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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 5, 2012

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

Meet Us at the Fair
Five specialists from the National Center for Appropriate Technology will be presenting workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, September 21-23. Find out more about NCAT's sustainable agriculture work, renewable energy, backyard production, and local fruit, among many other great learning opportunities at the Fair.

News & Resources

  • Resource Guide for Value-Added Producer Grant Applicants Released
  • National Organic Standards Board to Meet, Now Accepting Comments
  • USDA Awards Grants to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
  • Stanford Study Analyzes Research Comparing Organic and Conventional Foods
  • Restaurant Rating System Promotes Nutrition and Sustainability Practices
  • Taking No-till to Next Level Reduces Inputs

Funding Opportunities

  • Environmental Education Regional Grants
  • AgEnhancement Grants
  • AARP Foundation/InnoCentive: Drive to End Hunger – Elimination of Food Deserts

Coming Events

  • Farm Crawl
  • South Dakota MarketPlace
  • Values-Based Food Supply Chains

News & Resources

Resource Guide for Value-Added Producer Grant Applicants Released
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released Farmers' Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding. The Guide, available for free download online, includes clear information on new program rules and contains a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes, with helpful hints to improve a producer's chances of obtaining funding from the highly competitive program.

National Organic Standards Board to Meet, Now Accepting Comments
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is collecting public comment in advance of its fall meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, October 15-18. The agenda of topics and current proposals are available at www.ams.usda.gov/nosbmeetings (select “October 15-18, 2012” from the drop-down menu). Written comments on the proposals can be submitted until September 24.

USDA Awards Grants to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
USDA has announced more than $18 million in grants to organizations across 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grants go to organizations that implement education, training, technical assistance, and outreach programs. A complete list of awards is available online.

Stanford Study Analyzes Research Comparing Organic and Conventional Foods
Researchers at Stanford University have performed a meta-analysis of 237 existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. After analyzing the data, the researchers found little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods. No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products. In discussing limitations of their work, the researchers noted the heterogeneity of the studies they reviewed.

Restaurant Rating System Promotes Nutrition and Sustainability Practices
The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) has introduced Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL), a voluntary, holistic, and consensus-based nutrition rating program. Through its "Eat REAL" campaign, the USHFC will promote certified restaurants that utilize nutrition and sustainability best practices. USHFC also has a REAL program for food distributors and purveyors, ultimately linking the entire "farm to fork" supply chain.

Taking No-till to Next Level Reduces Inputs
Kansas farmer Gail Fuller is using companion crops and cover crops to improve soil health and grain nutritional value while reducing labor and inputs, reports Corn & Soybean Digest. "Within the next three to four years, my goal is to cut our total inputs – fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides – by 75-95%," says Fuller.
Related ATTRA Publication: Nutrient Management in Organic Small Grains

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Environmental Education Regional Grants
EPA is seeking grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques, and that will serve as models. EPA expects to award grantsof up to $216,000 from each of the 10 EPA Regional offices.
Application deadline is November 21, 2012.

AgEnhancement Grants
Each year, Northeast agricultural credit associations and CoBank award grants ranging from $500 to $8,000 to help organizations promote awareness of agriculture in the six New England states, New York, and New Jersey.
The next application deadline is December 1, 2012.

AARP Foundation/InnoCentive: Drive to End Hunger – Elimination of Food Deserts
AARP Foundation, in collaboration with InnoCentive, is soliciting ideas to help eliminate/reduce food deserts in the United States. Awards will be paid to the best submission(s). The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000.
Entries are due by September 20, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Farm Crawl
October 7, 2012
Knoxville and Lacona, Iowa

Eight independent family farm operations are jointly hosting free open houses. Tour the farms, visit the animals, meet the farmers, sample the goodies, purchase locally grown and produced products, and have lots of fun.

South Dakota MarketPlace
October 9-10, 2012
Huron, South Dakota

MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success business conference is a comprehensive two-day event focused on energizing small businesses and rural communities, supporting potential or existing entrepreneurs, and helping community and economic development leaders build their communities.

Values-Based Food Supply Chains
October 11, 2012
Minneapolis, Minnesota

This one-day workshop from Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture will provide the opportunity to examine three value-based supply chains in detail. The workshop is designed for producers, processors, distributors, and buyers, public- and private-sector agricultural professionals who work with food systems participants, and students.

>> More Events

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Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews Archives
Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Visit the NCAT website for more information on our other sustainable agriculture and energy projects.

© 2012 NCAT

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New Publication
Tips for Marketing Sheep and Goat Products: Meat

Question of the Week
How do I wash and dry biodiesel?

Ask a Sustainable Agriculture Expert
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ATTRA Webinars
There's still time to register for two free one-hour webinars presented by Jeff Schahczenski, Agricultural Economist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology!
September 6 — Understanding Crop Insurance Options for Small- to Medium-Scale Diversified Farms (Midwest focus)
September 13 AGR-Lite—Understanding Whole-Farm Insurance for the Specialized, Diversified, and Organic Farm

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