Newsletter header
In This Issue
GAP Training May 15
"Together We Can" Webinars
Salem Farmers Market Events
Women in Agriculture Day May 22
Farm Incubators 101 Webinar May 22
Agritourism Resource Guide Application Deadline May 18
Graduate Student Research Grants Deadline May 25
Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarship Deadline May 31
Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants Deadline July 24
U.S. Congress Votes Database
Financing the Community Supported Farm: A Guide
Cooking Up Change: Culinary Students Transforming School Meals
Farm Financing Webinar Now Available

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.
Join WVFFC's Mailing List!
Sign up for this newsletter or change your subscription

Like us on Facebook


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

Farmers markets growing in the state

The Charleston Gazette wrote an article about the growth of farmers markets in the state and the new Farmers Market Training Network Pilot Program launched by WVFFC and the WV Farmers Market Association - read the article here.


Still Time to Apply: Farmers Market Training Network

The deadline for markets to apply to this new training and technical assistance program, led by the West Virginia Farmers Market Association in partnership with WVFFC and WVU Extension Service, has been extended to May 20.  Learn more here.

West Virginia Food News

Walt Helmick nominated Commissioner of Agriculture
On Tuesday, Walt Helmick won the Democratic nomination for WV Commissioner of Agriculture. He will run against the Republican candidate Kent Leonhardt at the general election on November 6, 2012. Read Walt Helmick's responses to our questions here, and see his position on his website here.

Fish Hawk Acres creatively aggregates to increase local food economy

Fish Hawk Acres is a collection of local growers and food producers that sells to farmers markets, restaurants, and other consumers. Customers can subscribe to weekly produce boxes or purchase menu items from the new Community Supported Kitchen. Dale Hawkins, optimistic about the future of local farmers in West Virginia, hosts monthly agriculture tourism parties like the Fancy Ramp Dinner on May 19. The Charleston Gazette reports here.  

Choose to Change holds community kickoff

Choose to Change, a project aimed at improving the eating habits and physical activity levels of West Virginia children, held a community kickoff on April 24 in Morgantown to announce their progress in the first year. The five year program, which began in April 2011, is funded by a USDA and Food Research Initiative grant. The Daily Athenaeum reports here.


National Food News  

Farm Bill updates

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is writing a series of blog posts in response to the Farm Bill that was reported out of the Senate Agriculture Committee on April 26. See the blog here. The National Farmers Market Coalition and the National Farmers Union have also commented. Meanwhile the House Committee on Agriculture has started their Farm Bill hearings. See the schedule here.  


USDA announces grants to increase SNAP at farmers markets

Yesterday Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced a total of $4 million in awards to help farmers markets increase the capacity to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. West Virginia will receive $20,845. Read the announcement here and view the state allocations here  


New USDA rule to increase healthfulness of school meals 

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service created an interim rule on April 27th which amends National School Lunch Program regulations to conform to requirements contained in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The rule intends to provide additional funding for school food authorities to implement new meal pattern requirements, thus increasing the healthfulness of meals served to school children. The Federal Register reports here.  

SNAP significantly improves welfare of low-income households 

The USDA's Economic Research Service issued a report last month called "Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits." They found an average decline of 4.4 percent in the prevalence of poverty due to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, while the average decline in the depth and severity of poverty was 10.3 and 13.2 percent, respectively. View the report here. NPR reports here

Upcoming Events
in and near West Virginia

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Training 

Tuesday, May 15, 9am-5pm  

WVU-Parkersburg, Room 1317  


The training will help fruit and vegetable growers ensure the quality and safety of the foods they grow and market. This is not a certification class, but producers will learn about how to prepare for a USDA certification of a farm. The training is provided by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, WVU Extension Service and the WVU Health Sciences Research Center. To register or learn more, contact Jean Smith at the W.V. Department of Agriculture at 304-558-2210 or Pre-registration deadline is Friday, May 11. Learn mere here, see the flyer here. 

"Together We Can" Webinar Series 


The USDA is launching a new "Together We Can" Partnership Series for community and faith-based organizations. This webinar program will share opportunities to collaborate with USDA to help those in need in your community. Learn more here


 Together We Can. . .   

1.  Connect for Success: How to Partner with USDA - May 16th, 2pm   

2.  Feed Kids During the Summer - May 30th, 2pm   

3.  Put Healthy and Affordable Food on the Table - June 20th, 2pm 

4. Teach About Nutritious Cooking and Eating - July 25th, 2pm   

5. Build Local and Regional Food Systems - August 29th, 2pm   

6. Feed Kids After School - Sept. 26th, 2pm   

7. Build our Partnership: More Opportunities to work with USDA - Oct. 31st, 2pm   

Salem Farmers Market Events  

Salem, WV

   Events for kids:  

May 19th - Windowsill garden & Edible Flowers
June 2nd  - Plant a pizza & Sprout starter

July 27th - How to grow a sweet potato plant   

   General Market Events: 

June 2nd -  Insect treatment organic or commercial

June 9th - Mushroom growing

July 27th - Canning

  View more details about these events and learn about other future events here. 

Women in Agriculture Day  

May 22, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Moundsville Center, Moundsville, WV


This event will include sessions such as Starting a Beehive, Squarefoot Gardening/Composting, and Motivation through Music. Vendors will be on hand to demonstrate and sell their farm products. The event is free with lunch provided. RSVP by contacting Joy Riggle, 242-0576, ext. 122.

Webinar: Farm Incubators 101  

May 22, 1pm-2:30pm 


This webinar
from the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project National Technical Assistance Initiative will cover how the new National Farm Incubator Technical Assistance Initiative can help  farm incubator projects, the reasons for starting a farm incubator, and presentations on how veteran incubator projects operate successful and diverse programs. Learn more here.
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

Agritourism Resource Guide Application   

Deadline: May 18, 2012


The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) is updating its information on agritourism attractions in the state for an upcoming Agritourism Resource Guide. Farms and attractions interested in being included in the guide should apply here. Questions should be directed to WVDA Marketing Specialist Debra Gard at, 304-483-4027 or 304-424-3415

Graduate Student Research Grants  

Deadline: May 25, 2012


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education is giving grants up to $15,000 is for graduate students who are researching topics in sustainable agriculture that will serve the interests of farmers and agricultural service providers. Projects should explore the themes of good stewardship, profitability, and quality of life for farmers and the farm community. Open to grad students enrolled at an accredited college, university, or veterinary school in the Northeast region (which includes WV). Learn more here.  

Farm to Cafeteria Conference Scholarships   

Deadline: May 31, 2012


Scholarships are available to cover the early bird registration fee for the 6th Annual Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Burlington, VT August 2-5, 2012. The conference will bring together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs, students and others who are breaking down barriers and expanding the impact of Farm to Cafeteria. Learn about scholarships and volunteer opportunities here

Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants 

Deadline: July 24, 2012


Grant funding is available for Cooperative Development Centers, individual Cooperatives, or Groups of Cooperatives that serve socially-disadvantaged groups and where a majority of their governing board is comprised of members of socially-disadvantaged groups or at least 75 percent of their membership is comprised of socially-disadvantaged producers. The primary objective of the SSDPG program is to provide Technical Assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Agricultural Producers. Learn more here. 


U.S. Congress Votes Database 


The U.S. Congress Votes Database, put together by The Washington Post, documents every member and vote of the House and Senate since 1991. Data is pulled from several sources, including the House clerk, the U.S. Senate and the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. For the 112th Congress, users can analyze members and votes by various metrics, including caucus affiliations, 2010 margin of victory, and member endorsements. Explore it here. 

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

Financing the Community Supported Farm     


The UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, with funding from Northeast SARE, produced a guide detailing options and considerations for crafting unconventional financial arrangements that have been used in other sectors of the economy, but might be new to the agricultural sector. The 62-page guide addresses legal, accounting, environmental and social considerations relevant to pursuing customized financial agreements, and contains examples of farms who have used alternative financing. Read it here.

Cooking Up Change: Culinary Students Transforming School Meals   


With limited ingredient lists, tight deadlines and real-life constraints, students in Cooking up Change are re-writing the recipe for school food. The contest challenges students to create a great-tasting school lunch that meets nutrition standards on a tight budget, using only ingredients commonly available for school food service. The meals have been served at Congressional briefings on the future of school food, where student chefs involved in Cooking up Change have spoken about their experiences and the importance of healthy eating in schools. Learn more here. 

Farm Finances: Organizing and Understanding Your Numbers 

Similar to starting any small business, starting a farm requires basic accounting and business management skills. This recorded webinar will help beginning farmers become familiar with basic accounting techniques and give tips on organizing and understand their numbers. Topics include: financial goal setting, understanding financial statements, assessing profitability and financial viability, record keeping, examining and minimizing costs, and seeking a loan. View this webinar anytime
This is YOUR space, YOUR newsletter and YOUR Coalition. If you have suggestions, announcements or resources you would like to share please contact us.
If you received this email from someone else, and would like to subscribe to the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition Newsletter, please visit this link to sign up.