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Southern SAWG Newsletter  Volume 8, #1


March 2011

Dear Friends,

Our Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference held in January was another whopping success.  It was great to get to re-connect with so many of our friends and colleagues from around the region, to meet so many more who are farming and working for more sustainable food systems in their communities across the South and to LEARN so much! 

We feel ready for the upcoming season now!  We hope you are ready for a productive season too because it finally feels like spring will come! 

--Your friends at Southern SAWG 
SSAWG 2011 Conference
More Educational Opportunities
Share the Wealth Project
Ag Policy News
New Resources of Food Safety & Liability Insurance
Many Thanks
Join Our Mailing List
2011 Conference a Hit


Over 1,200 people flocked to Chattanooga for our annual conference.  Though Southern SAWG's region only covers the 13 Southern States, there were people there from 29 states, plus District of Columbia, Bermuda, Virgin Islands and Micronesia (a 23 hour flight!).  On hand were farmers & aspiring farmers, educators & service providers, plus community food organizers & policy advocates.  With so many people there that are doing so many different things in so many different communities, there was much of that useful cross-pollination of ideas and information that happens when interacting with folks working from different angles toward a common goal.   And, once again this year, the evaluations indicate the majority of participants gained valuable information that they plan to put to use right away.  

What They Are Saying... 
I would like to thank you for an amazing 2011 Southern SAWG Conference!  Being my ninth conference (SSAWG), I felt that there may not have been too many workshops that I was interested in attending.  I could not have been more wrong.  The workshop selection was wonderful.  The speakers were wonderful.  The food was great and overall, I had my best Southern SAWG experience to date.  Thank you for keeping it in our city as long as you did and thank you for all of the work that you do.    -- Joel Houser,  Farmer, Crabtree Farms


Thanks so much for a great conference!  I truly love the opportunity to feel part of a regional movement at SSAWG.  ...  I know all our producers got a lot from being at the conference.  
-- Jonathan Tescher, Farmer Services Coordinator, Georgia Organics


This was my first time to attend a Southern SAWG conference.  It was incredible.  Of all the ag conferences I attend, this was by far the most engaged group, as well as the most diverse...  I am looking forward to next year's conference already. --  Glen Dupree, DVM, Veterinary Homeopathy Consultations


... It was an enormously inspiring experience for me.  I came home filled with so much valuable information that my head is still swimming a bit.  Even more importantly, I came home feeling a very tangible sense of belonging, of being part of an energetic, intelligent and enormously supportive community.   -- Sean Barker, Aspiring Farmer, North Carolina 


Ellen an FriendSeed SwapJean at MapTrade Show

If You Missed It...

Go ahead and start planning to attend next year.  We've secured a great facility at great rates in a great new location.  Plus we already have a few great program offerings we're planning.  We'll be telling you more about these in the near future.  In the meantime, mark your calendar! 





 Practical Tools & Solutions
 for Sustaining Family Farms

JANUARY 18 - 21, 2012
 The Peabody Hotel Little Rock, AR


More Educational Opportunities Around the Region

Many other organizations in our region have upcoming activities and conferences.  Go to the events page on the Southern SAWG website for a listing of these: .  If you would like to have a sustainable farming or community food oriented event posted on our Events page, please email the information to for consideration.

Share the Wealth

Southern SAWG launched a new project this winter called Share the Wealth. The main objective of this project is to provide training and education to limited-resource, socially disadvantaged, and under-served producers.  Recognizing that these producers have special needs and that their needs are evolving, Southern SAWG and the USDA Risk Management Agency's Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program are working in partnership through this Share the Wealth Project to develop an updated and fuller understanding of what type information limited-resource, socially disadvantaged, and under-served producers are looking for and the best way(s) to provide that information. 


Through an application process publicized in the Fall of 2010, six organizations from around the region that serve limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and underserved producers were selected to participate in the project.  

During this year, the 42 farmers and 6 group leaders will be provided with a wealth of resources that they will evaluate and share with others around them.  We will use their feedback to determine how Southern SAWG and USDA can best serve this target audience in the future.  

Ag Policy News 


About every five years a new farm bill is passed in Washington, setting federal policies and priorities that affect farms and communities throughout the country. Every year Congress sets priorities by appropriating funds.

An appropriation bill for the current fiscal year, which began last October 1st, has not yet been enacted. On February 19 the House of Representatives approved a government funding bill that would cut more than $60 billion from the federal budget, including a more than 20% reduction in the agriculture budget, for the last half of fiscal year 2011. The bill (H.R. 1) makes steep cuts in agricultural research, extension, and farm credit; makes deep cuts to funding provided in the 2008 Farm Bill for conservation; and would terminate programs that serve beginning and minority farmers - all without making any cuts to commodity or crop insurance funding.

This appropriation approach unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable and organic farmers.


Find out more from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) at

New Resources on Food Safety and Liability Insurance 

In December 2010, Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) released three new resources to address a question that comes up frequently in our work with farm-to-institution programs:

How can small and limited resource farmers increase their institutional sales (and their profits) while meeting requirements for food safety practices and liability insurance?


FarmerWith funding from the USDA Risk Management Agency: Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership, CFSC created an extensive report, an audio recording, and a brochure (in English and Spanish) to help limited resource producers increase their ability to market produce to local institutions by increasing their knowledge about the food safety and product liability insurance requirements of institutions and identifying practical solutions for these producers to address these requirements.  These resources are aimed towards limited resource producers, agricultural professionals who work with them, and institutional food service operators understand these issues.

Go to the CFSC website to learn more about these resources.  While there, take the brief survey about our new resources on food safety and liability insurance issues and WIN a copy of Mark Winne's new book, Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin' Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture.  Drawing ends March 30.

CFSC and partner organizations also organized a short course at CFSC's annual conference in October 2010 for those interested in learning more about this topic. For slideshows, handouts, and notes from this short course, go to and scroll down to Food Safety and Liability Insurance Issues for Marketing to Institutions.


Many Thanks


Thank you to all of the individuals who made contributions to Southern SAWG this year.  Southern SAWG, like many non-profits, has been hit hard by the economic downturn.  As a result, we have had to scale back our work and our staff.  Contributions from individuals like you who understand the importance of our work are more critical right now than ever before.  So we are deeply grateful to the following individuals that have contributed to Southern SAWG in the past year:


John Alexander Nathalie Andrews Beth Ardapple Mila Berhane Ginger Beshears
George & Anne Bird Suzy Campbell Archer H. Christian Penryn Craig Seth Dabney  
Corwith Davis Tom Dierolf Dan Douthit Korey Erb John Erdmann 

Alfred & Carney Farris   Rick Felker Jan Garrett William Hale Jenni Harris 
Henry Harrison Deborah B. Hill Mark Hockney Steve Hodges 
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Miriam Keener Elisabeth Keller Therese Kwiecien Beth Leonard Deborah Leslie Stephen T. Lindeman Emmitt Lockard Jim Lukens Charles & Miriam Maloney Teresa Maurer & Jim Morgan Billie Maylard  John Maylard Laura McGurn David Mervis  Tim P. Miller Jean Mills Multigrain Media 
Sue & Rusty Nuffer John Patrick
Jared Pickard Potomac Vegetable Farms Sara Rose Faye & Jerry Rosenthal Julia Sampson Mark Schonbeck Dorothy F. Sellers 
Barbara Sherman John Shober  Clay Smith Southern Mutual Help Association 
Jane Tanner Martha Taylor & Lester Gillespie Margaret Ann Toohey & David Snow
Pam Walker  Amy & David Weaver



And again, we thank the following Sponsors of the 2011 Conference: 

Gaining Ground  USDA Risk Management Agency Community Food Security Coalition
Heifer International Lyndhurst Foundation
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 
Tennessee Department of Agriculture 

 If you or your business would like to sponsor the 2012 Conference in Little Rock, AR, please contact Julia Sampson, (479) 251-8310 Email: 

 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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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.