Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - August 29, 2007
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.
News & Resources
* 'Eat Well' Tour Celebrating Sustainable Foods
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* Urban Farms Transform Food Deserts
* Survey Shows Consumers Want Local and Organic Food
* USDA Announces Sustainable Operations Council
* Almond Pasteurization Rule to Take Effect
* North Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
* Maine Farms for the Future Program
* Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program
* Workshop for Small, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers
* Organic Dairy Production & Transition Workshops
Prairie Festival 2007
News & Resources
'Eat Well' Tour Celebrating Sustainable Foods
A 38-day tour across the country is highlighting local, sustainable foods from different regions, with stops at restaurants, farms, and value-added food businesses, according to a PR Newswire press release. The Eat Well Guided Tour of America began in California August 2, and will conclude September 9 in New York City at the Farm Aid concert. Sustainable Table Founder and Director Diane Hatz and her colleagues aboard a biodiesel bus are visiting with farmers, chefs, authors, filmmakers, and other local food advocates at tour stops in each state, as well as tasting pies and specialty foods from each region. Highlights of the tour are posted regularly in a blog on the Sustainable Table Web site.
Urban Farms Transform Food Deserts
Inner cities are sometimes known as food insecure areas, or food deserts where fresh produce is unavailable and nutrition is poor. A feature in In These Times explores how several different urban agriculture programs across the country are transforming city neighborhoods with community and backyard gardens, as well as commercial farms that supply food for local markets. These and other fresh food programs are finding more political support nationally, but still face challenges in sustaining themselves financially and holding onto land resources.
Survey Shows Consumers Want Local and Organic Food
A recent study by Mambo Sprouts Mambo Track research services revealed 36.1% of natural product consumers said they would choose local produce over organic items, while 33.3% indicated they would choose organic items over local produce. Consumers reported a preference for food that was both local and organic. The survey also revealed the need for clarity regarding the USDA Organic seal.
USDA Announces Sustainable Operations Council
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns recently announced the creation of the USDA Sustainable Operations Council for efficient and effective use of USDA's energy and resources. "This new council helps all USDA's employees work together to operate, promote and use sustainable operating practices so we save energy and practice effective use of our resources," said Johanns. Additional information about USDA's Sustainable Operations can be found at http://www.greening.usda.gov.
Almond Pasteurization Rule to Take Effect
A new rule requiring pasteurization of all raw California almonds will take effect September 1, reports an Associated Press story in the Washington Post, despite almond growers' contention that adequate insfrastructure is not in place. Almond growers had asked for a delay in implementing the rule, to avoid disrupting the flow of nuts to market, but USDA refused to delay implementation. The regulations stem from concern over potential salmonella contamination of raw almonds, and require either steam or gas pasteurization. Organic food advocates—led by the Cornucopia Institute— have organized a campaign urging USDA to reconsider instituting a pasteurization requirement at all.
> More Breaking News
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North Central Region SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Program
The North Central Region (NCR) SARE program of the USDA has allocated about $400,000 for the 2007 Farmer/Rancher Grant Program. Competitive grants of up to $6,000 are available for individual farmers and ranchers, and grants up to $18,000 are available for groups of three or more farmers from separate operations who are interested in exploring sustainable agriculture. Farmers/Ranchers are invited to submit proposals that test, evaluate, and adapt sustainable agriculture practices for their operations; conduct learning circles, educational events, field days or demonstrations to further disseminate information to farmers/ranchers; develop new technologies; or create or modify equipment.
Proposals are due December 3, 2007.
Maine Farms for the Future Program
Maine's Farm for the Future (FFF) program is a two-phase business assistance program that helps Maine farmers plan for the future of their agricultural enterprise. If selected for the program, the farmer will develop a business plan, with a team of professionals, for an idea that will increase the long-term economic viability of their farm. Once the business plan is completed the farmer is then eligible to apply for grant funds to complete the project.
Proposals are due October 25, 2007.
Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program
Established by Wild Ones, the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, or other non-profit educational organizations for the purpose of establishing outdoor learning centers. The grant program provides cash awards primarily for child-centered projects that create native plant landscapes or develop outdoor classrooms.
Proposals are due November 15, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Workshop for Small, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers
September 20, 2007
Fort Valley, Georgia
Team Agriculture Georgia presents this free one-day workshop, offering A Primer for Selecting New Farm Enterprises, and addressing aquaculture, beekeeping, organics, financing, women in agriculture, and more.
Organic Dairy Production & Transition Workshops
September 24 & 25, 2007
Hyde Park & Brattleboro, Vermont
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is
pleased to announce two special workshops for all dairy producers
interested in learning about organic dairying and how to transition to
organic milk production. Workshops will feature presentations by organic dairy producers, regional organic milk buyers, organic grain dealers and NOFA-VT's technical and certification staff. The workshops are free to all dairy & livestock farmers.
Prairie Festival 2007
September 28-30, 2007
The Land Institute presents this annual event that features a research update from its scientists and an address by founder Wes Jackson, as well as music and social activities.
> More Events
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