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www.wvhub.org/foodandfarmcoalition

In This Issue
Farm Bill Listening Session, Feb. 17
2011 WV Small Farm Conference Feb 17-19
Calling all future cheese makers!
Appalachian Grazing Conference March 4-5
Forum for Rural Innovation March II
USDA Grant and Conservation Prg. Deadlines
RWJF funds Healthy Eating Research
Welch Grants for School Gardens due Feb. 11!
Specialty Crop Block Grants announced
Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway
Free farm recordkeeping software
Food Charters and food systems plans
What is a Food Hub?

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!

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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.
Join our mailing list, join our network!

Greetings!


This newsletter provides a regular compilation of events, resources, and ideas that are relevant to farms and food access in West Virginia.  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.

 

State and National Food News


Food Pantry in Huntington joins increasing number of U.S. food banks in offering fresh produce.

A new food pantry launched last month in Huntington will focus on distributing healthy fresh food to low-income families, according to the Herald-Dispatch and the Charleston Gazette.  The effort,  a project of West Virginia State University's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, is in keeping with a national trend towards offering fresh produce items in the nation's 200+ food banks, according to a recent USA Today article.  

USDA Releases 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

USDA released its newest round of dietary guidelines late last month.  These guidelines are meant to help people reach a healthy weight and reduce their risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.  While the guidelines don't contain many big surprises, they do encourage Americans to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, eat less sodium, and choose "dark-green, red and orange vegetables and beans and peas."  The San Francisco Chronicle reports. 


FDA ramps up scrutiny on a new area: Cheese.

Artisanal cheesemaking is receiving increased scrutiny from the FDA over the past year, according to The Washington Post, whose recent article tells the story of several cheesemakers as they struggle to comply with federal regulations.

 

USDA approves planting of genetically modified alfalfa.

Many farmers and opponents of genetically modified crops were angered this week by USDA's decision to approve a strain of "Roundup Ready" GM alfalfa developed by Monsanto.  Alfalfa is pollinated by honeybees, making it difficult to contain the spread of pollen grains from a modified variety.  Read the Reuters article here.  Organizations such as Food Democracy Now are organizing petitions against the decision, while the National Organic Coalition is calling for a seven-point plan to help limit contamination by GM crops. 

 

The Cost of Obesity to U.S. Cities.
Gallup Management Journal estimates that the direct costs associated with obesity and related chronic conditions are about $50 million per 100,000 residents annually in cities with the highest rates of obesity.  This article details Gallup's analysis of its 2009 data.

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

Farm Bill Listening Session, Feb. 17  Thursday, February 17 from 4:00-5:30pm -- as part of the WV Small Farm Conference at Lakeview Conference Center, Morgantown, WV    

Every five years or so, the US adopts a new Farm Bill. This massive piece of legislation sets the framework for what we eat, whether our food is nourishing and affordable, what assistance our society provides to feed hungry people, what crops farmers grow under what conditions, global grain and fiber markets, and how rural land is used.  This regional listening session will take place at the West Virginia Small Farm Conference, after a day-long workshop on food security and making the connections between farms and schools.  The event will provide an overview of past Farm Bill successes, and explore potential areas of action for the Community Food Security Coalition, its members and partners around the upcoming Farm Bill.

The session will consider regional policy priorities related to local food infrastructure, urban/community-based agriculture, food access, community food projects, farmers markets, linking SNAP (food stamps) to local and healthy foods, farm to school, and food policy councils.  

The Farm Bill Listening Session is free and open to the public.  RSVP online or RSVP to the Community Food Security Coalition at 202-543-8602.  (Or register for the whole WV Small Farms Conference).  Presented by the Community Food Security Coalition in partnership the Center for Economic Options, WesMonTy RC&D and West Virginia University Extension.

2011 West Virginia Small Farm Conference

February 17-19, 2011 Lakeview Conference Center, Morgantown, WV

There's still 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.

Calling all future cheesemmakers!

The WV Small Farms Center wants YOU to attend its all-day Cheese Making Workshop on Feb. 17 at the Small Farms Conference. Margaret Morris from Glengarry Cheese Making will be leading the workshop, open for beginners, to take you through the whole cheese making process!  Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested in making cheese.  Find out more about the conference including how to register at the WVU's site, http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference.

 

This is the first in a multi-phase training opportunity for cheese makers.  If you are interested in further training and a field trip with the WV Small Farms Center to study cheese making, you should attend this event.

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.

WVU Extension's Educational Dinner Meetings are coming to your town

West Virginia University Extension continues to host its series of educational dinner meetings, which will run through March.  The meetings are held throughout the state and each one covers a unique topic, from Local Foods to Season Extension.  Check the schedule to see which meetings are happening near you, and be sure to RSVP to the contact listed.  http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/ag_dinner_meetings

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.   

Opportunities
(grants, awards, partnership ideas) 
Don't miss these USDA Grants and Conservation Program deadlines!

Farmers -- sign-up deadlines are coming up fast for:

Nonprofits & Institutions -- some upcoming USDA application deadlines:

Read descriptions of all the above opportunities here

"Healthy Eating Research:  Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity" - Three Grants from RWJF

Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The program supports research on environmental and policy strategies with strong potential to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity, especially among lower-income and racial and ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. This call for proposals (CFP) is for three types of awards aimed at providing key decision- and policy-makers with evidence to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. 

Key Dates and Deadlines

Proposals for Round 6 grants:  March 10, 2011 (3 p.m. ET)-Deadline for receipt of full proposals.

Proposals for rapid-response grants:  Concept papers may be submitted at any time until August 2, 2011 (3 p.m. ET).  Grants are awarded on a rolling basis.

Proposals for RWJF New Connections grants awarded through Healthy Eating Research:  March 10, 2011 (3 p.m. ET)-Deadline for receipt of concept papers.

Download the full CFP here.  

Enter to Win a School Garden in the 2nd Annual Welch's Harvest Grants Program

School programs with 15 or more children grades Pre-K though 8 are encouraged to enter to win a customized garden package filled with a variety of tools, seeds, educational materials and more. Five (5) $1,000 garden and ninety-five (95) $500 gardens will be awarded. The deadline for submission is February 11, 2011. Apply here. 

WV Dept. of Agriculture Announces Specialty Crop Grants for 2011

The Specialty Crops Block Grant program encourages cooperative efforts to integrate technology at the farm level, improve marketing and promotion of locally grown specialty crops, and increase production efficiency through research projects. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, herbs, horticulture goods, nursery stock and value-added products.  The maximum grant application amount is $25,000.00.

 

WVDA staff will be available during the 2011 Small Farm Conference in Morgantown (February 17-19) to discuss specific projects and answer questions about the Program.

Deadline for applications is Monday, March 14, 2011.

 

For a hard copy of the application form and additional program information, contact Marketing Specialist Melissa Hudson at 304-558-2210 / mhudson@ag.state.wv.us 

or visit www.wvagriculture.org.  Read the full news release on the funding opportunity here 

Yankee Barn Homes Unveils the Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway

Yankee Barn Homes, Farmers Market Coalition and  American Farmland Trust celebrate the commitment of our nation's farmers markets to local economic development and healthy farms and food with the first-ever Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway. The national contest invites farmers markets to share their story for a chance to win a post-and-beam barn specially designed and built by Yankee Barn Homes.  To enter The Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway visit:  www.yankeebarnhomes.com/greatbarngiveaway.  Entries are due on May 16, 2011.

Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)

 Free web-based software eases farm planning and record keeping

AgSquared is offering record keeping software for small farms. The free online software is designed for farm planning and managing a farm plan over the course of the year.  The software is currently in its beta testing phase, and its creators are looking for farmers to test the tool and provide feedback.  A video highlighting the software features is available at www.agsquared.com.

Food Charters and Food Systems Plans

Several states have recently undergone planning processes to create a detailed statewide plan for the future of their food systems, using input from hundreds to thousands of local stakeholders.  Take a look at these examples:

 What would a similar plan look like in West Virginia?  Stay tuned for further thoughts. 

What is a Food Hub?

The term "food hub" has begun appearing more and more often in conversations about how to consolidate products and get locally produced food to our dinner tables.  According to USDA, a food hub is a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.  Learn about examples of successful food hubs from this USDA presentation 

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