Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - August 25, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* Farm to Chef Program Enjoys Quick Success
* Goat Dairy Embraces Sustainable Methods, Produces Premium Cheeses
* "Blue Paper" Calls for Agricultural Water Efficiency
* Vermont Honors Diversified Operation as Dairy Farm of the Year
* Minnesota Hotline to Assist New Organic Producers
* Organic School Garden Awards Contest
* Public Markets and Community Development RFP
* Community Services Block Grant for Development of Public Markets
* Nebraska Grazing Lands Assistance for Education and Outreach
* Midwest Specialty Grains Conference and Trade Show
* Cultivating a Sustainable Agricultural Workplace
* Biotech Bugs
Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference
News & Resources
Farm to Chef Program Enjoys Quick Success
The Saratogian recently ran a feature on Farm to Chef Express, a new program that connects agricultural producers in upstate New York with chefs in New York City. The program is unique in that it provides for the transportation of fresh produce, meat, and eggs directly from farms to restaurants and caterers. Farm to Chef Express hired a marketing liaison who oversees all logistics - from determining products available from the farms to taking orders from the restaurants - and frees producers from marketing and delivery obligations. Since it began in late June, the program has grown to selling more than $1,000 worth of product weekly. The program was developed with funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets and is administered by Cornell Cooperative Extension's Agriculture Economic Development Program.
Goat Dairy Embraces Sustainable Methods, Produces Premium Cheeses
The Bay Area’s Metroactive guide profiles Harley Farms, a 12-acre refurbished goat dairy in Pescadero. The dairy features pasture-fed goats, hand-sewn cheesecloth, and premium artisanal goat cheese that reaches the market in just two and a half days. One of only 40 farmstead cheese producers in the U.S., Harley Farms normally milks about 200 goats and produces everything from ricotta to feta to traditional rounds. The farm has won numerous awards for its cheeses, as well as recognition by Slow Food for its commitment to ecological food production and contributions, through food, to pleasure, culture, and community.
ATTRA publication: Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production
"Blue Paper" Calls for Agricultural Water Efficiency
A "Blue Paper" report released by top agricultural scientissts at the World Water Week Conference in Stockholm says that agricultural water use will have to become much more efficient if water supplies are to be adequate for producing the world's food and preventing environmental degradation. OneWorld UK carried the story of the report, in which the scientists call for an increase in water productivity, or extracting more value from each drop of water, through strategies such as improved crop varieties, better tillage practices, and more precise irrigation. The authors say widespread adoption of these practices could hold water needs steady while increasing food production.
Vermont Honors Diversified Operation as Dairy Farm of the Year
The Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year for 2004 is a diversified 325-acre operation in Westfield, reports The County Courier. Owners Jacques and Pauline Couture have a 100-head Holstein dairy set up as a limited liability corporation with a farm employee. They have consciously limited the size of their dairy operation, and have been recognized for the quality of their milk. In addition to the dairy, the Coutures maintain 185 acres of forest for sustainable timber production and a 6,200-tap sugarbush. They have a maple product retail business on their farm, as well as a bed and breakfast that lets people get a glimpse of life on a dairy farm. On their 160-acres of cropland, the Coutures raise organically certified forage crops for sale. To preserve the working landscape, they have put their farm in a conservation easement.
Minnesota Hotline to Assist New Organic Producers
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center (UM-SWROC) are sponsoring a new resource hotline for beginning organic farmers in Minnesota, states a press release. Minnesota Organic Farmers' Information Exchange (MOFIE) is a group of 21 seasoned, certified organic Minnesota growers who answer beginners' questions via telephone or e-mail. These volunteer advisors have experience in a wide variety of organic production systems, including cash grains, livestock and dairy, fruits and vegetables, and even maple syrup. They can also answer questions about topics such as proper planting dates, variety selection, fertility, weed and disease control, conservation, marketing, and certification. The mentor
list is available online or by calling SWROC at 507-752-7372.
Organic School Garden Awards Contest
The Rodale Institute is sponsoring an Organic School Garden Awards contest for students nationwide in grades K-12. Any school with an organic garden is eligible to participate. To enter, teams of students and teachers must submit a brief essay that explains how they use the garden as a learning tool. They must also submit a poster made up of color photographs that demonstrate various aspects of the garden and its educational uses. The winning school will receive $1,000; second prize is $500, and third prize is $250. Entries must be postmarked by October 31, 2004.
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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Public Markets and Community Development RFP
Project for Public Spaces and the Ford Foundation have announced a Request for Proposals for a total of $1 million in support of public markets and community development. The Ford Foundation is largely interested in how public markets can achieve broader community development revitalization goals – especially in low-to-moderate income communities experiencing dynamic change. Within this framework, the Foundation is seeking to support projects which enhance the potential of public markets for social integration and which encourage the upward mobility of market vendors. A third interest, explored through PPS’s research, is how public markets can be sustainable and achieve economic and social success over the long term. This RFP complements a federal RFP (see below) to support public markets and community development. A national teleconference will be held August 27 at 11 a.m. EST to brief potential applicants on details of both RFPs. Proposals are due September 24, 2004.
Community Services Block Grant for Development of Public Markets
The Community Services Block Grant Act of 1981 authorizes the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make grants to provide technical and financial assistance for economic development activities designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families by creating employment and business development opportunities. Pursuant to this announcement, the Office of Community Services (OCS) will award grants to Community Development Corporations to expand or create public markets. CDCs should ideally have in place written commitments for at least 50 percent of non-OCS funding, a business plan, and site control for the market. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. EST on September 16, 2004.
Nebraska Grazing Lands Assistance for Education and Outreach
The purpose of the NRCS is to assist private landowners in the conservation and wise use of land, water, wildlife and related resources. NRCS recognizes the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative as an entity with a similar mission. NRCS seeks to increase and expand the effectiveness of the Nebraska Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) program. Up to $30,000 will be available for FY2005. Applicants will work in the following areas of emphasis: establishing and supporting local task forces to promote grass-roots conservation partnerships, leadership and outreach; informing key producer organizations and professional societies of the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative's (GLCI) purpose, mission and proposed actions; educating users about proper management of grazing land resources; enhancing technical capabilities of grazing land management specialists (range conservationists) at the local level; or supporting innovative demonstration projects and research on grazing lands. Proposals are due by September 9, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Midwest Specialty Grains Conference and Trade Show
September 8-10, 2004
The Midwest Shippers’ Association, a regional cooperative association established to promote and facilitate marketing of specialty grains from the upper Midwest, is hosting this conference to bring together specialty grain growers, handlers and processors.
Cultivating a Sustainable Agricultural Workplace
September 12-14, 2004
This conference will address how occupational health and safety can be integrated into sustainable agriculture practices and how research and outreach can contribute to that effort. Investigators in both sustainable agriculture and worker health and safety will find a congenial forum for exchange, discussion, and learning.
September 20-21, 2004
Washington, District of Columbia
This two-day multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Pew Initiative on Food
and Biotechnology will provide an exploration of the potential benefits and risks
of genetically engineered insects and the public policy and ethical implications
of releasing them.
7th Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference
November 1-2, 2004
Kansas City, Missouri
This conference will highlight the innovative activities of agricultural cooperatives. Cooperative leaders from around the country who have successfully initiated novel approaches within their organization or helped start new ventures will speak at the conference.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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