Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Processing Plant
Food Hub Starter Kit

Infrastructure and logistics are two of the hottest areas of focus for the sustainable agriculture community today. After years of improving production methods on the farm and increasing consumer awareness for sustainably produced food, now our challenge is to fill in the steps from farm to plate with systems that can move large quantities of good food while still holding onto the values of sustainability and justice. This is what food hubs are trying to do.


If you are an agricultural or business professional, a farmer or a community member who is exploring the development of a food hub, our Food Hub Starter Kit contains a short annotated list of resources that will be useful for you. View or download a copy here.


Resources for the starter kit were gathered from food hub projects around the country, as well as the National Good Food Network and the USDA. Because food hubs can be very complicated and are not to be undertaken lightly, the list leans toward resources that give guidance on feasibility studies and business planning.


Southern SAWG facilitated a food hub learning network for the past two years. In this SARE-PDP funded project, 50 agricultural professionals and farmers from around the region shared information on successful strategies for food hub development through workshops, webinars and phone calls. Presentations and webinars from this project are available on the resources page of the Southern SAWG website.

Position Opening: Southern SAWG Seeks Conference Session Co-Coordinator
Application Deadline: May 6
Primary responsibilities will include helping develop sustainable agriculture conference program and helping manage conference logistics. Applicants must be seeking a multi-year involvement with Southern SAWG. This is a part-time, seasonal contract with potential to expand work hours and responsibilities in future years. Read complete description on our website.
Growing Farm Profits logo

Growing Farm Profits Training IS Growing Farm Profits!

Southern SAWG, with funding support from the Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) and with the able assistance of Community Farm Alliance, recently completed an evaluation of the long term economic impact of the Growing Farm Profits trainings that Southern SAWG has sponsored over the past several years. These trainings are specifically designed to help diversified vegetable farmers understand the many variables effecting their profitability and ways they can manage for profitability in their everyday farming activities and decision-making. 

Tomato ProfitThe purpose of this study was to determine impacts of these Growing Farm Profits trainings after training participants had had at least two seasons to make use of resources provided and implement lessons learned. Surveys were sent to 180 participants and we had a 20% response rate from those who received the survey. In addition, follow-up phone interviews were held with seven participants to get a more thorough understanding of how farmers were utilizing resources and lessons learned. The overall conclusion from our long-term feedback is that the Growing Farm Profits trainings have been very effective for most participants and that there has been significant economic benefit. Farmers estimated an average annual increase in profits of $740 each with a projected annual increase in profit of $1290. 


Of course we also learned about some areas where we can make improvements to the trainings and Southern SAWG and our partners will be working to incorporate these suggestions into future training efforts. For more information about this study, feel free to contact Southern SAWG.


The tools and resources for the Growing Farm Profits training are also available online for free.

Policy Working Group

Mention the words legislation or regulation and immediately a look of dread will show up on the average person's face. These words and what they represent are important to the sustainable agriculture community's ability to conduct business and access resources. It is what we at Southern SAWG define as major components of public policy.


Two years ago we reintroduced the idea of a policy working group,  working with farmers and food advocates to determine the Southern SAWG Policy Working Group's purpose and how it will serve our Southern agriculture and food community. It was agreed Southern SAWG would increase policy awareness and participation in the south by:

  • Organizing/participating in grassroots policy campaigns regionally;
  • Identifying legislative issues that have the greatest impact on the southern food producer/organization;
  • Providing educational support on federal, regional and local policy;
  • Connecting policy to programs (food policy council work); and,
  • Serving as a liaison/representative to national groups.

In May, we will restart our monthly conversations to share information on important policy topics and what is going on in our communities. To continue the momentum of our monthly conversations, we have access to an online forum to share documents and organize virtually. Our goal for the Southern SAWG Policy Working Group is to provide helpful information to you and to serve as the voice of sustainable agriculture. Please join us monthly or online by contacting Gabraelle Lane at

Good Foods for Oxford Schools Benefit Featured Gospel Choir Showcase and Iron Chef Student Competition 

The school staff, the awesome kids and innovative cafeteria staff, along with the community celebrated "Good Foods for Oxford Schools" with a phenomenal Gospel Choir Showcase and Iron Chef Competition on April 26 on the square in Oxford, MS.


Program Director for "Good food for Oxford Schools" and our own National Farm to School Network State Lead, Sunny Young coordinated with the school and city officials to host this big event. Good Food for Oxford Schools is an initiative of the Oxford School District to improve cafeteria meals, implement a farm-to-school practice, and simultaneously educate district students on the importance of a healthy diet full of local foods. Currently in planning phase, the project has already launched activities at Oxford Elementary and Oxford High School.


Iron Chef winner Samaria (one of the local star students featured in Sunny Young's TEDxManhattan talk!) immediately went around and shook hands with all the other teams. Her salmon wrap with herbs from the Boys and Girls Club garden rocked! Now, it is on to the White House for the big competition!


Be sure to visit and do what you can to keep this project going!
Meet New Board Member: Daniel Doyle
Daniel has a background in both education and agriculture. After years teaching full-time, he left the classroom to co-found and manage one of Mississippi's first CSA farms, Yokna Bottoms, in Oxford, MS. Committed to sustainable, natural and ecologically responsible food production, Yokna Bottoms grew to serve over 200 families in the two years under his management. He later co-founded Mississippi Ecological Design, a permaculture design business, which developed school gardens and natural play-scapes in Lafayette County as well as several soil and water management projects in North Mississippi. During this time, he designed and directed the Mississippi Mobile Farm on Wheels. Doyle has done field work for the USDA Soil and Sedimentation Lab, worked as a fellow with the Earthwatch Institute and as a park ranger for the National Park Service. He most recently served as the Executive Director for the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of MS and Editor of their annual journal of sustainable living The Southern Good Life. Doyle provides consultations on sustainability and sustainable agriculture, and works as an Environmental Scientist for Cardno ENTRIX, an international environmental consulting company specializing in water resource assessment, environmental liability and natural resource management. He is currently the Statewide Coordinator of the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network. 

May 2015
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Southern SAWG
PO Box 1552, Fayetteville, AR 72702