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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 12, 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
* Conservation Program Open For Sign-up
* Researchers Study Benefits of Earthworm Tea
* Farm Aid Seeking 'Farm Fresh' Pictures
* Video Shows Vineyard Weed Control Methods
* Researchers Study Farm Succession Near Urban Areas
* USDA Declares National Community Gardening Week

Funding Opportunities
* National Science Foundation Environmental Sustainability Grant
* Coca-Cola Water Stewardship Grant
* Northeast SARE Farmer Grant

Coming Events
* Oklahoma Grazing Conference
* Minnesota Garlic Festival
* Southwest Iowa Food & Farming Initiative Field Day

News & Resources

Conservation Program Open For Sign-up
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin continuous sign-up for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) on August 10 with the first signup period cutoff scheduled for September 30. CSP is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations. "This program will help the Nation's agricultural and forestry producers reach greater levels of conservation performance, which will help protect our land and water," Merrigan said. "The conservation benefits derived from maintaining and enhancing natural resources will improve the quality of soil and water, assist in addressing global climate change, and encourage environmentally responsible energy production."

Researchers Study Benefits of Earthworm Tea
With funding from USDA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, administered by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), scientists in Oregon and Ohio examined how plant compounds, incorporated into earthworm tea, affect plant growth and development and suppress diseases and pests. Researchers found the use of vermicompost and vermicompost tea increases plant growth and yields, suppresses pests and disease, improves soil quality, and reduces the application of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides onto farmland with little or no impact to soil and water quality or to the surrounding lands.
Related ATTRA publication: Worms for Composting

Farm Aid Seeking 'Farm Fresh' Pictures
Farm Aid is hosting the "Farm Fresh Photo Contest." The grand prize winner will receive an expenses-paid trip and two front row tickets to Farm Aid 2009 presented by Horizon Organic. Entries can be a photo of anything related to family farmers and the good food they produce. They are looking for photos of farms, farmers and farm families, tractors and barns, the perfect tomatoes you bought at a farmers market, or your favorite farm animals—anything and everything that shows the vibrancy and beauty of the American family farm.

Video Shows Vineyard Weed Control Methods
The latest grape-growing project, funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and led by Iowa State University horticulture professor Gail Nonnecke, looks at weed control alternatives to herbicides and pesticides in Iowa vineyards. This video shows the weed control methods being studied.
Related ATTRA publication: Grapes: Organic Production

Researchers Study Farm Succession Near Urban Areas
To find out the succession strategies of farms near urban areas, Shoshanah Inwood, a research associate with the Social Responsibility Initiative in Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences interviewed farm families located near Columbus, Ohio, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Succession and Enterprise Adaptation at the Rural Urban Interface (PDF/581KB) describes four types of strategies being used to keep farms viable.

USDA Declares National Community Gardening Week
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraged Americans to connect with the land, the food it grows and their local communities by proclaiming August 23-29, National Community Gardening Week. A community garden is an opportunity to educate everyone about where food comes from, whether that is a Farmers' Market or a garden. "Community gardens provide numerous benefits including opportunities for local food production, resource conservation, and neighborhood beautification," said Vilsack. "But they also promote family and community interaction and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Each of these benefits is something we can and should strive for."

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

National Science Foundation Environmental Sustainability Grant
The Environmental Sustainability program supports engineering research with the goal of promoting sustainable engineered systems that support human well-being and that are also compatible with sustaining natural (environmental) systems. There are four principal research areas which are supported, but others can be proposed:

* Industrial Ecology
* Green Engineering
* Ecological Engineering
* Earth Systems Engineering

Proposals are due September 17, 2009.

Coca-Cola Water Stewardship Grant
The Coca-Cola Company has a grant program that focuses on water stewardship. The goal of this program is to support access to clean water and sanitation, watershed protection in water-stressed regions, and education and awareness programs that promote water conservation within communities.

Northeast SARE Farmer Grant
Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, or other technique. A technical advisor—often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional—is required as a project participant. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.
Proposals are due December 8, 2009.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Oklahoma Grazing Conference
August 13-14, 2009
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association will host its annual “Grazing Lands Dollar$ and Sense” conference Aug. 13 and 14 at the Clarion Conference Center in Oklahoma City. This year’s conference will focus on getting the most out of your pastures.

Minnesota Garlic Festival
August 15, 2009
Hutchinson, Minnesota

Minnesota Garlic Festival is the premier event for lovers of garlic and good times, promoting gourmet garlic farming in Minnesota. Family friendly, fun filled and fragrant, this festival features local foods, chefs, music, artisans, games, competitions, and lots of garlic—all in support of a healthy environment,
sustainable farms and vital rural communities in Minnesota.

Southwest Iowa Food & Farming Initiative Field Day
August 16, 2009
Atlantic, Iowa

This Rolling Acres Farm field day will discuss:
• Regional food systems in southwest Iowa
• Local food systems
• Producing for a CSA
• Food systems education
• A visit to Harrisdale Homestead Rural Learning Center

> More Events

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