Newsletter header
In This Issue
Support WV Food & Farm Coalition
North Central Farm Gathering
FSMA Changes due to Comments
WV Beginning Farmer Survey
Grow Ohio Valley
WV Beginning Farmer Survey
2014 WV Fairs & Festivals
Leadership and Organizing Training
VC2 Electronic Media Tools Training
Oct 18-23, Regenerative Farm Enterprise Planning
Oct 20-22, Farmland Trust National Conference
Oct 20-22, Farmland Trust National Conference
Nov 7 & 8, VC2 Wholesale Success Workshop
Nov 11-10, Slow Money National Gathering
Nov 17, Webinar: Square Foot Gardening
Deadline Oct 1: CSX Food Access/Transport Grants
Deadline Oct 1: CSX Food Access/Transport Grants
Deadline Oct 15: Lowe's Toolbox For Education Grants
Deadline Oct 1: Animal Welfare Grants
USDA RFA: Unprocessed Fruit & Vegetable Pilot
Deadline Oct 31: Plum Creek Foundation Grants
Deadline Nov 4: NESARE Partnership Grants
Deadline Nov 12: USDA Rural Community Development Initiative
Deadline Nov 13: RWJF Health Policy Fellows
Deadline Dec 2: NESARE Farmer Grants
Sustainable Soil Management Resource
Deadline Jan 9: Kitchen Gardeners International
Deadline Jan 31: Aetna Student Health Award
WV FSA Loans
5 Year Report: Double Up Food Bucks
5 Year Report: Double Up Food Bucks

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.  



West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition greatly appreciates the support of our funders, The Appalachian Regional Commission,The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, BB&T, Central Appalachian Network, Change the Future WV, One Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, US Economic Development Administration, and the WV Department of Agriculture.  This support enables WVFFC to continue to fulfill our mission.

WVFFC Staff & Board 
Elizabeth SpellmanExecutive Director
Stephanie TyreeDirector of Community Engagement & Policy
Brandon HolmesPolicy Analyst
Kelly CraneOutreach Coordinator
Garnet BruellAmeriCorps OSM/VISTA
Megan SmithProgram Coordinator
Cheryl BrownPresident
Mike KwasniewskiVice President
Rob HintonTreasurer
Kent SpellmanSecretary
Brooke Nissam-Sabat
Susan Jones
Marlo Long
Hannah Vargason
Join WVFFC's Mailing List!

Like us on Facebook

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 is proud to provide support for food and agriculture efforts around West Virginia by convening Food and Farm Working Groups, creating resources, growing the local foods network, organizing trainings and events, offering mini-grants, and providing strategic policy support to stakeholders. Our budget relies on raising funds in order to keep our work accessible to all. Will you support us today? 

October 29, 2014
I-79 Technology Park, Fairmont, WV  

This gathering of farmers and food related businesses features workshops and trainings organized by YOUR local food and farm groups to meet the needs of North Central WV!

Topics Include:
Small Fruits
Branding Strategies
Backyard Chickens
Buyer-Grower Expo
Production Planning
Farmer Marketing
.....AND MORE 


New WVFFC Website

Get ready to change your bookmarks! Our newly designed website will be going live at by mid October. Note: the previous website can still be found at



West Virginia Food News

West Virginia Cattle Farmers Are Building the Local Food Economy They Need to Thrive
Farmers working to build West Virginia's local meat economy are finding out that their fate lies in the success of all aspects of the local meat ecosystem.  Read more about a Greenbrier Valley meat farmer's struggles and victories within the local food system.  Erin L. McCoy with Yes! tells the story.

Malden Salt-Works in Finals for Contest

Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne, siblings and co-owners, along with partners Gaddy Engineering, of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works in Malden entered their company in Martha Stewart's American Made competition  They have now made it into the finals.

The contest draws hopefuls from coast to coast and spotlights American companies that Martha Stewart Living magazine and its readers believe could be the next generation of entrepreneurs and artisans who make "beautiful, inspiring, useful products; pioneering new industries; improving local communities; and changing the way we eat, shop, work and live."  Read more about the business and contest in the Charleston Gazette here.

Online Farm Market is putting farm food on the table in Charleston 
Farmers in Monroe County were facing an overabundance of farm grown produce, meat, and value added product and a lack of local consumers.  Find out how a WVU Extension project allowed these farmers to use 21st Century technology to connect with consumers across the state.  Read the story from The Register-Herald here.

National Food News
October is National Farm to School Month and Cooperatives Month

Farm to School programs are increasing nationally each year and putting more nutritious, local foods on our childrens' lunch plates. In school year 2011-2012, schools purchased $386 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers. An impressive 56 percent of school districts report that they will buy even more local foods in future school years. Farm to school programs exist in every state in the country. (USDA, 2014)


Farm to School programs enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools. WVFFC has numerous resources and an in-depth knowledge on Farm to School programs in West Virginia. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative from current practitioners, WVFFC can link you with businesses and schools already participating in Farm to School.  WVFFC also has a Working Group that focuses on school gardening curricula in WV.  Click here to get more information or to join the Working Group.

You can learn more about Farm to School program around the country from programs like the National Farm To School Network.  

Cooperatives are celebrating Cooperative Month in October, too! WVFFC's Aggregation and Distribution Working Group, with the help of many food-related businesses, is currently making recommendations for a Cooperative law in West Virginia.  If you have interest in Cooperatives please consider joining this Working Group.  To do so, contact WVFFC Executive Director, Elizabeth Spellman.

The National Cooperative Business Association invites you to participate in this year's Co-op Month by recognizing  "The Co-op Connection" to the world around us. Celebrate the cooperative difference, our proud cooperative heritage and all the ways we connect with each other, our communities and our world.


The USDA Launches New Local Directories
The USDA recently announced the launch of four USDA Local Food Directories, including three new local food directories for food hubs, community-supported agriculture operations and on-farm markets. There are over 8,200 farmers markets listed with their locations, operating hours and other details.

These valuable online tools give potential customers, business partners and community planners easy, one-stop access to the most current information about sources of local foods. 

  • USDA's National Food Hub Directory - A Food Hub is a business that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. 
  • USDA's National On-Farm Market Directory - An On-Farm Market is a farm market managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm property or on property adjacent to that farm. 
  • USDA's National Farmers Market Directory - Farmers markets feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location.
Find out more about the local directories on the USDA website

Don't see your farm or market? click here to complete the short registration process. 

WVFFC Comments on FSMA

In November of 2013 the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition weighed in on the impacts that the Food & Drug Administration's proposed "Produce Rule" would have on West Virginia farms. The Produce Rule is part of the "Food Safety Modernization Act,' or FSMA; a sweeping set of new regulations aimed at improving the safety of America's food supply with regard to foodborne illness. Many of the requirements of the proposed rule would place a major burdens on Appalachian farms, particularly those practicing sustainable and organic techniques. In an effort to give farmers a voice, the Coalition submitted four pages of comments to FDA back in November asking them to revisit the requirements and make several changes. Last week the FDA announced that it did indeed make several changes to the proposed rules, including on many of the points we raised last year.


In our original comments to FDA, the Food & Farm Coalition asked FDA to issue a completely new set of rules that better takes into account the realities of small farm and sustainable agriculture.  FDA did not re-open the entire Produce Rule, but instead made some changes to five different areas Rule related to water quality standards, use of manure and other amendments, wild animals on farms, how FDA determines who is covered, and their administrative procedure to withdraw an exemption. All five are areas that the Food & Farm Coalition asked FDA specifically to review (read an overview of our requests to FDA here).


FDA did not address the Food & Farm Coalition's request to differentiate between foodborne illness originating on the farm and that originating at later food processing stages. The agency also did not address the need to protect the ability to have domesticated and work animals in the field.


The Food & Drug Administration is currently accepting comments to the supplemental rule only. The WV Food & Farm Coalition is in the process of reviewing the new rules to determine how they will impact small farms in West Virginia. We will be working with stakeholders and partner organizations, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, to assemble feedback and guidance for the FDA's latest round of regulatory proposals. Watch WVFFC's website for updates on how you can make your voice heard regarding the Supplementary Produce Rule.



West Virginia Farmers Market Association Tackles Farmers Market Permitting Issues

The WV Farmers Market Association has been working for over a year to study and address the issues that exist surrounding farmers market permitting.  We have surveyed our stakeholders extensively to identify the root problems, and then again to vet potential solutions.  We have since been working with administrative and legislative representatives to provide them with this information, so that they can address these issues in a way that makes sense for both farmers market vendors and the regulatory agencies that they work with.


If you want to learn more about the issue and about potential solutions, please feel free to download the following PowerPoint presentation, given at the recent Healthy Kids and Families Policy Symposium to learn more:  Farmers Market Permitting - Policy Syposium - 09-09-2014


[Note: You can also download this file as a pdf, but not all of the notes will be visible from the PowerPoint:  Farmers Market Permitting - Policy Syposium - 09-09-2014]


West Virginia Highlight

YouTube Video: Access to Local, Healthy food in Williamson, WV 
CSX and The Conservation Fund's West Virginia Healthy Food Initiative
CSX and The Conservation Fund's West Virginia Healthy Food Initiative

Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us ! 

WV Beginning Farmer Survey 

This survey is part of a program by the Greenbrier Valley Local Foods Initiative to gauge the needs of prospective and beginning farmers in the state. If you are a beginning farmer or are interested in pursuing a career in farming in West Virginia, please take the survey here

WV Fairs & Festivals 

Help boost agritourism in West Virginia by attending an agriculture or food related festival this Fall. Check out Goldenseal's Folklife Fairs & Festivals Calendar for a list of all the events that WV has to offer. Upcoming fairs include Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival Oct 16-19 in Martinsburg and Bridge Day Oct 18 in Fayetteville. 

Leadership and Organizing Training
Oct 17, Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9
3:30 pm-5 pm
Charleston, WV

The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition will be hosting a four part series of community organizing and writing workshops from October through January.  These training sessions are free, open to anyone, and led by experienced trainers Stephen Smith and Kate Long!

Training sessions include:
  • Oct. 17-Organizing 101: The 6 Steps to Community Organizing
  • Nov 14-The Melian Debate: Practicing the Skills of Power and Negotiation
  • Dec 12-Build a Neighborhood: Organizing, Team-Building, and Poverty
  • Jan 6-Language as an Organizing Tool: Writing and Talks that Grab People
Please RSVP to   

VC2 Electronic Media Tools Training
Oct 15, Fayette Institue of Technology
Oct 16, Spencer Library
Oct 22, Doddridge County Ext Office
Oct 23, Barbour County Ext Office


This training is for farmers, restaurant owners, aggregator groups, specialty foods producers, and other agriculture-related business owners who want to learn to set up and use a Facebook page or website in order to let consumers know where to find their products. These tools are important in connecting today's customers to the variety of fresh farm products your business has to offer. RSVP for the training contact Liberty Newberry-Fetty at

Blue Ridge Permaculture: Regenerative Farm Enterprise Planning 
Oct 18-23, Shannon Farm Community, Afton VA

This 6-day course integrates time-tested farm business planning tools with the holistic landscape planning of permaculture and cutting-edge creative financing strategies. Experienced leaders will guide participants through an intensive planning/design process, from initial visioning, through successional enterprise budgeting, to design of the farm landscape. In this dynamic course, participants will design in teams working on a shared project, with structured time for participants to integrate what they are learning with their own goals and projects. Special sessions will bring in the insight of experienced permaculture farmers. $555. Registration and information 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.  

West Virginia Agritourism Initiative:  Combining Agriculture, Economics, and Education on Your Farm 

Classes held once a month from Nov-Feb

Online Course runs Jan-March 

Helping local farmers create and profit from farm-based tourism opportunities is the idea behind WVU Extension Service's new Agritourism Initiative - a training program for aspiring and beginning agritourism operators.


WVU and industry experts will engage participants in a series of four, day-long training sessions in areas like risk-management, marketing, hospitality management and business collaborations.


Classes are held regionally or online.  Click here to get more information or to register.

VC2 Wholesale Success Workshop 

Nov 7 Beckley, Nov 8 Tygart Valley, Locations TBA


At the request of local organizations, VC2 is excited to host the seasoned trainer and wholesale farmer Atina Diffley from the organization, an initiative of the USDA. Diffley will present the acclaimed Wholesale Success training on Nov 7 in the Beckley region and on Nov. 8 in the Tygart Valley region. This training will support growers to be successful in wholesale through the following components: maintaining product quality and food safety through cooling, curing, and cleaning produce; packing shed design; grading and packaging; and more! Whether you are already selling to restaurants, schools, hospitals, or other wholesale channels, or just wanting to improve your practices to have better products for the farmers market, this nationally-known training is not one to miss! Exact locations TBA. For more information and to be included in future outreach, contact Mary Oldham at

WVU Extension Presents:  Inaugural Women in Agriculture Conference 

Nov 14-15, Stonewall Jackson Resort

Roanoke, WV


An inaugural event that will provide networking opportunities, promote leadership development, provide tours of diverse operations, support positive agriculture and natural resources policy development, and provide production and marketing education for any agricultural service providers and female agriculture producers and agribusiness women across West Virginia. For more information or to register click here.

Webinar: Square Foot Gardening

Nov 17, 4:00pm, Online  


This webinar will explore ways for you to get the most out of your existing school garden space. Matthew Doris, Food Service Director & Chef, Tuckahoe Common School District in Southampton, NY, will discuss the concept of square-foot gardening and using bigger beds for growing vegetables. It will compare yields with these techniques Vs traditional gardening methods, and learn about the food cost savings of square-foot gardening for your school lunch program. Free. Registration 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. 

Farm to School West Virginia is hiring AmeriCorps VISTAs

Various locations in WV


The WV Farm to School initiative is looking for AmeriCorps members to serve in Cabell, Kanawha, and Pocahontas counties, at North Elementary in Monongalia County, and in RESA 1 (covering McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, Wyoming counties). Members will help their site develop school gardening programs, help teachers utilize garden-based curriculum in their classrooms, connect public schools with local farmers, and help market and publicize Farm to School related achievements. Each site has set slightly different priorities for their members based on individual site's needs. 


For more information, please visit  Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Emily Landseidel, Coordinator for the WV Office of Child Nutrition's Farm to School AmeriCorps members at

National School Lunch After School Snack Program

Deadline: Ongoing


Funding for schools to provide after school snacks to low-income children who participate in the National School Lunch program.  To learn more click here. 

Lowe's Toolbox For Education Grants
Deadline: October 15th, 2014


Between $2000 and $5000 grants are available for funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) as well as landscaping/clean up type projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit will be favored. Please note the grant money cannot be used to pay for memorials, stipends, salaries, artists in residence, field trips, scholarships, or third party funding. Only 10% of any award granted can be used toward outside resources such as labor, installation, consultation and delivery. See eligibility information and application here.

Walmart Foundation

Deadline: October 31, 2014


Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to local nonprofit organizations in support of initiatives in the areas of hunger relief and healthy eating, sustainability, women's economic empowerment, and/or career opportunities.


To apply visit the click here to visit the Walmart Foundation website.

Whole Kids Foundation

Deadline: October 31, 2014



WHOLE KIDS FOUNDATION is offering grants to schools and nonprofit organizations working at schools to support edible gardens at schools serving any grade K-12. These grants of $2,000 are awarded in the U.S. and Canada. Consideration is given to new or existing garden projects at any stage of development, whether planning, construction, or operation, that help children engage with fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit the Foundation's website here to complete the online application.


Plum Creek Foundation Grants
Deadline: October 31st, 2014


The mission of the Plum Creek Foundation is to provide charitable contributions to community organizations to support and improve the general welfare and quality of life in the communities where Plum Creek serves. Grant awards of up to $10,000 are available for Human service organizations, educational institutions, youth organizations, hospital and medical programs, cultural organizations, environmental education and conservation programs, and civic service organizations. Read more information and apply here.

NESARE: Partnership Grants

Deadline: Nov 4th, 2014


Partnership Grants are reserved for agricultural service providers--extension staff, nonprofits, consultants, state departments of agriculture, and others working in the agricultural community--who want to conduct on-farm demonstrations, research, marketing, and other projects with farmers as active cooperators. See more information and apply here. 

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)

Deadline: Nov 12th, 2014


Grants of up to that will be awarded to organizations to provide critical financial and technical assistance to recipients to develop and strengthen their capacity to carry out housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects. Recipients must be non-profit organizations, low-income rural communities, or federally recognized tribes. Intermediary organizations are required to provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. The grants do not go directly to business recipients but rather through qualified intermediaries. Grants must be between $50,000 and $250,000. For more information click here.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows

Deadline: Nov 13th, 2014


This fellowship is an opportunity for midcareer health professionals and behavioral and social scientists with an interest in health and health care policy promoting the health of the nation. Fellows participate in the policy process at the federal level and use that leadership experience to improve health, health care and health policy. Read more here.

NESARE: Farmer Grant

Deadline: Dec 2nd, 2014


Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. A technical advisor--often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional--must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices. Find more information and apply here.

Food Insecurity Nutrition Initiative Program
Deadline:  December 15, 2014 

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a new Farm Bill program, brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. Under FINI, applicants may propose relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects. Funded projects will test community based strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies, that would inform future efforts.

NIFA will give priority to projects that:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants, which would inform future efforts
  • Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that could be replicated or scaled
  • Use direct-to-consumer sales marketing
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • Provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target audience
  • Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities.
FINI is a joint effort between NIFA and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. This solicitation combines funds for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. There will not be a solicitation in fiscal year 2015. Applications are due Dec. 15, 2014.

Kitchen Gardeners International: Grants For Food Gardens

Deadline: January 9th, 2015


The grant is for nonprofit causes or organizations (schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.) interested in starting or expanding food garden projects that are of general benefit to their community.  Past grantees include school gardens, community gardens, food bank gardens, library gardens, senior gardens, prison gardens and homeless shelter gardens among others. Read more and apply here. 

Aetna Student Health Award

Deadline: January 31st, 2015


Through the  program, one or more grants of $5,000 will be awarded to support the creation of novel wellness solutions and programs that address issues specifically related to the retention and overall well-being of college students. Using dimensions of wellness, the project must demonstrate a creative evidence-based approach to facilitate student retention and well-being. The project should be creative in its scope, formulated on the basis of published research, measurable in its effects, and applicable to the health enhancement of college students who participate in it. Read more here.

WV Farm Service Agency Loans


The WV Farm Service Agency (FSA) has received increased funding to assist WV producers in purchasing farms, expanding their operations and making permanent improvements such as construction of farm related buildings. Eligible applicants can borrow up to $300,000; to be Eligible applicants must have participated in the day to day management of a farm for at least 3 years.  The interest rate for a Farm Ownership loans is fixed with terms up to 40 years.  The current interest rate for August is 3.75%.  Lower interest rates are available if financing is combined with a commercial lender.  If interested, please contact your local FSA office for more information.

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

Food value chains are business arrangements distinguished by their commitment to transparency, collaborative business planning and exchange of market intelligence and business know how among chain partners, and their interest in developing business strategies and solutions that yield tangible benefits to each participant in the system. 


The Wallace Center, in collaboration with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, and American University has released a new resource, Food Value Chains: Creating Shared Value to Enhance Marketing Success. 


This document is designed to provide guidance on how food value chains are initiated and structured, how they function, and the benefits they provide to participants, with the intent of encouraging their adoption where the opportunities for successful collaboration exist. Source: USDA AMS


This report examines the aggregation, distribution, and marking of weight diverse food value chains to glean practical lessons about how they operate, the challenges they face, and they take advantage of emerging opportunities for marketing differentiated food products. Source: USDA AMS

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.