PCAN Policy Call April 26   |   Farm to Cafeteria Conference   |   Happy Earth Day!
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group  |   April 2016
Nuts about Policy?
PCAN (Policy Collaborative Action Network) Call Is April 26th
Our first quarterly PCAN call is coming up on Tuesday April 26th at 7:00 pm EST/6:00 pm CST. The Policy Collaborative Action Network will assist farmers with engaging their elected officials and regulatory agencies in their immediate areas, identify organizations and resources throughout the south and strive to build a more cohesive southern voice to national organizations. Join us on April 26, 2016 at 7pm ET/6pm CT, the Policy Collaborative Action Network, for our first quarterly call. To receive a link to this call or find out more information please email policy@ssawg.org.
Farm to Cafeteria
Farm to Cafeteria Conference:
Explore Madison's Local Food Landscape
Farm to cafeteria is a powerful vehicle for food system change. So what does it look like in action? Join us at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, Wis., June 2-4, 2016 to find out! Get registered NOW.

Explore the Madison area food system and farm to cafeteria landscape through exciting pre-conference field trips on Thursday, June 2. Led by local experts, these excursions will bring you closer to the local food efforts powering the Wisconsin community and beyond. Visit community youth gardens, farm to early care and education facilities, dairy farms, an aquaponics center and more! Here's a snapshot of the field trip opportunities:
  • Empowering Youth through Local Foods-Explore Wisconsin programs where youth are growing their own food and creating a socially just, environmentally sustainable, nutritious food system for all. 
  • Farm to School Goes to College-Enjoy a series of stops on the beautiful University of Wisconsin flagship campus that highlight how farm to school can extend beyond the K-12 setting.
  • Healthy Hospitals-Learn about Wisconsin's farm to hospital efforts in this field trip featuring hospitals making local, healthy foods and sustainable practices a priority.
USDA Reports Record Growth In U.S. Organic Producers

According to new data released by the Agricultural Marketing Service, there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the United States.

"Organic food is one of the fasting growing segments of American agriculture," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "As consumer demand for organic products continues to grow, the USDA organic seal has become a leading global standard. The increasing number of organic operations shows that USDA's strong support for the vibrant organic sector is helping to create jobs and opportunities in rural communities."

USDA has strengthened programs that support organic operations and has also established a number of resources to help organics producers find technical and financial resources to help them grow domestically and abroad. Information about these resources and support for the organic sector is available on the USDA Organics Resource page.
April is Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Month

To celebrate, USDA has revamped Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food website. The site is redesigned to make it easier to navigate the wealth of resources for information on local and regional food systems work.

In addition to providing information on technical assistance and funding opportunities, the website is organized by "role" in the local and regional food system. For instance, if you work for a food hub, there are sections just for you such as, "Processing and Aggregation", and another on "Distribution".

Another exciting development is the addition of an Urban Agriculture section, highlighting the new face of agriculture in urban communities. Visit the website to learn more.

USDA announced a new initiative to bolster the supply chain for local food systems around a few key U.S. cities. The project, dubbed 'Food LINC', will connect demand for local food in ten urban areas with supply from farmers and ranchers, strengthening each region's local food business sector and also increasing consumer access to healthy, local food. Six of those key cities are located in the South.

Food LINC is part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative supporting the Obama Administration's work to strengthen economic bonds between rural and urban areas, creating sustainable wealth for rural communities and putting more money into the pockets of rural producers.
Earth Day 2016

Many schools across the nation will be participating in Earth Day events and projects on April 22. A lot of the curriculum will be about planting trees, conserving water and recycling--all good things to be sure. But we farmers know that's just part of the bigger picture. Interested in sharing about sustainable agriculture with the next generation?

If you have a knack for instruction, consider volunteering and sharing your knowledge in a classroom setting. Even with school gardens and other farm to school initiatives on the rise, many students are unaware of where their food comes from or how farms operate. Invest some time in the next generation of farmers on Earth Day and every day.
The Rumors are True!

We are going back to Kentucky for our 2017 Conference!

Lexington will, once again, be the host city for our Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference. We hope to see you there!
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