WVFFC Newsletter header


In This Issue
Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum August 4
Scholarships Available for Community Food Security Conference
Innovations in Microenterprise and Community Economic Development, Sept. 15-16
Value Added Producer Grant, due Aug. 29
Submit Nominations for Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee
Open Spaces Sacred Spaces Grant due Sept. 1
Small Business Innovation Research Program due Sept. 1
The Green Thumb Challenge due Sept. 30
PBS Newshour: The Socio-Economic Significance of Food Deserts
Check Out the New WesMonTy RC&D Website!

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.

WV Food & Farm Coalition News

On June 7, WVFFC joined forces with Future Harvest CASA (Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture) to tour the Local Food Hub aggregation and distribution center in Charlottesville, VA. The Local Food Hub now purchases 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. Read our story on the tour here.  


  Check Out This New Resource:  WVFFC Grants Calendar!  

Don't forget to bookmark our new continually updated grants calendar.  It features many funding opportunities related to food, farms and food access, all organized according to due date.  Click here to view. 


West Virginia Food News

Farmers Market vouchers now available at senior centers

Senior citizens who qualify may now begin signing up for the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) at senior centers throughout the state. The SFMNP provides eligible seniors with $20 worth of coupons that can be used for fresh produce at local farmers' markets. Learn more from the WV Department of Agriculture press release or the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.


Fayette Schools picked for pilot healthy, local foods program

A program called the Universal Feeding program aims to provide home-cooked, locally produced meals twice a day for all students. The Beckley Register-Herald reports.  


Fairmont area farm diversifies to vineyard, distillery

A centuries-old farm has taken a new twist, growing its own grapes for wine and corn and buckwheat for a distillery. The Times West Virginian reports here

National Food News  

 House Agriculture Subcommittee holds hearings on USDA Conservation Programs, Specialty Crops

The series of hearings are leading up to the 2012 Farm Bill. Read  reports from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) on the  hearing on the USDA conservation programs and the hearing on speciality crop programs.


Small Vegetable Farmers:  Still time to comment on USDA's Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement 

The USDA's proposed national Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement would create a voluntary certification program for "safe" leafy greens.  Under the proposed language of the agreement, small producers would have to meet the same produce handling requirements as very large producers in order to participate.  Some groups say these requirements would be too costly for small farmers.  The public can still learn about the rule and submit comments to USDA until July 28.


Public has chance to comment on new Farm Credit rule

The public has until July 25, 2011 to submit comments on the Farm Credit Administration's (FCA) proposal to require Farm Credit System lending institutions to emphasize borrower diversity as part of their business plan. Borrower diversity would include young farmers, small farms serving local and regional food systems, and racial and ethnic diversity. The NSAC provides background info here

Upcoming Events 
in and near West Virginia

Eastern Panhandle Entrepreneurs Forum

Thursday, August 4, 2011, The Inn at Charles Town

100 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV  

5:30-6:30pm - Networking, refreshments, displays

6:30-8:00pm - Program


The forum focuses on resources for small business. Presentation topics will include business marketing through "old" and new media, as well as dealing with consumer complaints through mediation services offered by the WV Attorney General's office.  Display tables are available on a first come, first serve basis and cost $5 to reserve.  For more information or to reserve a table, contact Kathy Mason, Berkeley County Development Authority at (304) 267-4144 or kmason@developmentauthority.com. Visit the forum's Facebook page here.

Scholarships Available for  

Community Food Security Conference

"Food Justice: Honoring Our Roots, Growing the Movement"

November 4 - 8, 2011, Oakland, California

Scholarship Application Deadline: August 26. 


Scholarships and volunteer positions are available to cover the costs of full registration for this worthwhile national conference. Apply online here.   


About the conference: Each year, the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) brings people together to learn from each other and to shape the future of the food security movement. The conference will feature skill building and educational workshops, networking sessions, committee meetings, and a poster session.  For more information, visit http://www.communityfoodconference.org.

Innovations in Microenterprise and Community Economic Development

September 15-16, 2011

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richmond, VA


The Virginia Microenterprise Network is bringing together organizations to assist entrepreneurs in learning about innovations and emerging issues within the microenterprise industry. West Virginia's own Center for Economic Options is partnering help to host the conference. For more information, contact Amanda Gibson at (804) 697-8107 or visit the website here.

(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

USDA Value Added Producer Grants    

Application Deadline: August 29, 2011  


USDA is accepting applications for the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program, a competitive grants program that awards grants to producers to help them develop farm-related businesses that add value to basic agricultural products through branding, processing, product differentiation, labeling and certification, and marketing.  VAPG includes projects that market inherently value-added production, such as organic crops, grass-fed livestock, and locally produced and marketed food products.  VAPG also funds regional food supply networks that benefit small and mid-sized farms by incorporating producers into larger farm-to-plate value chains.  Two types of grants are available:


1) Planning Grants (maximum $100,000) for economic planning activities, such as feasibility studies, or development of marketing and/or business plans for a value-added venture; and

2) Working Capital Grants (maximum $300,000) for expenses related to the marketing and/or processing of the value-added product.

Complete info on the grant is hereAn application template with detailed instructions is hereFor technical assistance with applying in West Virginia, contact John Comerci at USDA Rural Development:  304.252.8644 extension 146 or John.Comerci@wv.usda.gov.  Other resources include the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's summary of 2009 VAPG projects and the University of Wisconson's  guide to applying.

Submit Nominations for Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee          


This is a great opportunity to get involved in national policy. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will appoint up to 25 representatives from the nation's fruit and vegetable industry, including fruit and vegetable growers/shippers, wholesalers, brokers, retailers, processors, fresh cut processors and foodservice suppliers, to the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee for the 2011 to 2013 term. Written nominations must be received on or before July 20, 2011. Read the USDA press release here.

Open Spaces Sacred Spaces Grants  

Application Deadline: Phase 1 due September 1, 2011  


The TKF Foundation will fund the creation of significant "Open Spaces Sacred Places" that are designed specifically with the intent to study and communicate the impact of a specific type of urban public greenspace on users. Grants will be awarded from a total funding pool of $5 million. Funding will be provided to cross-disciplinary teams that conceptualize, plan, design and implement a physical space, conduct associated research study(s) and disseminate findings. Read more information here.

USDA Small Business Innovation  

Research Program, Phase 1  

Application Deadline: September 1, 2011  


US-owned, for-profit small business firms can submit innovative, applied, research and development projects that address important problems facing American agriculture. Research proposals are accepted in any of the following topic areas: 1) Forests and Related Resources; 2) Plant Production and Protection - Biology; 3) Animal Production and Protection; 4) Air, Water, and Soils; 5) Food Science and Nutrition; 6) Rural Development; 7) Aquaculture; 8) Biofuels and Biobased Products; 9) Marketing and Trade; 10) Animal Manure Management; 11) Small and Mid-Size Farms; and 12) Plant Production and Protection - Engineering. Funding is available for three phases of activity.  Learn more on the USDA's SBIR website or read the grant announcement

The Green Thumb Challenge Green Education Foundation and Gardener's Supply Award  

Application Deadline: September 30, 2011  


Schools and youth groups can receive grants of $5,000 for submitting chronicles of their garden projects. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.  Find more information here

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

PBS Newshour: The Socio-Economic Significance of Food Deserts     

From a show on June 29 -- PBS explores the impact of living in a food desert, a condition where a households is more than a mile from a supermarket with no access to a vehicle. In 2006, 2.4 million houses were located in food deserts. The show asks, "If food deserts only mean that people need to walk farther or rely on public transportation in order to buy healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, is that so bad? Do policy makers and public health advocates need to worry much about them?" Their conclusion: Yes.

Check Out the New WesMonTy RC&D Website! 

WesMonTy's Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) group has launched a new website: http://wesmontyrcd.org. Their blog, linked from the website, includes helpful and interesting info on several of the RC&D's successful projects, including EBT at farmers markets, the Community Garden Market, low tunnels, and farm to school programs. 

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