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www.wvhub.org/foodandfarmcoalition

In This Issue
Charleston Area Community Gardens Tour Oct. 9
Good Handling/Good Agricultural Practices Training Oct. 22
ARC Grants and Technical Assistance Workshop
Webinar: Funding Food Hubs
Huntington Food Day Seeks Vendors Oc.t 28
Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nov. 6-8
WVFFC Rapid Response Mini Grants
Communities Take Root Orchard Program
Community Food Projects Grants due Nov. 17
Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program due Nov. 22
Job Opening: WV Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator
Greenbrier Valley Seeks Local Food VISTA
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act
Community Toolkit for Land Use Agreements
San Diego Farmers Market Tops Food Stamp Collection Rate
Are Our Local Zoning and Land Use Regulations Healthy?
 

The mission of the West Virginia food and Farm Coalition is to build, support and strengthen a statewide network of the many kinds of people involved in developing West Virginia's local food economies, with the intertwined goals of improving access to healthy, locally-produced food for all West Virginians and helping to viable food and farm businesses to grow.  The Coalition was launched in 2010 by the West Virginia Community Development Hub with funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

 

We believe that as West Virginia farmers and food producers become more directly connected to West Virginia consumers, the results include healthier people, greater business opportunities, stronger communities, and a unique economy reflecting our state's proud heritage of self-sufficient food production.

 

The Coalition is guided by a 14-person Steering and Transition Committee which is helping to determine its future as an organization and to develop a more permanent, participatory leadership structure.

 



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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.
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Greetings!

This biweekly 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 coordinated by the West Virginia Community Development Hub

 

In addition to this newsletter, we now offer timely updates on specific food and farm topics.  To subscribe to updates on things you're interested in, go here and enter your email address. 

  

WV Food & Farm Coalition News  

  

WVFFC Introduces "Rapid Response Mini-Grants"

The WVFFC Rapid Response program provides turn-around within three weeks on small amounts of funding ($50-$2,000) for time-sensitive opportunities -- read more in the Opportunities section or here on our website.

 

Register Today -- Charleston Community Garden Tour Oct. 9

We are proud to partner with the Kanawha Community Garden Association to host a tour of several of Charleston's vibrant community gardens -- read more in the Events section or here on our website.       

 

Thanks to all for a great Farm to School Conference!

WVFFC was privileged last week to be part of the fantastic WV Farm to School Conference hosted by the Center for Economic Options, WV Department of Education, WesMonTy and Potomac Headwaters RC&Ds and other partners.  Look for the full story in our next newsletter.

  

West Virginia Food News

   

Wood County Wellness Program Promotes Fresh Food  

Wood County Health and Wellness Coalition is collaborating with the Change the Future program to promote better nutrition and healthier lifestyles. The program includes working with schools and sports concession stands to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, organizing for the Downtown Farmers' Market to accept debit/credit cards and EBT, and promoting gardening with the Master Gardeners.  The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports here.

  

 Huntington Church Harvests New Community Garden

St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Huntington is bringing in its first harvest from a "pilot garden" in a vacant lot. The church aims to share the produce with local residents -- even non-members -- as a way to build fellowship. Huntington Community Gardens helped the church plan the garden, and Create Huntington provided seed funding. The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports here.

 

National Food News  

 

FDA Sets Action Plan for Retail Food Safety Initiative

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a Retail Food Safety Action Plan including "measures to help assure the safety of food sold in food stores, restaurants, schools, and other foodservice operations in the United States."  The Plan calls for "strengthening state and local food safety requirements that apply to these establishments," including personnel training requirements.  FDA announced a related addition to its Food Code that states are encouraged to adopt.  Read more details in the FDA press release here. 

 

Cutting SNAP/Food Stamp Funding Would Force More Families Below Poverty Line

Both a New York Times editorial and CNN Money article examine U.S. Census data which shows that the SNAP/Food Stamp program prevents millions of people from facing poverty, and kept hunger rates from rising. The New York Times editorial argues that plans to cut SNAP spending would "only put more people out of work and drive more families below the poverty line.  "Read the editorial here and the CNN Money article here.

 

Public Schools Face the Rising Costs of Serving Lunch

While the new federal child nutrition bill aims to make school meals more nutritious, the bill also requires school districts to align their prices with the costs of preparing meals -- thus raising the prices. The New York Times reports here.

Upcoming Events
in and near West Virginia

Charleston Area Community Gardens Tour

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2pm    

 

The WV Food and Farm Coalition is proud to partner with the Kanawha Community Garden Association  to host a tour of several of Charleston's vibrant community gardens.  This multi-stop tour will finish up with an informal social at Rock Lake Community Garden where garden advocates will be able to mix, mingle, and snack.  Tour guests will hear from several different garden organizers about their experiences and will learn about the growing network that the Kanawha Community Garden Association is forming.  Tour partners include WVU Extension, WV State Extension and others.

   

Space is limited!  Please register by contacting Savanna Lyons, WVFFC Program Manager at s.lyons@wvhub.org / (304) 673-0053 with your name, phone number and number of additional guests.  Logistical details will be provided to those registered. The tour is free, but guests are invited to contribute $5 towards costs.

Good Handling/Good Agricultural Practices Training Hosted by the WV Department of Agriculture   

Saturday, October 22 (Deadline to register Oct. 7)

WV State Fair Grounds, Lewisburg 

 

For growers planning to sell to wholesale buyers that require Good Handling Practices/Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP) certification, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture is hosting a certification training. The course will not provide certification, but will prepare participants for the GHP/GAP audits.

 

The cost is $35 and includes materials and lunch. Growers can register or obtain more information by contacting Danielle Kisamore at dkisamore@wvda.us or (304) 558-2210.  Deadline to register is October 7, 2011.  Find a full article about the training here on our website.    

Appalachian Regional Commission Grants and Technical Assistance Workshop 

October 14 at the Charleston Civic Center 

 

Registration for this workshop has reached capacity, but to join the waitlist, visit the workshop website and complete the registration. A video of the full workshop will be available for viewing after the event, and presentation materials will be available for download. 

Webinar: Funding Food Hubs

October 20, 3:30 ET 

   

This National Good Food Network webinar will explore ways to fund food hubs. A panel of funding experts will run rapid-fire consultation sessions with three food hubs across the country.  Learn more or register here.  

Huntington Food Day Organizers Seek Vendors

This event on Oct. 28 will feature a healthy food cookoff, prizes and vendors sharing information, with a goal of increasing awareness of healthy eating, local agriculture, and healthier lifestyles. Food Day starts at 8 a.m. at Huntington's Kitchen. Interested vendors can contact Jayan Nair or Andie Leffingwell at 304-522-0887.

Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference

November 6-8, State College, PA

  

The conference will bring together farmers, growers, educators, agricultural professionals, and policy makers to share knowledge, skills, and stories for building a dynamic sustainable agriculture. Read more on the conference website.  

Opportunities
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

WVFFC Rapid Response Mini Grants 

 

The grants will support capacity-building activities that help build the local food economy in West Virginia communities. The purpose of the WVFFC Rapid Response Mini Grant program is to provide a quick turnaround on small amounts of funding for time-sensitive opportunities that might be missed if a community had to wait for a larger grant to be approved.  The application process is simple; award decisions are made within three weeks.  Grants range $50-$2000.  Where possible, we also advise applicants on other sources of assistance for their projects.

 

Learn more here on our website. To apply, contact Savanna Lyons, Program Manager:  304.673.0053 / s.lyons@wvhub.org.     

Communities Take Root Orchard Program

Deadline: First 100 applicants eligible for online voting contest  

 

Through this grant program, communities compete in a nation-wide vote to win a complete community orchard.  For 2012, the first 100 qualified applicants will be in the running to win a free orchard, including orchard design, arborist expertise, and a fun community planting event. Orchard recipients also receive a free community workshop on planting, pruning and caring for fruit trees.  Learn more here.  

Community Food Projects Grants  

Deadline: Nov. 17

 

This USDA grant supports the development of Community Food Projects, Planning Projects to assess the food security needs and plan long-term solutions, and projects that provide training and capacity building groups  interested in developing new Community Food Projects or effectively operating food security projects.

 

Eligibility: Private, nonprofit entities that have experience in the area of community food work or job training and business development activities for food-related activities in low-income communities.

 

Read the full announcement here. Also visit the Community Food Security Council website for information about grant development assistance.  

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program 

Deadline: Nov. 22  

  

This USDA grant provides resources to support the development of educational outreach curricula, workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers (includes beginning forest landowners) with entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises.  Learn more on the USDA website 

Work Opportunities 

WV Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator

The West Virginia Department of Education's Office of Career and Technical Instruction is hiring a Coordinator for Entrepreneurship Education.  The Coordinator's wide-ranging responsibilities include investigating entrepreneurial opportunities in WV and developing and promoting an entrepreneurial curriculum. Read more about the position here.

Greenbrier Valley Seeks Local Food VISTA  

The Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative works with farmers, markets, restaurants, distributors, schools, consumers, and food pantries to increase accessibility, availability, and affordability of fresh, healthy regional foods.  The Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation is accepting applications for an AmeriCorps*VISTA to work with this initiative.  Download a full job posting here.   To apply please email a cover letter and resume to Jill Young, Food Systems Project Coordinator, at jillgraceyoung@yahoo.com

Get Involved!
(food policy issues, surveys, & more)

Chance to Comment on the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 is designed to help new farmers and ranchers get a start. Read a summary of the act here from the Land Stewardship Project, and learn how to contact your legislators here.  While the website does offer a sample letter, feel free to comment with your own opinions. 

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

Community Toolkit for Land Use Agreements

This toolkit, from the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network, provides legal resources for establishing community gardens on vacant or underutilized parcels of land.  It includes a model community garden lease, model gardener's agreement, model community garden rules, and discussion checklists for a sponsor organization.

San Diego Farmers Market Tops Food Stamp Collection Rate

The City Heights Farmers' Market in San Diego runs a program to double the value of SNAP benefits (food stamps), increasing access to healthy food for low-income families. Read more here.

Are Our Local Zoning and Land Use Regulations Healthy? 

A new law review article in the Fordham Environmental Law Journal inventories local community efforts and accompanying policies that aim to strengthen the food system. The article explores how existing land use plans and regulations can promote healthier and more sustainable communities through a focus on local food. 

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