to use the largely undeveloped agricultural region south of San Antonio and the land over critical and limited drinking supplies to the north of the city. “This study shows that there are fiscal as well as economic and cultural reason’s to protect the area’s farmland and open spaces,” said, Susan Combs, commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture. “The results make the case that agriculture should be included in all future discussions about growth in Bexar County and across the state.”
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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Southern SARE Sustainable Community Innovation Grants
The 2004 call for proposals has been released for the Sustainable Community Innovation Grants, jointly administered by Southern Region SARE and the Southern Rural Development Center. These projects strengthen both agriculture and Southern communities through explicit linkages between sustainable agriculture and community development. Applicants may be community organizations, environmentalists, ag and community development professionals, farmers, ranchers, researchers, entrepreneurs, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Applicants must be from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Projects may be funded up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for proposals from individuals or organizations. September 7 is the deadline for proposals. Awards will be announced in November 2004.
Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative
First Nations Development Institute announces its Request for Letters of Intent for the fourth grant cycle of the Eagle Staff Fund's Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). Three priority areas have been identified: Local community food systems projects; Agriculture-related business enterprises; Community connections around culture, food, diet and health. Successful projects should draw upon traditional knowledge in the local community, build relationships between youth and elders, and explore traditional approaches to food and agriculture. In the past, First Nations has funded projects through NAFSI ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 with terms ranging from 3 to 12 months. Letters of intent with cover sheets are due by July 30, 2004. All applicants will be notified by August 15, 2004 as to whether they will be invited to submit a full proposal. For additional information about this process, please contact Jackie Tiller in First Nations' Grantmaking Department at (540) 371-5615, extension 18.
Agriculture and Rural Communities Grant Programs
The Minnesota-based CHS Foundation supports programs that invest in the future of agriculture, cooperatives and rural America. Grant program areas include agricultural and cooperative scholarships, rural youth and leadership development, farm and agricultural safety, returning value to rural communities grants, and cooperative education grants. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with the exception of cooperative education grants, which are due on September 30, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Field Analysis of Food Systems Course
August 11, 2004
An intensive, experiential course visiting farms, food processing and marketing facilities to develop understanding of issues and relationships of sustainable food systems. This course is open to academic students, as well as community members for continuing education credit. A key component of the course for all participants is a week-long immersion field experience outside of standard class meeting times.
2004 NOFA Summer Conference
August 12-15, 2004
"Breaking Ground for the Future With the Wisdom of the Past" is the conference theme. The schedule includes speakers, workshops, a children's conference and great food.
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Summer Field Days Event
August 20-21, 2004
Westfield and Hyde Park, Vermont
The schedule includes a field trip to Butterworks farm, a session on using plants as medicine for livestock, pasture walk and discussion, and a session on building healthy soil.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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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
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