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Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - December 14, 2011

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

News & Resources

  • Sign-Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program Announced
  • Urban Agriculture Policy Study Highlights Best Practices
  • Sustainability Program Certifies Christmas Tree Farms
  • GIPSA Final Rule Published
  • North Carolina Local Food Purchasing Reaches $10 Million
  • Website Offers Farmers Produce Sales Venue

Funding Opportunities

  • Central Appalachian Network Small Grants Program
  • Water Conservation Field Services Program
  • New York Agriculture Innovation Center Grant Program

Coming Events

  • EcoFarm Conference 2012
  • Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Winter Conference
  • TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat

News & Resources

Sign-Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program Announced
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced that January 13 is the first ranking period cut-off date for the 2012 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is offered in all 50 states, and a self-screening checklist is available online to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operations.

Urban Agriculture Policy Study Highlights Best Practices
The Turner Environmental Law Clinic at the Emory University School of Law, in partnership with Georgia Organics, recently released a study of urban agriculture policies implemented by 16 leading U.S. cities. The report reveals that there is no one-size-fits-all policy to address urban agriculture, and each community needs its own nuanced approach to balance the land it has available with the needs of its residents. The report is available online as a PDF file.

Sustainability Program Certifies Christmas Tree Farms
Holiday trees have become a little bit greener with a new sustainability program for Christmas tree farms. Trees from certified farms have met standards for protecting land, water, wildlife, and the people who work on the farm. The trees bear a tag identifying their origin as a Socially and Environmentally Responsible Farm (SERF).
Related ATTRA Resource: Agroforestry: An Overview

GIPSA Final Rule Published
USDA has published the Final Rule implementing the 2008 Farm Bill provisions to better protect livestock producers and poultry growers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). The provisions being finalized were required by the 2008 Farm Bill and have been modified from the June 22, 2010, proposed rule.

North Carolina Local Food Purchasing Reaches $10 Million
In 18 months, participants in North Carolina's 10% Campaign have recorded over $10 million in purchases of locally produced foods. More than 4,400 individuals and 427 businesses have signed on to the campaign, and record the amount they spend on local food each week.

Website Offers Farmers Produce Sales Venue
A new national website launched this fall aims to provide farmers with a convenient produce sales venue. Pick-A-Pepper.com was started by a Missouri market gardener who wanted to offer small-scale produce growers an alternative to operating a CSA or selling at farmers markets. Farmers are not charged for listing or selling their produce.

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Central Appalachian Network Small Grants Program
The Central Appalachian Network (CAN) expects to award 5-10 grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 each to nonprofit organizations in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The grants will address identified gaps in sustainable agriculture value chains in Central Appalachia, build organizational capacity, and improve and expand work already underway across the region.
Proposals are due by December 23, 2011.

Water Conservation Field Services Program
The Bureau of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region is requesting applications for the Water Conservation Field Service Program (WCFSP). Any state, Indian Tribe, irrigation district, water district, or other organization with water or power delivery authority may apply for grants and cooperative agreements of up to $100,000 for water conservation activities.
Applications are due by February 7, 2012.

New York Agriculture Innovation Center Grant Program
The New York Farm Viability Institute is accepting proposals to the Agriculture Innovation Center grant program. The program focuses on business planning, business structure, marketing, marketing planning, distribution, business expansion, business transfer, keeping and expanding land in agricultural production, and developing or enhancing value-added product recipes and techniques.
Application deadline is January 15, 2012.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

EcoFarm Conference 2012
February 1-4, 2012
Pacific Grove, California

The EcoFarm Conference meets every year to create, maintain, and promote healthy, safe, and just food farming systems. It offers more than 60 workshops featuring prominent speakers on the latest advances in agricultural techniques, marketing strategies, research, and other important food system issues.

Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Winter Conference
January 27-29, 2012
Aberdeen, South Dakota

Pre-conference workshops on human health, soil health, and animal health are scheduled. Additional workshops address poultry, mulch gardening, estate planning, winter greenhouses, weed control, cover crops, local foods, and canning and preserving.

TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat
January 21, 2012
New York, New York, and webcast live

This one-day TEDx event will explore the food system—from what happened, to where we are, to what we are doing to shift to a more sustainable way of eating and farming. The event will be webcast live, and individuals, groups, and organizations are encouraged to host viewing parties.

>> More Events

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