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Weekly Harvest Newsletter

Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 1, 2006

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.

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News & Resources
* Terra Madre Gathers World's Small Food Producers
* Report Studies Regional Branding for California Producers
* Demand for Organic Certification Could Lead to Cost Increase
* Native Dye Plants Studied as Alternative Crop
* Report Documents Rural Development through Sustainably Produced Food
* Magazine Highlights "Green Cuisine"

Funding Opportunities
* EPA Region 8 Regional Priorities Grant Program
* Oilseeds for Fuel, Feed and Future Innovation Grants
* Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program

Coming Events
* The 2006 Acres U.S.A. Conference
* Sustainable Agriculture Pest Control Advisor Conference
* A Recipe for Success: Organic Production and Consumer Driven Marketing for the Farmer Entrepreneur

News & Resources

Terra Madre Gathers World's Small Food Producers
The 2006 Terra Madre food summit gathered thousands of the world's small-scale food producers in Turin, Italy, from October 26-30, to showcase their wares and discuss challenges faced by small local producers in a global marketplace. Terra Madre 2006 focused on strengthening the network of food communities, cooks and universities, on agro-ecology, and on market access for small-scale producers. The opening session of the summit on October 26 featured presentations by Slow Food President Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and the President of Italy, among others. The first and last days of the event featured numerous influential leaders, scientists and experts speaking in plenary sessions. The middle portion of the event was devoted to Earth Workshops that address the problems and issues producers face and Taste Workshops and other seminars designed to help food communities improve the quality of their products. Food communities also organized informal meetings to get to know other communities and present their products.

Report Studies Regional Branding for California Producers
A new report from the University of California-Davis assesses the success of regional brands for agricultural products. The report, titled Regional Agricultural Marketing: A Review of Programs in California, by Gail Feenstra and Erin Derden-Little, focuses on 12 areas in California where farmers have joined together to promote their products. Examples of such campaigns include Farms of Tuolumne County and Calaveras Grown. The report evaluates the effectiveness of such regional agricultural marketing programs, as well as strategies and challenges. It is available for free download at the link above.

Demand for Organic Certification Could Lead to Cost Increase
The Organic Food Program in Washington is proposing to raise organic certification fees, according to an Associated Press article in The Columbian. Rising demand for organic food is prompting more growers to seek organic certification, and certifiers say they are understaffed to complete the paperwork and inspections required for more certifications. While some small growers in particular are unhappy with the idea cost increases, many growers are turning to organic certification to meet market demand, so the workload for certifiers is likely to remain heavy.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Organic Certification Process

Native Dye Plants Studied as Alternative Crop
A renaissance in natural textiles and fiber art has created a demand for traditional native dye plants that New Mexico State University researchers believe might be met by small-scale growers. Dye plants were historically collected from the wild, but the researchers, working under a U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant, are working to cultivate wild species of dye plants to create new crops. Growers participating in the study tried cultivation of cota, Hopi dye sunflower, tansy and weld, plus four other species of their own choice for the particular growing conditions of their area. Other plants being grown include woad, madder, coreopsis, cosmos, yellow yarrow, holly hocks, black-eyed Susans, safflower, marigold, alkanet and Mexican sunflower. Establishing the plant in a cultivated environment is just one aspect of the study. The second part of the study is to determine the marketability of the dye material to the local natural textile enterprises in New Mexico.

Report Documents Rural Development through Sustainably Produced Food
The Land Stewardship Project has issued a Special Rural Development Report (PDF / 967K) edition of its newsletter Land Stewardship Letter. The 10-page report collects articles previously published in the newsletter that document the efforts of northwestern Iowa's Woodbury County to use local, sustainably produced food as a rural economic development tool.

Magazine Highlights "Green Cuisine"
The November/December 2006 edition of Sierra magazine showcases "Green Cuisine," with several articles that explore strategies for purchasing and preparing healthy, fresh food. One article, "Produce to the People," looks at several efforts to make fresh food more available in low-income city neighborhoods. In addition, a piece by Gary Paul Nabhan considers the revival of regional native foods, and describes the Renewing America's Food Traditions consortium he helped found. The articles may be viewed online.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

EPA Region 8 Regional Priorities Grant Program
EPA Region 8 announces the availability of funding from five grant programs for projects that are to be conducted within the boundaries of Region 8. The five funding programs are:
1) Regional Geographic Initiatives
2) Total Maximum Daily Load
3) Source Reduction Assistance (Pollution Prevention)
4) Strategic Agriculture Initiative
5) Indoor Environments Program
Agriculture is a priority for the Regional Geographic Initiatives, Total Maximum Daily Load Program, Source Reduction Assistance Program and the Strategic Agriculture Initiative programs. In particular, the Strategic Agriculture Initiative supports grants for education, extension, demonstration and implementation projects for FQPA transition and reduced-risk practices for pest management in agriculture. Project proposals that include a "whole systems" approach by integrating pest, soil, and crop management practices, address an array of commodities, focus on sustainable agriculture, or that incorporate conservation planning, are preferred.

Proposals are due November 14, 2006.

Oilseeds for Fuel, Feed and Future Innovation Grants
The Oilseeds for the Future Project aims to reduce the risk and create new opportunities for Montana farmers that want to participate in, and benefit from, an emerging bio-based economy. The project offers grants to farmers and groups of farmers who want to learn more about:
. Oilseed crops that can be used for a range of products (such as lubricants, culinary oils or biodiesel)
. On-farm production and/or personal use of biodiesel and its co-products
. Markets and buyers' expectations for oilseed crops
This Project offers grants of up to $3,000 for projects to be completed by October 1, 2008. Application forms are available online in PDF.

Proposals are due January 19, 2007.

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program
EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), in coordination with the EPA Regional Offices, announces the availability of up to an estimated $509,000 in fiscal year 2007 monies to further the pesticide risk reduction goals of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). Eligible applicants include the 50 States, District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, any agency or instrumentality of a State including State universities, and all federally recognized Tribes. The Agency anticipates funding approximately ten projects, one per EPA Region, with a maximum funding level of approximately $50,900 per project. The project period of performance is limited to two years. Proposed projects should address implementation of integrated pest management approaches that reduce the risks associated with pesticide use in an agricultural or non-agricultural setting and demonstrate the importance and relevancy of the project to the goals of PESP.
Proposals are due January 12, 2007.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

The 2006 Acres U.S.A. Conference
December 7-9, 2006
St. Paul, Minnesota

This event offers options for pre-conference study, and the conference agenda includes seminars and workshops, an Eco-Consultants' Hall, trade show and video theater. Farmers and consultants from every side of eco-farming will come together to share their experience and expertise.

Sustainable Agriculture Pest Control Advisor Conference
December 1-2, 2006
San Luis Obispo, California

This fifth annual conference is sponsored by California Certified Organic Farmers and co-sponsored by Cal Poly State University's Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium. The purpose of the conference is to provide active industry professionals such as pest control advisors, consultants and growers with information on innovative strategies for controlling pests using sustainable agricultural practices.

A Recipe for Success: Organic Production and Consumer Driven Marketing for the Farmer Entrepreneur
December 6-7, 2006
Bloomington, Illinois

The 3rd Annual Illinois Organic Production Conference is accompanied by Marketing Strategies for Consumer-Driven Agriculture on the second day of the event. The production conference will provide practical, science- and farmer-based information and extensive networking opportunities for any farmer interested in learning more about organic agriculture. An organic and marketing trade show runs both days of the event.

> More Events

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

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