|Southern SAWG Newsletter Volume 6, #6
Summer is almost here, and while the livin' isn't necessarily easy, farmers' markets are jumping, and the corn is starting to get high!
In this issue, you'll get the buzz on a new book about alternative pollinators, and an exciting program that can double the value of food stamps at farmers' markets. We are also pleased to announce Mississippi's first sustainable agriculture conference, which is very timely, especially if you happened to see the recent inspiring PBS Newshour report, In Mississippi, Growing Vegetables in a "Food Desert." (To view the report and learn more, click here)
Read on for news about a free webinar on high tunnel enhancements, and the upcoming Food Security Conference in New Orleans.
Remember to stay in touch! If you have farm, market, or project stories and photos that you would like to share, send them along!
--Your friends at Southern SAWG
Thinking Outside of the Hive
New Guide to Alternative Pollinators Now Available
As managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. continue to decline, farmers and beekeepers are exploring options and looking to alternatives to ensure the continuation of the crucial agricultural activity of pollination. Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists
, a new book from SARE (the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program of the USDA), provides step-by-step, full-color information on rearing and managing bumble bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and other bee species that provide pollination alternatives.
Authors Eric Mader of the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Program; Marla Spivak, a professor of entomology; and Elaine Evans, author of Befriending Bumble Bees
, share their knowledge and expertise on the business and biology of pollination, in addition to how-to guidance on raising alternative bee species.
Beekeepers and farmers will find detailed information on each alternative pollinator's biology, as well as guidance on matching pollinators to crops, and deciding how to pollinate for successful agriculture and pollinator protection.
The handbook also features a clear account of the honey bee's plight, and actions we can all take to protect pollinators and our food systems. Download SARE's Managing Alternative Pollinators for free. To order print copies ($23.50 plus $5.95 s/h) and for more information click here or call 301.374.9696.
|Farmers' Markets Offer Double Value to Food Stamp Customers
through Innovative Program
Wholesome Wave is an organization that was founded to benefit underserved communities and farmers in ways that help create lasting change. They work primarily through partnership-based programs that serve historically excluded urban and rural communities. Their guiding idea is that through incentives, domino effects can occur that positively impact neighborhoods, while supporting sustainable farming methods and helping to decrease illness and health care costs by providing affordable local fresh fruits and vegetables to families. Their efforts are helping to create true economic stimulus as these dollars re-circulate within the communities in which they are spent.
Wholesome Wave's core program is the Double Value Coupon Program, which doubles the value of Federal Food Stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), when used at participating farmers' markets. Wholesome Wave's Double Value Coupon Program improves the effectiveness of the SNAP program, as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP) and the Senior FMNP.
Forsyth Farmers' Market
Initiated in 2008 at twelve farmers' markets in California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Double Value Coupon Program expanded to an additional 44 farmers' markets in 2009. Currently there are more than 60 markets in twelve states and Washington, D.C., including ten markets in the Southern states of Florida, Georgia, and Virginia.
Photo by Terry Hayes
"We are working to magnify the power of good food and the local economy, while increasing food accessibility," says Judith Winfrey, who works with Wholesome Wave in Georgia and manages a farmers' market in East Atlanta Village, where the program was successfully implemented last year. "This program leverages existing government food nutrition programs to encourage shopping at local farmers' markets by creating huge incentives. Every dollar becomes two when you spend it at a farmers' market. The benefits are twofold--more money for farmers, more people with access to healthy local food.
"At the East Atlanta Village Farmers' Market it brings me great joy to see our regular customers, most of them mothers and their children, spending their tokens on fresh, healthy food." Winfrey adds, "If it's true, as Michael Pollan said, that farmers' markets are the new town square, and I believe it is, then I want everyone on the square, enjoying the food and the community."
To learn more about Wholesome Wave, and how to become one of their partner markets, click here.
|How's it going with the NRCS Organic Initiative and High Tunnel Programs?|
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Southern SAWG would like to share on-the-ground stories from folks in the South who are working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Organic EQIP program and their pilot project for the use of high tunnels, also known as hoop houses. If you are participating, or have experiences you would like to see included in our upcoming newsletter report, please write to Karen Adler, Southern SAWG e-newsletter editor, or call 404.633.4534.
|Mississippi's Homegrown Sustainability Conference 2010
July 30-August 1, 2010
Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi
Bost Conference Center, Mississippi State University
Mississippi's first statewide conference on sustainability will focus on a variety of practices that are now integral to our ability to meets the needs of the present while ensuring the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This conference will bring together practical experience with vision and theory, to assist the growth of this new economy at all levels, from city hall to the backyard garden.
Conference themes include:
Sustainable Community Planning, designed for city planners, government agency staff, and elected officials who would like to introduce and develop a sustainable philosophy and plan for their community.
The Sustainable Table, a day of hands-on learning in the dynamic movement of cultivating and serving healthy and environmentally responsible food and understanding the impacts of fresh local food.
Sessions will include: managing a farmer's market; organizing a community garden; growing edible mushrooms; no-till gardening; cheese making; forest gardening; permaculture; edible landscaping; bee keeping; natural pest control; and raising poultry.
Sustainable Design: participants choose from a series of field trips to see models of sustainable design and building.
To learn more, to register, and for information about calls for presentations, sponsorships or exhibit spaces, click here.
|Free High Tunnel Webinar |
High Tunnel Enhancements: Using Inner Covers to Increase Production
August 25, 2010--Noon - 1:00 pm
Are you getting the most out of your high tunnels? This short webinar (online web-based seminar), presented by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), will focus on the use of low-cost inner tunnels in cool weather to increase microclimate temperatures. Instructor Steve Moore will show how these microclimate enhancements can provide significant increases in plant growth and production capacity. Time will be allowed for your high tunnel questions.
To register, click here.
|14th Annual Community Food Security Conference|
Food, Culture, & Justice: The Gumbo That Unites Us All
October 16-19, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Community Food Security Conference returns to the South in 2010, to New Orleans, where food is used to make a cultural connection uniting urban farmers, food banks, fishers, faith-based organizations, and others as they work towards social justice.
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is introducing a new conference format that emphasizes time for networking and exploring the region, as well as a strong focus on food justice and the innovative, multi-cultural organizing work taking place in New Orleans. The conference will feature field trips to destinations throughout the Gulf Coast Region, along with insightful plenary sessions, and incredible food. Session topics will include rebuilding local food economies, ending poverty and increasing food access, outcomes of the U.S. Social Forum, environmental justice, public health links, food policy councils, and urban agriculture.
Information about scholarships, field trips, workshops, and other events will be available in June; registration will begin July 2010. For information and updates, click here.
|Heifer International Seeking Project Managers in Three Regions|
Heifer International is an organization that works with communities in the United States and throughout the world to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.
The following career opportunities are currently available: U.S. Country Program Project Manager - Appalachia Region
Location: Negotiable within the Appalachia Region U.S. Country Program Project Manager - Delta Region
Location: Negotiable within the Delta Region U.S. Country Program Project Manager - Southwestern U.S./Northern Mexico Region
Location: Negotiable within the Southwestern U.S./Northern Mexico Region
Open date for all positions was May 18, 2010; the positions will remain open until filled. For more information on these and other career opportunities and to apply online, click here.
Able 2 Farm
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Photo by Becky Douville
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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.