Southern SAWG Newsletter Volume 6, #1
|| January 2010
At the beginning of
each new year, Southern SAWG presents a conference
that brings you the best in practical tools and training, along with new ideas
for farming enterprises, and for developing healthy sustainable food and farming
systems. Most of us agree on the importance of sustainable agriculture, and as
it turns out, sustainable ag is poised to play a significant role in what may be the most pressing
issue for our future: climate change. Be sure to join Dr. Timothy LaSalle, CEO
of the Rodale Institute, for a special pre-conference presentation where he will
share compelling evidence that organic and sustainable farmers are the new
heroes in the fight against global warming.
We are also excited
to be hosting two important pre-conference events that are focused on
community-based and non-governmental organizations. These events will provide
opportunities to meet with managers of USDA grant programs, learn about funding
opportunities, and network with sustainable agriculture and community food
systems leaders from throughout the South.
To top off the full plate of classroom sessions, field trips, special
events, and intensive courses, we will close with a fabulous Taste of Tennessee
dinner, featuring our own Hollis Watkins as keynote speaker. Hollis is a
life-long activist in both the civil rights and sustainable agriculture
movements, with a unique perspective on the potential we now have to bring
about real change in our food system, and the parallels between the civil rights
and sustainable agriculture movements. As one of the founders and leaders of Southern SAWG, Hollis will remind us how far we have
come, and inspire us to keep up the good fight.
Happy New Year, and
see you in Chattanooga!
--Your friends at Southern SAWG
We're looking forward to seeing
you all very soon in Chattanooga.
You're planning to attend this big event, right?
Two Important Conference
Deadlines This Week
Make conference lodging
reservations immediately. While our room blocks have already been released, the good news is that our
hotels will extend our group discount rate to you if rooms are available and if you tell them you are
with Southern SAWG. Currently the
Marriott has no more rooms available at our discount rate on Thursday and
Friday nights, so plan to stay at the Sheraton Read House or the Chattanoogan. Both of these hotels are just a couple of blocks from the
convention center and on the free electric shuttle line. Click here for lodging details.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 is the cutoff date for
pre-registration for the conference. Click here to register online or download the registration form. You can pre-register using our online registration system through the end of
the day on January 6, 2010.
If any pre-conference events are
sold out, it will be indicated on the registration form online. No
registrations will be taken via phone or e-mail, and no registration will be
processed without payment. If you are mailing in a registration form and payment,
no express mail is necessary--just regular mail, postmarked by January 6, 2010
will get you pre-registered.
You can still register on-site if you don't get pre-registered by January 6. Just come on to Chattanooga and we'll take your registration
Can You Afford To Miss This Conference?
If you're still trying to decide if you can afford to
attend, consider how much you can learn at the conference that
will save you money and help you increase profits next season. This
conference will provide you with the practical tools and solutions you
need to be successful in your farming enterprise, your community foods projects
and your advocacy and outreach work, just
when the economy dictates you need it most.
This is no ordinary conference. Just look at all this event
provides: sustainable production and direct marketing information for
horticultural and livestock producers; enterprise management lessons; funding
resources for organizations and producers; information on new federal farm
programs for small-scale and organic producers; community food systems
development information; and the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the
most innovative of your peers from across the region.
Considering how much you can learn at the conference and
put to use right away, combined with our reasonable fees and great lodging
rates, this really is the best
investment of the year!
To see the entire conference
program with all of these great offerings, click here.
Again, if you don't get to
pre-register by Wednesday, January 6, just come on to Chattanooga and register on-site. You'll be
glad you did.
Add Value to Your Chattanooga
Don't forget that we have a great lineup of pre-conference
intensive courses and field trips and the opportunity for in-depth learning
from some of the very best in the field.
- Start-Up Organic
Vegetable Production and Marketing Short Course
and Marketing Short Course
Grazing of Beef Short Course
Agriculture Short Course
Management Short Course
Sustainable Pest Management for Your Vegetable Crops Mini Course
to learn more about these excellent
courses and the expert presenters.
Vegetables and Row Crops
Sustainable Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits, and Plants SOLD OUT!
to learn more about these outstanding field trips.
And remember these special
Training for Agricultural Professionals
Meeting of USDA Program Managers with Organizations
Networking Session - Organizations Banding Together For Strength
to learn more about
these learning opportunities.
We Want Your STUFF!
New (or nearly new) farm related
items such as tools, implements, bulbs, fertilizers, pest controls, nonperishable
foods, handcrafted goods, labor or services, B&B weekends or even gift
certificates are being sought for our silent auction. Got something to
donate? We want it! Our silent auction helps us raise funds to support Southern SAWG's important year round work. Your donations
are much appreciated. But please be kind to our coordinators and let us know
you will make a donation at your earliest convenience by sending a completed
silent auction donation form. Knowing in advance what items we'll have in the
silent auction will greatly reduce the time it takes to set up the auction
on-site. Click here for a copy of the form.
Looking forward to seeing you all
Pre-Conference Summit of CBOs, NGOs, and
USDA Program Managers
20 - 21, 2010
time of unprecedented public interest, media attention, and White House support,
opportunities abound for the sustainable agriculture and community food systems
movements. During this special 1½ day workshop, leaders of organizations
working with farmers or local food systems will meet with USDA program
representatives to discuss federal funding options and to participate in dialogue. There is no cost to attend, but participants must register separately
for this meeting.
The deadline to apply has been
extended to January 11, and there are still funds available for travel
stipends, which will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. Click here for more information and an application
form or contact Julia Sampson.
Networking Session: Organizations Banding Together For Strength
afternoon, January 21, 2010
together with organization leaders in the sustainable agriculture and community
food systems immediately prior to the Southern SAWG
conference. This informal discussion session
is for participants to share ideas about how to survive these tough times and
how to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities we now have to move
our agendas forward.
What is the status of our
movement? What current needs are we addressing, and which ones are we missing?
Can greater communication or collaboration help us? Come prepared to pitch
ideas, build partnerships, offer suggestions, and learn. Let's build on our
strengths and take advantage of this wave of public attention to grow this
sustainable agriculture movement and achieve our goal of robust and vibrant
food systems in every Southern community.
No registration is required; you are welcome to attend
whether or not you attend the CBO/NGO/USDA Summit. Click here for more information or contact Julia Sampson. Join us!
Farmers: The New
Climate Change Heroes
We know that agriculture contributes to climate change, and we're
already seeing the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Can we do anything
about this? According to Dr. Timothy J.
LaSalle, CEO of Rodale Institute, organic and sustainable agriculture may
very well be crucial to solving these complex problems.
Dr. LaSalle will be Southern SAWG's guest
for a special pre-conference presentation "Ready to be a Hero? We Have the Power to Change the Relationship between
Climate Change and Agriculture" on the evening of Thursday, January 21, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.
LaSalle, a leading expert on climate change and agriculture, is
an outspoken advocate of regenerative farming as the key to addressing the
global challenges of famine prevention, global warming, and human nutrition. He describes agriculture as "an undervalued and underestimated climate change
tool that could be one of the most powerful strategies in the fight against
In the Thursday evening session, LaSalle will describe how
sustainable farming practices reduce the negative impacts of agriculture on our
climate. In a recent conversation with Southern SAWG
e-News, Dr. LaSalle said he plans to focus on the vast potential of soil carbon
sequestration, and about what he describes as the outliers, "the ones who are
putting away more carbon than anybody imagined, as the leaders, as the ones
showing us the way, and therefore, the planet's potential future."
His message is clear. "Regarding the question of soil carbon
sequestration, we absolutely need to stop relying on others to carry this idea
and message forward. With each of us knowing what we can do with soil,
particularly in the real organic and sustainable understanding of how you build
it back, and how much carbon we can get back in there-we need to be talking
more with our policy-makers and legislators personally." He pointed out that
this approach is especially timely after the ineffectual 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
in December. "I am talking about how we change farm policy from one that
enforces or rewards the degrading nature of heavily chemical based high-input
agriculture, to flipping that on its head." said LaSalle. "Changing it to one
that rewards something that actually changes the track of climate change, that
actually changes the way our land is being lost and the way our waterways are
being degraded and polluted with toxins such as Atrazine and Roundup."
Timothy LaSalle is described in the Huffington Post as having challenged audiences around the world,
including Al Gore's Generation Management Investment, the United Nations
Environment Program, and the National Wildlife Federation. We look forward to
his challenging us at his Southern SAWG
pre-conference presentation. Are you ready to be a hero?
Dr. LaSalle's presentation on Thursday, January 21, is open to anyone who wishes to
attend, including the general public, and is being offered free of charge. Click here for more information.
USDA Launches 3-Year High Tunnel Pilot Project for
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has created a new Interim Practice
Standard for high-tunnel construction. The new standard will enable growers to
include plans for high tunnel production in their applications to the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), including the EQIP Organic Initiative.
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the pilot
project as part of the Know Your Farmer,
Know Your Food program to increase the availability of locally grown
produce in a conservation-friendly way. Merrigan showcases the opportunities
available for producers in a video posted on the USDA's YouTube channel, which shows high tunnels being installed in the White House garden.
"There is great potential for high tunnels to expand
the availability of healthy, locally-grown crops--a win for producers and consumers,"
said Merrigan. "This pilot project is going to give us
real-world information that farmers all over the country can
use to decide if they want to add high tunnels to their operations. We know
that these fixtures can help producers extend their growing season and hopefully
add to their bottom line."
The 3-year, 38-state study will verify if high tunnels
are effective in reducing pesticide use, keeping vital nutrients in the soil,
extending the growing season, increasing yields, and providing
other benefits to growers.
Financial assistance will be provided through the through
the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the EQIP Organic
Initiative, and the Agricultural Management Assistance program. NRCS
will fund one high tunnel per farm, which can cover as much as 5 percent of 1
in the South are Alabama, Arkansas,
Oklahoma, South Carolina,
To sign up or learn more about EQIP assistance for high tunnel projects,
contact your local NRCS office.
Get the Dirt on the
Conservation Stewardship Program
For those who are interested in the Conservation Stewardship
Program (CSP), but have been unable to get basic, understandable information, a
Farmer's Guide to the CSP is now available. The 17-page Farmer's Guide is
available online and gives farmers the basic eligibility requirements, an
overview of the enrollment process, and application steps. The guide also
answers frequently asked questions specific to beginning farmers, organic
farmers, farmers participating in the EQIP organic initiative, and tips for all
farmers on how to maximize their points and payments.
American Grassfed Association Conference: Grazing America
February 4-6, 2010
Featuring information on growing your grass-fed
business: smart risk management and high-quality marketing, plus From Farm
Gate to Customer's Plate: butchery and cooking sessions with some of America's
best butchers and chefs. Click here for information and to register.
Georgia Organics' 13th Annual Conference:
February 19-20, 2010
Featuring Carlo Petrini, founder of the international Slow
Food movement, and many other great speakers, sessions, and farm tours. Click here
for more information and to register.
|We appreciate your support.
To make a donation online or download a form to
mail to us with your check click here.
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welcome your feedback and suggestions
To view past Southern SAWG E-Newsletters
Please visit this site if you would like
to browse through past issues.
|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.