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In This Issue
What's in the Farm Bill Webinar July 10
Harvesting and Packing Systems Master Class July 12
Grass-Based Dairy Webinar July 19
NE SARE Grant Deadline July 31
Rural Cooperative Development Grants Deadline August 6
Convergence Innovation Fund Deadline August 9
Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund Deadline September 1
America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest Deadline September 3
Community Participation Program
New Kentucky Farm to School Resources
Building Relationships with Regional Growers
New Agritourism Law in Kentucky

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 newsletter provides a biweekly selection of news, events, resources, and ideas that are helpful to farms and food access projects 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 initiative of the West Virginia Community Development HubIn addition to this newsletter, we also offer updates on specific food and farm topics.  To subscribe to special updates, go here and enter your email address.


West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition News

CAN Meat and Greet brings together farmers and processors 

WVFFC was proud to serve on the Planning Team for the Central Appalachian Network's "Meat & Greet" event for animal farmers and meat processors, which took place June 19-20 in Lewisburg.  Initiated by farmers in the Greenbrier Valley, the gathering featured presentations from three successful meat processors and lively open discussion about what needs to be done to build the local meat industry in Central Appalachia.  Many attendees said they gained a better understanding of issues in processing while making valuable business connections.  WVFFC sponsored members of its Processing Infrastructure Working Group, chaired by Nadine Perry of Black Oak Holler Farm, to participate.  A full report from the Central Appalachian Network is on the way.


Aggregators tour Monroe Farm Market

Members of a new WVFFC-supported Aggregation and Distribution Working Group, led by chair Jill Young of Greenbrier Valley Local Foods, visited Monroe Farm Market last week to learn about successes and challenges in aggregating local food.  The 20 attendees represented at least seven current and potential local food aggregators from around the state.  The day was enriched by presentations on aggregation and co-op development from Monroe Farm Market farmers, Tom McConnell of the WV Small Farm Center, the Office of the WV Secretary of State, and Brandy Brabham of Roane County WVU Extension Service.  If you are interested in this topic you view our recorded presentations from Monroe Farm Market and two other regional aggregators here.

WVFFC-sponsored study in the news

Word is getting out about the economic potential of growing more WV produce!  The State Journal, Wetzel Chronicle, Pocahontas Times and WVU Research have all reported on the WVFFC-sponsored study "West Virginia Food System Assessement:  Seasonal Production and its Impacts." Among other things, the study shows that if West Virginia farmers grew enough fruits and vegetables to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents, the shift would generate 1,723 new jobs and contribute an additional $ 35.7 million in local sales.  The study was released by Downstream Strategies, LLC together with WVFFC, West Virginia University, West Virginia University Extension Service and the WV Small Farm Center


West Virginia Food News

Universal Free Lunch Pilot a success
This year the WV Department of Education's pilot Universal Free Meals program
offered free and well-balanced, made-from-scratch meals to all students in Fayette, Mingo, Lincoln and Mason Counties. These free meals to all students, regardless of their socio-economic classification, helped boost school and lunch consumption and to remove the stigma of free lunches. The Register-Herald reports here.

Grow Local, Go Local initiative ahead of schedule 

The Wetzel County local food initiative Grow Local, Go Local is nine months ahead of schedule. There are two community gardens and planters at four senior centers. One community garden is being used by ten families and produce from the other, planted by the Community Garden Committee, will be given away in the fall. Wetzel Chronicle reports here.    


Jefferson Co. Greenhouse Project teaches vets horticulture
The mission of the Patriot's Path Foundation in Jefferson County is to assist veterans with reintegration with the community as they complete their VA treatment. And with their Greenhouse Project, the goal is teaching vets about the business of horticulture. The Journal reports here

National Food News  

Farm Bill updates

On June 21, the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act (their version of the "farm bill") by a vote of 64-35. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Community Food Security Coalition and the Food Research and Action Center comment on the Senate bill.   

On July 5, the House Committee on Agriculture put out its draft of the farm bill, called the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM). See the committee's summary here. The committee is scheduled to begin mark-up on Wednesday, July 11, though it's uncertain as other things have been put on the agenda. NSAC comments on the draft here and explores the possibilities of next steps here.   


USDA animal ID rule could harm small farmers 

The USDA is on track to finalize a rule on Animal ID requirements this summer.  The rule does not seem to have any major changes from the version proposed last year, which would mean new tagging and paperwork requirements cattle and poultry owners across the country. Many organizations believe the USDA has not conducted a proper cost-benefit analysis and think the rule would hurt independent ranchers, small farmers, and backyard poultry owners. The Cornucopia Institute reports here. Read a letter that some organizations have written to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget here.


Local food economy growing in Pittsburgh   

In western Pennsylvania, the regional food supply infrastructure has been changing. Regional food service management companies, grocery store chains, and distributors are finding new ways to ensure food safety when purchasing local farm products. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports here

Upcoming Events
in and near West Virginia

What's in the Farm Bill? Webinar 

Tuesday, July 10 1-2:30pm


Join the Healthy Farms, Healthy People Coalition for a web forum which will provide analysis of the Senate-passed Farm Bill and shed light on what you can expect to see in the House, scheduled for mark-up on Wednesday July 11. The forum will include a panel of  experts in agriculture, food, and nutrition policy along with voices from communities outside of Washington. Learn more here

PASA Master Class: Harvesting and Packing Systems

Thursday, July 12 6-8:30pm

Valencia, Allegheny County, PA 


Presented by experienced vegetable grower Art King of Harvest Valley Farms, this demonstration-based workshop will include a tour of the King's farm, washing, packing, and storage facilities and introduce best-practices for managing a variety of crops for multiple sales channels. Art will share his techniques and equipment for washing and grading lines, cooling produce through refrigeration and the use of ice, harvesting containers, packing, and display.  Learn techniques to keep produce fresh for sale through farmers markets, wholesale, and CSA. A part of the PASA Back to Basics Learning Series. Learn more here.

Grass-Based Dairy Webinar 

Thursday, July 19 3:30-4:45pm  


This National Good Food Network webinar will include: information about the basics of dairy grazing, its environmental performance, and the growing market for pasture based dairy; a replicable case study of a successful grass-based dairy business, which will get into some of the practical considerations of transitioning to a managed grazing operation; and an introduction to the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program designed to train beginning and transitioning dairy farmers and help them get established on their own farms.Learn more here.
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

NESARE Research and Education grants   

Deadline: July 31, 2012

The NESARE Research and Education program funds outcome-based projects offering research, education, and demonstration projects that benefit farmers and explore new sustainable farm practices. The region covered by NESARE includes West Virginia.  Learn more  here.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG)  Deadline: August 6, 2012 

The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers who in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. Learn more here

  Convergence Innovation Fund

Deadline: August 9, 2012


The Convergence Partnership invites local and regional philanthropic institutions to submit proposals that will support the launch of new grant making initiatives designed to enhance the built environment and/or expand healthy food access in low-income communities and communities of color in order to improve health and promote equity. The Innovation Fund provides 50 percent matching dollars, up to $200,000 total, for a three-year period. Local organizations can initiate the proposal by approaching their local foundations. Learn more here.

CROPP's Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund  

Deadline: September 1, 2012

The Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) fund provides a way for CROPP cooperative's farmers to identify and support key issues facing the organic marketplace and organic agriculture. The FAFO Farmer Committee accepts proposals from individuals and organizations seeking funding for particular projects or programs dedicated to furthering organic education, organic farming or product research, and organic advocacy. Learn more here. 

America's Favorite Farmers Market Contest  

Deadline: September 3, 2012


The purpose of American Farmland Trust's America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest is to raise national awareness about local farmers markets, the role they play in supporting local farms, and the importance of protecting American farmland. Vote and learn more here. See also the Farmers Market Inspiration Award, deadline August 11. The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) seeks essays by farmers market producers that depict concrete examples of farmers market impacts: on-farm biodiversity, diversity among producers and customers, or diversity in the partnerships that help your farmers markets best serve your community.  Learn more here

WV Development Office Community Participation Program   

Applications accepted throughout the year 


The Community Participation Grant Program provides state grant funds for community and economic development projects throughout West Virginia. With community involvement, the Participation Program enables communities to expand, build and improve a variety of public facilities and services. Learn more here.

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

New Kentucky Farm to School Resources 


The Kentucky Farm to School Task Force developed a practical handbook for food service directors, farmers, and community members "interested in feeding Kentucky food to Kentucky kids in Kentucky schools." The Kentucky Farm to School website includes other helpful resources, including 9th-12th grade curriculum.   

Building Relationships with Regional Grocers  


Countryside Conservancy and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)'s latest specialty crop webinar, "Building Relationships with Regional Grocers," is now available here, along with many other neat resources.

New Agritourism Law in Kentucky 


On July 11, a new state law will take effect which will provide Kentucky agritourism operations with limited liability protection. Customers will have to be warned they are participating at their own risk, either with a posted sign or a signed waiver. Learn more here.
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