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Southern SAWG Newsletter  Volume 10,  #1


                             April 2013


Spring Greetings of Abundance to You!


Spring is blooming across the South, bringing so much abundance and opportunity to sustainable farmers. Farmer's Markets are opening up faster than the tulips and it is exciting to see the growth of so many smaller markets across the region.    

  - Your friends at Southern SAWG

Welcome New Board
What's Being Planted in DC
SSAWG: New Role in F2S
Season Extension
Growing Under Cover
2014 Conference Dates
Become a 2014 Sponsor
Join Our Mailing List
We are very thankful for our many volunteers, compadres and donors over the past years - we can't thank you enough for your continued support of Southern SAWG. If you don't hear from us enough, please join us on Social Media!
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Welcome New SSAWG Board Members


Here at Southern SAWG we begin our new fiscal year as an organization every April first.
At a recent board meeting in Horn Lake MS, we welcomed five new board members to the governance team: Liz Young, a Farmer from NC; Martin Richards, a recovering farmer now Executive Director from KY; Joss Mohr, an Agronomist and custom woodworker from SC (not pictured); Dr. Fatemeh Malekian, a Professor from LA; and Stephan Juliusburger, a Chef Consultant from FL.

With these members, ten of the thirteen States in the Southern Region are represented at the Southern SAWG board table.

  Fatemeh-MalekiansLiz-Young  Martin-Richards
Dr. Fatemeh Malekian
Stephan Juliusburger
Liz Young
Martin Richards


 We need your Support!

Please make a Donation to support the work of Southern SAWG:

We appreciate your friendship.

The Farm Bill - What's Being Planted in DC      

April has been a busy month for our legislators in Washington, DC.  Bills are being introduced and in some cases re-introduced that will directly affect the funding of key programs that provide financial resources to support the sustainable agricultural work of many of our affiliated organizations.  Here is a quick overview of the hot items for latter part of April leading into May.  As the wind changes, so too could this list. Please stay update-to-date on the current policy happenings by visiting our Ag Policy Page 



Ag Policy Action

Stay up-to-date with Action Alerts at


Regional Lead for the South in the National Farm to School Network  

Working as the Regional Lead with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) in the South Region brings us the best stories about the future of farming. It is so exciting to see that these students are not "Future" farmers, but they are farmers, marketers, scientists and sustainable foodies right now.


Here is just one school garden story from The Dreamkeeper Garden in New Orleans:   

"Friday, April 5, 2013 - All winter long we've had loads of cabbages, collards, mustards, kale, dill, and onions to harvest; more than we knew what to do with. We sautéed mustard greens in class, gave cabbages away to LHA staff, and let scholars harvest after school. Still, the greens just kept coming. Fortunately we had a plan. Since the start logo-NFSNof the school year, we've wanted to create a Family Supported Agriculture (FSA) program. In this program, families would periodically receive a fresh bag of produce from our garden, grown and harvested by LHA scholars. The FSA has been an opportunity for our middle schoolers to take more ownership over the garden. Our morning class got to custom-design the bags, and each Friday they harvest part of what goes home. Our afternoon class harvests the rest, places it in the bags, then delivers it to scholars to take home.

Even with the FSA, we still had more than enough produce to go around. So we contacted the Marketplace at Armstrong Park and set up a partnership to sell our produce at their weekly farmer's market. Now, our afternoon class has become a market-based course where scholars learn business ethics and logistics and take food to market every Thursday afternoon. In our first two weeks, we made a combined $137 in sales! The market and FSA programs have helped our scholars understand how gardening can have a positive impact on our school community and beyond. Each of us has the power to grow and share foods that contribute to healthy lifestyles for ourselves, our families, and the broader community."  You can follow the student's blog at:

Extending the Season     

Many farmers throughout the South are learning the ins and outs of producing crops for Farm to School programs for added income and personal satisfaction. Most of these efforts are made more productive by utilizing season extenders like high tunnels. Typical quotes we hear from farmers participating in Farm to School programs are "I grow these carrots for the kids" and "I just love working with the students, having them visit the farm and asking all their questions". To learn more about the NFSN check out their website at:

Under the work of Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, there are a number of valuable resources available for farmers to become knowlegable about high tunnels as well as ongoing grant opportunities for construction. They recently compiled stories and statistics that
Southern SARE Logoare encouraging: "One Maryland farmer started using a high tunnel to raise spinach and tomatoes from early spring through late fall, and in the first three years earned an extra $32,000 at the farmers' market. The farmer was one of 41 in the Mid-Atlantic who built high tunnels from 2004-2007 to share knowledge about the structures and promote them as a primary tool of season extension. Now, in-depth information about high tunnels can be found in SARE's new Season Extension Topic Room - a collection of dozens of guidebooks, curricula, webinars, bulletins and other how-to materials to help farmers, educators and researchers across the country implement effective season extension strategies".

Bookmark the Season Extension Topic Room now:

Growing Under Cover - a project of Southern SAWG

Through a series of trainings organized by Southern SAWG this spring in Alabama, a group of Deep South farmers who are new to high tunnel production, are learning how to increase their farm profits using high tunnels.  Funded by the USDA's Risk Management Agency, Growing Under Cover is a series of classroom and on-farm field trainings, with an emphasis on peer learning amongst participants. One recent training was held at the farm of Jewell and Russell Bean, who have two high tunnels now and are looking to expand!  With experienced farmers and extension personnel as trainers, we are assisting many farmers in learning how to maximize their profits utilizing their high tunnels. One beginning farmer said the best thing about participating in the project is "getting to meet other farmers and learning together by sharing information."


High Tunnels training with SSAWG Program Staff, Jean Mills and trainer Victor Kahn at Bean Family Farm - Eufala, AL
Photo by SSAWG Staff 


Mark your calendar - We are going to the Coast!

logo-2014 conference  


The 23rd Annual Conference will be held at the

Mobile Convention Center
January 15-18, 2014 in
Mobile, AL 

Schedule will be available online in October.  

Would you or your company benefit by reaching thousands of 

farmers and food people

 in 13 States in the South?

Would you like to help family farms?

Are you interested in good food/local food?

If so, you can become a 2014 Conference Sponsor!


If you or your business would like to sponsor the 2014 Conference in Mobile, AL,
please contact Julia Sampson, (479) 251-8310, Email:
We welcome your feedback and suggestions 
Please write to us at 
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Inc. (Southern SAWG) is a 501(c)3
nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to promote sustainable agriculture in the
Southern United States.