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www.wvhub.org/foodandfarmcoalition

In This Issue
Local Food Hub Tour, July 7
Rimol Greenhouses - Producers Meeting, July 12
Webinar: Local Food Systems and Brownfields Redevelopment July 19
Brushy Fork Annual Institute Sept. 20-23
Risk Management Education and Outreach Partnership Funds due July 14
Rural Cooperative Development Grant due July 22
Small, Socially Disadvantaged Ag. Producers and Co-ops Grant due Aug. 15
Micro-loans for Small Business from KISRA
WVFFC Seeks Short-Term Survey Analyst
How Counties Can Support Local Food Economies
Mark Bittman: Capitol Hill's WIC Cut Would Cost More in Health Care
Will New MyPlate Food Icon Prompt Healthy Choices?

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.


 ** Check Out This New Resource:  WVFFC Grants Calendar!  

The Food & Farm Coalition is excited to announce a new tool -- a continually updated grants calendar, where you can learn about funding opportunities related to food, farms and food access, and see them organized according to due date.  It's available here on our Resources page. 

 

West Virginia Food News

 

WV State University promotes local farms through research

The Agricultural and Environmental Research Station at West Virginia State University (WVSU) is exploring crops and techniques to expand and diversify small farms. Professor Barbara Liedl describes the university's plans to encourage small-scale farmers in this WV Pubcast report.

 

Parkersburg farmers market offers kids' cooking classes

A cooking show for kids, hosted at the Parkersburg Downtown Farmers Marketplace, aims to teach kids tasty ways to cook and enjoy healthy, local food. The project organizers also hope to open a non-profit school to introduce children to gardening, cooking, canning, and other healthy activities. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports here.

 
Tomatoes once ruled in Eastern Panhandle - Could it happen again?

The WV Pubcast describes the once-booming tomato industry of Morgan County, which shrank during World War II. However, thanks to innovative growers and marketers, tomatoes are making a comeback. Read the story here

   

National Food News  

 

Senate Agriculture Committee examines streamlining programs

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on June 23 with heads of four USDA focus areas, to discuss ways to streamline agricultural programs and prevent abuse of the programs' offerings.  The hearing comes in the wake of the House of Representatives' vote to cut budgets for USDA and Food and Drug Administration. The cuts would affect the Farm Bill conservation program; the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program; and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program. The Senate has just begun to examine the Agriculture Appropriations for 2012. Agri-Pulse newsletter reports on the Senate hearing here, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition weighs in here.

 

Small U.S. Farms Find Profit in Tourism

As small farmers struggle to make ends meet, many are trying out "agri-tourism" to draw tourists to their farm for extra income. The New York Times explores this growing trend here . 

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

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.

 

Limited space may still be available.  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. Thank you to Dawn Childs for helping to make this tour happen! 

Producers Invited to Meeting with Rimol Greenhouses 

July 12, 4:30pm

Tygart Valley Conservation District Office, Philippi, WV 

 

On July 12th Rich Connor from Rimol Greenhouses will be coming to Philippi to speak with producers that have received contracts for high tunnels through the NRCS EQIP program. Many producers have gone to Rimol for high tunnels, and Rich will be there to answer questions on different high tunnel models available, the benefits of each system and different add-ons. Everyone is invited, especially people  interested in purchasing a high tunnel in the near future. Contact Ben Nemeth of WesMonTy RC&D for info:  wesmontyrcd@gmail.com or 304-457-4516 ex. 104.

Webinar: Local Food Systems and Brownfields Redevelopment 

July 19, 1-3:30 p.m. EDT


This webinar will explore how brownfield sites can play a role in urban agriculture development.  Experts will provide national and local perspectives on new programs, resources, and best practices on the intersection of urban agriculture, job training, and brownfields reuse. Sponsored by the Brownfield Communities Network. Learn more & sign up here.

Brushy Fork Annual Institute

September 20-23

Berea College, Berea, KY   

        

This excellent Institute offers leadership training, organizational development workshops and technical assistance to community leaders, volunteers and organizations and agencies that serve communities. Participants will build hands-on skills, expand their network of contacts and resources and explore contemporary Appalachian issues. Learn more on the Brushy Fork website.

Opportunities 
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

* Find a full grants calendar here, on our website!

Risk Management Education and Outreach Partnership Program Funding   

Application Deadline: July 14, 2011  

          

The program seeks to provide U.S. farmers and ranchers with training and information opportunities to be able to understand the existing and emerging risk management tools; and how to make sound risk management decisions.

For more information, visit the USDA announcement.

Rural Cooperative Development Grant  

Application Deadline: July 22, 2011  

         

For cooperative development centers -- business and job incubators. Grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives. Grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.  Read the press release here.

Small, Socially Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers and Cooperatives Grant  

Application Deadline: August 15, 2011  

          

The grants are geared toward small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas, to spur job creation. Grants can be used for product improvements, business plan development or economic development activities. The maximum grant award per applicant is $200,000. For cooperatives or associations of cooperatives, at least 75 percent of the governing board or membership must be small, socially disadvantaged producers.  Read the press release here and the announcement here

Micro-loans for Small Business from KISRA         

Small businesses looking for a boost can find an incredible resource in a micro-loan program from the Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action, Inc. (KISRA). KISRA's program provides $1,000-$50,000 to disadvantaged small businesses in WV. The program is open to entrepreneurs who often do not quality for conventional loans or other, larger Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans. The program provides loans for a long as 6 years, with an interest rate of up to 8.5%, depending on credit. Along with micro-loans, the program also provides a wealth of technical assistance for small businesses.  For more information, visit the KISRA website or the WV Food & Farm Coalition's recent news piece.

Work Experience and Job Opportunities
in and near West Virginia

WVFFC Seeks Short-Term Survey Analyst  

The West Virginia  Community Development Hub and WVFFC are seeking a short-term contracted Survey Analyst to enter and code survey responses for the West Virginia Food Charter.  Experience with MS Excel and strong typing skills are required; previous experience with analysis of surveys or other qualitative data is preferred.  Must provide own computer and can work from home from within WV, but may need to travel to Beckley.  The contract will pay $500 for an estimated 50-60 hours of work in July, to be paid upon completion.  A good summer  resume-builder!

 

Please send resume, short cover letter and two references to Savanna Lyons, West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition Program Manager: s.lyons@wvhub.org.

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

New Report Offers Four Ways for County Governments to Support Local Food Economies

This report from the National Association of Counties explores four methods for county governments to support local food: food policy councils, farm to school programs, infrastructure for local producers and agriculture conservation easement programs. Counties have successfully implemented each method and seen significant impact, according to the Association's research. The report pairs each method with a comprehensive case study describing how the method has been on the ground, and includes peer-to-peer advice. 

Capitol Hill's WIC Cut Would Cost More in Health Care    

The funding cuts to the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program could end up costing the entire nation in health care costs, according to Mark Bittman of the New York Times. In an Opinionator blog post, Bittman outlines how the Agriculture Appropriations Bill recently passed by the House (but pending Senate input) would take away food assistance from 350,000 low-income women and children, putting them at risk for "less-safe pregnancies, premature births, more infants deaths, worse nutrition and more."

Will The New MyPlate Food Guide Icon Prompt Healthy Choices?

The federal government's newly released food icon, MyPlate, is designed to help consumers make healthier food choices. A successor to the famous "Food Pyramid," the image is intended by USDA to help consumers visualize a healthy plate, and a companion website, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov offers more nutritional information.  The new icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. First Lady Michelle Obama partnered with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to unveil the icon in June.  Read a  commentary from New York University Food Studies Professor Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics.

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