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In This Issue
Local Food Round Table April 12
PASA Greenhouse Workshop April 12
Community Kitchen Webinar April 12
Farmers Market Webinar April 12
School Food Webinar May 1
Campus-Community LINK applications due April 9
Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Deadline May 9
AgriAbility Grant Deadline May 17
Simplifying SNAP Application Grant Deadline June 20
Home Depot Community Impact Grant Deadline August 13
Preston Co. Farm Seeks Worker
Green Forests Work Program Coordinator Deadline April 30
NESAWG Network Coordinator Deadline April 30
Factors Influencing Farm Bill
Resource Guild for Local Food Policy
Moving Food Along the Value Chain
The Food Dialogues
 

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.   

   

  

West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition News  

 

WVFFC welcomes new Food System Projects Coordinator,   

an AmeriCorps OSM/VISTA Volunteer

Leah Smith joins us with a love of Appalachia and passion for food access. After graduating with a degree in Sociology from UNC Asheville, she couldn't leave the mountains and moved to Charleston, WV for an AmeriCorps position with the Covenant House. There she enjoyed connecting people in the community with resources they needed, but really saw the problems of food access in the community. She is looking forward to helping the WV Food & Farm Coalition connect people around food access and growing the local food economy.  

 

Webinar on Producer Cooperatives:  Recording Available

On April 5, we teamed up with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture to host a webinar on "Marketing Together through Producer Cooperatives: Three Stories from PA and WV."  Read more and view the recorded webinar here.    

 

More Fruit and Vegetable Farming = More WV Jobs!  

Have you seen our study on the economic potential of meeting West Virginia's seasonal demand for produce?  Meeting this demand could create over 1,700 jobs and would take less than 10% of the state's prime farmland.  Read more here from the study co-authored by Downstream Strategies, LLC; West Virginia University; West Virginia University Extension Service and the WV Small Farm Center, with funding through WVFFC from the blue moon fund.  

 

West Virginia Food News

River Cities Local Food Council holds Producer Dinner

With the help of a Rapid Response Mini Grant from the WV Food & Farm Coalition, the River Cities Local Food Council invited speaker Anthony Flaccavento (from SCALE, Inc.) to speak to a group of local producers at a dinner on Monday, March 19. Flaccavento discussed implementing a local food hub, helping to relieve costs to farmers and create new business opportunities. The River Cities Local Food Council is trying to help local producers bring food to Huntington consumers. The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports here.

  

Pocahontas Co. Board of Education approves funds for Farm to School and School Garden program 

The Pocahontas County Board of Education voted to approve a third year of cost-share funding for an AmeriCorps position to work on farm to school  and school garden activities in the county.  The  $6,000 cash match allocated by the county enables a full year of service from an AmeriCorps member, valued at $20,000. Allegheny Public Radio reports here. Watch the WVFFC Fresh Ideas In Action snapshot on the county's farm to school program here.

 

Wetzel County hosts Local Food Round Table
On March 29, roughly 60 farmers, business people, educators, and hungry neighbors came together to talk about the benefits and the future of locally produced food in Wetzel County. The group gathered to learn about how they can better grow, market, or educate others on the benefits of local food production and consumption. Before the meeting officially began, many local producers were on-hand to meet with interested growers and consumers and exhibit some of their produce. The Wetzel Chronicle reports here.  

 

National Food News  

Workshops for veterans interested in farming
Over 1.5 million America military service men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.  Nearly 600,000 (39%) of those veterans hail from rural America and tens of thousands of them would like the opportunity to own their own farm or ranch some day. Workshops were held in March in Nebraska and Kansas for veterans and active-duty service members. Read more here and here.

 

Study finds farmers markets are the cheapest outlet for some foods   

Students at Seattle University conducted a price comparison between the prices offered at the University District Farmers Market and the prices of produce items at chain grocery stores. The students found  that most vegetables sold at the market had lower if not comparable prices to their grocery store. Komo News reports here. 

 

Pennsylvania supermarkets are increasingly requiring GAP-certified produce 

In the coming years, Pennsylvania supermarkets will still buy fresh produce from local growers, but increasingly will require proof of Good Agricultural Practices certification. As more buyers begin to require GAP certification, WV producers may want to take note. Penn State Live reports here.

 

Upcoming Events
in and near West Virginia

Local Food Round Table   

141 Main Street, New Martinsville, WV 

April 12, 6pm  

 

A follow up to the initial Local Food Round Table meeting on March 29. The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce plans to hold regular meetings to help keep the initiative going. Learn more here. This Round Table will include:

6pm "Food Education"

7pm "Let's Get Growing"

8pm "Markets and Marketing" 

  

PASA Field Day - Greenhouse Troubleshooting  

April 12 10am-4pm  

Sligo, Clarion County, PA

 

 As interest in year-round food production has increased, there has been an explosion of various land/crop coverage techniques, such as greenhouses or high tunnels. However, these production environments require special attention and care, specifically when controlling disease and insect pests. $20 PASA & PA WAgN members, $35 all others; a locally prepared lunch is included. Presented in collaboration with the PA Women's Agriculture Network (PA WAgN) with funding provided by EPA, Region III. Learn more here.

Webinar: What's Cooking? A Look at The Stop's Community Kitchen Programs  

April 12, 12pm-1:15pm

 

Join staff from The Stop Community Food Centre for a webinar that will explore the various types of community kitchen programs that The Stop has offered over the past 14 years, as well as issues of outreach & evaluation, tips on running a good community kitchen session, and how community kitchens relate to our larger work of creating Community Food Centres across Canada. Featuring Program Director Kathryn Scharf, Urban Agriculture Manager Rhonda Teitel-Payne, and Community Programs Manager Amanda Montgomery. Learn more here.

   

Webinar:  How to Create Farmers Market and Fair Displays to Attract Customers 

April 12, 2pm

 

Melissa Bond, Fine Arts Agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, will explain how to develop an attractive, eye-catching booth display that invites customers to your stand to purchase food, crafts and art. Bond works from Whitley County, Kentucky helping vendors develop and enhance their farmers' and artisan market sales. Free, no registration required. Learn more here. eXtension webinars on entrepreneurs and their communities air September through June on the second Thursday. They are recorded and available for viewing about a week after the live sessions. More than 40 are available on demand here.
   

Webinar: The Small Business Side of Improving School Food  

 May 1, 2-3pm

 

What role do small businesses play in creating healthy school food? How does the movement for healthy school food affect small businesses? In this webinar, speakers will explore the often-overlooked connection between school nutrition, small business innovation and local economies. Winners of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Vendor Awards will discuss their role in improving the Chicago Public Schools food service program and how this experience has shaped their business. Learn more about this webinar and others here.

Opportunities
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

Call for Campus-Community LINK applications 

Deadline: April 9, 2012

 

Communities can apply now to host a service learning project through the 2012-2013 Campus-Community LINK program! LINK is a community service learning program that connects community development projects with college and university faculty and classes. Those classes then provide valuable technical assistance on the project at no cost to the community. An Initiative of WV Campus Compact In Partnership with the West Virginia Community Development Hub with Funding Provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Learn more here.   

 

The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge 

Deadline: May 9, 2012

    

This program offers a combination of $15 million in funding from 4 agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority. Funding will be awarded in approximately 20 regions through a competitive inter-agency grant process. This opportunity will support customized solutions targeted to address the gaps and opportunities specific for individual regions by strengthening linkages to self-identified, high-potential industry clusters such as renewable energy, natural resources, food production, rural tourism, and advanced manufacturing. Learn more here.

USDA AgriAbility Grant

Deadline: May 17, 2012   

   

This program increases the likelihood that individuals with disabilities and their families engaged in production agriculture (AgrAbility customers) become more successful. The primary outcome is enhanced quality of life for people with disabilities in agriculture. To address the specialized needs of AgrAbility's customers, the program builds service capacity on national, regional, state, and local levels through education and networking. Learn more here

 

USDA-FNS Grant to simplify SNAP application process 

Deadline: June 20, 2012 

    

The purpose of this grant competition is to support efforts by State agencies and their community-based and faith-based partners to develop and implement Simple SNAP application and eligibility determination systems; or Measures to improve access to SNAP benefits by eligible applicants. This RFA seeks diverse proposals that would make the entire process, from certification to recertification, easier and more efficient for applicants and participants. Learn more here

Home Depot Community Impact Grant 

Deadline: Through August 13, 2012

    

The Home Depot Community Impact Grants Program provides support to nonprofit organizations, public schools, and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. Proposals including planting trees or community gardens and/or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans will be considered. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Learn more here.  

 
Employment Opportunities

Preston County Farm Seeks Worker

    

A family farm in Tunnelton, WV, near Kingwood, is seeking a farm worker in exchange for room, board, and a little pay. They raise Texas Longhorn Cattle and have two high tunnels, some sweet corn, and vegatables in truck patch. They do 4 farmers markets per week during season. A small farm, they are not organic, but use organic methods often as possible. For more information, call Dave Miller at 304-276-2908 or email miller.dave160@gmail.com.

 

Green Forests Work Program Coordinator 

Deadline: April 18, 2012  

    

The Program Coordinator will administer the Green Forests Work (GFW) non-profit organization, which was developed from University of Kentucky research and extension work. This position manages GFW projects under development, secures additional partners to expand reforestation opportunities on mine lands, and develops and implements strategies to make GFW a financially sound and sustainable organization. Learn more here. 


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Seeks Network Coordinator 

Deadline: April 30, 2012  

    

The NESAWG Network Coordinator manages one of the largest and most influential sustainable agriculture and food systems networks in the Northeast. NESAWG is a hub for communications, information resources, public policy development and food system innovation, serving 12 states from Maine to West Virginia. The ideal NESAWG Network Coordinator will have a regional food system perspective, the skills to facilitate the network's evolution, and the diplomacy to balance diverse interests. Currently, this position is quarter-time  (average 10 hours/week). The hours and schedule are flexible. This is a contractor position. The job may be conducted out of an organization or home office. Preferred availability is September 1 with a summer transition period if possible. Learn more here. 


Policy

Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Major Factors Influencing the Debate  


Analysis by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition of what will impact the Farm Bill reauthorization, including election year politics, mandatory funding issues, and budget cuts. Read it here. 

Cutting Through the Red Tape: A Resource Guide for Local Food Policy Practitioners & Organizers  


This document is organized with policies and tools for each area of the food system: production, processing, distribution, consumption, and food waste recovery. The types of actions that are highlighted consist of city-level ordinances and zoning changes as well as pilot projects. It is intended to provide food policy councils, advocates and local governments with ideas and information for designing and implementing projects to improve regional food systems. A collaboration of Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy and the Oakland Food Policy Council. Find it here. 
Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)

Study: Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution 


On March 16, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan released a new report on the distribution practices of eight producer networks (including Appalachian Sustainable Development in Abingdon, Virginia) and their partners distributing locally or regionally-grown food to retail and food service customers. The report shows how these networks tap into the growing commercial demand for local and regional food products while creating additional economic opportunities and expanding healthy food access. Find it here.   

The Food Dialogues Website 


The Food Dialogues is a site created and managed by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). USFRA created The Food Dialogues to answer Americans' questions about how food is grown and raised. Through The Food Dialogues, USFRA hopes to bring together different viewpoints on farming and ranching and the future of food to solve our most challenging problems. View it here.
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