enews April 2012

BIG NEWS: Our 2012 Sustainable Ag Conference Keynote Speaker will be….Debra Eschmeyer!

> Hear Debra speak about the farm to school movement and the importance of feeding our children healthy, local food!

 

In this edition:

UPCOMING EVENTS:

It’s Farm Tour Time! 

Don’t miss the 17th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour (April 28-29)

Farm-Fresh Fun on the 2012 Upstate Farm Tour (June 2-3)

Dirt Road Trip: Low County Local First’s First Farm Tour (April 14)

 

Workshop on Farm Profitability – FREE for CFSA Members

Eating Well: For Ourselves, For Our Neighbors and For Our Planet Seminar

Local Food Advisory Council Meeting

Put A Face To Your Farm Workshop

 

CFSA NEWS:

A Farmer Goes to Washington

by Bobby Tucker of Okfuskee Farm, CFSA Member

CALLING ALL FARMERS: What are your Challenges to Going Organic?

CFSA’s New Organic Production Handbook

 

We Are Milling!

by Jennifer Lapidus, CFSA Organic Grains Program Coordinator

 

CFSA is Planning Local Foods Tour

CFSA’s Award-winning Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Returns April 17

Welcome our New Organic Transition Coordinator

Find the Perfect Intern or Internship with CFSA’s Internship Referral Service

Spring Stewardship Newsletter Online

 

EXPERT TIP:

Expert Tip: Identifying and controlling Galinsoga in the garden

by Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator

ACTION ALERTS:

FARM BILL UPDATE: Take Action to Support Two Important Local Food and Farm Bills

NCSU DEAN SEARCH: Continue NC State’s Tradition of Agriculture Research and Extension.  Add Your Voice to the College of Ag. and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean Search!

JUST LABEL IT:Just Label It Campaign for GM Food Labels collects 1 Million Comments!

CFSA EVENTS:

Piedmont Farm Tour – April 28-29

Upstate Farm Tour- June 2-3

Social Media for Farmers Workshops

August 14 – Forsyth County

August 16 – Chatham County

 

Sustainable Ag Conference – Oct 26 – 28, 2012 in Greenville, SC

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Don’t miss the 17th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour

April 28 – 29, 2012

Both days from 1 – 5 PM

www.carolinafarmstewards.org/piedmontfarmtour.shtml

> Buy Tickets

 

With the warm spring weather and later date this year, this should be an especially good time to see horticulture, pick strawberries and meet the animals.  Forty wonderful farms to choose from – all for $25 per carload in advance.

The printed maps are here! 

The popular purple printed maps are back from the printer and available.  Pick one up and buy your tickets at Weaver Street Markets, Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro and Harmony Farms in Raleigh.  We will also be handing out maps at area farmers markets.  Tickets and complete information, including an interactive map, are found at our website at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/piedmontfarmtour.shtml.

Volunteering!

We are still looking for folks to help farmers with the registration tables.  This is a big help.  Assist one afternoon and tour free with a carload the other day.  And, you get a free farm tour T-shirt.  This is a great way to get to know one farm well.  To sign up, just email Fred.

Beginning farmers and ranchers VIP Tour

April 28 – 29, 2012

Both days from 12:45 – 5 PM

> Buy Tickets

If you are a beginning farmer (less than 10 years experience), you can take our VIP minibus tour for just $3.  This gets you a ride, with special guest experts, materials, a button for touring the other day, snacks, and prizes.  We will meet at Fifth Season Gardening in Carrboro at 12:45, back by 5 PM.  This is a very limited offer and will sell out soon. 

Saturday Horticulture Tour:  We’ll focus on horticulture at Turtle Run Farm, Millarckee Farm and Harland’s Creek Farm.  Eric  Soderholm, CFSA’s new Organic Transition Coordinator, will be your host.

Sunday Livestock Tour:  We’ll focus on livestock at Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm (not on the regular tour), Coon Rock Farm and Walters Unlimited at Carls-Beth Farm.  Tim Holmes, Lead Certifier for Animal Welfare Approved, and Amy Saltmarsh of NCSU, will be your hosts.

> Tickets at CFSA’s online store

Sponsored by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Questions?  Email Fred at fred@

2012 Upstate Farm Tour

June 2-3, 2012

Farms open from 1-6pm

https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/upstatefarmtour.shtml

> Buy Tickets

 

Tour local, sustainable farms and discover the delicious meat, dairy, fruits and veggies produced right here in the Upstate!

The sixth annual Upstate Farm Tour, scheduled for June 2nd & 3rd, will be bigger and better than ever, featuring a total of 24 sustainable farms.  Come see all kinds of wonderful veggies, animals, herbs, flowers, SC’s only certified organic beef producer and much more!  We are especially excited about our seven new farms, further contributing to the diversity of the tour, and offering tour guests unique opportunities for fun and education.

New Farms:

  • AgSouth Demonstration FarmNew to this local business, the incubator farm’s mission is educating youth and communities on sustainable production and business practices.  Backyard farmers, community gardeners, and future farmers interested in a serious on-farm learning opportunity will not want to miss this stop. 
  • Field & FlowerThe first cut flower grower ever featured on the Upstate Farm Tour, Field & Flower demonstrates how commercial production, landscape beautification, and conservation practices can work in harmony. Container gardening and flower arranging demonstrations are being planned for guests.
  • Friends at the FarmChefs all over the country are growing food for their restaurants and catering businesses, and Friends was one of the first in the Upstate.  In addition to the gardens and greenhouses, guests will tour an on-farm prep kitchen, mobile certified kitchen, as well as Anderson County’s first mobile farmers market.
  • Gibson FarmA true pioneer in South Carolina, CFSA is proud to feature the state’s first (and only) Certified Organic beef producer.  Learn Leland Gibson’s unique, grass-fed production methods (including impact or “mop” grazing), taste the difference, and bring some organic beef home for your summer cookouts.
  • Huckleberry FarmCome for the panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains; delight in the picturesque charm of “Rainbow Egg Row” and its community of exotic chickens.  Youngsters will enjoy petting chickens, goats, and Baby Doll sheep, while enjoying story-time and sing-a-longs; adult guests will enjoy learning about the joys and techniques of successful backyard chicken farming. 
  • Timms MillTheir grits are favored by chefs, shops, and households all over the region, and now tour guests can see exactly how this corn delicacy goes from farm to table.  Established in 1783, Timms Mill has sat at its current site since 1898, where the water-powered mill continues to grind a Southern favorite.  A perfect spot to relax in the shady picnic grove and cool off by the creek that powers the mill.
  • Walker Century FarmThis beautiful homestead has been in the Walker family since at least 1880, and farmed continuously since its early days in cotton production.  Now home to pastured heritage cattle and pigs, tour guests will enjoy a hayride through the green fields, learning about the farm’s history and its sustainable production methods.

Returning Favorites to the Upstate Farm Tour include:  Bethel Trails Farm; Bio-Way Farm; Buffalo Farms; Clemson University Student Organic Farm; Early Bird Worm Farm; Garden Delights; Greenbrier Farm; The Happy Berry; Happy Cow Creamery; Hurricane Creek; Lucky Acres; Milky Way Farm; Mushroom Mountain; Parson Produce; Patient Wait; Red Fern Farm; Split Creek Farm.

COST: The cost to tour all farms on both days is $25 per vehicle in advance and $30 or $10 per farm that weekend (available for purchase at all of the farms).

Advance tickets can be purchased online at CFSA’s online store.

Closer to the tour, advance tickets will be available at our tour co-sponsor, Whole Foods Market in Greenville, and at locations throughout the Upstate.

MORE INFORMATION:Complete information about the tour and the farms, with interactive maps and contact information, plus tour tickets are available at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/upstatefarmtour.shtml

The tour is self-guided.  Visit any farm in any order.  And, don’t forget to take a cooler so that you can take home some of the farm fresh products for sale at many farms!  No pets allowed.  Rain or shine. Proceeds from the tour support CFSA.

To Volunteer:

Volunteer one afternoon and attend the whole tour for FREE! Volunteers get an insider

view of farms, have lots of fun and get a free farm tour hat!

Email Diana to volunteer!

Ticket Locations:

You can now buy tickets at our tour co-sponsor, Whole Foods Market at 110 Woodruff Rd. in Greenville, and at:

TD Saturday Market (Greenville)

Downtown Greenville, Saturdays in May from following vendors:

Bio-Way Farm, Gibson Farm, Greenbrier Farms, Parson Produce, Red Fern Farm

Hub City Farmers Market (Spartanburg)

298 Magnolia Street

Uptown Greenwood Market Stands (Greenwood)

Early Bird Worm Farm stand, Maxwell Avenue

Wednesdays & Fridays

 

Happy Cow Creamery (Pelzer)

332 McKelvey Road

 

Hurricane Creek Farm (Pelzer)

220 Moores Mill Road

 

Split Creek Farm (Anderson)

3806 Centerville Road

Other Great Tours Happening in the Carolinas:

Dirt Road Trip: Low County Local First’s First Farm Tour!

WHEN:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

TIME:

10AM-5PM

WHERE:

Johns Island and Wadmalaw

PRICE

$30/$35

> Buy Tickets

This one-day farm tour event features a variety of farms on both Johns Island and Wadmalaw. Tour goers will be able to pile into their cars with friends and family and pick their must-see farms to visit. From meeting the farmers and touring the farm to learning about the farming process and indulging in farm fare and local eateries along the routes. Many farms will have some of their great local products for sale so grab a cooler, there is something for everyone!

Tickets are sold by the car-load, so get your friends and family together for a day of behind the scenes tours, tastings, you-pick, and down-home fun!

The tours will take place from 10-5 and check in is from 9:30-3. Participating farms include Ambrose Farm, Charleston Tea Plantation, Irvin House Vineyards & Firefly Distillery, Joseph Fields Farm, Legare Farms, Rosebank Farm and Sea Island Savory Herbs.

>
Click here
to see an interactive map of participating farms and what they have to offer.

For more information, email Jamee Haley at jamee@lowcountrylocalfirst.org or visit Low County Local First’s website at: http://lowcountrylocalfirst.org/?q=node/185

**COMING SOON : Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Farm Tour happening this August.  http://www.brwia.org/node/479

Eating Well: For Ourselves, For Our Neighbors and For Our Planet Seminar

On Thursday, April 19, Sustainable Food NC Coalition Director, Shivaugn Rayl, will be hosting a workshop about creating a better food system using public policy at the 2012 Critical Issues Seminar “Eating Well: For Ourselves, For Our Neighbors, For Our Planet” hosted by the NC Council of Churches.

>
For more information and to register, visit: http://www.nccouncilofchurches.org/2012/02/register-for-2012-critical-issues-seminar-eating-well-for-ourselves-for-our-neighbors-for-our-planet/

CFSA is a proud member of the Sustainable Food NC Coalition.

Put A Face To Your Farm Workshop

Saturday, April 21st (Registration Deadline: April 16, 2012)

9:00 a.m. – noon

Hub City Farmers’ Market, a non-profit organization in Spartanburg, is offering local growers and producers a series of workshops to help meet the growing year-round demand for fresh and local produce. Our second workshop will focus on marketing.

Speakers Diana Vossbrinck of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Meredith Mizell of Red Fern Farms, Nikki Smith and Ana Parra of Hub City Farmers’ Market will be speaking on various topics including the basics of marketing (logos, websites, social networking, etc.) as well as tried and true marketing ideas and best practices. The training will conclude with a roundtable discussion between local restaurants and chefs and growers on getting more local food into area restaurants. Restaurants and representatives involved will include Scott Griffin of Taco Dog, Suzanne Strickland of Stone Soup, Jose Linda of Zarza, Stephanie Tornatore of City Range, William Cribb of Cribbs Kitchen, Noah Shuler of The Farmers’ Table and Chef Tray Mathis of Converse Deli.

LOCATION: Spartanburg County Library Headquarters

151 South Church Street

Spartanburg, SC 29306

COST: FREE

Questions?  Email Nikki Smith.

Local Food Advisory Council Meeting

The NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council will meet on Thursday, April 26 from 1-4 p.m. at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. The meeting is open to the public. The council will be working to develop policy recommendations that support the sustainable, local food and farm economy for inclusion in its 2012 report to the General Assembly, the Governor, and the Commissioner of Agriculture.

> For more information, see http://www.ncagr.gov/localfood/

Workshop on Farm Profitability FREE for CFSA Members

Friday, May 11th – Anderson, SC

Friday, May 18th – Greenville, SC

Both: 8:30 am – 4:00 pm

CFSA is now partnering with Clemson University on two Upstate, SC workshops, designed to provide growers with the tools and knowledge needed to calculate costs of production and perform feasibility/profitability analysis.

Farm Enterprise Productivity Analysis (FEPA) training has been designed for any grower, FSA officer, landowner, lender, rancher, or extension specialist with farm enterprise responsibilities. Laptops will be available to participants; however, participants are encouraged to bring their own. Training makes use of Excel spreadsheet templates, but Microsoft Excel experience is not required.

Clemson’s new FEPA program has been received all over the state with much acclaim, but for these two sessions only, CFSA members may attend with NO CHARGE for workshop or materials fees!  A $10 fee will be collected at the door for lunch, catered by Friends Food with a Flair.

Each class is limited to ten participants, so plan to register early!

>
Contact Diana Vossbrinck at Diana@ to register.

CFSA NEWS

A Farmer Goes to Washington

by Bobby Tucker of Okfuskee Farm, CFSA Member

Three things come to mind from my trip to Washington D.C.:

  • 20-year old legislative staffers play a significant role in many of the voting decision made by our elected representatives
  • Our more-or-less leaderless movement is extremely fortunate to have the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC); what you might consider our lobbyists.  Comprised of mostly young woman, they are extremely hard working, informed and good at their job.
  • Advocacy and active participation in government does make a difference.

Along with 30+ farmers and food advocates from 19 states, I was invited to D.C. on March 6-7 as part of a farmer “fly-in;” an initiative organized by NSAC (and supported by CFSA) to strategically place farmers and ranchers in face-to-face communication with their Congressional representatives.  Our main objective was to promote several bills that NSAC is fighting to get adopted as part of the larger 2012 Farm Bill.   Two bills we endorsed in particular that stand to make a major foothold for sustainable agriculture and small farms are the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act.  More details on these bills can be found at the NSAC website, but overall they work to expand markets for local food (including government institutions and underserved communities), improve processing and distribution infrastructure for local and regional agriculture, provide research and training that is essential to farm entrepreneurs, and offer assistance and funding to help new producers get started (and stay in production).  Both of these bills are quickly gaining support in Congress, and immediately following the farmer “fly-in” five new co-sponsors signed up for support (4 of 5 are on Agriculture Committees!).

I met with five different congressional offices, including both NC Senate offices and Rep. Renee Ellmers, my U.S. House Representative here in Chatham County (and the only politician that personally met with me).  Depending on the Representative/Senator and their committee assignments, we selected certain bills and aspects to focus on during our meeting.  Overall, I was able to personally attest to the first-hand benefits provided to our farm through programs supported in NSAC’s bills, as well as discuss the challenges I face as a new farmer with respect to our current “food” paradigm.  Not that I encourage my model as a way to venture into farming, but when you get finished paying the house and land mortgage, it doesn’t leave a lot left over to invest in farm infrastructure and specialized equipment.  Based on the federal and state funding we’ve received the past 3+ years, it was easy for me to explain how, when invested wisely, a little “seed” money can go a long way towards the economic viability of a beginning farm.

Two years ago we received a New/Beginning Farmer Grant (90% cost share) through NRCS’s EQIP program to install a solar well and water distribution system throughout our farm.  The payback from this investment is immeasurable — allowing us to optimize our livestock/annual crop rotations throughout the farm, as well as support the installation of our perennial and agroforesty systems – all done through efficient and conservative water consumption.

Another recurring theme among NSAC’s farm bills are programs and assistance for value-added agriculture.  We’ve also received both RAFI-USA and NC Market Ready grants to expand our sorghum syrup and fresh-shelled pea/bean production.  This support was crucial in developing new niches for our farm – vital for a new producer that is unable to compete with the many excellent and larger scale vegetable farmers in our area.  If we are going to be serious about developing a comprehensive local food system, then value-added products are what we need to continue developing.  Not only does it allow young producers to segue into local food production without acquiring a large land dept, but it also provides an opportunity for current production farmers to transition from a low-return, commodity and contract-livestock farming system to one that puts more profit back into their pockets, creates quality jobs, and helps sustain local economies, among other benefits.

Also of significance in the dialogue with the legislators was the promotion for the continuation and expansion of sustainable agriculture and specialty-crop research, education and extension.  I was able to highlight how fortunate it is for a new farmer to have access to all the extension programs, publications and workshops in the county, and assistance from one of the only extension agents in the country devoted to working with small and/or sustainably-oriented farms (thanks Debbie!).  Again, specialty crops are an important aspect to expanding our local food system and help existing farmers transition to new niches.

Besides having 30 farmers try to figure out the Metro ticketing machines on the subway, going to The Hill to meet with elected officials was a low-stress event.  The staffers that work in the congressional offices are typically very friendly, engaging, and eager to hear what you have to say.  Your congressional representatives want to hear from their constituents, and honesty, much more so than from professional corporate lobbyists.  It was a pleasure meeting and learning from other farmers and food advocates around the country, and to meet the great folks at NSAC and remember that there are lots of people working far away from a farm to support the sustainable and local agriculture movement.

 

> Learn more about the issues at: http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/fbcampaign/

> Learn more about Bobby’s Farm at: http://okfuskeefarm.com/

CALLING ALL FARMERS:

What are your Challenges to Going Organic?

If you are currently an organic farmer (EITHER certified OR non-certified) OR interested in transitioning to commercial organic production, please take a few minutes to fill out a brief survey found at the following link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OrganicandTransitioningFarmerSurvey

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is developing resources and training for farmers interested in transitioning to organic production. Our first goal on this project is to identify the main obstacles farmers in the Carolinas face in their efforts to transition to organic production.

Your thoughts on what is most challenging regarding organic production and certification is extremely valuable. This information would serve as a basis for developing training and resource materials targeted to the most pressing obstacles specific to the Carolinas.

> Contact Eric Soderholm, CFSA’s new Organic Transition Coordinator, with any questions.

CFSA’s NEW Organic Production Handbook

This new resource includes invaluable information about organic practices, NOP regulations, EQIP conservation practices that support organic operations, organic nutrient management, ecological weed management, and a list of key

resources.

> Learn more and download

We Are Milling!

by Jennifer Lapidus, CFSA Organic Grains Program Coordinator

We are actually making flour. Not with any level of efficiency (yet), but at least we are grinding grain from Carolina growers and offering samples to Carolina bakers. And we are working on dialing in the system (because efficiency is key). I think it worth mentioning– since it took us from mid-February to mid-March to simply get the mill mechanics operative– that some of the challenges we were presented with had to do with the lack of manufacturing in this country and the deficiency that this has caused in terms of skill level in our population. It was really difficult for us to find someone who could help us with our motor– someone who understood the mechanics of a large (15 hp) motor and the frequency and the Rpms and how all of this interacts and relates to the speed of the grind (because the mill originally had a European motor on it). So now, we not only have the mill running– which means we are rebuilding local manufacturing — but we have also honed the skills of those around us, and (I think/hope) engaged their interest.

The Asheville Artisan Bread Fest took place last weekend and for Carolina Ground this meant the Thursday before the festival, flour would be milled for our (pilot group of seven) bakeries. It was my first real run with the mill and it definitely felt like it, but the flour looked good and the resulting baked goods– breads, crackers, and cookies—were wonderful. The theme of this year’s festival was “Local Grain, Local Flour, and Local Bread.” CFSA brought in Dr Stephen Jones, a world-renowned wheat geneticist and breeder from Washington State University to present on local wheat. Stephen is the Director of WSU’s Research and Extension Center at Mt. Vernon, where his focus is breeding wheat for sustainable, perennial and organic systems. We shared his visit with the Crop Science Department of NCSU, who invited Dr Jones to lecture to their graduate students earlier in the week. In between Raleigh and Asheville, we organized an informal farmers meeting with Dr Jones at Carter Farms in Eagle Springs, NC (see photos below).

Billy Carter’s Farm and Carolina Grounds’ First Flour!

Although I had planned on giving a milling demonstration at the festival, after milling on Thursday, I felt it wise to reshape our presentation to something more engaging and less comical (did I mention how inefficient that first mill run was?) and less dusty, so instead, the mill hosted a panel discussion on local wheat with Dr Jones, Thom Leonard, a professional baker of more than 35 years, and currently a consultant for Heartland Mills in Marienthol, KS, Sharon Burns-Leader of Bread Alone Bakery, a highly esteemed bakery in New York that has made a strong commitment to using local NY-grown flour, and Brent Manning of the Riverbend Malt House. Our beautiful mill sat in the background.

CFSA’s Award-winning Cobblestone Farmers’ Market Returns

The Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, is almost ready to open for the 2012 growing season! Known for being Winston-Salem’s only all-local, producers only, high standards farmers market, Cobblestone’s selection by Winston-Salem residents as Favorite Farmer’s Market in Smitty’s Notes and runner up Favorite Farmer’s Market by the Winston-Salem Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards in 2011 has secured the place of local, sustainably raised food in the hearts of residents! Vendors are invited to participate on the basis of healthy, humane, environmentally responsible growing methods.

The market will open for its 4th season on Tuesday, April 17th from 10am to 1pm at 3rd and Patterson across the street from Krankies Coffee, in the same place as last year. The coming season will feature several fantastic new vendors including Billy Place Farm, Horse O’Peace Ranch, Jeem Farm, Grayson Natural Foods, Three Sisters Artisan Bakery, and Sheffield Manor Farm.

We also have a BIG announcement coming soon about the upcoming season! Keep your eyes on our facebook and twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter for this exciting news!

In other exciting market news: CFSA was awarded a renewal grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation for Cultivate Piedmont’s Cobblestone Market. This grant funding will allow CFSA to fund a Market Manager and matching WIC/EBT benefits for the market through March 31, 2013.  We are grateful to WSF’s partnership in building a sustainable food system for our state that benefits all our people.

CFSA is Planning Local Food Tour

CFSA is planning a Barn Storm Local Food Tour this summer, visiting farmers markets, farm to fork eateries, and other local food institutions across the Carolinas. We hope you can join us when we arrive in your town! We will be working directly with farmers to expand local food marketing, and raising awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture while energizing our movement. Stay tuned!

Spring Stewardship Newsletter Online

The Spring Stewardship Newsletter is now available on-line in the member’s-only newsletter archive!

This season’s edition features great stories about SC’s only certified organic beef producer, Gibson Farms, How to Brand your Farm, Delights of the Spring Garden, a recipe from SummaJoe’s for delicious Lentil, Sausage and Kale soup, Ask the Experts, and the latest CFSA news.

>The newsletter is a member benefit. To receive the newsletter and all of the other great benefits of membership, join CFSA today!

 

Welcome our New Organic Transition Coordinator

Eric Soderholm has been hired part-time as CFSA’s new Organic Transition Coordinator. His focus is expanding the resources and training available to farmers interested in transitioning to certified organic production in the Carolinas. Eric studied Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Biology at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Since then, he has worked for a number of farms throughout the Eastern US, most recently helping to build a full-diet CSA program in northern Virginia. He is based in Edenton, NC where he also works with Somerset Farm, a mixed livestock and certified organic produce operation run by CFSA member Frederick Inglis.

Find the Perfect Intern or Internship!

CFSA’s Internship Referral Service

Post your Fall Internships NOW!

CFSA’s on-line Internship Referrral Service connects sustainable farms throughout the Carolinas with aspiring farmers looking for hands-on learning opportunities.

CFSA Member Farmers: Post your NC and SC internship openings for free.

Students: Find your dream farm internship in the Carolinas!

Post Your Farm Internship Openings:  http://bit.ly/exw1I4

> Not yet a CFSA member? Join online (www.carolinafarmstewards.org/membership.shtml) to take advantage of our Internship Referral Service – just one of many member benefits!

Students: Find your dream farm internship!

/internshipboard.shtm

> For more information, please contact Diana Vossbrinck.

ACTION ALERTS:

FARM BILL UPDATE

The Farm Bill is up for renewal this year, although gridlock may block any action on this massive legislation until after the November elections.  The sustainable agriculture movement has been doing a great job of preparing for this contest; two key bills already have been introduced that would dramatically increase the competiveness of local and organic food and give new farmers a fair chance to get their start in agriculture.  You can read more about these two bills, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act on our website, https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/alert_farmbill12.shtml.

Calls from you, right now, are essential to get our representatives on record and help get both these bills into the final Farm Bill.  Key targets are listed below—if you live in their districts, please call them today and ask them to co-sign on both bills.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, NC 1st District (Northeast NC), 202-225-3101

Rep. Renee Ellmers, NC 2d District (Southern and Eastern Triangle, Sandhills), 202-225-4531

Rep. David Price, NC 4th District (Northern and Western Triangle; has already signed on to Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, needs pushing on Beginning Farmer and Rancher Act), 202-225-1784

Rep. Larry Kissell, NC 8th District (South-central NC from Fayetteville to Charlotte), 202-225-3715

Rep. Heath Shuler, NC 11th District (WNC), 202-225-6401

Rep. Mel Watt, NC 12th District (Greensboro to Charlotte), 202-225-1510

Rep. Trey Gowdy, SC 4th District (Upstate), 202-225-6030

Rep. Jim Clyburn, SC 6th District (Low Country and Midlands), 202-225-3315

NC Sen. Richard Burr, 202-224-3154

NC Sen. Kay Hagan, 202-224-6342

TAKE ACTION: Continue NC State’s Tradition of Agriculture Research and Extension.

Add Your Voice to the College of Ag. and Life Sciences (CALS) Dean Search

Dr. Johnny Wynne, Dean of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, is retiring in July after over 44 years of service and leadership at NC State. The search for his successor has begun. The new dean will set the strategic direction for the College for the future. Therefore, it is critically important for CFSA’s members that the new dean is committed to continuing the College’s strong tradition in applied agricultural research and extension.

More information about the position and search committee can be found here: http://www.ncsu.edu/human_resources/ESS/CALS-Dean/index.php. The search committee will be providing some opportunities for the College’s partners, students, alumni, and stakeholders to provide comments about the qualifications and experience they would like to see in a new dean. If you would like to learn more about how you can contribute your comments or suggestions to the search committee, contact Shivaugn.

 

TAKE ACTION: Just Label It Campaign for GM Food Labels

Congratulations, together, we have made history! More than one million people asked the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. It took less than 180 days to accumulate a record breaking number of public comments—a testament to the power of our collective voices to demand our right to know what’s in our food. This campaign’s strength is due to the over 500 diverse partner organizations (including CFSA!) who helped galvanize the American people to this moment.

More than 80% of processed foods at U.S. grocery stores are likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.

And you wouldn’t know it, because the FDA doesn’t require labels for foods with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients ‒ also called genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Nine out of 10 of Americans across the political spectrum supports labeling food that has been genetically engineered.

> Learn more at justlabelit.org/

 

EXPERT TIP : Identifying and controlling Galinsoga in the garden

by Eric Soderholm, Organic Transition Coordinator

An extremely mild winter and the rapid on-set of summer-like temperatures this past month have caused tremendous vegetative growth out in our gardens and fields. While this may prove beneficial for growing strong stands of cover crops to build soil organic matter, it also means greater weed pressure in areas cultivated for early season vegetable crops. Before you get too entangled in the many demands of the growing season, take some time to identify and learn more about the dominant weed species in your garden.

One of the most prolific weeds I have faced this time of year is the subtropical annual Galinsoga. There are three species of Galinsoga known by many common names including quick weed, water weed and gallant soldier. Each are low growing forbs with hairy stems, opposite leaves and yellow/white flowers. In as little as 50 days it can set seed and spread rapidly because of its quick germination, which begins while the seeds are still traveling from plant to soil! Once this weed takes hold in the garden, it is very challenging to eradicate. In my experience, it can grow particularly rampant in brassica crops. I recall one season renaming our cabbage patch the “Galinsoga patch,” in defeat.

To avoid a total crop takeover, remove this weed, roots and all, as early in its development as possible. If feasible, remove and compost the entire plant or time your weeding/cultivating when no rain is in the forecast so that plants left on the soil surface dry out rather than re-root. Be sure to clean any tools and equipment used in invaded fields, as Galinsoga seeds are transferred easily even in small clods of soil. In heavily infested fields, sowing a sorghum sudan grass cover crop can help break up its reproductive cycle. Stale seed bedding can also be effective, where a newly prepared field is allowed to flush with tiny germinating weed seeds and then is lightly cultivated with a harrow, disc or basket weeder. Doing this repeatedly before planting out your main crop can greatly reduce the quantity of Galinsoga seed in a given field before they become a problem.

If there are particular areas where Galinsoga prospers on your land, take heart! Several farmers have told me that its presence can be an indicator of adequate to high nitrogen levels in the soil. Not to mention the greens and stems from young plants are high in minerals and can be cooked and eaten. When you can’t beat it, eat it!

Questions?  Email Eric Soderholm at eric@.

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