WVFFC Newsletter header


In This Issue
Growing Appalachia Conference April 9
Expanding Farm & Food Businesses in the Greenbrier Valley April 27-28
Funding Conservation Practices and Developing a Diversified Farm April 30
Free Range Livestock: from Production to Marketing Strategy May 5
National Conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods
Local & Community Events
Farm to Fork -- Free Training Program for Value-Added Processing
Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health: Community Grants Program
Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant
National Farmers Market Health Insurance Survey.
Needed: Farmers Market Research Supervisor
Farmers Markets and SNAP
New Report Provides County Health Rankings
Webinar: "The Low-Down on Local Foods"

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, educator, 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 & Farm Coalition, which is an organizing initiative currently coordinated by the West Virginia Community Development HubRead more in the left sidebar of this newsletter or visit the WVFFC website.


Regional Roundtable Series on Local Food begins next week!

YOU are invited to a roundtable meeting to discuss how to strengthen our state's local food economy while getting more healthy, locally-farmed food to the plates and forks of West Virginians. Six regional roundtables, organized by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition in partnership with WVU Extension Services, the WV Department of Education, the WV Department of Agriculture and many local partners, will be occurring throughout the state in April-May:

April 11: 6:30-8:30pm in Wheeling  - details here 

April 12:  6:30-8:30pm in Hico (Fayette County) - details here

April 13:  6:30-8:30pm in Parkersburg - details here

May 2:  6:30-8:30pm in Berkeley Springs - details here 

May 3:  6:30-8:30pm in Philippi - details here 

May 4:  6:30-8:30pm in Charleston - details here 


The roundtables are a first step in developing a West Virginia Food Charter, which will outline a vision for how our local food system should function and make recommendations about how policies and programs could contribute to this vision.  Read more here.


National Food News

Funding Cuts Threaten 2012 Farm Bill

As the US. Legislature works to finalize the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriations bill by April 8, Farm Bill programs stand to take a big hit. So far cuts focus on farm conservation programs. The effect of the cut could last for decades, since it will reduce the funding available for the 2012 Farm Bill. Congress has already cut funds for the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service or ATTRA program, a cut which supporters of the program hope can be reversed.  The cuts may complicate Congress' ability to pass a new Farm Bill, according the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which posts discussions of the budget cuts on the their website. You can read their update on the stalled negotiation process here.


USDA Plans to Help Schools Buy More Fresh Produce

Approximately four million elementary students in low-income schools should receive a free vegetable or fruit snack at school next year, thanks to the expansion of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA plans to add $158 million to its Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2011-12 school year, benefit an estimated 600,000 to 950,000 more students than this year.  Read more from the USDA's press release.


New Rule Will Impact Farmers Market SNAP Programs

The national Farmers Market Coalition warns that a new federal regulation will change IRS reporting requirements for electronic transactions - including EBT machines set up to accept SNAP (food stamps) at Farmers Markets. Until specific guidance is published, they emphasize the importance of keeping good electronic records of SNAP transactions and maintaining an accurate paper trail of reimbursements to farmers. For more information, contact the Farmers Market Coalition.


West Virginia Food News


Forum on Rural Innovation Features Success Stories from WV 

The WV Food & Farm Coalition joined speakers from across the nation at the Forum on Rural Innovation in Winchester, where over 200 participants gathered to learn about ways to enhance farm income and rural business profitability. Savanna Lyons, WVFFC Program Manager, presented on the work of the WVFFC, the recent West Virginia Food Systems study by Ken Meter, and several successes of West Virginia local food marketing efforts.  Read more about the forum from the Clarke Daily Mail and the Leesburg Patch.

Healthy Day in Huntington Draws Motivated Crowd

Celebrating the conclusion of the 90-Day Challenge health initiative, Healthy Day in Huntington drew hundreds of participants to its festivities. A 5k fun run/walk kicked off the celebration, and a healthy living fair included demonstrations and tips on gardening, nutrition, and fitness activities from martial arts to Zumba.  Read more from the Herald-Dispatch here.

New Meat Processing Facilities to Expand Local Food Options

West Virginia consumers will soon have a new source for fresh, local meat, and producers will have new access to processing their meats -- thanks to White Oak Quality Meats processing facility. The facility is slated to open May 1 in Raleigh County, for slaughtering and processing small ruminants and for processing beef. Read more from the Beckley Register-Herald.


Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

Growing Appalachia Conference

April 9, 9:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.  

Prestonsburg, KY


Local experts will offer workshops on ways to save and earn money through small-scale farming, forestry, and energy solutions -- sponsored by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Workshops include community gardens and orchards, edible mushroom production, and setting up a Community Supported Agriculture program.


Learn more and register here.

 Expanding Farm & Food Businesses in the Greenbrier Valley

April 27 & 28

Join nationally-acclaimed food expert Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center in Lewisburg and Union for two evenings of conversation on the Greenbrier Valley's local food system.  


With support from Greenbrier Valley Economic Development's Local Foods Initiative, Meter recently completed a report on the present-day and historical states of food and agriculture in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe Counties.


Two Dates, Two Locations: 

In Lewisburg:   April 27, 7-9pm, WV School of Osteopathic Medicine, Alumni Room

In Union:  April 28, 7-9pm, Monroe Courthouse, top floor

For further information contact Local Foods VISTA Stacie Gilmore at stacie.gilmore@gmail.com / 304-497-4300, or visit http://www.greenbriervalley.org.


Funding Conservation Practices and Developing a Diversified Farm   

April 30, 10 am - noon

New Freeport, PA (1 hr from Morgantown or Wheeling) 


The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is sponsoring a Master Class on stewarding the land through conservation practices. Examples include rotational grazing systems, stream bank fencing, agricultural crossings, and riparian buffers. Farmer Jeanne Williams will also discuss state and federal programs that helped fund her conservation practices.  Learn more from the PASA website announcement.


To register, contact Alissa at (412) 365-2987 or email Alissa@pasafarming.org.

Free Range Livestock: From Production to Marketing Strategy   

Thursday, May 5, 3 - 7 p.m.  

Wagon Wheel Farm, Mount Airy, MD


Learn about the diversified livestock strategy employed by Brian Schiner at Wagon Wheel Ranch in Mount Airy, Maryland. The farm herds Berkshire pigs, pastured broilers and layers, and 100 percent grass-fed beef and lamb, operating the largest sheep farm in Maryland. The farm sells direct-to-consumer (and provides facilities for consumers who want to slaughter goats and lambs themselves) and wholesale, with clients including Whole Foods Market.


For details and registration information, visit the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture website.

National Conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods    

Applications due May 5

Conference dates: October 3 - 5, 2011 

Washington, D.C.


The conference will bring together researchers, rural development practitioners, and policy-makers working on regional and rural development issues, to discuss wealth creation and health improvements in rural America.  Applicants must register by May 15 -- scholarships are available.


Learn more about the conference and registration here.

Local & Community Events


Opening Party for Marsh Fork Community Center 

Saturday, April 9, 4-8 p.m. -- Naoma, WV  

To celebrate the opening of their new community center and business incubator in Western Raleigh County, the Marsh Fork Community Association is hosting a opening party with food, music, square dancing, and prizes.  The center will feature a shared-use commercial kitchen, and the group has already built a high tunnel to increase local access to fresh produce.  For information or directions contact marshforkcommunity@gmail.com or (304) 854-7911.


Bridgeport Farmers Market Annual Elimination Dinner 

Saturday, April 16, 6 p.m. -- Bridgeport Conference Center   

This annual dinner, which raises funds for the Bridgeport Farmers Market, features culinary stations that will include produce from the market's vendors.  Tickets are $60 each. For ticket information call 304-669-4340, email bridgeportfarmersmarket@yahoo.com, or visit the Market's Facebook page.


4th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival 

April 22-April 23 -- Historic Fayette Theater, Fayetteville 

On April 22 this festival will feature films and speakers offering solutions in land preservation, agriculture and water resources.  Friday's events will begin with a social at the Cathedral Cafe prior to the showing.  Visit the Plateau Action Network web site for more information.


Cinco de Mayo & Farmers Market Kick-Off in Montgomery    

April 27, 6 - 9 p.m. -- corner of Third Ave. and Adams St.   

This celebration will kick off the brand-new Montgomery Farmers Market by featuring free trees and tomato plants, children's activities and music from Combo Latino. For  information contact Diana Wilson at the Upper Kanawha Valley Economic Development Corporation, (304) 981-6400.

(grants, awards, partnership ideas) 

From Farm to Fork -- Free Training Program for Value-Added Processing     

Building on successes with a similar program in West Virginia in 2008, From Farm to Fork will help farmers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia learn about value-added processing and how it can fit into a farm's business plan.


Farmers are still invited to join! Visit http://www.wvfarm2u.org/valueadded for more information or contact Jill Young from the Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Project at (304) 772-5842.

Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health: Community Grants Program    

Application Deadline: April 27, 2011, 3 p.m.


A new Community Grants program from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) will help spark action in communities to address the many factors that influence health. The first round of the Community Grants program is open to communities that are ready to take action to address the social and economic factors that affect health.

Grantees will receive awards up to $200,000 for up to 24 months to implement their proposed policy or systems change strategy.


Nonprofits, tribal groups, and state and local agencies are eligible.  For more information, visit the Call for Proposals.

Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant 

Application Deadline: May 13, 2011


Each year, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) awards millions of dollars to schools and community-based organizations to initiate, expand, and improve physical education programs.

Last year at least one grantee, the Freedom Area School District in Wisconsin, won funding for projects that included a school garden and farm-to-school program.

For more information, visit the grant's information page at the U.S. Department of Education.

Be Heard in the National Farmers Market Health Insurance Survey     

The Farmers Market Coalition is partnering with the USDA Risk Management Agency, with pro bono assistance from the San Francisco Insurance Center, on this 10-15 minute survey about health care coverage for people who work in the farmers market sector.  A survey last spring showed that nearly 20% of respondents had no health insurance coverage, motivating the Farmers Market Coalition to investigate further.


Find a link to the confidential survey here.  The deadline to respond is April 15.

Jobs and Work Experience 

Farmers Market Research Supervisor   

The City of Williamson is hiring a contracted research supervisor position for developing a local farmers marketing plan. The research supervisor must be available for regular face-to-face meetings in Williamson, provide own "office" and vehicle, have knowledge of local food systems, and have experience with community development work in Mingo County or immediately surrounding areas.  Interested individuals should submit applications at PO Box 722 Williamson, WV 25661 by April 22.  Interviews will be scheduled shortly following application review.  Contact Eric Mathis at (304) 601-9091 for further details.  

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

 Farmers Markets and SNAP 

Interested in seeing SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or Food Stamps) accepted at your local farmers market?  In this WVFFC "exclusive" interview, Amelia Swenson, who recently completed her AmeriCorps*VISTA term with the Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative, describes how easy it was to begin accepting SNAP at the Pocahontas County Farmers Market. 


A fabulous and extremely thorough how-to article on implementing SNAP at West Virginia markets can be found here on WesMonTy RC&D's blog, thanks to Ann Fugate.


 Still hungry for more information?  Download USDA's handy "How-to Handbook" on SNAP at Farmer Markets. 

New Report Provides County Health Rankings   

Which West Counties are healthiest - and which are struggling? A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin ranks counties within each state.Check out the WV county health rankings at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/west-virginia.


Last year, these health rankings prompted groups across the nation to take action.  One Lincoln County church pastor started a wellness program at his church to encourage active lifestyles and healthy eating -- read that story here.

Webinar: "The Low-Down on Local Foods"    

Monday, April 11, 2 - 3:30 p.m. ET 


The International Food Information Council Foundation and the Council on Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics (C-FARE) will host a webinar discussing the definition of "local" foods; the nutritional, economic and social trade-offs of local versus other foods; and consumer insights regarding local foods.  For more information, visit the C-FARE website announcementTo RSVP for the event, please register prior to the webinar here.  

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