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In This Issue
Educating Your Processing Customers Webinar February 27
Better Process Control School February 27-28
Small Farm Conference February 28-March 2
Appalachian Grazing Conference March 8-9
Small Farm Webinar Series
Apply to be a Vender at the Winter Blues Farmers Market, Deadline February 15
Annie's Project Online Training March 1-April 15
Mid-Ohio Valley Growers Association Forming
Healthy and Sustainable Food Journalism Awards, Deadline February 28
Walmart State Giving Program, Deadline March 1
Lewisburg Farmers' Market Seeks Market Manager
CSA Health Insurance Rebate
"Homegrown by Heroes:" Promoting Farming for Vets in KY

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 Hub.  In 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

Citizens gather with decisionmakers for "Road Map for the Food Economy" Working Conference

Farmers, health advocates, agency officials and others from around the state came together for this conference on Tuesday, January 29 in Bridgeport, WV.  The conference showcased the past year's efforts by four Food and Farm Working Groups to bring more healthy local food from farm to table in West Virginia.  The purpose of the event was to build new partnerships and create collaborative plans for action in 2013.  Invited guests included policymakers, funders, top administrators and other officials who have influence in the state.  Learn more, and find conference proceedings here.


Presentation to Joint Committee on Agriculture & Agribusiness

On Jan. 7 a team including Savanna Lyons from the WV Food & Farm Coalition, Dan Eades from WVU Extension Service, and Tootie Jones from Monroe Farm Market presented to the WV Legislature's Joint Committee on Agriculture and Agri-business.  Dan focused on this recent study on the economic potential of meeting West Virginia's seasonal produce needs with WV produce, which could be done on existing farmland and would create over 1,700 jobs.  Tootie emphasized the important role of farmer co-ops in aggregating produce to realize this sales opportunity.  The State Journal reports here.   


Value Chain Cluster Initiative in the news
WVFFC Program Director Savanna Lyons, during an interview about the new Value Chain Cluster Initiative, says she hopes the program will make it safer for local farmers to try new things, innovate and experiment with less conventional business strategies.  The Fayette Tribune reports here

National Food News  

Farm Bill news

Last Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its first snapshot of the budget projections for 2014 and beyond, which includes farm bill spending.  The 2012 farm bill debate used the March 2012 CBO baseline, and compared to that March 2012 baseline, these projections stand out in the new version: SNAP, crop insurance, and overall conservation spending are projected to decline, while commodity programs are projected to increase.  These projections do not include the impact of automatic budget cuts (sequestration) scheduled to take effect on March 1.  Sequestration, unless postponed or changed at last minute, will force 5 percent cuts across the board on all USDA and FDA dicretionary programs, cuts that will be magnified by the fact they would be forced to happen in just half a fiscal year.  The biggest cut in dollars will be the WIC program.  To read more details and see specific numbers, read the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's analysis here.  

New USDA Microloan Program
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on January 15 a new microloan program from the USDA designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000.  The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.  The USDA reports here
Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us
Educating Your Processing Customers: Customer Manuals
February 27, 2013 1pm


This one-hour webinar is presented by the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.  Some processors give their new processing customers a "how to work with us" manual, to help with the education process.  This webinar will feature manuals used by two small plants: Wells Jenkins Wells, in North Carolina, and Homegrown Poultry, in Idaho.  The webinar will also show a downloadable template to write your own.  Speakers are Casey McKissick of NC Choices and Janie Burns from Homegrown Poultry. To attend, go here a few minutes before the start time and sign in as a guest.

Better Process Control School
February 27-28, 2013

Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV  


This FDA Training Course for Processors of Acidified Foods is Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology, in cooperation with the USDA, WVU Davis College, and WVDA.  This training takes place right before the Small Farm Conference.  The registration deadline is February 22, 2013.  Learn more here.
Small Farm Conference
February 28 - March 2, 2013
Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV 


This gathering of stakeholders in the future of local food and sustainable farming offers many types of trainings, production information and updates, and the opportunity to network and gather new ideas. Thursday offers day-long tracks, followed by the Winter Blues Farmers Market and Local Food Dine-Around.  Friday night will include a Local Food Banquet and Celebration with a keynote speaker, and Friday and Saturday are packed with workshops.  Learn more here
Appalachian Grazing Conference
March 8-9, 2013
Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV


The 2013 Appalachian Grazing Conference will include presentations of interest to those with cattle, goats and sheep. The Conference is a cooperative effort of the Greene County Conservation District PA, Southwest Project Grass Coordinating Committee, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts, West Virginia Conservation Agency, West Virginia Department of Agriculture and West Virginia University Extension Service.  Learn more here
2013 Small Farm Webinar Series, University of Illinois Extension
Various Webinars Through March


The 2013 Small Farms Webinar series will be held on Thursday afternoons at 1:00 pm, beginning January 10 and concluding March 28. The topics will be varied but designed for small farm application. Topics are: Raising Broiler Turkeys on Small Farms; Strawberry Production; Water Sanitation for Small Farms, Wildlife Damage Control; Basics of Fruit Insect Management; Farm Financial Management; Seed Saving; Managing Crop Rotations in High Tunnels; Farm to School Sales; Beneficial Insects; Weed Control in Pastures; and Crop Budgeting Resources.  Learn more here
(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

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

To use this calendar, scroll ahead to see what grant deadlines are coming up.  Also look back to see what grants came out last year, so you can anticipate the same grants coming out in the year ahead. 

Apply to be a Vender at the 5th Annual Winter Blues Farmers Market 
Deadline to Apply:  February 15, 2013   
This premier event gives all of WV small farmers the opportunity to showcase the bounty of West Virginia.  The WV Farmers Market Association is proud of this event and wants to economically demonstrate that small farmers mean big business.  Find details, guidelines, and the application here.  Contact Lesa Gay at 304-291-8014 or for more information or to request required forms. 

 Annie's Project Online Training - Women in Agriculture 

  March 1 - April 15, 2013


Annie's Project provides the training, resources and networking opportunities for West Virginia women to help build viable, efficient and sustainable farm businesses.  Annie's Project provides expert risk management training in business planning, record keeping, financial analysis, farm and food safety and networking.  The courses are customized to meet the needs in our region, providing a unique peer-learning environment and helping ensure that every class is a valuable learning experience.  This class, through WVU Extension Service, will be taught by Dee Singh-Knights.  Learn more here.

 Mid-Ohio Valley Growers Association Forming

Farmers and producers from Calhoun, Clay, Jackson, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties, working together with area service providers, such as the Mid-Ohio Health Department and WVU Extension, have recently formed The Mid-Ohio Growers Association, a network of partners committed to sustaining agriculture in their region and getting fresh, nutritious produce into the hands of people in the Mid-Ohio Valley.  Agricultural producers or local food supporters who are interested in participating in the association may call the Roane County Extension Office at 304-927-0975 for more details.

 Earth Day Network's Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Awards

 Deadline: February 28, 2013  


This competition for student journalists is designed to bring the hard facts about school food to entire school communities - in the students' own words.  Articles submitted for consideration must be about the need for healthy, sustainable school food and must have been published in a school newspaper.  Best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan will judge the finalists and select the winners!  Winners will be announced on Earth Day - April 22, 2013.  Learn more here.

Walmart State Giving Program 

 Deadline: March 1, 2013  


The Walmart State Giving Program awards grants from the Foundation of $25,000 to $250,000.  Grant projects must fit within one of the Walmart Foundation's core giving areas: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Women's Economic Empowerment, or Career Opportunity.  Learn more here.
Job Opportunities 

Lewisburg Farmers' Market Seeks Market Manager 


The Lewisburg Farmers' Market, Inc. is accepting applicants for the position of Market Manager for the 2013 season.  Applicants should have a passion for local foods, excellent communication skills, and be interested in helping the Lewisburg Farmers Market expand and flourish. This is a paid part-time position. For more information contact Lauren Brenner, or (814) 777-0562.  The market is also seeking vendors, read more here.   

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

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Health Insurance Rebate 


This concept was pioneered by FairShare CSA Coalition, which began this program in southern Wisconsin in 2005 with one local health plan and a small group of farms.  Eight years later, the program has grown to include four health plans and more than 40 farms.  Here's how it works: insurance policyholders read about member farms on the Coalition's website.  They then contact a farmer directly to sign up and pay up front for the share, as with any traditional CSA.  Finally, they fill out their respective health plan's CSA rebate form (available online) and mail/fax it to the health plan with proof of payment and a copy of their sign-up form.  A few weeks later, policyholders receive a reimbursement check for up to $100 for an individual contract or $200 for a family contract. Learn more here. 

"Homegrown by Heroes:" Promoting Farming for Veterans in Kentucky     


The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is putting its network of farm contacts into the Kentucky Proud Jobs for Vets Initiative and has come up with a new logo, Homegrown by Heroes, to put on veteran-grown products.  Read more here.  

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