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In This Issue
Local Meats Processing Webinar April 18
Berry/Bramble Production Workshop April 24
Cover Crop Mixes Webinar April 24
Real Food Real Local Conference May 15-17
KEYS 4 Healthy Kids Grants Deadline April 19
USDA Rural Energy for America Program Grants and Loans Deadline April 30
Nominations Sought for Appalachian Local Food Guide Deadline May 15
NESARE Graduate Student Grants Deadline May 21
Cigna Foundation Grants
USDA Microloans
SCRATCH Project YouTube Videos
Wild Food & Herb Markets Open in NC
Mobile Market Report Released

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.




WVFFC News - this month in the legislature!


WVFFC staff spent a good bit of time at the Capitol this month.  It was an exciting legislative session for local food, but there is still work to do.   


Items being considered:  

  • HCR 139:  A resolution  to create a new legislative working group on economic development and local agriculture -- this cited WVFFC's recent economic study (thanks to Del. Larry Williams and Tom McConnell) Currently in Senate Rules Committee (check status)  
  • SCR 47:  A resolution to study the cultivation of meat processing industry and its workforce.  This was proposed by WVFFC's Meat Processing Working Group.  Status:  not yet passed, in Senate Rules Commitee (check status)   

Bills that have passed:

  • SB 504Revisions to the WV cooperative law to clarify how agricultural groups can form cooperatives (thanks to hard work from Sen. Ron Miller, Tom McConnell and staff) 
  • SB 663:  The Feed to Achieve Act, which makes every child eligible for school lunch and breakfast in WV schools and enables private fundraising to improve school nutrition programs 

Last week the Meat Processing Working Group visited with Commission of Agriculture Walt Helmick, Dr Robert Pitts of WV Dept. of Agriculture Meat & Poultry Inspection Division, and several key legislators to discuss the working group's findings on how WV could expand meat processing options and support for slaughterhouses.  The meetings went very well, and WVDA was especially positive about expanding options for on-farm processing of poultry and rabbits.  For more information about the Meat Processing Working Group, contact working group chair Nadine Perry at


West Virginia Food News


Value Chain Cluster Initiative offers "Field to Fork" business development help   

WVFFC is part of a new program, the Value Chain Cluster Initiative, which provides hands-on business development and coaching services to strengthen local food and farm businesses in four regions of West Virginia.  If you live in one of 17 eligible counties, and are a new or existing producer, processor, aggregator or distributor of local food, you can apply for business planning help, legal assistance (e.g. contracts, incorporation), marketing and branding assistance, feasibility studies, and more.

Download a flyer here.  Learn more at

Permaculture Workshop a Success in Mingo County

A two day permaculture workshop was held in Mingo County on March 29 and 30, taught by the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute.  The workshop was hosted by the Williamson Redevelopment Authority, in conjunction with the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition.  Organizers said this was the first time permaculture methodology has been taught in the West Virginia coalfields.  The Williamson Daily News reports here.


National Food News


The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 Reintroduced in U.S. Senate and House

On Tuesday, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine introduced the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 in the Senate and House of Representatives.  The two identical bills expand business and marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers while increasing consumer access to healthy foods.  The legislation addresses production, aggregation, processing, marketing, and distribution barriers that limit growth in local and regional food markets.  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition reports here.  View details of the bill here.


Food Safety Modernization Act Updates

FDA is currently accepting public comments on two major proposed regulations - one affecting produce growers, and the other impacting facilities that manufacture and process food for human consumption.  Comments on the proposed rules are due May 16.  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has created a new food safety website with resources for farmers, on-farm processors, and consumers, and provides an overview and background of the Food Safety Modernization Act, information about the two proposed rules, and instructions on how to comment.  NSAC reports here.  

Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us
Webinar: Local Meats Processing Successes and Innovations 

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 3:30-5pm



During this National Good Food Network Webinar, Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders and co-coordinators of the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, will share the results of their research on this topic, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country.  The webinar will also feature several regional support efforts to improve access to local processing.  Find out more here

Berry/Bramble Production Workshop 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 6:30pm

The Highland Center, Monterey, VA


In this workshop, participants will learn about the basics of berry and bramble production and hear from a panel of local producers already growing.  Berry and bramble production is a fast growing industry, with marketing opportunities ranging from pick-your-own to direct sales to medicinal purposes.  There is no cost to attend and light refreshments will be served.  Presented by the Highland Center and Highland Farmers Market.  To RSVP, or for more information, call 540-468-1922 or email

Webinar:  Cover Crop Mixes: Getting the Cover Crop You Want
April 24, 2013, 2pm



This webinar will present ideas and concepts for using cover crops to address concerns, particularly soil health.  Learn more about the webinar here.  The NRCS East National Technology Support Center is hosting over 20 webinars on various topics throughout the 2013 year, including orchard floor management, crop rotations on diversified farms, livestock watering systems, pastured poultry, and year-round high tunnels.  

Second Annual Real Food - Real Local Conference 
May 15-17, 2013

Eclipse Town Company Store, The Plains, OH


Join this conference to discover a mature and collaboratively evolving Appalachian local food system and the many people and organizations that contribute to its vibrancy.  For those farming, processing, advocating, consuming, or involved with markets, you will benefit from the workshops, panels, speakers, and locally sources lunches.  Sponsored by Athens County Ohio, ACEnet, Rural Action, and Central Appalachian Network.  Find out 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. 

KEYS 4 Healthy Kids Grants
Deadline:  April 19, 2013

KYES 4 Healthy Kids will fund community projects that engage residents, create policy and/or environmental change, and promote environments that suppport healthy living.  Example projects:  community/youth gardens, farmers markets, corner market makeovers, ad community parks.  Eligible counties: Boone, Clay, Fayette, Jackson, Lincoln, Nicholas, Putnam, Raleigh, and Roane.  The Charleston Gazette reports here.  Find out more on the KEYS website here.

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants and Loans
Deadline for grants:  April 30, 2013
Deadline for loans:  July 15, 2013  

REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (Farm Bill) is designed to help agriculture producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the national critical energy needs.  The program offers grants, loans, and grant-and-loan combinations for renewable energy systems and energy-efficiency improvements, and grants for renewable energy system feasibility studies.  Find out more here.

Nominations Sought for Appalachian Local Food Guide
Nomination Deadline:  May 15, 2013  

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and American Heritage Publishing are partnering on the production of a tourist-oriented "mapguide" designed to boost tourism and stimulate economic development in Appalachia by showcasing its food-heritage and agritourism attractions.  Sites to be featured include local farms, farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, and other distinctive food-related destinations.  Watch the promotional video here, and learn more here.  Let's be sure West Virginia local food projects are well represented! 

NESARE Graduate Student Grants
Deadline:  May 21, 2013  

This NE Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) grant is for graduate students who are researching topics in sustainable agriculture that will serve the interests of farmers and agricultural service providers.  Find out more here.

Cigna Foundation Grants
Deadline:  Open
The Cigna Foundation provides funding to nonprofits working to promote wellness, expand opportunities, develop leaders, and strengthen community cohesiveness, particularly in communities where Cigna employees live and work.  Find out more here.
USDA Farm Service Agency Microloans
Microloans are direct farm operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche type operations.  Microloans can be used for all approved operating expenses as authorized by the Farm Service Agency Operating Loan Program.  There is no minimum loan amount, and the maximum amount is $35,000.  Find out more here, or contact your local FSA office.
Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)

SCRATCH Project YouTube Videos


The SCRATCH Project is a youth gardening project in Huntington, WV, managed by the WVSU Extension Service.  The project recently featured YouTube videos of their participants singing original songs about gardening.  Check out their "Garden Today" video, and find out more about their project here.

Wild Food & Herb Markets Open in NC


The United States' first ever wild food and herb market opened in Carrboro in March of this year, and takes place one Sunday a month.  The Wild Food & Herb Market is a "farmers" market featuring foragers, herbalists, wild food cultivators and local plant educators in the NC Piedmont.  The market provides wild food and medicinal herb enthusiasts a place to buy, sell, trade, and gather with others interested in wild food and herbs.  Another market has since started in Asheville, NC.  Reuters reports here.

Mobile Market Report Released


Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture released a report of the pilot season of their nonprofit mobile farmers market.  In addition to detailing operations and impact of their market, the report offers instruction for starting comparable mobile market projects in other low-income, food-insecure neighborhoods.  Read more here.

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