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Southern SAWG Newsletter  Volume 5, #11
  November 2009
Dear Friends,

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
     ~ Rumi
Apt words for the month of November, steeped as it is in the tradition of gratitude. We at Southern SAWG take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your support, your friendship, and your commitment. Thank you for all that you do to help make our world healthier and more just. We also reach out once again for your financial support of our work on behalf of family farmers and communities.
The Southern SAWG annual conference is not far off now, and it will feature at least a hundred ways that we may "kiss the ground." If you haven't yet registered, it is now easier than ever--read on to learn about our brand new online registration system!

We wish you a joyful Thanksgiving, filled with the beauty you love and the abundance of the harvest.
--Your friends at Southern SAWG
Register Online for the Southern SAWG 2010 Conference
Support Family Farmers and Communities
Southern SAWG Conference: We Hear It All the Time...
Comments Wanted on EQIP Organic Initiative - Survey Deadline November 10
Unprecedented Opportunites in Tough Times: Southern SAWG to Host Meetings January 20-21
Will Allen is CEFS 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecturer November 9
Alabama Food Summit: Food Matters November 12-14
Rolling the Dice with Cut Flowers November 17-18
Join Our Mailing List

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Chattanooga Convention Center
January 20-23, 2010

Register Online!

Southern SAWG is now accepting online registration for the 2010 conference. In addition to registering for the general conference, you can add on a fabulous field trip, short course, or mini course. You can even request a vegetarian plate for the Taste of Tennessee dinner or make a donation to Southern SAWG.

The payment process is powered by Click & Pledge--the same secure server we use for online donations. Click here to get started.

Support Family Farmers and Communities

Please help Southern SAWG as we build an ongoing renewal of hope for family farmers and communities throughout the South, by making a contribution today. Your support allows us to continue and expand programs such as our annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference.
With your support we can reach our goal to raise $20,000 through our annual donor campaign this year. You can honor your family and friends by making your donation in their names during the holiday season while supporting Southern SAWG. We will send them a card announcing your gift.
To make a donation online or download a form to mail to us with your check click here.

We Hear It All the Time...

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Year after year, attendees at Southern SAWG's Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference come for the practical information and go home with so much more. Over 90 percent of past attendees reported they learned something they would use immediately. The nineteenth annual conference will be held January 20-23, 2010 at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga. Conference info is available online. A cross-fertilization of ideas awaits you in 2010. See you in Chattanooga!

Your Comments Wanted on the EQIP Organic Initiative
Complete a Short Survey Today

As you may know, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA created a special Organic Initiative as a part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. This initiative provides financial and technical assistance to agriculture producers who want to improve their organic operations or transition land to organic production.

Now that sign-up for the 2009 program is over, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is collecting feedback from farmers on the EQIP Organic Initiative to assist the NRCS in making improvements. OFRF would to hear from all farmers, conventional and organic, and from producers who applied to the Organic Initiative as well as those who did not. Whether or not you applied or received a contract through the EQIP Organic Initiative, please help us make it better by providing your feedback on this short survey. All survey responses will be confidential.

OFRF will use the feedback on the 2009 Organic Initiative to provide recommendations to the NRCS to make the 2010 Initiative work better for farmers. This survey is only the first step in gathering farmer feedback on the initiative. OFRF will continue to facilitate growers' feedback to NRCS in order to improve the program in the future.

The survey takes ten minutes or less to complete. In order to get data to the NRCS in time to affect the 2010 Organic Initiative, this survey will only be available until November 10. Please fill it out today.

To fill out the 2009 EQIP Organic Initiative survey click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Tracy Lerman, OFRF Policy Organizer: 831.426.6606 x 108;

Taking Advantage of Unprecedented Opportunities in Tough Economic Times
Southern SAWG is hosting two meetings to engage organizational leaders in solutions January 20-21, 2010

Are you working for...
        Safe, equitable and reliable community food systems;
        Environmentally sound agricultural production methods;
        Prosperous family farms and rural communities?
If so, you have unprecedented opportunities:
        Mainstream media is picking up your message.
        USDA is talking your talk and seeking your engagement.
        Local communities are ready for action.
And yet...
        Financial support is severely restricted by these tough economic times.
        Just when organizations should be ramping up their activities,
        many are scaling back due to decreased funding.  
Southern SAWG will host two meetings for Southern sustainable agriculture and community food systems leaders to address these issues on January 20-21, 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, immediately prior to the annual Southern SAWG conference.
A 1 day USDA/NGO leader meeting will bring USDA managers of grant programs together with organizational leaders from the South. NGO (Non-governmental organization) leaders will learn about the goals of USDA programs that are appropriate for their work and about bigger issues and processes that guide federal funding to NGOs. Organizational leaders will have the opportunity to learn how to improve the success rate of their proposals to the USDA, give feedback to USDA program leaders, and begin a dialogue on how USDA and other federal programs can better serve their intended audiences in the South. 

This will be followed by a day networking meeting for organizational leaders to share strategies for surviving in tough economic times, and explore ways of working together to move our agendas forward.  Attendees should be prepared to discuss opportunities for networking and collaboration, and investigate ways to share resources and share tactics for achieving our collective goals.    
Attendance at these meetings is free, but pre-registration is required. The 1 day USDA/NGO meeting is limited to one person from each organization. A limited number of travel stipends are available. For more information or a registration form, contact Julia Sampson:; 479.251.8310.

CEFS Welcomes Will Allen as 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecturer
November 9, 2009
Goldsboro and Raleigh, North Carolina

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and Burt's Bees presents Will Allen as the 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecturer. Allen is the founder and CEO of Growing Power, Inc., and is well-known to many in the Southern SAWG community. In 2008, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named Allen a 2008 MacArthur Fellow, describing him as an urban farmer "transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved urban populations through a novel synthesis of low-cost farming Technologies." He was also recently featured in an appearance in the movie Fresh.
Two lectures are being offered.
  • Urban Community Lecture: "Big Change in Small Spaces: Growing Food Security, Food Justice and Future Leaders"
  • Sustainable Agriculture Lecture: "Steps to Successful Urban Farming"
For more information on these two unique conversations call 919.513.3924 or click here.
Alabama Food Summit 2009: Food Matters
November 12-14, 2009
Birmingham, Alabama

Bringing together Alabama's emerging leaders to envision a new food system. Features local & regional speakers and interactive sessions on topics including health and nutrition, food policy, organic farming and gardening, and cultural and traditional foods.
The summit will highlight local foods and chefs, and includes Community Garden Bike and Bus Tours, and a Seed Swap. Participants are invited to bring information on their farms or organizations and be prepared to share ideas.
For information and to register click here.

Rolling the Dice with Cut Flowers
November 17-18, 2009
Memphis, Tennessee

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers is teaming up with Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Arkansas, and ATTRA to produce a cut flower program. This is an excellent opportunity to meet other cut flower growers in the south-central states, learn from industry experts, and catch up on the latest information in the floral industry.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Allan Armitage, who is well known internationally as a writer, speaker, and researcher. Other speakers include Ko Klaver, Mark Cain, Dave Dowling, Frank Arnosky, Vicki Stamback, Darrell Johnson, Lane Greer, Gay Smith, and Janet Bachmann.

For information and registration click here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Inc. (Southern SAWG) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to promote sustainable agriculture in the Southern United States.