Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - October 13, 2004
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* USDA Requests Comment on Renewable, Efficiency Program Rules
* Farmers' Markets Gain Popularity in Low-Income NYC Neighborhoods
* UK Study Suggests Wildlife Fares Better on Organic Farms
* New Book to Tout Benefits of Local Food
* Reports Look at Rural Growth and Farmland Protection in North Carolina
* Minnesota Greenbook 2004 Highlights Sustainable Ag Research
* NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management Call for Preproposals
* Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers
* Technical Assistance and Training Grants for Water and Waste Systems
* Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s “Real Food Revival"
* New Perspectives on Food Security
* American Farmland Trust's National Conference
News & Resources
USDA Requests Comment on Renewable, Efficiency Program Rules
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing new program rules for administering its Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program, and is requesting public comments. The program was created as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, and the USDA has already committed to $45 million in grants to farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses through the program. The proposed rule formalizes the program guidelines for receiving and reviewing future grant applications, and also establishes a new process for offering loans and loan guarantees. The proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register on October 5th, and public comment will be accepted for 30 days after its publication.
Farmers' Markets Gain Popularity in Low-Income NYC Neighborhoods
The New York Times features an article on the growth of farmers' markets in low-income neighborhoods of the city. "Farmers' markets, long a staple of posh city neighborhoods, are cropping up all over the city in low-income areas, places like East New York, Washington Heights and Red Hook" reports the Times. This year, more than half a dozen markets have been launched in low-income neighborhoods and more are in the planning stage. The growth of the farmers' markets has been attributed, in part, to the Farmers' Market Nutrition and the Women, Infants and Children programs. "When you have people who are dying for fresh food across the board, it doesn't matter if you are in a low-income community or high-income," said market organizer, Miriam Haas. "People begin to appreciate what they see and they want it in their community. There is more demand to do markets than we can create."
UK Study Suggests Wildlife Fares Better on Organic Farms
A recent scientific review looking into wildlife on organic and equivalent non-organic farms in the United Kingdom has concluded that organic farms are better for wildlife. The review reveals that a wide range of wildlife including birds, bats, insects and wild flowers flourish on organic farms. The study, conducted by the
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and English Nature,
found that in more than 50 comparisons the review showed
it was usually, although not universally, true that organic farms had
more individual wild animals and/or plants, including some declining
species such as the skylark. "Farmland bird numbers have plummeted over the past 30 years and both conventional and organic farmers have a role to play in reversing these declines," said Sue Armstrong Brown, Head of Agriculture Policy at the RSPB. "The findings should hearten those already managing organic farms with wildlife in mind, and inspire others keen to reap the benefits of organic methods."
New Book to Tout Benefits of Local Food
Parents, chefs, environmentalists, food business executives, and concerned consumers everywhere are demanding locally grown fare, according to a new book by the Worldwatch Institute. No longer a fad, local food will feature on more holiday tables this year than ever before, as Americans prepare meals of vegetables, fruit, meat, and other ingredients grown and raised on nearby farms, rather than from distant agribusinesses. In Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, Worldwatch senior researcher Brian Halweil explains that this simple shift in eating habits not only delivers superior taste, but is better for peoples health, the livelihoods of small farmers, and the global environment. It even makes the nations food supply safer by reducing the risk from accidental or intentional contamination. Eating local is the next frontier in the American diet,says Halweil. People everywhere are taking control of their food supply to protect themselves from mad cow disease, heavy pesticide use, agro-terrorism, and urban sprawl. They want to know who grows their food and where it comes from.
Reports Look at Rural Growth and Farmland Protection in North Carolina
To help rural leaders across the state deal with growth and development, the North Carolina Smart Growth Alliance has published Healthy Rural Communities: A Resource and Action Guide for North Carolina. The guide describes growth and development trends in rural North Carolina , and it provides examples, best practices and data that will help rural communities guide future growth and development. It also cites resources including leadership training opportunities, statewide direct technical assistance, technical assistance publications and online technical assistance resources. North Carolina Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VAD), a related document by American Farmland Trust, chronicles the progress of statewide VAD programs and highlights innovative VAD activities in counties across the state. VADs are a primary tool for farmland protection in the state.
Minnesota Greenbook 2004 Highlights Sustainable Ag Research
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recently released its 15th edition of the Greenbook, which highlights the efforts of creative and innovative farmers and researchers involved with the Sustainable Agriculture On-farm Demonstration Grant Program. Greenbook 2004 contains articles that highlight the results of the grantees’ projects and provides practical and technical information. Each article includes personal observations and management tips from the participants.
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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NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management Call for Preproposals
The National Science Foundation's Center for Integrated Pest Management has issued a call for preproposals on work involving pest management with a focus on food, fiber and turf.High priority will be given to innovative approaches, projects with multi-state results, projects which move from research to implementation, and projects involving integration with new technologies. Preproposals are due November 15, 2004.
Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers
The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and
Ranchers Competitive Grants Program (OASDFR) provides funds to
organizations to conduct outreach and technical assistance to encourage
and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and
operate farms and ranches and to participate in agricultural programs.
The OASDFR will support a wide range of outreach and assistance
activities in farm management, financial management, marketing,
application and bidding procedures, and other areas. The primary
purpose of the OASDFR is to deliver outreach and technical assistance,
to assure opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
to successfully acquire, own, operate, and retain farms and ranches;
and assure equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs.
Technical Assistance and Training Grants for Water and Waste Systems
The USDA has announced the opening of Technical Assistance and
Training Grants. The objectives of the grant program are to: (1)
identify and evaluate solutions to water and waste disposal problems
in rural areas, (2) assist applicants in preparing applications
for water and waste grants made at the State level offices, and
(3) improve operation and maintenance of existing water and waste
disposal facilities in rural areas. Funds may be used to pay expenses associated
with providing technical assistance and/or training (TAT) to identify and evaluate
solutions to water problems relating to source, storage, treatment, and distribution,
and to waste disposal problems relating to collection, treatment, and disposal;
assist applicants that have filed a preapplication with RUS in the preparation
of water and/or waste disposal loan and/or grant applications; and to provide
training that will improve the management, operation and maintenance of water
and waste disposal facilities. Up to $17 million will be available in FY05.
Only private non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applications are
due by December 31, 2004.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s “Real Food Revival”
November 12-14, 2004
Asheville, North Carolina
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s 19th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference will bring together over 600 aspiring and experienced farmers, gardeners, educators, businesses, and activists for a weekend of organic information and inspiration. The largest sustainable agriculture conference in the southeast, the conference will feature workshops, a commercial and non-profit trade show, delicious meals featuring local and organic foods, a contra dance, and more.
New Perspectives on Food Security
November 12-14, 2004
The Glynwood Center, The Airlie Foundation and The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, have partnered to jointly host an in-depth study and discussion of the vital issue of protecting the nation's food supply. The three day conference features both speakers and working sessions. Issues to be addressed include the threat of terrorism; the food security benefits of sustainable agriculture; the loss of biodiversity; and the related health of the consuming public.
American Farmland Trust's National Conference
November 15-17, 2004
Farming on the Edge: Meeting the Challenge brings a diverse group of talented and experienced people together to share success stories and creative approaches to land conservation, economic development and community planning.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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