Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Managing the Farm Transition:

A Workshop Series on Your Farm's Future
Sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension

will be given at the Fincastle Library, 5 p.m. -- 9 p.m.

Monday, January 26, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009

Individual $60.
Couple $100.

Contact your Cooperative Extension to sign up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Workshop Announcements

Sustainable Farms to Share Insights into Innovative Food-Growing Systems at Local Food Project at Airlie Annual Conference

"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms", Jan. 9, 2009

The Local Food Project at Airlie will hold its third annual conference—"Half Pint and Essex: A Tale of Two Farms"—on January 9, 2009 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va. The full day "Winter Forum" will provide an up-close look at whole farm systems design by featuring in-depth discussions of the innovative systems that have brought success to two sustainable agriculture operations—Half Pint Farm (Burlington, VT) and Essex Farm (Essex, NY).

Presenting for the first time in Virginia, Half Pint and Essex will share a complete picture of how their farms operate—from creating a plan and producing quality products, to building and expanding a customer base. In addition to providing a detailed look at two thriving farm systems, "A Tale of Two Farms" will offer the opportunity to network with speakers and other participants.

Mara and Spencer Welton, of Half Pint Farm, grow baby greens and gourmet specialty crops for direct sale to farmer’s markets and restaurants, and wholesale to local grocery stores. Located at Burlington’s Intervale (a reclaimed urban waste site), Half Pint operates on one and a third acres, and has found its niche by selling high-quality vegetables and establishing lasting relationships with customers.

Kristin and Mark Kimball, of Essex Farm, run a unique CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) enterprise that provides community members with a full grocery bag of food each week—vegetables, orchard fruits, grains, baked goods, dairy, and grass-fed meats. Powered by a team of Belgian draft horses, Essex Farm feeds 75 families year-round.

"We are excited to offer Virginia food growers and policy experts the chance to hear from Half Pint and Essex," said Pablo Elliott, director of the Local Food Project at Airlie. "Many of our programs feature innovative projects from our own region. By bringing in farmers from another area, we hope to inspire fresh ideas in our community as we work to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food."

Backyard gardeners, small farmers, food policy experts, and other fans of local food will be interested in attending "A Tale of Two Farms" to learn about the key factors that make these two unique farms so successful. To register, send an email to localfoodproject@airlie.org. A special "Early Bird" rate is available to participants who sign up before December 31. For more information, visit www.airlie.org and click on "Local Food Project" or visit our blog at http://sixteenfootladder.blogspot.com/.

About the Local Food Project at Airlie

Established in 1998, the Local Food Project at Airlie operates an organic garden and hoophouse which supply fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers to the Airlie Center, an environmentally certified conference center located an hour outside Washington, DC in Warrenton, Va. The Local Food Project at Airlie hosts seminars and conferences to promote sustainable food production and offers tours and educational materials to the Center’s guests to promote the advantages of local food systems for the well-being of communities. Learn more at www.airlie.org.
—Local Food Project at Airlie—

February 9th and 10th: VA Agriculture Summit. Energy: Impact and Opportunities, Omni Richmond Hotel. www.agsummit.com


Through funds from the DCR Water Quality Improvement Act, DOF has developed a Regional Grant program which is designed to restore and/or improve riparian health through the use of tree plantings or other vegetative techniques and may include non - CREP riparian buffer tree planting, stream restoration and stabilization, rain gardens and bio swales. The grants should be written by the person or organization that will receive the funds, with technical assistance and support from the local DOF. Grant applications should come from the organization to the VDOF Area Forester or Water Quality Engineer and after review be forwarded to HQ for funding allocation and final approval. The Virginia Department of Forestry will accept project proposals from private citizens, local units of government, approved non-profit organizations, civic groups, educational institutions, or community volunteer groups which meet the specific program objectives. Eligible project categories are described in detail in the attached flyer along with the proposal format. For spring 2008 projects applications should be received no later than February 22, 2008, sooner is better.Grants will be awarded as they are received, evaluated for compliance with the program and approved. Funds will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. If you have any questions about the grant contact Barbara White at 434.220. or E-mail Barbara.white@dof.virginia.gov These funds are provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and are administered by the Virginia Department of Forestry.


Tom Peterson will be giving a workshop for the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) conference on February 27 - 28 in Richmond, VA. This is always a great conference with a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture. His workshop will focus specifically on growing and selling fresh produce at farmers markets (inc. farm planning, succession planting, pricing, display and post-harvest handling, among other topics) -- feel free to advertise this conference through your vendor lists. You can find more information at http://www.vabf.org/.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all our members, customers, and workshop participants! May the coming year increase our community participation and present new opportunities for collaboration.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Message for Climate Change Negotiators: Small Farmers Key to Combating Climate Change

by Annie Shattuck

As world leaders meet in Poznan, Poland this week to work out a foundation for a new international climate change treaty, they would do well to seek the council of some unconventional advisors: peasant farmers. Agricultural policy has been virtually ignored in "official" discussions of climate change. One place it hasn't been ignored is by farmers themselves. In October hundreds of small farmers from all over the world met in Maputo, Mozambique for the fifth international conference of La Via Campesina, a global movement of peasant farmers. A sense of urgency around climate change featured prominently in their final declaration.

It's little wonder. The Via Campesina Declaration casts small farmers in the developing world as both global warming's victims and a potential solution. They are right! While industrial agriculture is one of the world's biggest climate culprits, small-scale farmers actually cool the planet.

Agriculture is responsible for 13.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions - largely from synthetic fertilizers and large animal operations. GHG emissions-soil carbon loss, methane, and nitrous oxide-are largely results of large-scale agricultural operations in which soil carbon is depleted, methane from large animal feedlot operations is released unchecked, and synthetic fertilizers release nitrous oxide-a gas with 300 times the warming power of CO2.

The agricultural sector, including land use change for agriculture, has been estimated to make up anywhere from 28-33% of global emissions. Combined with the emissions created transporting food in our increasingly globalized food economy where the average bite to eat travels 1200 miles from field to fork, the industrial food system may be the largest single contributor to global warming.

In small-scale organic farming systems however, carbon is actually stored in the soil at a rate of about four tons per hectare. The Rodale Institute estimates that if the U.S. converted to organic agriculture on all its farmland, 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions could be saved.

Small-scale sustainable agriculture is also vastly more resilient to climate change. After Hurricane Mitch devastated much of the Central American countryside, a study of over 1800 conventional and sustainable farms showed that farmers using sustainable practices suffered less "damage" than their conventional neighbors. Diversified plots had 20% to 40% more topsoil, greater soil moisture, less erosion, and experienced fewer economic losses than their conventional farm neighbors. Not only can small-scale sustainable agriculture help cool the planet, it can provide a buffer against the worst effects of global warming.

The small farmers of La Via Campesina know this. They are calling for an international shift towards food sovereignty - the right of all people over the resources to produce and consume abundant, culturally appropriate food. Their vision is one of agroecologically balanced, sustainable, family farms supported by local markets. Not only will this vision confront the injustices of a world food system where one billion people will go hungry this year while another billion are obese-it could help stave off climate disasters.

Any "vision" that may emerge from negotiations in Poznan, Poland this week must include creating a food system that is more resilient, less polluting, and ultimately more just. Peasant farmers, who comprise more than half of all farmers worldwide, have much to offer a warming world. The fact that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture was on the agenda of farmers themselves before it is talked about on the world policy stage should send a strong message to Poznan: It is time we opened the climate debate to the ills of industrial agriculture, and the home-grown solutions that could save us.

Annie Shattuck writes for Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy. The purpose of the Institute for Food and Development Policy - Food First - is to eliminate the injustices that cause hunger.

Published on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 by CommonDreams.org

Monday, December 15, 2008

Seminar on Traditional Foods and Healthy Communities

The Center for Rural Culture, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Goochland County, Virginia, in conjunction with Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, is hosting a seminar on Traditional Foods & Healthy Communities with keynote speaker Sally Fallon – author of Nourishing Traditions and President, The Weston A. Price Foundation, on Saturday, January 10th, 2009.

This daylong seminar will raise awareness and educate communities about their health, their food supply and sustainable farming practices for environmental preservation. There will be other experts who will speak, as well as Sally Fallon, on the important links between health and communities. A delicious lunch featuring locally sourced traditional foods will be provided by Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market.

The seminar will take place at the Montpelier Center for Arts and Education, 17205 Mountain Road at the western edge of Hanover on Route 33 in Hanover County (just west of Richmond) from 9:00am-6:00pm. The seminar will include the following lectures/lecturers:

“The Power of Food: a Virginia Dietitian's Perspective" (Lynda Fanning, MA, MPH, RD - Clinical Nutrition Manager, University of Virginia Health System)

“The Basics of Healthy Diets” (Sally Fallon)

“The Politics and Economics of Food” (Sally Fallon)

“Planning for a Healthy Environment” (Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director – Partnership for Smarter Growth)

”How Sustainable Farming can Promote Public Health” (Sally K. Norton, MPH - Scientific / Program Administrator, Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University)

“How to Change Your Diet for the Better” (Sally Fallon)

Panel Discussion

Cost for the January 10th seminar is $65 in advance or $75 at the door. Pre-register on the Center for Rural Culture’s website (www.centerforruralculture.org). Center for Rural Culture and Weston A. Price members’ cost is only $50 (and also students), but those folks must register by mail. Call 804-314-9141 for a brochure.

The Center for Rural Culture will host two other book-signing and lecture events with Sally Fallon on the same weekend. Participants can meet and talk with Sally Fallon and bring or purchase their own copy of Sally’s Nourishing Traditions book to be signed.

Friday, January 9th 5:30-9:00pm Book signing and Meet & Greet starts at 5:30pm. Lecture - “The Oiling of America/The Cholesterol Myths” begins at 7:00pm. Delicious food and alcohol/non-alcohol beverages will be available for purchase before, during and after event! Cost: $10 suggested donation at the door or pre-register on the Center for Rural Culture’s website (www.centerforruralculture.org). Location: The Camel Restaurant & Bar, 1621 W Broad St. Richmond, VA 23220 (804) 353-4901.

Sunday, January 11th 11:00am-1:00pm Book signing and Meet & Greet starts at 11:00am. Lecture -“Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Having trouble getting started with a traditional diet?” starts at 11:30am. Sally will offer suggestions for no-fuss, economical meals based on traditional foods. Cost: Free, although seating is limited, so pre-registration is suggested. Go to the Center’s website to pre-register. Location: Ellwood’s Community Coffee, 10 S. Thompson St. Richmond, VA 23221 (804) 359-7525.

The mission of the Center for Rural Culture is to educate, promote and inspire members of our community to sustain a culture that supports agriculture and the local economy, protects natural and historic resources, and maintains our rural character and traditions. The Center founded and manages the Goochland Farmers Market and offers many educational programs and opportunities to learn about sustainable agriculture, conservation practices, local foods and local foods systems, smart growth, traditional rural arts, music and rural history.

The movement for a more sustainable local food system is in full swing in Central Virginia, and the opportunity to learn more about traditional foods and their relationship to the health of communities is an important and timely topic. Who should come? – Everyone…students, doctors, mothers, farmers, healthcare providers, teachers, or anyone who is interested in radically strengthening the very foundations of their health and their community.

For additional information, contact Lisa Dearden @ 804-314-9141 or admin@CenterForRuralCulture.org.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Growers Wanted

To raise organic produce and other sustainable farm products for large, established markets.

To learn more, attend a meeting on: Wednesday, December 10th 7:00 pm Roanoke Higher Education Center (Jefferson Street, across from Hotel Roanoke)

You will learn about: • Markets at Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee University and other colleges • Supermarket opportunities through Appalachian Harvest• Other local and regional markets; and • Education and training available for small organic and sustainable farms.

For more information call (276) 623-1121 or email asd@asdevelop.org

Appalachian Harvest is an enterprise of Appalachian Sustainable Development. www.asdevelop.org