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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 10, 2014

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

Join the NCAT Team!
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is seeking an Agriculture Specialist/Outreach Coordinator. This is an excellent opportunity for a candidate who has a combination of education and experience in agriculture, communications, marketing, and food policy. The position will be located in Jackson, Mississippi.

News & Resources

  • USDA Announces Farm to School Grants
  • New Sweet Corn Variety for Organic Farmers Hits Marketplace
  • 2015 Declared International Year of Soils
  • Communities Selected for Local Foods, Local Places
  • Cover Crops Sequester Soil Organic Carbon, According to Study
  • Local Food Continues as Top Restaurant Trend for 2015

Funding Opportunities

  • The FruitGuys Community Fund
  • Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program
  • Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program

Coming Events

  • TOFGA Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
  • Wisconsin Local Food Summit
  • Organic Farming Conference and Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange

News & Resources

USDA Announces Farm to School Grants
USDA has announced more than $5 million in grants for 82 projects through its Farm to School Program. The program helps schools purchase more food from local farmers and ranchers, expanding access to healthy local food and supporting local economies. A complete list of FY15 Farm to School grant recipients is available online.

New Sweet Corn Variety for Organic Farmers Hits Marketplace
Organic Seed Alliance and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have announced the release of a new open-pollinated sweet corn variety. 'Who Gets Kissed?' is the first in a series of organic sweet corn releases developed through participatory plant breeding. 'Who Gets Kissed?' has yellow and white kernels, yields well, tolerates cool soils, and is resistant to common rust and corn smut. It also demonstrates superior flavor and sweetness.

2015 Declared International Year of Soils
The UN has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. Events kicked off December 5 on World Soil Day. UN Food and Agriculture Organization activities for the year will seek to raise awareness and promote more sustainable use of this critical resource.
Related ATTRA Resources: Soils & Compost

Communities Selected for Local Foods, Local Places
The White House Rural Council and six federal agencies have announced 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places. A team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health, and regional economic experts will work directly with the communities to develop specifically identified local food projects. A complete list of communities participating in the initiative is available on the White House Rural Council website.

Cover Crops Sequester Soil Organic Carbon, According to Study
A 12-year University of Illinois study shows that use of hairy vetch and cereal rye cover crops increases the amount of sequestered soil organic carbon. The study evaluated plots that were subjected to no-till, chisel plow, and moldboard plow treatments with and without cover crops. The no-till system with cover crops sequestered the most soil organic carbon. The study was published in Open Journal of Soil Science.

Local Food Continues as Top Restaurant Trend for 2015
The National Restaurant Association's annual What's Hot culinary forecast continues to be dominated by local food. The survey of nearly 1,300 professional chefs identifies the top 10 food trends on restaurant menus each year. For 2015, the top trend is locally sourced meat and seafood, while the number two trend is locally grown produce.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

The FruitGuys Community Fund
The FruitGuys Community Fund offers funding to support sustainability projects for small to mid-size farms. A primary goal of the fund is to help farms and orchards operate more sustainably and to promote advocacy that, over the long term, creates a more sustainable food system and healthier planet.
Applications must be received by February 16, 2015.

Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's 2015 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program will award competitive grants up to $25,000 for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects in Minnesota. The program funds practices that promote environmental stewardship and conservation of resources, as well as improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas. Eligible recipients include farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions, and non-profit organizations.
Applications are due January 23, 2015.

Montana Growth Through Agriculture Program
The Growth Through Agriculture program is a grant and loan program established by the Montana Legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana's agricultural industry through development of new agricultural products and processes. Economic Development Projects may potentially be funded for a total of $150,000 in the form of a grant up to $50,000 and a loan up to $100,000. A $1 for $1 match is required.
Application deadline is January 30, 2015.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

TOFGA Organic Farming and Gardening Conference
January 29 - February 1, 2015
San Antonio, Texas

This conference includes concurrent sessions, speakers, pre-conference workshops, and the Farm Aid Drought Summit. Tracks include organics, advanced producers, marketing and distribution, research, and food systems.

Wisconsin Local Food Summit
January 30-31, 2015
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

The 9th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit, "Seeds for Change: Learning from the past to grow food for tomorrow," follows the Wisconsin Farm to School Summit. The event features keynote speakers, poster presentations, breakout sessions, and exhibits.

Organic Farming Conference and Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange
January 30, 2015
Twin Falls, Idaho

The Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides will host this event focusing on cover crops and soil health. The Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange offers an opportunity to share tips and learn from others during vibrant, interactive discussions.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest newsletters are available online.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page ATTRA was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The program 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.

© 2014 NCAT

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Updated ATTRA Publication
Federal Conservation Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching

Question of the Week
How does soil salinity affect crop production?

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