Newsletter header
In This Issue
March 26-28 Cover Crop Webinar
March 29 Ramp Dinner Fundraiser
April 2 Farm Credit Young Farm Institute
April 3 Farm Credit's Women In Agriculture
April 11-12 WV Urban Ag Conference, WVSU
April 12-26 Permaculture Design Course
April 14-16 Urban Agriculture Summit
Oct 20-22 Farmland Trust National Conference
JOB OPENING: KEYS4HealthyKids VISTA
March 30 Food Hub Development Grant
2015 Farm to School Grants
May 1 Fund-a-Farmer Grant
Proposals For Rural Communities
May 15 Organic Farming Research Grant
June 13 / Sept 19 RGK Foundation Grant
Organic Transition Grant
May 31 Captain Planet Ecotech Grant
June 15 Aquaponics Micro Grant
World Hunger Leadership Challenge
Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program
Enjoy Ramps Year Round
Rural Blogger Success
 

The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is a statewide network of people involved in building West Virginia's food and farm sectors. Our interconnected goals are to improve access to healthy, locally-produced food for all West Virginians while helping viable food and farm businesses to grow.   The Coalition was launched in 2010 by the West Virginia Community Development Hub, but is on its way to becoming an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to food and agriculture issues. 

 

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.

 

Read more on our website.  

 

Join WVFFC's Mailing List!

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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

 

WVFFC Hosts Beckley Local Food Expo on March 13

This event was designed to facilitate business relationships between local farmers and buyers to encourage volume sales between these groups and bring more local foods to West Virginians. The event was attended by 60+ farmers, buyers, restauranteurs, and service providers. A delicious lunch featuring local items was provided by Gumbo's restaurant of Fayetteville and local farmers. Thanks to all that attended, and you can read about the event here  and Click here to view the Buy-Grower Directory that was produced as a result of the Expo.

 

West Virginia Food News   

  

Winter Blues Farmers Market

The Winter Blues Farmers Market, hosted by the West Virginia Farmers Market Association and the WVU Small Farms Center,

occurs each year in conjunction with the WVU Extension's annual Small Farm Conference in the Morgantown area. The market's purpose is to not only show this can be done in the deepest of winter weather, but also to demonstrate statewide farmers participating in best practices such as collecting gross sales information; accepting Electronic Benefits Transfers (EBT) and credit cards; and requiring local, producer-only ingredients. This years Market on Feb. 27 was very successful and was attended by nearly 2,000 people!  The 35 vendor 4-hour market grossed sales over $25,000, including $235 in SNAP benefits. With the average sales for farmers market in WV at $152 per vender each market day, the Winter Blues Market was a huge success-- garnering an average of $700 in sales per vendor! 

 

SAGE Constructs an Organic Micro-farm on Charleston's West End   

Our friends at Charleston Area Alliance's Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs Program have been working hard building garden beds for a micro-farm on Charleston's West Side at the intersection of Rebecca Street and 6th Avenue.  This space will be the site of educational programs as well as a venue to literally grow the economy of the Charleston metro area. Read more about the project here from the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

WV's First National FFA Officer in over 40 years

19 year old Wes Davis of Point Pleasant proudly represents the state of WV as the Eastern Region Vice President of the National Future Farmers of America. Davis, a WVU sophomore studying Ag Education and Agribusiness Management, gave a heart-felt address to the attendees of the 2014 Small Farms Conference in Morgantown at the beginning of March. Check out his story that was recently featured on WV Public Radio.  

 

The Wild Ramp is Expanding

The Wild Ramp is a year-round community-supported farmers' market in Huntington that provides a retail outlet for over 120 local farmers and food producers. The Wild Ramp will be moving to Central City this Spring and has big plans for its West End location! The expansion ensures that producers will will have access to more cold storage and a larger retail space. A partnership between Wild Ramp Farmers and the Cabell County Tailgate Farmers' Market Association will increase sales of local food to area restaurants and schools.  The Wild Ramp operates on an average of 500 hours of volunteer labor per month to maintain the market.   

 

Agritourism and WV Bed & Breakfasts 

B&B's are not just for sleeping-- many of these facilities in the state are agritourism destinations that include such activities as catch and release trout streams, local gourmet dinners, and mountaintop dining. Read more about WV B&Bs in this article from the Charleston Gazette.  

 

What's Next for West Virginia?

If you could only use six words, how would you express your ideas for the future of WV? WV Public Broadcasting is asking you to join in and share your thoughts about how to describe the future of our state to be published on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their website. Picture submissions are also welcome.  At WVFFC, we would use those six words to relate the positive impact that food and farming can have on the state's economy, health, and culture. It would be wonderful if you also included agriculture into your vision in order to show project participants just how powerful a tool food and farming entrepreneurship can be in shaping the future of the Mountain State. Click here for submission details. 

 

 

National Food News  

 

USDA Suffering from Shortage of Meat Inspectors

New federal inspection programs and dwindling numbers of meat inspectors are contributing to meat and poultry contamination issues that the US has been experiencing recently including the 9 million pounds of beef recently recalled that was processed by California based company Rancho Feeding Cooperation.  For more info on the impact of this shortage, check out this New York Times article. 
 
Rising Food Costs
Have you noticed rising food costs at the grocery store?  There are several wide ranging reasons that certain items have recently skyrocketed in price including a devastating swine epidemic and drought and fungicide issues in Brazil.  Read more about food costs in The Washington Post
Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us ! 

Cover Crop Webinar Series  

March 20 & 27 

 

The American Society of Agronomy is hosting a four part webinar series will focus on improving soil health by incorporating cover crops.  The why and how will be discussed along with the related management decisions that lead to success.  Each session will have a technical expert along with a farmer who has incorporated cover crops and will share their experiences. Planned dates are March 20 and 27, 2014.  

A Fancy Ramp Dinner: Celebrating Spring Tonics in Appalachia
March 29, 2014 6:00PM 
Mountain View Event Center, Buckhannon 
 

Join Fish Hawk Acres for a ramp diner fundraiser to benefit The New Appalachian Farm & Research Center. Ticket cost is $35 and the event requires reservations which can me made via email to chefhawkins@gmail.com or by calling 304-704-2535.   Visit Fish Hawk Acre's Facebook page to check out the mouth-watering menu. 

Farm Credit's Young Farmer Institute  

April 2, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM 

WV State Fairgrounds WVU Building

891 Maplewood Avenue, Fairlea, WV

 

Farm Credit is hosting the Young Farmer Institute which will focus on family and business affairs. Young Farmers with any interest are welcome to attend, however due to the focus, those that are expanding family operations or figuring out their role in the family's evolving agribusiness will find this training particularly useful.  Other topics that will be tackled are industry news and trends, global and domestic economics in decision making, steps to business expansion, and many more. Call (304)645-1575 to register  

Farm Credit's An Afternoon for Women in Ag  

April 3, 2:00 - 6:00 PM 
Mountain View Event Center Buckhannon, WV

 

Join Farm Credit for an afternoon of supporting Women in Ag. Demonstrations include beekeeping with Joyce Frey, Cooking with Dale Hawkins, and canning Julie Mallow.  Food will be provided and various vendors will be present.
RSVP March 20 by calling the Farm Credit Clarksburg office at 304-624-5551 

The WV Urban Ag Conference
April 11-12, WV State University Institute, WV 
 

The WV Urban AG Conference is a great opportunity for urban homesteaders and gardeners to learn about garden basics, marketing farm products, home preserving, and more in a hands-on workshop format. There will be a local foods dinner on Friday night and a trade show featuring a variety of exhibitors. For more information, contact John Porter at info@urbanagwv.com or (304)720-9887 Click here to register.

Ashevillage Permaculture Design Course

 April 12-26, Asheville, NC

 

This two-week long Permaculture Design Course offers a comprehensive smorgasbord of lectures, slideshows, group design projects, field trips, live-stream presentations, and hands-on activities. Participants will gain tools, skills and experience with integrated design systems; time-tested, earth-based traditions; common-sense approaches that address real-world challenges; and the collaborative development of an integrated design plan for a real community project. You can register and find more information here.

Urban Agriculture Summit

April 14-16, Lynchburg VA  

 

The Virginia Food System Council, Lynchburg Grows, VCE VDACS and The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation are hosting a two day conference addressing multiple aspects of agricultural and health issues in urban settings.  This is slated to be an annual event bringing together 150-200 participants in Virginia's community. Find more information and register here 

American Farmland Trust's National Conference  

Oct 20-22, Lexington, KY  

 

The Farmland, Food and Livable Communities conference focuses on farming, land use, and food policy. If you have an interest in the impact that land use has on food systems, economic development, job creation, and agricultural viability, visit the conference website here.  

Job Opportunities in and near West Virginia
Do you have jobs that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us ! 

KEYS 4HealthyKids VISTA 

       Charleston; Putnam County 
Deadline: April 1

 

KEYS 4 HealthyKids is a non-profit organization located in Charleston, WV dedicated to reducing obesity by increasing access to healthy food and physical activity.  KEYS does its work through policy, system, and environmental change.

Two VISTA positions are available: Farm to Childcare- a project focusing on establishing a pilot program in Kanawha and/or Putnam County childcare centers and School Gardens- centering on assisting the School and Youth Garden Support Network and working on curriculum development and coordinating projects with school administrators and teachers.

For more information contact:
Farm to Childcare - mpate@stepbystepwv.org 
School Gardens - jessa.pollitt@yahoo.com
For specifics on either position, Laura.dice@camc.org
Opportunities
(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. 

Food Hub Development Grant 
Deadline: March 30, 5:00PM 
 

The Strengthening Small-Scale Sustainable Farming and Local Food Systems by Accelerating Food Hub Development program, funded by Walmart Foundation, will build on the significant work of Wallace's National Good Food Network (NGFN) initiative to support food hub development and build capacity among small and mid-size farms throughout the U.S. to access regional markets, with an emphasis on targeting minority and female farmers.   View the application request here.   

USDA Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Farm to School Grants to Continue Efforts to Increase Local Foods in Eligible Schools
Deadline: Apr 2, 11:59PM 
 

Grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts to increase local foods in qualifying schools. Click here for more grant information. 

Appalachian Foodshed Project  
Enhancement Grant
Deadline: May April 7, 5:00PM 
 

This grant seeks to fund projects that improve community food security in manners that meet the needs of vulnerable populations facing food insecurity.  View the request for applications here.  

Fund-a-Farmer Project Grant
Deadline: May 1   
 

Food Animal Concerns Trust's Fund-a-Farmer Project awards grants for projects that help family farmers transition to pasture-based systems, improve the marketing of their humane products, or enrich the conditions in which the farm animals are raised. They aim for a American food system that is both financially and ecologically sustainable.  Check out the proposal request here.  

Citizens' Institute on Rural Design Invites Proposals for Rural Communities Facing Design Challenges
Deadline: May 6
 

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design works with rural communities  of 50,000 or less to enhance their quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. If your community could benefit from a grant program that helps them leverage cultural assets and work with local leaders and professionals to creatively address inefficient design and infrastructure, read here for more information.  

Organic Farming Research Foundation Grant
Deadline: May 15

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) encourages farmers, ranchers, researchers, and Extension personnel to  applying for funding to work with a professional researcher in order to design and carry out a research project. Read here for more information. 

RGK Foundation Grants

Deadline: June 13 & Sept 19, rolling


The RGK Foundation invites grant proposals in the areas of education, community, and health & medicine. Their primary interests include programs that focus on formal K-12 education (particularly math, science, and reading), teacher development, literacy, and higher education.  Click here for the full RFP. 

Integrated Research, Education, and Extension Competitive Grants Program - Organic Transitions (ORG)
Deadline: April 4, 2014  
 

The overall goal of the Organic Transitions Program (ORG) is to support the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices.   Check here for application guidelines.  

Captain Planet Foundation Ecotech Grant
Deadline: Rolling through May 31, 2014 as funds allow 
 

The Captain Planet Foundation is accepting proposals for grants to be awarded to schools or non-profits organizations focusing on engaging children in inquiry-based projects in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that use innovation, biomimicry / nature-based design, or new uses for technology to address environmental problems in their communities - Learn more here.

Aquaponics Association Micro Grant
Deadline: June, 15 2014   

 

The goal of this program is to increase public awareness, understanding, and knowledge of aquaponics as an educational tool, a hobby, or a business in providing a source of fresh, local, healthy food. Preference is given to educational/outreach based activities that focus on developing aquaponics systems or a plan to move existing growing systems toward aquaponics.  View the application here.   

The World Hunger Leadership Challenge
Deadline: April 11  

The World Hunger Leadership Challenge was created by the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation and the Lift a Life Foundation, with assistance from the Yum! Foundation, to encourage middle and high school students to hone leadership skills by completing a service-learning project that solves hunger issues. Watch the video here.

Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program
Deadline: Rolling

Whole Foods Market is providing up to $25 million in low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans. Read about program details here.   
Food for Thought
(fruitful reading, research & case studies)

Using Ramps Year-round 

Are you eagerly awaiting ramp season?  Do you wish you could enjoy these forest delicacies all year long? Punk Domestics, a website dedicated to sharing resources relating to food preservation, has complied an amazing list that includes plethora of ramp preserving techniques and recipes.  Check out the recipes here if you long for that ramp stench 12 months a year.

Rural Bloggers Find a Strong Urban Fan Base 

Literature based on farm life and rural experiences has long been a staple in human civilization.  Many farmers and food producers are flocking to the blogosphere to share their accounts of daily tasks, struggles, and joys that often remain foreign to urban communities.  Blogs provide a realm in which to share life as a rural American food producer with folks who are disconnected from their food sources. 
This is YOUR space, YOUR newsletter and YOUR Coalition. If you have suggestions, announcements or resources you would like to share please contact us.
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