Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - August 3, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Series Explores the Joys and Trials of Eating Locally
* Free-range Chickens Produce Healthier Eggs, Shows One Study
* Study Documents Neurologic Effects of Chronic Pesticide Exposure
* Farmers' Market Week August 7-13
* Revised Guide Helps Producers Evaluate Poultry Contracting
* Downtowns Get a Boost from Farmers' Markets
* Organic School Garden Competition
* Wallace Genetic Foundation Grants
* EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships for Graduate Study
* Grazefest Minnesota
* Tour d' Organics
* Organic Vegetable Production Workshop
News & Resources
Series Explores the Joys and Trials of Eating Locally
Have you ever thought about how your diet would change if you were to eat only foods that were grown, fished, harvested, or raised close to home? Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon are doing more than thinking about it. The couple has committed to eating only food that comes from within a 100-mile radius of their Vancouver, BC, home, for a period of one year. To make things even more challenging, every single ingredient that enters their personal food chain - such as feed for chickens - must be locally produced. In a series of articles for The Tyee, Smith and MacKinnon explore the impacts of a non-local diet, talk about the expense of a local diet, muse on the difficulty of finding a truly local chicken, and revel in the summer bounty of their local foodshed. Three articles in a continuing series are already available online: Living on the Hundred-Mile Diet, Wanted: A Perfectly Local Chicken, and A Local Eating Rhapsody.
Free-range Chickens Produce Healthier Eggs, Shows One Study
Tests of eggs from four flocks of pasture-raised chickens have shown that, when compared with eggs from confinement production systems, free-range eggs are more nutritious. The tests were conducted by Skaggs Nutrition Laboratory at Utah State University and the Food Products Laboratory in Portland, Oregon, at the request of Mother Earth News. Compared with nutrient data provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for eggs from confined systems, the eggs from pasture-raised chickens were up to twice as rich in vitamin E, four times richer in essential omega-3 fatty acids, and two to six times richer in beta carotene. On average, the eggs had half as much cholesterol as conventional eggs. Mother Earth News' new Chicken and Egg Page invites free-range producers to post test results for their flocks and includes addresses and prices of labs it recommends for testing.
Study Documents Neurologic Effects of Chronic Pesticide Exposure
Chronic moderate pesticide exposure is linked to neurologic symptoms affecting both the central and peripheral nervous systems, according to an analysis of data collected in the Agricultural Health Study. The results of the analysis were published in the July 2005 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. As part of the AHS, almost 20,000 farmers and private pesticide applicators completed surveys on demographic characteristics, medical history and neurologic symptoms, lifestyle, and pesticide use. Researchers found that applicators with the most cumulative lifetime days of pesticide use reported more neurologic symptoms than those with the fewest lifetime days of use, for pesticides overall. The relationship between cumulative exposure and symptoms was strongest with insecticides. Organophosphates and organochlorines had the strongest relationship with symptoms within the insecticides.
Farmers' Market Week August 7-13
USDA has announced that National Farmers' Market Week will take place August 7-13, 2005. In his proclamation of the event, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns wrote that the week was designated to "further the expansion and awareness of farmers' markets and the contributions farmers make to daily life in America." He continued, "I urge all people of the United States to celebrate the benefits of farmers' markets and the bountiful production of our Nation's farmers who, while providing for our needs, are among the best stewards of our land." Many state Departments of Agriculture also observe National Farmers' Market Week, and many individual markets schedule special activities during the week.
Revised Guide Helps Producers Evaluate Poultry Contracting
The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) has released a newly revised edition of Questions to Ask Before Signing a Poultry Contract (PDF/ 349 kb) to help farmers assess the true risks and benefits associated with contract poultry production. The publication is a checklist farmers can use to see if their contract guarantees a minimum income per flock per year, provides any pay adjustments related to inflation and increasing production costs, or offers a fair and affordable dispute resolution process. RAFI-USA's Contract Agriculture Reform Program compiled the questions outlined in the booklet based on the problems most frequently reported by poultry growers over the last twenty years.
Downtowns Get a Boost from Farmers' Markets
A feature from the Michigan Land Use Institute looks at the role farmers' markets are playing in boosting downtowns in Michigan and across the nation. Markets not only offer a source of fresh produce in town, but they also draw customers to other downtown businesses. One national study showed that 60 percent of farmers' market customers shopped at another downtown business. A Michigan survey revealed that 77 percent of market customers said they would not be downtown at all if it weren't for the market. Despite burgeoning nationwide enthusiasm for farmers' markets, the story warns that markets can be short-lived without planning and support from the larger community. Many markets are run by volunteers who can burn out, and if the community wants to maintain the benefits the market brings to downtown, government and commercial interests need to look at long-term strategies for keeping markets healthy.
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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Organic School Garden Competition
This contest was started 7 years ago in Pennsylvania by The Rodale Institute, to inspire youth to garden organically, and to promote regenerative gardening practices. Any school within the 50 United States with an organic garden may enter the contest by submitting an essay and a poster. Three winning schools will receive cash prizes of $250, $500, and $1,000. The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2005.
Wallace Genetic Foundation Grants
The Wallace Genetic Foundation is committed to funding a variety of interests including agricultural research, preservation of farmland, ecology, conservation, and sustainable development. Average grant size is $25,000. The foundation does not fund individuals, nor make multiyear commitments. For more information, call the Foundation at (202) 966-2932 or email President@WallaceGenetic.org.
EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships for Graduate Study
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is offering Graduate Fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in environmental fields of study. The fellowship program provides up to $37,000 per year of support per fellowship. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 100 new fellowships by July 21, 2006. The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in an environmental field. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is October 18, 2005.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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August 13, 2005
This interactive educational grazing event features locally produced food and music and includes a keynote presentation by independent grazing consultant Jim Gerrish, as well as other presentations. A locally grown Grazing Lunch and a Pride of the Prairie Grazing Grill-Off Supper are included in the event registration, and a dance follows the supper.
Tour d' Organics
August 21, 2005
This event is a bicycle century and ride featuring Sonoma County's organic farms. There will be 35, 60 and 100-mile bicycle ride options. Each rest stop will be at a local farm featuring both their produce and other locally made munchies. After the ride, there will be a delicious catered vegan meal made from locally grown produce. All food is included with registration.
Organic Vegetable Production Workshop
August 23, 2005
The workshop will be held at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. Topics include: bed gardening of fall vegetables and strawberries, soil fertility, general pest management, frost protection, new methods for avoiding tomato spotted wilt virus, and double-digging. The program is sponsored by the Fort Valley State University Extension Program and the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Education Program. There is no cost, but please call and register. Contact Julia Snipes, Extension Agent, 229-931-0301.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/index.php.
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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
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