WVFFC Newsletter header


In This Issue
Ken Meter webinar on WV Food Systems
National Agriculture Week, March 13-19
WVU Food Business Workshop, April 13-14
Forum for Rural Innovation March II
Healthy Day in Huntington seeks exhibitors
2012 Farm Bill - Learn & be heard!
Host a Bill Emerson Hunger Fellow
Specialty Crop Block Grants due March 14
Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway
Economics of Regional Meat
Saving the Small Town Grocery Store

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.
Join our mailing list, join our network!


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.


National Food News

FY2011 Federal Budget includes cuts to many agriculture programs.  On February 19, the House of Representatives approved a government funding bill (H.R. 1) that would remove over $60 billion from the federal budget during FY2011.  The bill includes cuts to research, extension, farm credit and programs that serve beginning and minority farmers, as well to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).  Advocates for small-scale agriculture including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are opposing the bill and encouraging citizens to contact their congress members.  According to NSAC, the bill "unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable and organic farmers...without making any cuts to commodity or crop insurance funding." 

H.R. 1 would eliminate AmeriCorps; citizens can still intervene.  The continuing resolution passed by the House would also eliminate the Corporation for National & Community Service, and along with it the AmeriCorps program.  Under this bill, programs that would cease to exist would include AmeriCorps*VISTA, which has provided national service members to help develop many WV-based nonprofit projects in rural development and agriculture.  Energy Express, Learn and Serve, the Foster Grandparents program, and other national service programs would also be cut by the bill.  A recent Cumberland Times-News article explores the potential impacts of this cut for our region.  While congressional budget negotiators work to finalize the budget, Voices for National Service is inviting organizations and individuals that have benefitted from AmeriCorps to contact their congress members.  

Obama's proposed 2012 budget would cut subsidies and other programs, increase food assistance.  President Obama's proposed 2012 budget plan would include cuts to federally-backed crop insurance and to direct-payment subsidies for farmers while at the same time increase funding for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamps program).  The L.A. Times reports. You can view an interactive chart of the Obama's proposed 2012 spending breakdown here, courtesy of the New York Times. 

West Virginia Food News

 Food-based business plan wins first ever Student Business Plan competition at Mountwest CTC.  With his plan for "River Valley Foods," Mason County 16-year-old Wesley Davis became the first to win this new business plan competition, which was hosted by Mountwest Community and Technical College with support from the Benedum Foundation and many other partners.  The program offers an exciting model for stimulating youth entrepreneurship.  Read the Point Pleasant Register article here.

 WV Small Farms Conference again inspires excitement, learning, networking.  The West Virginia Small Farms Conference provided a full week of valuable workshops, speakers and delicious local meals during the week of Feb. 14.  As usual, the event was a great success, thanks to the hard work of the West Virginia Small Farm Center and WVU Extension.  Several news outlets (like the State Journal and WBOY) covered the conference by publishing articles about the earning potential of small WV farms.   

Census: Near-Record Level of US Counties Dying. 

Welch, WV was featured in a recent ABC News article citing Census findings that 1 in 4 U.S. counties are now losing population.  "Hit by an aging population and a poor economy, a near-record number of U.S. counties are experiencing more deaths than births in their communities, a phenomenon demographers call 'natural decrease,'" reports the article.  The decline of farming communities is cited as one reason for the natural decrease.

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

Save the Date: WV Food Systems, a webinar presentation by Ken Meter

March 21, 1pm - 2:30pm

This month Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center (http://www.crcworks.org) is releasing a statewide data analysis on West Virginia's food system, including agricultural earnings, the value of direct sales, food assistance and more.  Ken's work serves as a national model for analyzing rural economics and has been adopted by 45 regions in 20 states.  Join the WV Food and Farm Coalition and the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation on March 21,1pm-2:30pm for a special webinar presentation and conversation with Mr. Meter.  Participant Q&A will be highly encouraged.  

Detailed call-in information will be sent to this list shortly.

Celebrate National Agriculture Week, March 13-19 

...and National Ag Day, March 15, 2011   

Every year, during National Ag Week, West Virginia Department of Agriculture staff visit elementary school classrooms and conduct hands-on, agriculture-related activities. If you are interested in having the WVDA visit your classroom, contact Beth Southern at 304-558-3708 or bsouthern@wvda.us.  Visit www.agday.org for more information.

Food Business Workshop, April 13-14

Hosted by WVU -- Waterfront Hotel, Morgantown, WV

Do you have a food business idea but don't know how to start it? Do you already own a business and need help to maximize your profit? This two-day workshop is for those who want to start and/or successfully operate a food business in West Virginia.  The event is presented by the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.  

Download the brochure 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.

Pre-registration deadline is today!  Read details at  http://www.loudounfarms.org/  or call (703)777-0426.   

Healthy Day in Huntington seeks exhibitors for April 2

On April 2, 2011 Huntington Health Revolution will conclude its most recent 90-Challenge.  In honor of this event April 2 has been named a Healthy Day in Huntington.  To make this event a success, Unlimited Future, Inc. is looking for participants who are interested in furthering healthy lifestyles in the Huntington Area. Whether you are a restaurant, farmer, community group or specialty food producer we want you there.  Get your name, products and or services in front of an audience of health-conscious individuals who need to know about you!Click here for more info and to register. 

Making Good Food Work

April 19-21, 2011, Detroit, Michigan

Registration is now open for a working conference and incubation laboratory to provide technical assistance, develop innovative solutions, and document best practices for distributing local and regional food. This national event will be held at the Atheneum Hotel in downtown Detroit, April 19-21, 2011. Participation is limited to 250 attendees. Register now to ensure your participation: http://www.makinggoodfoodwork.com/registration
(grants, awards, partnership ideas) 

Make your voice heard regarding the 2012 Farm Bill!

In determining its approach to the 2012 Farm Bill, The Community Food Security Coalition (CSFC), a national organization addressing food security issues, wants to know what you think is most needed in your community, state or region.  You can make your voice heard by completing CSFC's brief online survey.  The survey will remain open until Tuesday, March 8 at 11:59pm.  It should not take more than 15 minutes to complete. 

Over the past several months CFSC has been hosting interactive listening sessions on the 2012 Farm Bill. If you would like more background information on the Farm Bill and potential areas of action for CFSC, you can view a virtual listening session webinar:

Apply to host a Bill Emerson Hunger Fellow

The Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program, a project of the Congressional Hunger Center, trains emerging leaders in the fight to end hunger. The program matches Hunger Fellows with leaders in both community-based and national organizations. The program is divided into two five-month placements: from September to February.  Fellows are placed in pairs across the country to work with community-based organizations in an effort to learn about and contribute to community efforts addressing hunger and poverty. 


If your organization is interested in hosting a Hunger Fellow, contact Shana McDavis-Conway at smcdavis-conway@hungercenter.org.  Applications from potential host sites are due March 27, 2011.

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - deadline March 14


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.

Program guidelines and applicant materials are posted on the WVDA website, www.wvagriculture.org. Deadline for application 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 or mhudson@ag.state.wv.us.  Read the full news release on the funding opportunity at http://www.wvagriculture.org/news_releases/2011/2-2-11.html

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)

 Economics of Regional Meat


A truly regional food system includes proteins, and for many that means meat. What are the roadblocks to regional meat? Are the economics of meat very different from produce? Where should we concentrate our efforts to most effectively pave the way towards regional meat?  This excellent webinar from the National Good Food Network is designed for attendees of all knowledge levels to increase the effectiveness of their regional efforts.

Saving the Small Town Grocery Store

The Center for Rural Affairs has published a series of newsletters on the challenges and opportunities facing grocery stores in small rural towns.  Topics include the economic and community value of grocery stores, sustaining grocery stores, funding, and more.

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