Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - November 26, 2008
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
* Project to Explore Northeast Value Chains
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* Terra Madre: Slow Food Expands Agenda
* Survey Profiles Washington Organic Producers
* Local Food Network Formed
* Agroforestry Recommended for Supplementary Income
* Food Systems Studied at University of Kentucky
* Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
* Oklahoma Ag Enhancement and Diversification Grant and Loan
* Washington Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
* Eco-Farm Conference
* Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference
* NOFA-NY Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
News & Resources
Project to Explore Northeast Value Chains
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group is leading a year-long project to develop and support regionally focused food value chains. The project has assembled a Northeast Regional Lead Team (RLT) as part of the National Good Food Network, supported by the Wallace Center at Winrock International. The project will learn more about existing and emerging value chain initiatives in the 12-state region and seek to foster them. The RLT will oversee research, inventorying, mapping and analysis to examine existing conditions and evaluate the capacity for value chains in the Northeast.
Terra Madre: Slow Food Expands Agenda
The biennial Terra Madre gathering held last month in Turin, Italy, had more than gourmet food on its agenda, reports The Christian Science Monitor. The Slow Food movement is increasingly turning its attention to encouraging young farmers and to how agriculture can address climate change. Though the movement is sometimes criticized for elitism, and Terra Madre has come under fire for becoming more commercial, advocates say that market-building activity is what will help save local specialty crops and provide new farmers viable incomes.
Survey Profiles Washington Organic Producers
Washington state’s certified organic agriculture producers say that economic factors are the primary reasons that they are farming organically, however the majority feel that their farms are contributing more to environmental and social sustainability goals than to economic sustainability goals. That is one of the findings from what is believed to be the first comprehensive survey of certified organic producers in Washington state. Jessica Goldberger, assistant professor of Community and Rural Sociology at Washington State University, conducted the survey between October and December 2007. The 356 completed surveys revealed organic producers who were 78 percent male, with a mean age of 52 and an average of 21 years as the primary farm decision-maker. Forty-one percent say they have always farmed organically. When asked about the biggest challenges to successful organic farming the high cost of organic inputs topped the list, followed by high labor costs and labor shortages, and variable or low crop yields. Still, 95 percent indicated they intend to maintain organic certification for at least the next 5 years.
Local Food Network Formed
The Field & Fork Network was founded on the belief that developing a local food system is fundamental to the success and well-being of Western New York. Their mission is “to provide the building blocks to create a local food network in the eight counties of Western New York. By bringing food producers (farmers & artisans) and buyers (chefs, retailers, processors, distributors, and institutional purchasers) together, we hope to create a practical & sustainable economic engine for local agriculture.”
Agroforestry Recommended for Supplementary Income
University of Kentucky Forestry Professor Deborah Brooks Hill is advising landowners not to choose plantation-style Christmas tree growing, but to plant 200 to 500 trees of mixed species in alleys, with an annual crop in the center. According to a story on Kentucky Ag Connection, this agroforestry approach prevents disease and insect problems, reduces management time, and allows landowners to generate income from several different crops on different rotations. Hill notes that in addition to Christmas trees, landowners may want to plant black locust for posts or willows for the floral industry.
Related ATTRA Publication: Agroforestry Overview
Food Systems Studied at University of Kentucky
Many people are concerned about food issues and want to see more local food offered at groceries and restaurants, according to a recent food survey conducted by a University of Kentucky rural sociology class. The study, conducted through interviews with consumers at five Lexington food retail markets, showed that despite income differences, people were universally aware of food issues and wanted to see more local food offered in area grocery stores and restaurants. When asked what local actions are needed, participants responded with the need for a permanent, year-round farmers' market in Lexington, an increase in the availability of local food at grocery stores and restaurants, community support for local farming and improved education about food.
> More Breaking News
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Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund
The goal of the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund is to keep farmers in farming and maintain the economic base of North Carolina’s rural communities. The Reinvestment Fund aims to assist farmers and rural communities to develop new sources of agricultural income through provision of cost-share grants. The Reinvestment Fund will make two types of demonstration awards: Producer Grant Awards of up to $10,000 for individuals and Community Grant Awards of up to $30,000 for collaborative farmer projects.
Proposals are due January 14, 2009.
Oklahoma Ag Enhancement and Diversification Grant and Loan
Agricultural diversification grants of up to $5,000 are available as well as interest-free loans in three categories: Cooperative Marketing Loans, Marketing and Utilization Loans, and Basic and Applied Research Loans. Loans may not be used to purchase land, buildings or equipment. Eligible expenses include feasibility studies, business plans, legal expenses, consultant fees, product development and marketing.
Proposals are due January 2, 2009.
Washington Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
Washington State Department of Agriculture announces the availability of approximately $259,115 in block grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Industry groups, academia, community-based organizations, commissions, public entities, and associations that represent Washington agricultural and food producers are eligible to apply. The maximum grant award to each project is $50,000.
Proposals are due January 7, 2009.
> More Funding Opportunities
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January 21-24, 2009
Pacific Grove, California
The 29th Annual Ecological Farming Conference has the theme "United We Grow." The agenda offers pre-conference workshops and tours beginning January 19, plenaries, and numerous workshop sessions, including some in Spanish. Topics addressed include marketing, livestock, crop production, labor, energy, and more.
Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference
January 22-23, 2009
"Farm and Home Added Value: Profiting from Renewable Energy and Regional Food" is the theme for the 11th annual conference. Learn how to profit from the growing market for local food and renewable energy. Visit the trade show, participate in round table discussions and eat your fill of great locally grown food.
NOFA-NY Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
January 23-25, 2009
Rochester, New York
"Meals Without Wheels: Revitalizing Our Local, Organic Foodshed" will feature 80 workshops and a trade show with 75 exhibitors. Intensive and full-day workshops are planned, as well as shorter sessions on a wide range of topics.
> More Events
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