Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 2, 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.
News & Resources
* Community Gardening Publication Available
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* New Website Available for Beginning Farmers
* Site Answers Questions About Selling Local Foods
* Video Highlights White House Garden
* Minnesota Department of Ag Releases Organic Publications
* Tool Evaluates Biomass Profitability
* New England Grassroots Environmental Fund Grant
* Tennessee Organic Cost Share Program
* California School Garden Grant Program
* Tri-State Local Food Conference
* Focus on Community Supported Agriculture Educational Tour
* Sandhills Summer Cover Crops Demonstration
News & Resources
Community Gardening Publication Available
A new guide to community gardening - developed by three North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialists, a nutritionist with the state's Division of Public Health and two graduate students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - will provide communities with tools to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, strengthen neighborhood groups and increase physical activity through gardening. The gardening primer, "Growing Communities through Gardens," was published by Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina and the North Carolina Community Garden Partners, a coalition of agencies seeking to promote community gardening. The primer provides information on how to find or develop a garden and how to prepare, preserve and store produce.
New Website Available for Beginning Farmers
For the first time Ohio's new and beginning farmers have an entire website dedicated to their unique information needs and designed to make it easier for them to find the services and resources they seek. The website represents the collaborative efforts of the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy; Ohio Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture; Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA); the Organic Food and Farming Education & Research Program of the OSU Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center; and the Ohio State University Extension. These entities, working together as Begin Farming Ohio, aim to build Ohio's capacity to provide, expand, enhance, and sustain services to beginning farmers. The website will also provide listings of events of special interest to Ohio's beginning farmers, and facilitate searches for educational and funding resources to assist beginning farmers with challenges related to production, marketing, and business management.
Site Answers Questions About Selling Local Foods
A new resource from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture aims to help answer questions about selling food. With the help of food safety experts and Iowa food regulatory officials, the Leopold Center has compiled a new summary of “Frequently Asked Questions on Food Regulations for Small Market Food Producers.” “Many questions have arisen about regulations for selling food in local and regional market venues. This document addresses the most frequently asked questions on which we’ve received feedback from various Iowa partners,” said Leopold Center Associate Director Rich Pirog, who prepared the FAQ with the help of Drake Agricultural Law Center interns Ross Baxter and Kate Lyon.
Video Highlights White House Garden
The White House has released a video highlighting its new garden. The video features interviews with The First Lady and The White House Chef and documents the preparation, planting, harvesting, and use of the garden.
Minnesota Department of Ag Releases Organic Publications
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has published two new resources for organic farmers and others interested in organic agriculture. The 52-page Organic Farm Performance in Minnesota report offers detailed information about the cost of production and the profitability of organic farming in Minnesota. A second publication is the 2009 Directory of Minnesota Organic Farms. More than 250 of the estimated 650 certified organic farms in Minnesota are included in the directory.
Tool Evaluates Biomass Profitability
BiomassCompare is an online Excel spreadsheet that compares the profitability of raising a new biomass crop with existing crops already on a producer’s farm or ranch. The program is flexible enough to handle harvesting of biomass residues, such as straw and stovers, from existing crops, as well as establishing a new, dedicated crop of annuals and perennials strictly raised for biomass harvesting, such as switchgrass. The program calculates what prices the user would have to receive for traditional crops produced on their farm to be competitive. If the biomass crop is more profitable than traditional cropping opportunities, the user might want to obtain more information about the biomass opportunity.
> More Breaking News
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New England Grassroots Environmental Fund Grant
NEGEF’s small grants program provides grants to groups working on community level issues in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Fund interprets the word ‘environment’ broadly and will provide funding for a wide range of activities. Whole systems-thinking is critical to initiatives focused on making our environment better, healthier and more sustainable.
Proposals are due September 15, 2009.
Tennessee Organic Cost Share Program
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program in Tennessee seeks to defray the cost of organic certification for all producers & handlers of organic agricultural products in Tennessee. The 2008 Farm Bill provides new funding to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to reimburse each eligible producer or handler for up to 75% of organic certification costs, not to exceed $750.
Proposals are due September 29, 2009.
California School Garden Grant Program
This grant will work to support existing school gardens where students are heavily involved. Awards may be monetary or may be in the form of supplies or expertise.
Proposals are due November 15, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Tri-State Local Food Conference
September 4, 2009
Whether you are in local food production, consumption or food system development, you’ll find sessions of interest to you. We’ll hear from innovative local food producers making a livelihood growing local food in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. We’ll also hear from those on the leading edge of research, policy development and local food system development.
Focus on Community Supported Agriculture Educational Tour
September 8, 2009
Spring Hill, Tennessee
The half-day tour will make stops at Delvin Farms and Rocky Glade Farm. There is no cost to participate and lunch at Hatchers Family Dairy will be provided to all attendees. Farmers and agri-entrepreneurs that are currently considering or already involved in a community supported agriculture venture are eligible to participate.
Sandhills Summer Cover Crops Demonstration
September 10, 2009
Jackson Springs, North Carolina
As farmers in the area consider organic production as an option for their farm, the question of nutrient alternatives is an important consideration. Join us as we look at covercropping as a viable alternative.
> More Events
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are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter
of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.
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This week’s topic is Energizing Your Farm--Harvesting Wind, Sunlight, and Energy Efficiency. Listen to the show.