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www.wvhub.org/foodandfarmcoalition

In This Issue
Ag Night" at WV Power Park Saturday
The Road to Reform: A Farm Bill Introduction (Webinar)
Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Grants - info May 23
Presbyterian Hunger Program grants due June 30
Federal Funds for Fresh Food Outlets - due July 11
Funding for WV Gardeners with Arthritis
Host Summer Youth Employment Program Workers
Teen Entrepreneurship Summit - apply now for scholarships
WVU Kanawha County Extension Hiring Summer Positions
Williamson seeks Research & Outreach Coordinator
Virginia Farm Seeks New Director of Operations
Business Planning Guide Available for Meat Processors
Green Accelerator allows farm-to-school networking
Food Desert Locator Tool Released

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, 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.

 

WVFFC News   

 

The final series of Regional Roundtables on Food and Farms finished up last week, with meetings in Berkeley Springs, Philippi, and Charleston.  A total of six roundtables attracted over 220 attendees across the state.

The roundtables are laying the groundwork for long-term plans for a stronger farm economy and more fresh produce affordable for all West Virginians, thanks to a partnership of the WV Food and Farm Coalition, WVU Extension Service, the WV Department of Education, Rural Support Partners, the WV Community Development Hub, as well as local partners including WesMonTy Resource Conservation and Development, local FFA groups, Local Economy Network, and others.

Read more about the roundtables in the Charleston Gazette, The State Journal, The Martinsburg Journal, and the WV Food and Farm Coalition website.

     

West Virginia Food News


Farmers markets take off across the state
The Charleston Daily Mail reports that West Virginia has tripled its number of farmers markets since 1994 and is now above the national average for markets. With several new markets opening this season, adding up to approximately 150 markets and farm stands, West Virginians now have more and more options to buy healthiest food and keep dollars in the state.   

 

Greenbrier Valley explores food and farm business expansion
Nationally-acclaimed food expert Ken Meter, of the Crossroads Resource Center, drew over 40 attendees at his presentations on the present-day and historical systems of food and agriculture in Greenbrier and Monroe counties.  Meter along with members of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation and its Greenbrier Valley Local Foods project also met with their WV Senator Ron Miller to explore the potential of expanding the Greenbrier Valley's food and farm economy to boost regional development. The Beckley Register-Herald reports.


Local direct sales venues featured on public radio
In April WV Public Radio chronicled on the growth of West Virginia's farmers markets and local food marketing co-ops, featuring interviews with vendors at the new Montgomery Farmers Market,  the new Mountain State Lamb and Chevon marketing association, and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. Hear the story here.  WVPR also interviewed Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres about the mouthwatering menu for his "Fancy Ramp Dinner" which fundraised for the New Appalachian Farm and Research Center

 

National Food News


State-inspected meat facilities could obtain USDA seal of inspection, allowing shipping between states
Small, state-inspected meat and poultry plants will soon be eligible for a voluntary program that allows them to ship meat and poultry products across state lines, thanks to a final rule from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Specifically, state-inspected facilities with 25 or fewer employees would have the option to obtain an official USDA seal of inspection. According to the FSIS, the rule has the potential expand rural development and jobs and strengthen  

communities.  Read the official FSIS press release.

 

USDA Encourages Schools to Partner with Local Farms
With a new "buy local" rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is striving to allow schools to partner with farms to ensure that students have access to fresh, healthy food. The rule, part of the "Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act," encourages schools to purchase more "unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products" by allowing them to give local providers preference when they bid for school food contracts. NPR reports.   

 

Maryland aims to redefine "local" food
The state of Maryland is revising regulations to define "local" foods. The new regulations require businesses that advertise local products to have a point-of-sale label that identifies the state of origin. The regulation revisions are open to public comment, through May 23, 2011.  Read the Maryland Department of Agriculture's press release or the Frequently Asked Questions 

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

"Ag Night" at West Virginia Power Park   

Saturday, May 14   

7:05 pm at Charleston's Power Park 

Join the WVU Extension Service to celebrate West Virginia agriculture - while watching WV Power battle the Kannapolis Intimidators. The night will feature a farmers market,  and even an on-field cow-milking contest sponsored by the WV Department of Agriculture!!  WVU Kanawha County Extension will host a kids' activity, and attendees can check out the garden that extension helped plant on the concrete concourse of the park.  If you are a farmers, 4-Her, Master Gardener, CEO, Extension personnel and other friend of Extension, there may still be time to request your free ticket. Call the Kanawha County office at (304) 720-9573 or email John.Porter@mail.wvu.edu.  

The Road to Reform: A Farm Bill Introduction (Webinar)  

Friday, May 27

12 - 1 p.m. EDT

A landmark webinar organized by the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) will introduce the 2012 Farm Bill and its broad impacts on the well-being of rural communities across the county. Annette Higby of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) will explain the agricultural appropriations process, as well as a discuss concrete ideas for how to get involved and make a difference in the legislation process.  For questions or comments about this webinar or future CAN webinars, contact Katy at katy@ruralsupportpartners.com.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/301323862

Opportunities
(grants, awards, partnership ideas) 

Farmers, Businesses Invited to Apply for  Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grants

Deadline:  June 15.  Learn more on May 23!

 

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nations critical energy needs. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis.  Download grant details here.  


An informational session on the opportunity will be held on May 23, 9am-2pm at the National Guard Armory in Glen Jean, WV.  Lunch is provided.  For details contact Rita Cruise of Natural Capital Investment Fund at rcruise@conservationfund.org.

Presbyterian Hunger Program      

Application Deadline: June 30, 2011   

 

Churches and non-profit organizations can apply for projects focused on the root causes of hunger.  Grants ranges from $500 to $15,000. Examples include increasing access for low-income communities to healthy, local and fresh food; advocating for a just Farm Bill that benefits small farmers, hungry people and the environment; or increasing participation in SNAP/WIC especially at farmers markets, and CSAs.  

 

For more information, contact Kelly Wilkinson at  (502) 569-5819, toll-free (888) 728-7228, or kelly.wilkinson@pcusa.org.

Federal Funds for New Fresh Food Outlets       

Application Deadline: July 11, 2011   

 

For the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services is requesting proposals for Healthy Food Financing Initiative grants and loans to help open new fresh food outlets -- supermarkets, farmers' markets, and expanded convenience stores -- in low-income and under-served communities. The grant, part of federal Health Food Financing Initiative, will award $10 milliion total to projects that will implement innovative strategies for revitalizing communities and eliminating food deserts, as well as achieving sustainable employment and business opportunities for low-income individuals.  

Click here for more information about the funding

Funding for WV Gardeners with Arthritis      


The Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program provides West Virginia organizations the opportunity to perform community service by making gardening accessible to West Virginians with arthritis. Qualifying groups can receive $1000 - $2000 to help cover material costs for construction of raised beds and/or other accessibility modifications for gardens at senior centers, public parks and other locations.

 

Groups will receive ergonomic tools, which they can later use in outreach and educational efforts. Partnerships with other community groups are encouraged. Contact (304) 293-4692 x 1141 or greenthumbs@hsc.wvu.edu for more information.

Businesses and Organizations Can Host Summer Youth Employment Program Workers       

Work Site Application Deadline: May 27, 2011

 

The Summer Youth Employment Program of the Region 2 Workforce Investment Board (serving Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Putnam and Wayne counties) is seeking applications from organizations and business, to host youth workers. The Workforce Investment Board provides a paid supervisor if the organization cannot supervise the youth. Last year, following a successful internship, many of the youth advanced to work full-time with their work sites.  

 

For more information, contact Melissa Bias at (304) 304-544-5643 or (304)429-5900 or email mbias@wvregion2.org.  Applications are due May 27.

Teen Entrepreneurship Summit

June 12-18 at YMCA Camp Horsehoe 

For West Virginia High School Students

Tuition: $350 -- scholarships available!   

Do you know a young person who would like to explore the principles of entrepreneurship, civic leadership and volunteer service in six days of interactive learning?  Participants in this unique summer learning opportunity will meet business persons and successful entrepreneurs, make connections and discover new possibilities for their futures.  Please help spread the word to young people, teachers, and others in your community who work with youth.  Scholarships for $300 (towards the full $350 fee) are available to qualified West Virginia applicants.  For more information or to apply, contact Sharon Cassidy at YMCA Camp Horseshoe, (304) 478-2488 or sharon@hi-y.org.

Jobs and Work Experience 

WVU Kanawha County Extension Hiring Summer Positions 

WVU Kanawha County Extension seeks WVU students returning to Kanawha County to assist in entering farmers market survey date and taking soil samples for the Community Garden program. For more information, contact the WVU Kanawha County Extension Office at (304) 720-9573 or email John.Porter@mail.wvu.edu.    

Williamson seeks Research & Outreach Coordinator for Farmers Market Development    

Williamson Redevelopment Authority is seeking a five month contracted Research & Outreach Coordinator (May to September) to help advance the opening a local farmers market in downtown Williamson.  Tasks include: identifying and convening growers, studying and adapting Williamson Farmers Market policies and governance models, collecting consumer surveys, and hosting farmers market pilot events at two local festivals.  Frequent travel in and around Mingo County is required.  To apply, contact Jenny Hudson at j.hudson@jobs-project.org or by phone at 304-928-1704.

Virginia Farm Seeks New Director of Operations   

The Virginia-based Willowsford Farm is hiring for a full-time, salaried position. The Director of Farm Operations will design and launch a new farm business in a planned residential community in Loudoun County, Va (a WV border county).  For more information, visit www.willowsford.com. 

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

Business Planning Guide Available for Meat Processors  

The Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network (NMPAN) recently released a small business planning guide for small scale meat processors. The short guide walks readers through a basic business plan, and provides financial projections for different types of processing facilities, from a mobile slaughter unit to a facility with a full service retail meat counter.  The guide also explains different types of custom exemptions.  

 

Download the guide under "Tools for Businesses," at www.nichemeatprocessing.org, or at http://www.extension.org/pages/17166/meat-processor-business-development.

 

 New Green Accelerator allows Farm to School Networking in West Virginia, Mid-Atlantic 

The Green Accelerator, a web site launched earlier this year by the Charleston-based Center for Economic Options, offers a venue to share resources, join discussions, and connect to online communities related to specific sustainability topics.  Check out the Accelerator's Farm to School Community, and join discussions among farm to school advocates from across the mid-Atlantic region:

http://www.thegreenaccelerator.com/group/farmtoschool

New Farm-to-School Toolkit from Washington State  

The Washington State Dept. of Agriculture's new toolkit offers a great example of resources to support farm-to-school programs. Along with crop availability list and supporting recipes, the toolkit highlights farm-to-school successes and provides contacts and information for a wide variety of stakeholders.

Food Desert Locator Tool Released       

 The new Food Desert Locator Tool, released by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), provides population characteristics of areas considered "food deserts" according the definition by the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Working Group. By that definition, a food desert is a low-income census tract where a substantial number residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. With the Food Desert Locator, you can:

- Locate and visualize a spatial overview of where food-desert census tracts are located

- Access selected population characteristics of food-desert census tracts

- Download data on food-desert census tracts for community planning or research purposes.

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