Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - September 8, 2010
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.
News & Resources
News & Resources
Research Finds Organic Farms Produce Better Fruit and Healthier Soil
Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit, conducted by Washington State University researchers, found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse. The research was published in the peer-reviewed online journal, PLoS ONE. The study is among the most comprehensive of its kind, analyzing 31 chemical and biological soil properties, soil DNA, and the taste, nutrition and quality of three strawberry varieties on 13 conventional and 13 organic commercial fields in California.
Related ATTRA Publication: Strawberries: Organic Production
USDA Opens New Forestry Research Center
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to formally open a state-of-the-art, energy efficient Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. The new lab's three very specialized labs, which will support critical research on climate change, air quality, forest ecosystem adaptation processes and water resources, were partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The remarkable laboratory capabilities will not only support policy decisions and management actions, research from the new lab will help forests mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Maryland County Introduces Sustainable Agriculture Awards Program
The Calvert County Sustainable Agriculture Workgroup is seeking nominations for the Calvert County, Maryland, Board of County Commissioners’ new Sustainable Agriculture Awards program. Awards in this annual program will be offered in three categories:the Sustainable Farmer of the Year, the Green Grocer of the Year, and The Buy Local Restaurant of the Year. The award is designed to recognize the contributions that local agriculture makes toward a more sustainable community. Nominations will be accepted until September 20, 2010.
New Center Will Help Producers Develop Value-Added Products
As the local food movement has picked up speed and Kentucky Proud products have become a recognizable brand across the state, many small-scale producers have considered producing and selling value-added products. But making small batches of a family recipe to sell at the local farmers market is very different from producing large batches for a mass consumer base. Recognizing the need for a central location to provide technical expertise to small-scale producers, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has created the Food Systems Innovation Center. The Food Systems Innovation Center offers validation studies on processed, vacuum-sealed and ready-to-eat items to assess their safety, accurate nutritional analyses and labeling information, taste tests using trained sensory panelists and technical support to analyze shelf life.
Urban Farming Approved in Seattle
The Seattle City Council on Monday passed legislation designed to encourage urban farmers. People would be allowed to keep up to eight chickens per house; roosters would be prohibited. The ordinance, which passed unanimously, also paves the way for urban farms and taller greenhouses. Specifically, it would allow: Urban farms of up to 4,000 square feet in residential zones. Food grown on site can be sold on site. There are limits on sales hours, amount of farm equipment allowed, and size of signs; and Greenhouses dedicated to food production to extend 15 feet above height limits in certain zones.
Related ATTRA Publication: Start a Farm in the City
Doctors Prescribing Fresh Produce
Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts have begun advising patients to eat “prescription produce” from local farmers’ markets, in an effort to fight obesity in children of low-income families. Now they will give coupons amounting to $1 a day for each member of a patient’s family to promote healthy meals reports the New York Times. Thomas M. Menino, the mayor of Boston, said he believed the new children’s program, in which doctors write vegetable “prescriptions” to be filled at farmers’ markets, was the first of its kind. Doctors will track participants to determine how the program affects their eating patterns and to monitor health indicators like weight and body mass index, he said.
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Western SARE Producer Grant
These one- or two-years grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual producers may apply for up to $15,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $30,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production.
Proposals are due December 3, 2010.
Florida Organic Cost Share
FOG is accepting applications from certified organic growers and handlers located in Florida for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification costs, or a maximum of $750. Reimbursement for certification costs paid between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 29, 2010 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted.
Proposals are due October 15, 2010
Animal Welfare Approved Good Husbandry Grants
Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce the 2010-2011 Good Husbandry Grant cycle. Grants will be awarded for the sole purpose of improving farm animal welfare, with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Slaughter plants working with or seeking to work with AWA farmers are also eligible to apply.
Proposals are due October 1, 2010
>> More Funding Opportunities
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Vegetable Gardening in the Low Desert Workshop
September 18, 2010
This class offers basic steps and resources available for gardeners who wish to harvest something fresh, nutritious and home-grown every month of the year. This class will cover soil basics, seasons for planting, irrigation, pest management, and resources available to home gardeners interested in vegetable gardening.
Managing a CSA Enterprise Workshop
September 21-22, 2010
Green Cove Springs, Florida
For those who want to start, or are currently running a CSA enterprise. Topics covered will include: Management, Variations and Innovations, Challenges, Outreach, and Administration.
New Mexico Watershed Forum
September 28-30, 2010
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Plenary sessions, workshops, and field trips over the course of three days will offer opportunities to examine and build upon the cooperative relationships that have led to successful watershed-based planning and restoration. This statewide Forum aims to gather watershed professionals and group leaders, Tribe and Pueblo leaders, volunteers, contractors, soil and watershed conservation districts, students and faculty, and local, state, and federal agencies interested in improving the health of watersheds.
>> More Events
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