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Southern SAWG Newsletter  Volume 9,  #2


                             May 2012

Dear Friends,

Well this will be yet another season to remember. It's only May, and certain parts of our southern region are already praying for rain... oh, well. Hopefully, you are already enjoying the wonderfully fresh products from your local farmers market or CSA. Be sure to thank your local farmer/rancher for the food and fiber that they provide.


In this issue, we'd like to introduce our newest staffers and their policy efforts with the 2012 Farm Bill.


Yes, another SSAWG video is in the works. We'll be providing clues about the latest title in the series in each e-news issue.


 --Your friends at Southern SAWG

Farm Bill Action Alerts
Meet Our Newest Staffers
New SSAWG Policy Work
Sneak Preview: The Next SSAWG Video
Funding Opportunity-F2S
2013 Conference Dates
Become a 2013 Sponsor
Join Our Mailing List

 2012 Farm Bill Action Heats Up!


Stay up-to-date with Action Alerts at  


Meet Our Newest Staffers   

Gabraelle LaneFor more than a decade Gabraelle Lane has empowered many by shaping ideas into strategic plans and putting theory into action. Her career blossomed
at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) where she held several positions focused on public affairs and advocacy. Throughout her time at the NAM, Gabraelle created powerful grassroots and grasstops campaigns by facilitating policy discussions between employers and employees; engaging members of Congress and their constituents outside of Washington D.C.; and educating diverse audiences on complex legislative issues.

Armed with the skills and support she honed at the National Association of Manufacturers, Gabraelle decided to pursue her passion of food advocacy. For the past four years, she has worked with numerous national and regional organizations, community groups, urban farms and ministries to create access to affordable organic produce. Her goal is to eradicate food deserts, create urban agricultural hubs and educate the public on the importance of fresh produce in disease prevention.

Currently Gabraelle is a communications consultant specializing in creating strategic health communications plans, grant proposals and community partnerships. She completed her undergraduate studies at Howard University where she received a dual Bachelors' of Arts in Political Science and Economics. Her graduate studies were completed at Boston University where she received a Master of Science in Health Communications. She is a founding board member of the Urban Food Abundance Movement, a board member of Cascade Community Services, Inc. and serves as a member of the National Public Health Information Coalition, Slow Food Atlanta, Association for Prevention, Teaching and Research and the Council for Volunteer Administrators.


Lydia Villanueva

Lydia Villanueva is the Director/Founder of CASA del Llano, INC., a nonprofit rural outreach center that unites the regional education and training interest of other groups with the goals of a community-based, grassroots organization. The organization works toward identifying Latino farm owners in the Texas Panhandle (Hereford, TX). The organization also works to build leaders who are empowered to take ownership of their own communities. CASA runs a Summer Youth Program that encourages children (ages 6-12) to continue reading, as well as engages them in activities such as arts and crafts, gardening, cooking classes, and hiking.
She has been the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Policy Education Coordinator since 2005. She has attended the University of California, Davis and West Texas A& M University. She's a member of
The White House Project and Advisory Council Member and Co-Chair of the Growing Food and Justice Initiative Education Committee. Villanueva serves as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Coordinating Council , Co-Chair of the Community Food Security Coalition Policy Committee , Project evaluator for the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program with the Kerr Center and Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative in Oklahoma.

New SSAWG Policy Work


Gabraelle Lane and Lydia Villanueva have joined Southern SAWG as Policy Coordinators for a Farm Bill education and outreach campaign funded by the Convergence Partnership. This campaign is a collaborative effort between four national partners: Fair Food Network, Food Research and Action Center, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Policy Link. Because of the national scope of this campaign, each national organization has paired with regional affiliates to ensure thorough outreach. Southern SAWG is the regional affiliate of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Lydia and Gabraelle will serve as the regional representatives.

Working closely with NSAC, both will educate constituents of Southern legislators on the Farm Bill focusing on policies to strengthen the regional food system infrastructure. They will help educate constituents on issues and activities regarding the four priorities for the Farm Bill which include:

1. Healthy Food Financing;
2. Healthy Food Incentives;
3. Defending and Improving SNAP structure, benefits and eligibility; and
4. Strengthening the local and regional farm and food system infrastructure.

In addition both will help identify where strategic action is needed, and provide educational support to constituents who choose to engage in the legislative process. Primary focus will be on constituents who are currently working to support a sustainable food system. A special emphasis will be placed on outreach to organizations that are led by and/or serve people of color.

Southern SAWG will also use this opportunity to build capacity in the Southern region for more effective work on shaping future federal policies. Our goal for increasing our footprint is two-fold. First, is to nurture new leadership - especially among youth and people of color - by thoughtfully engaging them in policy development and education. Second, is to strengthen communication and collaboration between
community-based organizations working on policy-based solutions. Most importantly, we hope through your feedback and our
 participation in this effort we are able foster stronger relationships among all organizations committed to an equitable food system. For more information or to contact Gabraelle or Lydia please e-mail

Sneak Preview: 
Filming at Louisiana Farm
Photo by Jean Mills

New SSAWG Video is coming... 

The new video will be the 12th title in the award-winning
Natural Farming in the South series. This video could be ready by late summer. We will provide a series of hints while the video is in the final stages of production. One hint is that the farm is in Louisiana.

Previous topics in the series include pastured broilers, cut flowers, pastured turkeys, organic horticulture, marketing, and many more. Each of these high-quality, user-friendly educational tools provides valuable information for those seeking practical information on sustainable farming
enterprises and community food systems for the South.
Please visit our website for a complete listing.

USDA Announces RFA for Farm to School Grants
Deadline to Apply is June 15, 2012


On April 17, USDA released the request for applications (RFA) for the new Farm to School Grant Program. This year, $3.5 million in funding will be made available to help school districts implement farm to school programs that improves access to local foods. Grant funds are available for two different types of grants: planning and implementation grants. The deadline to submit a letter of intent is May 18. The final due date for proposals is June 15.


Learn more information about the grant process and download the RFA on the USDA Farm to School website.

Make your plans for our next conference!

The 22st Annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference will be held at

The Peabody Hotel January 23-26, 2013 in Little Rock, AR.

Schedule will be available online in October.  

Would you or your company benefit by reaching thousands of farmers and food people in 13 States in the South?

Would you like to help family farms?

Are you interested in good food/local food?

If so, you can become a 2013 Conference Sponsor!


If you or your business would like to sponsor the 2013 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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We welcome your feedback and suggestions

Please write to us at
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.