The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is an initiative of the West Virginia Community Development Hub with funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The Coalition is establishing a statewide conversation about the development of local food systems across West Virginia, with the goal of providing healthy, locally-produced food to all citizens, especially low income families and other vulnerable groups. The Coalition's startup process is advised by a temporary advisory committee. As we gain members, we are working towards a more developed decision-making structure inclusive of the various geographic regions of the state as well as a broad range of stakeholders. We invite you to get involved!
The West Virginia Community
Development Hub is a statewide non-profit organization with the mission of engaging communities and providers in an intentional, aligned and continuous system of community development.
Though the temperature outside may be a bit chilly on this January day, the 2011 season is already heating up. The upcoming months bring a plethora of conferences and events, including the WV Small Farms Conference, as well as grant and training opportunities, as you'll read below.
This newsletter provides a regular compilation of events, resources, and ideas that are relevant to West Virginia's food system. Whether you are a producer, consumer, nonprofit organization, agency or food-related business, there may be something here to help you with your work. The information in this newsletter is compiled by the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, which is an organizing initiative currently coordinated by the West Virginia Community Development Hub. Read more in the left sidebar of this newsletter or visit the WVFFC website.
Get connected to WV local foods discussions
If you are new in receiving this newsletter, please visit the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition's "Get Connected!" portal and tell us more about yourself. With this information we are creating a statewide database of food system stakeholders. Visiting this page enables to you be included (if you wish) in statewide conversations about specific topics you're interested in (e.g. farmers markets, SNAP benefits, resources for producers, etc.) as well as conversations with other people in your geographic region.
State and National Food News
Some Farm Markets Offer Winter Hours
A West Virginia Public Radio article describes the expansion of winter marketing efforts in West Virginia as growers become more proficient at extending their seasons.
Wal-Mart: Promoting Local and Healthy Food?
With Michelle Obama's endorsement, Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, announced a five-year plan on Thursday to make many of its packaged foods lower in salt, fats and sugars and to reduce prices on its fresh produce offerings. This comes on the coattails of another WalMart announcement, made late last year, that it intends purchase more local food for retail. While appearing to be a boon to consumers, what do WalMart's price policies signify for its intentions in working with local producers? Read a response to Wal-Mart's new interest in local food, and its potential impact on farmers, from Anthony Flaccavento, a farmer and food systems consultant based in Abingdon, VA.
Rebuilding the Food Pyramid
"Clearer definitions? Better education? The only thing that's certain about the new federal guidelines is, they're coming," reports the Boston Globe. The federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are releasing the 2010 dietary guidelines, updated every five years since 1980, and will make modifications to the food pyramid (MyPyramid) as well.
in and near West Virginia
Annual Cast Iron Cook-Off
January 28-29, 2011 · The Greenbrier
The Cast Iron Cook-Off, hosted by the Collaborative for a 21st Century Appalachia, is more than a cooking competition.....it's West Virginia's annual festivalof food, drawing over a dozen teams and chefs from all over the region to celebrate our state's culinary heritage and the sustainable agriculture initiatives born in the farm-to-table movement. An emphasis is placed on Appalachia's New Cuisine-evolving from our cultural roots-and reflective of a new appreciation of other cuisine styles and nutritional concerns. Business and opinion leaders, food & wine enthusiasts, producers & growers, suppliers, and representatives from the hospitality industries are invited to watch the competition and enjoy the event's other offerings. For an event schedule and more, visit http://www.castironcookoff.org.
The Cast Iron Cookoff will occur in conjunction with the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association's Hospitality University, which this year offers material on Agricultural Tourism and Farm-to-Table. More information is on the WVHTA website.
2011 West Virginia Small Farm Conference
February 17-19, 2011 · Lakeview Conference Center, Morgantown, WV
It's time to register for the annual WV Small Farm Conference hosted by the WV Small Farm Center, a program of West Virginia University Extension Service. On Thursday, February 17th the conference offers day-long workshops including Energy, Agri-Tourism, Labeling (sequel to Better Process Control School), Cheesemaking, Food Security, Good Agricultural Practices, and High Tunnels. Friday (18th) and Saturday (19th) will be filled with shorter sessions on a variety of topics from beekeeping to backyard flocks to farm tax information and non-timber forest crops. Friday night will be the Local Foods Celebration banquet. For details and registration visit http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference or call Carrie See at 304-293-2715.
Some special highlights during the conference:
Feb. 17: Winter Blues Farmers Market, 4-7pm. For the third year, farmers market fans can shop the West Virginia "foodshed" at this premier event organized by the WV Farmers Market Association. Farmers from all over the state again will be gathered at the Lakeview conference center to sell their winter-hardy food, goods and products. If you would like to be a vendor, email WVFMA through email@example.com or call Susan Sauter at 304.288.5366. Details are here.
Feb. 17: Daylong Food Security workshop focuses on Farm-to-School. Join a day-long workshop on food security and making the connections between farms and schools. Learn about farm-to-school opportunities, current trends and research, and programs that are underway in West Virginia and how this relates to community food security. For more information contact Marilyn at the Center for Economic Options (CEO) at 304.345.1298 x14 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: see conference schedule for other daylong workshops on Feb. 17.
Feb. 17: Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) holds Listening Session on the USDA Farm Bill. CFSC is a non-profit organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times. Plan to attend the listening session from 4-5:30pm after the Food Security workshop and share your thoughts and ideas on the USDA Farm Bill. This session is held in conjunction with the Food Security track by the Center for Economic Options and partners.
Feb. 18-19: West Virginia Farmers Market Association holds Farmers Market Track, Reception and Annual Meeting.
On the18th, for conference-goers and friends, the WVFMA is organizing a Friday afternoon "Thank Goodness For Farmers" reception at the Lakeview conference site, starting at 3 pm, followed by the WVFMA's annual meeting at 3:30pm. Meet other WVFMA members and Buy Fresh Buy Local WV Chapter partners. Saturday, Feb. 19 features a series of WVFMA-organized workshops about farmers markets.
PASA's Annual Farming for the Future Conference
Feb. 2-5, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College PA
This annual conference, hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture in nearby State College, PA offers a range of practical workshops for sustainable farmers. Read more here: http://pasafarming.org/conference2011/
Appalachian Grazing Conference
Morgantown, West Virginia at the Waterfront Place Hotel on March 4-5th
The conference is a great opportunity for Appalachian livestock producers. The conference will include a variety of workshops on topics such as Multi-Species Grazing, Pasture Management to reduce Nutrient Losses and Prevent Pasture Degradation, Low Cost Cow/Calf Production and much more! Receive a discounted registration fee of $75.00 if registered by February 3, 2011. For more information on the Appalachian Grazing Conference, click here.
Annual Forum for Rural Innovation features Food Systems focus
March 11 at
Best Western Lee-Jackson Motor Inn & Conference Center, Winchester,Virginia, 8:00am to 3:30pm
The Forum for Rural Innovation showcases new and exciting projects and programs that enhance farm or rural business profitability. This year's Forum will focus on local and regional food production, marketing, and distribution. Richard Pirog, from the world renowned Leopold Center in Ames, Iowa will describe their innovative work to support regional food systems, and the economic impacts of food systems. Also, hear from the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition about how West Virginia is addressing food systems on a statewide basis; hear the challenges of supplying large volume retailers; learn what it takes to transition into medium scale production of fruits and vegetables; and jump into social media as a marketing tool with Facebook.
Space is limited to the first 150 registered. Pre-registration is required by March 4, 2011.
The $40 registration fee includes continental breakfast and buffet lunch (featuring local foods).
Read details at http://www.loudounfarms.org/ or call (703)777-0426.
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)
USDA Rural Development offers Community Facilities funds to help regional food systems
The Community Facilities Program, administered by USDA Rural Development, can be used to support projects that build local and regional food systems. Eligible projects include:
- Food Banks/Shelves - purchase building and equipment, purchase vehicles for food delivery, renovations, and new construction
- School Cafeterias - purchase equipment, renovations, and central processing and distribution centers
- Farmers Markets - purchase building, renovation, and new construction.
- Community Gardens - purchase real estate and infrastructure to connect to the water sources and/or provide irrigation
- Community Kitchens - purchase equipment, renovations, or new construction.
The Community Facilities program:
- Offers direct and guaranteed loans and grants designed to finance the development of over 80 different types of essential community facilities serving rural areas
- Facilities may include projects that support local and regional food systems
- Eligible applicants include rural communities and non-profit organizations
- Loans are made at below-market, fixed interest rates.
- Grants are limited to projects with high financial need that serve low income communities.
- Eligible expenses include land acquisition, construction of facilities, necessary fees, and equipment.
- Community must be under 20,000 in population.
- Grants range from 15%-75% and require matching funds.
To learn more contact Paula Moeller, Community Facilities Specialist at USDA Rural Development: 304.269.8431 ext 112 or Paula.Moeller@wv.usda.gov
More info on USDA Rural Development, including other funding opportunities: www.rurdev.usda.gov
More info on the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative: www.usda.gov/KnowYourFarmer
Build it Up West Virginia seeks projects for youth
Want to strengthen your community while helping inspire the next generation of West Virginians? Build it Up West Virginia
is a grassroots project that introduces young Appalachians dedicated to the idea of a safe, sustainable Appalachia to community members like you who are creating projects designed to benefit their communities. The project is seeking community partners for the summer of 2011.
Last year, projects included:
- Growing a community garden
- Selling vegetables at farmers markets with local youth
- Renovating a community kitchen
If you are creating a community project and would like to be part of Build it Up WV, please contact Amber Whittington
orJulia Sendor. Applications are due by Feb. 14
NRCS Organic Initiative Sign Up Extended to March 4
The 2008 Farm Bill provides NRCS with authority to provide organic growers an opportunity to compete for funds through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The program is directed to growers certified as organic according to the National Organic Program (NOP) and those transitioning to organic production. The primary focus of the program is to support the implementation of practices which help growers meet the provisions of the statute and the NOP Act. Successful applicants will be required to develop an Organic System Plan before installation of conservation practices to help achieve organic production and certification. Growers already certified as organic are eligible for financial assistance to install practices after they submit their existing plan.
Landowners must submit their applications to their local USDA Service Center by March 4, 2011 to be considered for funding this year. Additional information on the 2010 EQIP Organic Initiative is available at:
Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)
Hospitals as Participants in Local Food Systems: An Interview with Barbara Hartman.
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV was recently recognized with a GreenGov Presidential Award after setting up a system to source local food for hospital meals, reduce food waste, and compost food scraps produced within the facility. Barbara Hartman, Chief of Nutrition and Food Service at the Center, has worked hard with her staff and colleagues to make these initiatives work. In this interview with WVFFC, she discusses their experiences.
SNAP Outreach Webinar
WhyHunger's webinar on SNAP Outreach in Your Community is now available online. Join representatives from USDA FNS, Nancy Weed, SNAP Outreach Coordinator for Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, and Bob Lewis, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, for an engaging discussion about:
· How the SNAP (food stamps) program assists individuals and helps communities
· Successful SNAP outreach campaigns
· Access to the SNAP program in farmers markets/EBT
Watch the webinar: SNAP Outreach Webinar
Webinar: Demystifying Farmers Market Risk & Being a Smart Insurance Shopper
This presentation from the Farmers Market Coalition will give market managers an in-depth introduction to insurance literacy, providing participants with tools to address the risks inherent in farmers markets, best practices for analyzing and purchasing insurance policies, including understanding basic terms like "additional insured," "hold harmless," and other basic glossary terms, as well as factors that influence your premium and coverage. This is a great opportunity to ask questions of legal and insurance professionals!
Date: Monday, January 31, 2011
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
This webinar is the first in a series. Learn more about the Farmers Market Insurance Webinar series here.
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