In This Issue
Support WV Food & Farm Coalition
WVFFC News
WV Road Map for the Food Economy Conference Feb 17
USDA Farm to School Webinars
Feb 14 ASAP Business of Farming Conference
April 12-18 WV Physical Activity Network Launch
April 30 WV Community Development Network Annual Meeting
March 7 TEDxManhattan Online
June 4-6 Try This Conference
JOB OPENING: VC2 Business Coach
JOB OPENING: VC2 Regional Coordinator
JOB OPENING: Local Food AmeriCorps VISTA with New River Gorge Development Authority
JOB OPENING: Farm to School AmeriCorps in Kanawha County
WV Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Survey
For sale: Jeff's Breads, Renick
Deadline Feb 15: WVFMA Vendor Launch Program
Deadline April 20: RCBI Agricultural Innovation Competition
Deadline Feb 24: NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant
Deadline April 30: Patagonia Environmental Grants
WV FSA Loans
AWA Launches Certified Grassfed
 

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 
Staff
Elizabeth SpellmanExecutive Director
Stephanie TyreeDirector of Community Engagement & Policy
Brandon HolmesPolicy Analyst
Kelly CraneOutreach Coordinator
Garnet BruellAmeriCorps OSM/VISTA
Megan SmithProgram Coordinator
Board
Cheryl BrownPresident
Mike KwasniewskiVice President
Rob HintonTreasurer
Kent SpellmanSecretary
Brooke Nissam-Sabat
Mike Costello 
Marlo Long
Hannah Vargason
Joey Aloi

Greetings!

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 CoalitionIn 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? 
 

WVFFC News

Registration open for February 17th Road Map for the Food Economy Conference: Putting Policy & Projects to Work in 2015

This $15 event, the third held by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, will be located at the University of Charleston and will provide an opportunity for those interested in being leaders in West Virginia's local food movement to learn from a nationally renowned food policy expert before participating in an activity that will seek to diagnose both food policy and economic opportunities around the Mountain State. This Conference will focus simultaneously on big picture food policy and state needs as outlined in the Road Map for the Food Economy, a food systems charter that hundreds of individuals from across the state helped develop in 2011. Attendees will be a part of addressing these opportunities through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition's statewide network, as well as regional work in their home communities. Registration is available here

WVFFC launches www.wvfoodandfarm.org. 
After months of development, the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is now announcing its new website, www.wvfoodandfarm.org is open to the public. The website is designed with sharing resources and telling West Virginia's local food story in mind. Please send any feedback to info@wvfoodandfarm.org

Food Hub Track will be offered at the West Virginia Small Farm Conference 
The Food Hub Track is a product of WVFFC's Aggregation & Distribution Working Group. Food Hubs provide the opportunity to purchase food from many local farmers from a single point-of-sale. Workshop topics including Business & Financial Planning, Efficient Day-to-day Processes, Growing Growers, and how Farmers benefit financially from participating in a Food Hub. Registration for the Small Farm Conference is available here. Are you a food hub interested in attending but travel is an issue? A limited number of travel stipends are available from WVFFC - contact info@wvfoodandfarm.org for details. 


West Virginia Food News

Alderson Raising Money for Food Hub Expansion After Grocery Store Closes 
In November 2014, Alderson's IGA closed, removing the only local source of fresh produce for a community of approximately 1500 people. The nearest grocery store is now in Fairlea, 15 miles away through winding roads. To meet the demands of the community, The Alderson Community Food Hub is trying to expand into a full grocery store, offering local and wholesale goods. To do this, they are undertaking an online funding campaign. Read more here, and find the funding campaign here
Planning The 'Try This' Conference For 2015
Last summer, teams of activists from 42 communities in 35 counties started little healthy lifestyle projects that are having big impacts - on health, economic development and their neighbors' mindsets. These project ideas germinated at the first Try This Conference at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. More than 400 people attended the conference that was meant to bring the website to life. The activists learned skills including goal-setting and grant writing, something many had never done before. Read about how the 2015 conference is being planned here
'JAM' Day Encourages Exercise, Healthy Lifestyles 
On February 12th, schools across the country will host the third annual JAM World Event at 10am. During the event, hundreds of thousands of children and adults in West Virginia and across the country will drop what they're doing for at least one minute and exercise in unison to promote healthy lifestyles year-round. Read more here
Younger Generation May See A 'Greener' West Virginia
During a panel discussion in Mullens in early January, representatives from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the Regional Education Service Agency discussed a variety of ways agriculture can play a role in the economic diversification of West Virginia. High tunnel farming, similar to greenhouses, drew the most interest. With LED lights and climate control technology, abandoned coal mines could be converted to tunnel farms growing cucumbers, tomatoes and other produce. Read more here

National Food News
Trends Show Small Food Business Success 
This article tracks a number of promising numbers in the growth of small businesses - namely craft breweries and small bookstores. Where product can be differentiated from its competitor that produces for a mass market, there is an opportunity for a niche market to develop. Read more here

Registration Open for West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition's Road Map for the Food Economy Conference 

February 17, 2015, Charleston WV

 

JOIN US! 


Farming Highlight
Intercropped Flowers Can Replace Insecticides in Lettuce Production
Intercropped Flowers Can Replace Insecticides in Lettuce Production
Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us ! 

USDA Farm to School Webinars

Online, Free, Bi-weekly, February - May

 

USDA Farm to School staff and guest speakers have curated what is needed to start or expand a farm to school program in the new year. This 11-part webinar series will help buildfarm to school skills and develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. Topics include building a team, menu planning, program sustainability, and more! For a list of webinar topics, dates, times, and registration, click here

ASAP Business of Farming Conference 

February 14th, University of North Carolina Asheville

 

ASAP's Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for those involved in local food and farming. Each year, approximately 250 area farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists attend tailored 90-minute workshops, meet with restaurant and wholesale buyers, exchange resources, and celebrate the start of the season. If you're currently farming or seriously considering farming as a profession, you won't want to miss our 2015 conference! For more information and registration click here. 

WV Physical Activity Network Launch

April 12-18, 2015

 

A new initiative of the WV Community Development Hub, The WV Physical Activity Network is dedicated to pulling together all of the people and organizations who are already doing healthy activity work. Activities for the launch: 1) Get active. 2) Take a physical activity selfie (or healthy selfie) and 3) Tag it #ActiveWV on a social media site. Stay up to date at http://wvhub.org/. 

WV Community Development Network Annual Meeting 

April 30, 2015

 

By popular demand, the West Virginia Community Development Hub is bringing back this day-long gathering of people, organizations, agencies and businesses who care about West Virginia's communities and are working to improve them. Location and agenda are still to be determined. Stay informed at http://wvhub.org/. 

TEDxManhattan: Changing The Way We Eat

Online, Free, March 7, 2015

 

Aimed at consumers, this free webcast of the TEDxManhattan event will seek to raise awareness about opportunities for supporting a more sustainable and just food system. Find the webcast and previously years TEDxManhattan events here

Try This! Conference

June 4-6, Buckhannon, WV Wesleyan

 

A conference for those working for a healthier West Virginia. Forty workshops focusing on a variety of topics including farmers markets, school gardens, bicycling and running programs, school-based health centers and parks. Registration is $100. Late fees apply after April 15th. Register here
Job Opportunities

VC2 Business Coach

 

The VC2 Business Coach (20 hours per week) will directly assist business owners by linking them to technical assistance resources that improve their access to diverse markets.  The Business Coaches will directly work with, and build the readiness of, local food value chain related business owners to grow their businesses by linking them to (or in some cases providing) one-on-one technical assistance, farmer-to-farmer peer trainings and entrepreneurial networking events, tours and workshops, food safety trainings, and legal assistance with issues related to market expansion.  This strategy of direct technical assistance is intended to help businesses access a more diverse range of markets and make new connections, leading to expansion, new opportunities, and revenues that generate profits and create jobs. The Business Coaches will also track program results through surveys and other instruments. The Business Coach should have some understanding and experience of what it takes to run and grow a successful agriculture related business, as well as an understanding of the program partners and its other technical assistance resources.. For a complete job description, requirements, and contact information, click here.

VC2 Regional Coordinator

 

The VC2 Regional Coordinator (20 hours per week) will work with the designated Local Lead Organizations for the four clusters to build regional capacity by identifying and assessing regional needs within each cluster, developing a plan for the cluster to use appropriate technical assistance programs, linking multiple clusters into a regional communications networks, and tracking program results through surveys.  Through this work, the Coordinator will ensure that all of the broader program's technical assistance services are delivered to their intended beneficiaries (farmers, aggregators, processors and distributors).  Each Regional Coordinator will work with two of the four clusters served by the program. For a complete job description, requirements, and contact information, click here.

Local Food AmeriCorps VISTA with the New River Gorge Development Authority

 

The AmeriCorps VISTA will assist in the development of a comprehensive program to promote and sustain agriculture and agricultural based business in the New River Gorge region. Specific duties will include: assisting farmers' markets in vendor recruitment, marketing, and special events, compiling data such as vendor sales, contact information, and number of customers and putting them into a database, researching feasibility for future farmers' markets and community gardens, grant writing, volunteer recruitment, building partnerships, etc. Find more information about the position here

Farm to School AmeriCorps: Kanawha County

Charleston, WV

 

The WV Farm to School initiative is recruiting for an AmeriCorps position to serve in Kanawha county. 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 www.groweducatesell.com.  

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

elandseidel@gmail.com 

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. 

West Virginia Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant Survey 

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture implements the West Virginia Specialty Crop Block Program, providing a competitive grant opportunity to groups and organizations engaged in the specialty crop industry. This survey will provide feedback applied to the review and selection of 2015 grant recipients. Find the survey here

Business Sale: Jeff's Breads, Renick WV

 

Interested food-business entrepreneurs have an opportunity to purchase Jeff's Breads, an established 20+ year artisan bakery/food manufacturer. Totally income producing package: Bakery, brand, 2 unit apartment building, equipment, acreage. Located in Renick/Lewisburg area. Contact: AlindaPerrine, 304-667-3334Alinda.perrine@suddenlink.net Country Road Realty,LLC Elizabeth Wickline, Broker 

West Virginia Farmers Market Association Vendor Launch Program
Deadline: February 15, 2015

 

This innovative program aims to instruct and support beginning farmers market vendors and their markets. Incentives will be provided to the vendors, mentors, and their farmers markets for their participation. 


 

This training will be conducted by the WVFMA in coordination with the West Virginia Community Development Hub, the WVU Extension Services, the WV Department of Agriculture, the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, and the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition. The goals of this project are to help farmers markets, and their vendors, become more successful by developing educational materials for market vendors, and delivering trainings to a broad audience of current and potential market vendors; producing measurable improvements in vendor sales, confidence, knowledge and awareness. Registration information is available here

Robert C Byrd Institute for Agricultural Innovation Competition 
Deadline: February 20, 2015

 

 

This state-wide contest aims to discover the most inventive and marketable agricultural products.  Competitors will present their original product designs and discuss a business vision with a panel of agriculture and manufacturing experts. The winner will receive business consulting and assistance designed to launch his or her product. One winner, who will receive a start-up package worth more than $10,000, will be chosen.

 

The winner will receive assistance with:

  • Product design and development
  • Logo creation and marketing
  • Patent, trademark and copyright applications
  • Business development planning
  • Funding opportunities
  • Business incubator space
Apply for the competition here

USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant
Deadline: February 24, 2015

 

NRCS is offering a funding opportunity to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. Find the RFP and application information here

Patagonia Environmental Grants
Deadline: April 30th, 2015

 

Patagonia funds only environmental work. We are most interested in making grants to organizations that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change. Because we believe that the most direct path to real change is through building grassroots momentum, our funding focuses on organizations that create a strong base of citizen support. For eligibility and application information click here. 

WV Farm Service Agency Loans

 

 

Update, November 24: The FSA borrowing limit for microloans has increased from $35,000 to $50,000. Read more here.  

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
(Research, Publications, interesting articles, etc)

Animal Welfare Approved launches "Certified Grassfed" in the United States

 

 

What is AWA Certified Grassfed?

AWA Certified Grassfed is an optional additional accreditation for high-welfare AWA farmers and ranchers to certify they are also raising animals according to a grassfed feeding protocol. AWA Certified Grassfed is only available to farms that also meet the existing AWA high-welfare and environmental standards for the species concerned.

 

Why are you launching AWA Certified Grassfed?

 

Thehe original AWA Certified Grassfed standards were launched forCanadian farmers in 2013 following significant consumer and farmer demand in Canada for a label to distinguish authentic grassfed products in a confusing marketplace. Following significant interest from farmers and ranchers south of the border, it decided it was only right to offer a similar service across the U.S.

 

To read more, click here

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