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In This Issue
WV Department of Agriculture Agritourism Workshop Feb. 29
Better Process Control School: FDA Training for Processors of Acidifed Foods Feb. 29 - March 1
WV Small Farm Conference March 1-3
Appalachian Farmers Market Association Conference March 10
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Training March 12-13
Farm Credit Young Farmer Institute April 3
Growing the Appalachian Food Economy April 3-4
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative Due March 9
Healthy Breakfast 4 Kids Grant Program Due March 31
WV Department of Agriculture Marketing Internship Opening
Caretaker for Sustainable Farm
Farm Bill Hearing Schedule: Keeping Track!
Produce Recovery Guide Shares Best Practices
Free Online Book Addresses Farmers, Food Buyers
The Importance of Easements: Clarifying from our Last Newsletter

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.


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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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.   




West Virginia Food News


State Policy Alert: WV Resolution on Healthy School Meals 

Congratulations to Cabell County Schools, featured in a resolution just proposed in the state legislature.  The resolution would charge a committee with studying Cabell County's success in adopting "an innovative approach to preparing school meals," and the possibility of using the approach statewide.  The committee would study the percentage of food sourced from West Virginia growers and producers in school meals, and the possibility of establishing a percentage requirement for local food.  Read the full resolution here, from the WV legislature website.  Your senators will likely be voting on this concurrent legislation -- find contact information here


Bacteria Illness from Raw Milk Reported in Berkeley County

Maryland health officials have confirmed the presence of the illness-causing bacteria, Campylobacter jejuni, in samples from the Family Cow farm in Chambersburg. The Berkeley County Health Department reported that two Eastern Panhandle residents were infected with the bacteria. The health department attributes the cases to the Family Cow farm outbreak.  The Herald-Mail reports here. The Center for Disease Control provides more information on Campylobacter jejuni and the illness campylobacteriosis here


Hurricane High Project Urges Fast-Food Restaurants to Buy Locally

A team of Hurricane High School students is working on a project to establish greater food sustainability in the area by trying to get fast food restaurants to buy their produce from local growers.  The Charleston Gazette reports here.


Cast Iron Cook-Off Winners Crowned

Ten West Virginia displayed their culinary skills at the 7th annual Cast Iron Cook-Off at The Greenbrier. Sponsored by the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, the fast-paced food competition focused on defining and refining new Appalachian cuisine.  The Charleston Gazette reports here.




National Food News  


USDA Sets New School Nutrition Standards

The USDA's new rule requires schools that participate in federally funded school lunch programs to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals, reduce levels of sodium, saturated fat and trans fats in meals, and meet the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements.  Read the USDA's description of the rule hereThe updated lunch regulations are challenging food entrepreneurs to prepare healthier, tasty, and affordable school meals. Forbes examines the entrepreneurial opportunities here


Big-City Mayors Dig Into Food Policy

Mayors from across the country have formed a Food Policy Task Force to "share information on projects that work, and also make sure that federal food policy doesn't muck up those local efforts."  Projects include a "Virtual Supermarket" which lets low-income residents order groceries online and pick them up at their neighborhood library.  NPR reports here.  


New Rules to Benefit New, Beginning, and Minority Farmers 

New Farm Service Agency rules will expand loan eligibility and financial access for new, beginning and minority farmers.  The rule will allow FSA loan officers to consider all prior farming experience, including on-the-job training and formal education, when determining eligibility for FSA for farm operating and ownership loans. It also expands a pilot program, with incentives to encourage farmers and ranchers to sell their property to beginning and socially disadvantaged (SDA) farmers and ranchers. Ohio's Country Journal reports here.  


Upcoming Events
in and near West Virginia

WV Department of Agriculture Agritourism Workshop      

 February 29, Waterfront Hotel, Morgantown, WV   

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture Agritourism Workshop, as a preface to the WVU Extension Service's Small Farms Conference in the same location March 1-3. Agenda items include training and managing employees, connecting agriculture and tourism in West Virginia, fee fishing operations, educational programs, effective advertising, developing regional agritourism itineraries and event planning.  Learn more here.  

Better Process Control School: FDA Training for Processors of Acidifed Foods     

 Feb. 29 - March 1, Waterfront Place Conference Center

Morgantown, WV


All qualified food processors are encouraged to take advantage of this training opportunity. Space is limited to 50 participants. Pre-registration and payment are required by February 24, 2012.  Learn more here.  

WV Small Farm Conference    

 March 1-3, Waterfront Place Conference Center

Morgantown, WV


Registration is now open! The conference will feature day-long workshops on Thursday, March 1, likely to include Energy, Agri-Tourism and High Tunnels, among others. The Winter Blues Farmers Market will also be held that evening, and will offer a multitude of vendors selling their products.


On March 2 and 3, the conference will offer shorter sessions on a variety of topics, from beekeeping to backyard flocks to farm tax information and non-timber forest crops. All meals and breaks for the conference will be sourced from local farmers. For more information, visit the conference website or contact Carrie See at (304) 293-2715. The conference is organized by WVU Extension's Small Farm Center. 


Appalachian Farmers Market Association Conference       

Saturday, March 10, 9 am - 4:30 p.m.  

Russell County Conference Center
137 Highland Drive, Lebanon, VA


The conference will feature Ken Dawson from Maple Springs Garden in North Carolina and offer workshops on production, marketing, and successful farmers markets.  Find a full conference brochure here and read more about the Appalachian Farmers Market Association here


Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Training    

March 12-13

Days Inn Conference Center, Sutton, WV


Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), is a system for safe food handling that can be used throughout the food chain from initial production to final consumption. The course will instruct how to stay in compliance with FDA guidelines for identifying and addressing potential hazards. Register by March 1.  For more information, contact Teresa Halloran at (304) 558-2210 or


Farm Credit Young Farmer Institute      

April 3 

WVU Jackson's Mill, Weston, WV 

9 am - 4 pm


Topics will include economic issues, land values, "rules to live by," and management techniques. Find a full brochure here

Growing the Appalachian Food Economy       

April 3 - 4

Renaissance Asheville Hotel, NC


Registration is now open for the Appalachian Regional Commission's April 2012 Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture. This multi-state event will focus on how Appalachian communities can expand the role that food assets and sustainable agriculture play in local economic development to increase employment opportunities, spark entrepreneurial ventures, and build local wealth.  The registration fee is $75.00 and includes optional local food and farm tours immediately following the forum on Wednesday, April 4.

Space is limited! Visit to register and to get detailed information on the agenda, lodging, and more.

(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)      

   Deadline: March 9, 2012


This grant, from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will support academic, private, and non-profit research institutions to investigate research issues related to organic production. Approximately $19 million is available for funding research projects.  Find more information here.   

Healthy Breakfast 4 Kids Grant Program     

Deadline: March 31, 2012           

The Healthy Breakfast-4-Kids (HB4K) goal is to create and improve access to breakfast in schools nationwide as a means to lessen the huge negative impact of hungry children across our nation. Grant awardees will be able to order $2500 worth of food service smallwares or equipment for establishing universal breakfast programs via an online order. As part of the grant program, F3 will create universal breakfast implementation resources to be available to all schools via our program, The Lunch Box.  Learn more here

2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant      

Deadline: March 16, 2012           


The 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBGP) application materials have been posted.  The grant program encourages cooperative efforts to integrate technology at the farm level, improve marketing and promotion of locally-grown specialty crops, and increase production efficiency through research projects. Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, herbs, horticulture goods, nursery stock and value-added products. Projects that encourage youth agriculture entrepreneurship, beginning/young farmer initiatives and farm to school concepts are also encouraged. The WV Department of Agriculture has created a SCBGP toolbox, accessible here Find grant materials here.   


In addition, WVDA staff will be available to discuss specific projects and answer questions about the program during the 2012 Agritourism Workshop (February 29) and the 2012 Small Farm Conference (March 1-3), in Morgantown.   

Wanted: Reviewers for Specialty Crop Block Grant Program     

Deadline: March 16, 2012           

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is requesting nominations of qualified individuals active in the specialty crop industry, academia and public sectors to serve on a diverse Review Committee for the upcoming WVDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Members of the Review Committee will review, evaluate, and make recommendations to WVDA on submitted West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Grant Program proposals.
Learn more here.
Employment Opportunities

WV Department of Agriculture Marketing Internship Opening   

Paid internship, 15-40 hours/week, from April/May to December 31, 2012. The intern will assist in a variety of administrative and technical support duties for the International Marketing Team on projects relating to the Southern United States Trade
Association (SUSTA). To apply, please send cover letter and resume to Applications will be accepted through Feb. 29.  See a full description here.  

Caretaker for Sustainable Farm    

Santa Croce Farm is located in Pittsburgh, PA.  The caretaker will help to develop, organize and operate this small sustainable vegetable and berry farm, now in its fifth year in 1.5 acres under cultivation.  Learn more here.  

Policy Updates

Farm Bill Hearing Schedule: Keeping Track!    

Find a full schedule of February and March 2012 Farm Bill hearings here. 
Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)

Produce Recovery Guide Shares Best Practices for Fresh Food Donation   

Rotary First Harvest has launched a Produce Recovery Guide. The guide is an electronic resource of best practice project models on how to mobilize communities in collecting and distributing local produce to the hungry.  These best practices were captured from the second program year of Harvest Against Hunger.  Learn more here.

Free Online Book Addresses Farmers, Food Buyers   


A new book titled Ohio's Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is now available free online. The book is intended for farmers and for food buyers-specifically, food buyers for institutions, such as colleges, restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes-and addresses issues on both sides of the supply chain. The book includes sections on making connections, local food success stories, food safety information, and seasonal availability charts. 

The Importance of Easements: A Clarification    

In our previous newsletter, we shared the story of how four farms just joined a conservation easement program in Jefferson County.  It is important to clarify that with conservation easements, landowners retain full ownership of the land, but sell and/or donate conservation easements on their properties to the Farmland Protection Board.  They sell the development rights to the land, but do not sell their land.  This means the landowners must follow of the terms of the easement to conserve the land.  Read more about the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board here.  Read more about West Virginia Farmland Protection here. 

This is YOUR space, YOUR newsletter and YOUR Coalition. If you have suggestions, announcements or resources you would like to share please contact us.
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