WVFFC Newsletter header


In This Issue
Community Gardening Workshop in Charleston June 24-25
Specialty Wheats Workshop June 28
Local Food Hub Tour, July 7
Chili and Cornbread Cookoff @ Mountain State Art and Craft Fair July 2
Making the Most of Farm to School Month, July 12
Innovations in Energy Use and Organic Farming, July 23
Farmers Market Promotion Program grants due July 1
Community Transformation Grants due July 15
USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Grants due July 22
J.R. Albert Foundation Grants due July 31
Mobile Grocery Brings Fresh Produce to Indianapolis Food Deserts
Nebraska Tax Credit for Healthy Food Retail
Obesity, Not Just Aging, Spikes Health Care Costs

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.


West Virginia Food News


Group innovations from Regional Roundtables posted online 

Notes from the recent series of six Regional Roundtables on West Virginia Food and Farms are now posted here, along with a summary of highlights from the group discussions at the roundtables.  A complete report is expected later in the summer. 


Charleston project seeks to increase access to healthy food

A Charleston-area project is reaching out to families to involve them in gardening and learning about the benefits of healthy food. The project, KEYS 4HealthyKids, will unite community and religious groups to increase access to healthy foods in lower-income neighborhoods. The project envisions more farmers markets and revitalized community gardens throughout the area. The Charleston Gazette reports.


Doddridge County launches beef cooperative

Ten Doddrige County farmers and the Doddridge County Economic Development Authority are launching a new all-natural beef cooperative, Mountain State Natural. Currently in its pilot phase, the cooperative will sell beef across West Virginia and the United States. Several other counties are already interested in joining. The Doddridge News and WDTV report.


National Food News  


House bill cuts agricultural spending

The House of Representatives passed its fiscal year (FY) 2012 agriculture appropriations bill on June 16, cutting nearly $3 billion in annual funds for the USDA and Food and Drug Administration. While the Senate has not begun the budget process, the House proposal, if passed, would affect the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program, Farm Bill conservation programs, and USDA efforts to support local agriculture and rural economic opportunities. The New York Times reports here, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) weighs in here.


The House also passed an amendment to eliminate the USDA Know your Farmer, Know Your Food program and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) priority for local and regional food systems.  The Senate has yet to weigh in.  NSAC provide details, urging farmers to contact their congress members.


Proposed Food Safety rules could affect small farm marketing  

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has proposed a voluntary agreement for the handling of all leafy greens. At the moment, the rule has no exemption for smaller producers (those selling less than $750,000 a year). Compliance with the rule could cost between $30 to $50 an acre annually, after an one-time fee of $10 to 30 per acre.  Read the USDA press release, as well as the perspective from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and a complete explanation from the Federal Register. Public comments on the rule are due July 28, 2011. 


Organic Food Sales Surge 7.7 % in Economic Downturn

According to the Organic Trade Association's Organic Industry Standards 2011 report, the total organic food industry grew by 7.7%. Some sectors of the organic food industry even grew by 30%. Meanwhile, total US food sales grew only by 1%. Read a Fox Business article on the phenomenon as part of an interview with Marion Nestle, NYU food studies professor. The PR Newswire also reports here.

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

ACGA Community Gardening Workshop 

June 24-25 in Charleston, WV 


The Kanawha Community Gardening Association and WVU Extension Service are hosting a two-day American Community Gardening Association workshop in Charleston during June 24-25.  Delivered by national trainers, the workshop includes topics such as community organizing, leadership development, grassroots fundraising, asset-based community development, communications planning, coalition building and more -- all in the context of community gardening.   


Registration is $40.  A few spaces are still available!  Contact WVU Extension Service Kanawha County immediately at 304-720-9573 to secure a place.   

Specialty Wheats: Are Ancient and Heritage Grains Right for Your Farm?

Tuesday, June 28 - 10 am-4pm  

Weatherbury Farm

Avella, Washington County (42 min. from Wheeling)


The field day will explore using heritage and ancient grains to promote ecological heath and disease resistance (for other crops), while tapping into the growing market for these specialty grains. Weatherbury Farm has been experimenting with specialty grains for three seasons, and will host a tour of their farm, which include beef and sheep operations.  Hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).  $15 PASA members, $25 all others; lunch is included.  Learn more and register here.

Sign Up Now! Local Food Hub Tour

        July 7, 9:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Charlottesville, VA


Groups from West Virginia are invited to tour Local Food Hub (a Virginia nonprofit) to enhance their knowledge about food hubs with a first-hand look at a working warehouse and distribution facility. Local Food Hub purchases and aggregates locally grown produce from more than 50 small family farms within 100 miles of Charlottesville, VA. They sell and distribute this food to more than 100 locations, including public schools, hospitals, restaurants, institutions, and other local markets.


If you or your group would like to attend, please RSVP to Savanna Lyons at s.lyons@wvhub.org or (304) 673-0053 to ensure a spot. Some shared transportation may be available.   Thank you to Dawn Childs for helping to make this tour happen! 

Cooks Wanted: Chili and Cornbread Cookoff at the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair 

July 2, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Cedar Lakes Conference Center, Ripley


Sponsored by the WV Department of Agriculture, the contest is seeking enthusiastic cooks for the contest during the fair to celebrate Appalachian culture.  The chili contest will award cash prizes, and the cornbread contest will award cast-iron skillets and cash prizes, as well. Visit www.msacf.com or www.wvagriculture.org for complete rules and a registration form. For more information, contact WVDA's Debra Gard at (304) 483-4027 or (888) 982-3247, dgard@frontier.com, or Cindy Martel at (304) 541-9756.

Webinar: Making the Most of Farm to School Month

Tuesday, July 12, 1 pm.


Last November the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution establishing October as National Farm to School Month. This webinar will discuss resources and tips for making the most of this great, community-building opportunity.  Register here.

 Workshop: Innovations in Energy Use  

and Organic Farming    

Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Fox Haven Farm, Jefferson MD (35 min. from Shepherdstown)


See successful conservation and energy-efficient farming practices in action at Fox Haven Organic Farm, which includes organic hay production, a vertical-axis wind turbine prototype, a geo-solar greenhouse in construction, a three-acre organic farm with solar-powered water pump, and a test plot for the American Chestnut Foundation.  Hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriuculture.  Learn more and register here.

(grants, awards, partnership ideas) 

USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program  

Application Deadline: July 1, 2011  


The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is accepting applications for the 2011 Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP).  The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2011.  Grants range from $5,000 to $100,000 for activities ranging from start-up of new farmers markets, expansion of existing markets, CSA programs, farm stands, agri-tourism activities, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) implementation and farmers markets / stands, and more.  Priority has been added this year for projects that increase food access in food deserts and low-income communities (20% poverty rate and higher).  To determine if a project is located in a food desert, visit this AMS food desert website.   To check poverty rate data, visit this Economic Research Service poverty rate website.


For more information on the grant, go here

Community Transformation Grants   

Application Deadline: July 15, 2011, 5 p.m. EDT    


These grants from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention support community preventive health activities to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming. The grant is open to state and local governmental agencies, tribes and territories, and national- and community-based organizations.  Questions on the grant are due July 5; proposals due July 15.  Read more here.

USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Grant 

Application Deadline: July 22, 2011   


This grant program aims to establish and operate centers for cooperative development to improve the economic condition of rural areas by developing new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. Grants may be awarded for up to 75 percent of the total cost of the project.  The applicant must contribute at least 25 percent from non-federal sources.  One past recipient, Farm to Table, Inc., of Santa Fe, NM, collaborated with a  member-owned cooperative to provide curriculum and a new loan investment initiative for food systems businesses.


To learn more, download the USDA press release or information from the Federal Register. You can also contact your local USDA Rural Development office or read 2010 information on the USDA site.

J.R. Albert Foundation Grants:  

Nutrition, Local Food Access 

Deadline: July 31, 2011


The J.R. Albert Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations and research programs in the U.S. that support nutrition, fitness, and health education, particularly in disadvantaged populations. The Foundation supports community health education programs as well as behavioral research related to nutrition and obesity. Support is also provided for efforts to increase access to healthy foods using local food systems and sustainable agriculture, and large regional food banks. Learn more or apply here.

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

Mobile Grocery Brings Fresh Produce  

to Indianapolis Food Deserts

The "Garden on the Go" mobile grocery service is being implemented by Indiana University Health as a way to bring fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods. The initial test-run was received positively, especially among elderly residents who cannot easily access a grocery store. The truck makes three stops a day, four days a week and accepts SNAP (food stamps). Read about the program here.

Nebraska Tax Credit for Healthy Food Retail   

Thanks to a new bill passed by the Nebraska legislature, the "Nebraska Healthy Foods Financing Initiative Cash Fund," will support improved access to healthy foods by offering tax-credits and encouraging private funding for grocery stores, farmers markets and community gardens that serve low-access areas in urban and rural areas. Qualifying applicants must offer fruits and vegetables at their retail location, and accept SNAP and WIC. Read the Nebraska State legislature's announcement here.

Obesity, Not Just Aging, Spikes Health Care Costs


While improved health care allows obese people to live longer, annual medical bills for obese people are 42 percent higher than those of normal-weight people due to health problems, according to a study by the New England Journal of Health. Annual obesity-related health care costs are projected to rise by nearly $265 billion a year between 2008 and 2018, and much of the rise in Medicare spending will go toward treating obesity-related diseases.  Read the full article from Miller-McCune.  

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