In this edition:
IT’S FARM TOUR TIME!
There are so many amazing opportunities to meet local farmers and tour their scenic and sustainable farms coming up in the next few months – including the Midlands Farm Tour, happening THIS WEEKEND!
For all the details and to buy your tickets, click below on the website for the tour happening in your area.
CFSA’s Very First Midlands Farm Tour
Saturday and Sunday April 6-7 – THIS WEEKEND!
Farms open from 1-5pm https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/mft/
Piedmont Farm Tour
1-5pm both days
VIP Beginning Farm Tour during the Piedmont Farm Tour
1-5 pm both days
Just a few more seats available – Don’t delay!
Upstate Farm Tour
June 1-2, 2013
1-6 PM both days
A very special shout-out to the Farm Tours CFSA is sponsoring this year thanks to a grant from the Tobacco Trust Fund:
Sandhills Farm Tour – June 29 https://www.facebook.com/SandhillsFarmTour
Cycle to Farm – July 20 in Buncombe County
High Country Farm Tour
And, don’t forget our friend’s Low Country Local First’s Dirt Road Trip in Johns Island, Wadmalaw and McClellanville in SC.
April 20 from 10-5
PLUS, SAVE THE DATE:
CFSA’s Eastern Triangle Farm Tour – Sept. 21-22
OTHER CFSA EVENTS
The Farm Bill Extension & Its Effect on Local Foods
April 5th, 12:00 noon
Watauga County Cooperative Extension
Agricultural Conference Center
252 Poplar Grove Rd
April 9th, 7:00pm
Alamance County Extension Office Auditorium
209 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd.
April 19th, 4:30pm
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
April 19th, 7:00pm
Mt. Olive College (Communications Bldg)
634 Henderson St.
Mt. Olive, NC
April 24th, 7:00pm
Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Office Auditorium
1450 Fairchild Rd
For more information, contact Jared Cates or visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/free-event-jared-cates-on-the-farm-bill-extension-qa/
Training: Cantaloupe Pilot Program
Wednesday, April 10
Cunningham/Lower Coastal Research Station 200 Cunningham Rd.,
Tuesday, April 23
Davidson County Center
301 E Center St,
NC State University Cooperative Extension to offer the N.C. cantaloupe pilot program. The N.C. cantaloupe pilot program consists of education and outreach programs offered as a seminar in the classroom and voluntarily assessment on the farm. The programs will help cantaloupe producers to develop strategies for reducing the risk of food contamination and for handling such incidents if they occur.
Lunch and refreshments provided by North Carolina Farm Bureau and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
For more information and to register by APRIL 3, visit this website: http://www.ncmhtd.com/NCCantaloupe/
The NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council
April 11 from 1-4 pm
J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh
The meeting is open to the public.
The meeting agenda includes a legislative update including an update on S10 that proposes a sunset of the Council on July 1, 2013 (see CFSA’s action alert on S10) as well as a review of the NC SLFAC’s Strategic Planning Session, a Discussion and Review of Completed Local Food Listening Sessions, and an Update on the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The Cobblestone Farmers Market Opens!
Saturday, April 13th and Tuesday, April 16th
in front of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts
251 N. Spruce Street, one block from Fourth Street
(on May 18th, the Saturday market will return to Old Salem)
Disease and Insect Pest Management for Sustainable Vegetable Production
April 30 from 9 – 4 PM in Charleston
May 2 from 9 – 4 PM in Clemson https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/ipm-workshops/
These workshops are sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and the Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program, and are made possible by grants from the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program. The focus of the training will be on implementation of ecologically- and biologically-based strategies to discourage major regional diseases and insect pests from becoming a problem. Registration is only $10 and includes a catered lunch!
Register today – https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/ipm-workshops/
Ian Mitchell-Innes Mob Grazing Workshop
Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to learn from the world’s leading expert on mob grazing, Ian Mitchell-Innes, in his first appearance in the Carolinas!
Register Online Today: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/mob-grazing-workshop/
Or Give Us A Call: 919-542-2402
Regular deadline is April 19- Register now and SAVE $50!
CFSA Now Offers Direct Consulting to Farmers Pursuing a USDA GAP Certification
Intimidated by the regulations and paperwork necessary for a USDA GAP certification?
As part of our Local Produce Safety Initiative, we are teaming up with NCSU to offer FREE consultation services to a limited number of farmers applying for a USDA GAP certification.
Requirements for Participation:
- Up-to-date CFSA Membership status.
- Submission of a CFSA GAPs Certification Consulting Application.
- Attendance at one of the ‘Navigating the USDA GAP Audit’ workshops.
- Commitment to apply for certification in Spring/Summer 2013.
- Commitment to work on a food safety manual (min 7 hrs.).
Consulting services that NCSU will offer:
- Initial site visit identifying food safety concerns.
- Correspondence via email and conference calls.
- Assist with the review of Food Safety manual content.
- Eligible to apply for cost share reimbursement of documented GAP certification costs.
Download the applications and learn more at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/usda-gaps/
Transitioning to Organic? CFSA Can Help!
CFSA Farm Services Coordinator, Keith Baldwin, is now certified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Technical Service Provider (TSP). Keith will be assisting interested growers with the development of a Conservation Activity Plan Supporting Organic Transition (CAP 138) for their farm. CAP’s are funded through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative.
Conservation Activity plans identify conservation practices that will enhance natural resources on the farm such as soil health, water quality, plant health and productivity, animal well-being and habitat (beneficial, pollinator and wildlife).
At the same time these plans identify conservation practices that are the basis for the “organic farm plan” required for organic certification such as buffers, rotations, field borders, nutrient management, composting, cover cropping, pest management, etc.
Transitioning and certified organic growers can request cost share assistance for installing recommended conservation practices on their farms through the NRCS Organic Initiative Program.
NRCS will pay $1,568 to CFSA for the preparation of a plan ($1,888 for beginning or underserved producers). CFSA will share that payment with the participating grower. CFSA’s share is $700 for simple crop plans and somewhat more for diversified operations. Needless to say, this is a good deal for producers who are in transitioning to organic. The time commitment, which includes the application process and a farm visit by the CFSA staffer, is minimal.
If you are interested in participating in this new CFSA Farm Service and are “transitioning to organic”, see our website at https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/conservation-and-environmental-planning/ for more details, or email Keith Baldwin or call 919.302.3871.
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is also offering FREE consulting services to a limited number of farmers that are seeking USDA Organic Certification. This is open to farm operations that are serious about taking the next steps to apply whether you raise row crops, produce, livestock, medicinal herbs or other agricultural products.
Please visit our website for all the details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/organic-certification-consulting-services/
Be sure to see details for revised program requirements…you no longer need to take an Organic Certification workshop to take advantage of these FREE services.
Not ready to commit just yet?
Take the first steps towards future certification by asking questions now! CFSA can be a valuable resource in this process. Feel free to contact CFSA with specific questions regarding your efforts to transition your farming operation to organic.
See what else we offer through our Farm Service program at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/farm-services/
For more details, contact Eric Soderholm, CFSA’s Organic Transition Coordinator.
Groundbreaking CFSA Study Finds $7 Million Gap between Supply and Demand for Key Organic Crops
In the spring of 2011, CFSA conducted an extensive survey of the wholesalers, retailers and value-added processors in the Carolinas that represent the most accessible marketing channels for local growers of organic produce. The survey focused on the volume of organic sales for thirteen selected fruit and vegetable crops that can be grown in the Carolinas using organic practices with significant demand from retailers and wholesalers.
|Bell Peppers (all colors)||Watermelons|
|Leaf Lettuce (all, not iceberg)||Irish Potatoes (red, white and yellow)|
Survey results on the current demand for these organic crops were compared to the USDA’s 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey data for NC and additional sources, as needed.
These results verify that there is a considerable gap between consumer demand and current supply for all of the organic products surveyed (with the exception of sweet potatoes) during the months in which these crops can be grown in North Carolina. Our results found a supply gap of several million pounds of produce equaling over $7,000,000 in potential revenue. Broccoli and tomatoes were identified as having the largest supply gap.
> DOWNLOAD the full Organic Produce Marketing Survey
p.s. The recent CFSA newsletter had some incorrect numbers in the OPMS chart found on page three under “Value of Gap”. The numbers in the report online are correct and we apologize for any confusion we may have caused.
Local Partners Bring Pizzazz to Upstate Farm Tour!
The Upstate Farm Tour, scheduled for June 1 – 2, can credit much of its unique flavor and popularity to CFSA’s dynamic tour partners. This spring, tour visitors will find the annual event more educational, more delicious, and more fun than ever!
Visit Gibson Farm on Saturday, June 1st, or Walker Century Farms on Sunday, June 2nd where Slow Food Upstate (www.slowfoodupstate.com) will be hosting mini-workshops entitled, “BEEF, Guilt Free.” This workshop for adults will focus on the environmental stewardship of pastured cattle – the roles of the farmer and what consumers can do to be sure they purchase good, clean, and fair beef.
Slow Food Upstate educators will demonstrate how to shop for the lesser known cuts and how to prepare them in a delicious manner. They will also stress less food waste, and how one can use the whole cow. Each participant may take home a brochure with recipes for cooking lesser known cuts of beef, how to save money by buying half the animal, how to use leftovers, and some of the health benefits of 100 % sustainable, pasture raised beef.
For the youngsters in your group, Slow Food will offer a “Marvelous Marinade” hands-on workshop at both farms. Children will have an opportunity to create their own beef marinade with fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil, with recipes and a jar of marinade to take home!
Tour guests will have fabulous dining options on the tour this year! Once more, CFSA is partnering with local ‘farm-to-fork’ chefs to provide guests with delicious meals and snacks, as well as offer tips and inspiration on how to prepare farm-fresh ingredients at home.
Acclaimed throughout the southeast, Grits & Groceries (www.gritsandgroceries.com) will be serving southern-inspired meals at Friends at the Farm, while popular newcomer to the local food scene, Swamp Rabbit Café (www.swamprabbitcafe.com) will be offering their signature sandwiches, salads, and baked goods at Red Fern Farm. Guests who have a taste for something sweet will want to visit Greenbrier Farm where Marvelous Pies (www.marvelouspies.com) will be serving up slices to enjoy on the porch, or whole pies to take home. All chefs will be featuring locally sourced ingredients in their menu items!
The fun doesn’t have to end at the conclusion of the tour, thanks to CFSA partners at Gardening for Good. Tour guests are invited to Swamp Rabbit Café in Greenville on Sunday, June 2nd at 6:30 pm, to enjoy the Upstate Farm Tour After-Party Concert! The concert features Angela Easterling with special guests Blue Ridge Bounders, and is the finale of the Gardening for Good Community Garden Music Series. Concert admission is free, and there will be food, crafts, and other vendors to enjoy. More information can be found at www.ggardeningforgood.com/concert.
COMING SOON – all the details and buy your tickets for the Upstate Farm Tour at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/uft/
Honoring Bill Dow
This past December, we lost an organic farming pioneer when Bill Dow passed away. Bill believed passionately in local, organic food and farming, which practically did not exist in the late 1970’s when he started Ayrshire Farm in Chatham. Bill was a trailblazer – setting up Farmers’ Markets across the Southeast, including the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, and being one of the first farmers in the Carolinas to achieve organic certification – all before local and organic was in demand.
To honor this pioneer, and in recognition of the high standard he set for the current generation of sustainable farmers and conscientious consumers, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has established the William W. Dow Scholarship Fund. Gifts to this fund will aid beginning farmers in attending the Sustainable Agriculture Conference.
Please consider a gift today!
Introducing Laura Reedy, Our New Education Coordinator!
Laura Reedy holds a BA in Sociology from Knox College and a Masters in Management from Antioch University Seattle. She co-farms small produce farm out of Pittsboro, NC and is raising her first flock of chickens. She also makes goat milk soaps and loves seeing what farm crops will result in a unique new soap. Laura’s professional background includes volunteering for and later managing an AmeriCorps team, as well as organizing trainings and events in various non-profit environments.
WE’RE HIRING – Food Systems Coordinator Job Description
The Food Systems Coordinator is a full-time position with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). The Food Systems Coordinator is based in CFSA’s Pittsboro, NC office and is responsible for managing program initiatives to build food system infrastructure and improve market access for local, organic, and sustainable foods across the Carolinas.
Local Food Not Safe from FDA ‘Safety’ Rules
Three years ago our movement fought hard to protect local food from one-size-fits-all food safety rules, and Congress listened to us when they included the Tester-Hagan amendment in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t get the memo. They estimate that their proposed rules to implement FSMA will cost the typical small farm $22,383 per year. Since the average net cash income for farmers nationally was 10% of sales in 2011, this represents a severe burden that will put many small farms out of business.
Other hazards in the rule–
· if you apply raw manure to a field, you’ll have to wait 9 months before harvesting any crops from that field.
· if you irrigate with surface waters, you’ll have to test that water once per week, or treat it with chemicals.
· if you grow crops in a hoophouse, you’ll have to keep the floors clean!
· if you are a food hub and you put labels on bags of raw produce, you are a ‘manufacturing’ facility.
Clearly, the fight is not over. If we want local, organic food and farming to thrive, we need to mobilize our families, friends, and neighbors; farmers, foodmakers, and customers, to comment on these rules and tell FDA to keep its hands off local food. The feds must hear from us if we are going to get the changes we need to fix these flawed and illogical rules. Over the next few weeks, CFSA will start rolling out resources and materials to help you make informed comments—Please pay close attention, and be ready to join this campaign. We won a critical victory three years ago, and together we can do it again.
Continuing Resolution and Two Bad Riders
Two bad provisions recently hitched a ride and made it into law with the recently passed 2013 Continuing Resolution, which funds the federal government through September 30, 3013. Visit our website to read more about the “Monsanto Rider” and the “GIPSA Rider.”
Farm Bill Update
While the 2012 Farm Bill never became law and was not perfect, the proposed drafts that were worked on in both the U.S. House and Senate symbolize a shift in thinking about American agricultural policy. With your help this year, we will win back critical investments in the future of American agriculture – and then some. Visit our website to read more about the Farm Bill in 2013.
NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council
UPDATE – March 2013
The NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council meets Thursday, April 11 from 1-4 pm at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. The meeting is open to the public.
Directions to the Arboretum can be found at the following link: http://www.ncsu.edu/
jcraulstonarboretum/visit/ visitor_information/ directions.html
The meeting agenda includes a legislative update including an update on S10 that proposes a sunset of the Council on July 1, 2013 (see CFSA’s action alert on S10 below) as well as a review of the NC SLFAC’s Strategic Planning Session, a Discussion and Review of Completed Local Food Listening Sessions, and an Update on the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Early this month, the NC House added a provision to Senate Bill 10 (S10) The Government Reduction and Efficiency Act of 2013 that would change the sunset for the NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council to July 1 of this year. Just last July, we worked to get that sunset extended to 2015, and that win is in immediate jeopardy.
On March 5, the Senate appointed conference committee members to negotiate with House members over the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. There are many differences between the bills that are viewed as “more important” than the NCSLFAC provision. It is possible that if we convince just one or two Senate conferees to refuse to vote the bill out of conference committee if it contains the NCSLFAC provision, we can maintain the council.
These are the Senate conferees:
- Sen. Tom Apodaca, Chair (919)733-5745
- Sen. Bob Rucho(919)733-5655
- Sen. Harry Brown(919)715-3034
- Sen. Bill Rabon(919)733-5963
- Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton(919)715-3030
- Sen. Shirley B. Randleman(919)733-5743
The House conferees for S10 are:
- Murry (Chair), (919) 733-5602
- Samuelson, (919) 715-3009
- Hager, (919) 733-5749
- Starnes, (919) 733-5931
- T. Moore, (919) 733-4838
- Dollar, (919) 715-0795
- Tine, (919) 733-5906
- Brisson, (919) 733-5772
**Please CALL these offices ASAP to voice your support for the continuation of the NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council. Ask them to remove the house provision from S10 that references the council. The NCSLFAC provides a forum for state agencies to work together to reduce regulatory barriers to small businesses to allow the local food economy to grow. The council operates without a budget, so its elimination will not cut spending.
Please circulate this information widely throughout your networks.
For more information, please contact:
Shivaugn M. Rayl, CFSA’s Policy Director
Background information on this issue can be found at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/nc-sustainable-local-foods-advisory-council/
Tips for Taking Care of Transplants
by Eric Soderholm, CFSA’s Organic Transition Coordinator
Transplants can provide you with a solid, earlier start in the garden as you face variable spring temperature and moisture conditions. They tend to be more robust and can potentially withstand greater pest pressure, as well. Here are a few basic tips I have picked up from farmers I’ve worked with regarding the care of tender transplants:
1. Timing: Time your seeding schedule as best you can so that starts are at an appropriate maturity stage during the ideal window for transplanting that crop. It is best if plants are neither root bound nor too spindly when the time comes to set them out. It can be tempting to start seeds earlier than necessary. At times, this might be in your favor if temperatures are abnormally low and there is increased cloud cover as we’ve seen this spring, since these factors can seriously slow germination and growth. On the other side of the coin, delayed planting is sometimes inevitable if field conditions are too wet and turned-in cover crop residue needs additional time to break down. Transplants that are root bound can benefit from a shot of diluted fish emulsion or other liquid fertilizers to hold them over until they find their home in the field.
2. Moisture: Be careful to water gently as too much water pressure can pack seeds deeper in the soil and make sprout emergence more difficult or injure delicate young plants. Invest in a watering wand that makes an even, gentle stream or use a watering can with a similar ability. Avoid watering too late in the day so that seeds are not over moistened. Be sure to have proper ventilation, ideally with openings on either end of your transplant nursery structure, so that there is good air flow. This can help in reducing seed rot and other issues when the soil remains too moist during cloudy spells. Be aware of the drying patterns in your trays, as the edge cells/soil blocks will typically need a bit more water than those in an interior position.
3. Temperature: Whether you are starting seeds in a passive solar greenhouse, caterpillar tunnel or a south-facing window of your home, moderating temperature is important so that injury from the extremes is avoided. Open ventilation pathways as appropriate in the morning on warm days and close in the late afternoon to capture built-up heat on cold evenings. For seeds that need an extra heat boost during germination, such as those in the nightshade family, consider using plastic covers or “domes” that double the greenhouse effect. Electric heating mats that set below transplant trays and warm the soil from beneath can be much more energy efficient than heating the air of the entire structure. Likewise, incorporating heat reservoir components, such as black-painted barrels (or buckets) filled with water, into the design of your nursery structure can make for big savings.
4. Other Considerations: Try to control rodent populations in or near your nursery structure. They can be a problem with larger seeds, such as those in cucurbit family, which they dig up and eat. Avoid handling plants until transplanting time. They have enough hazards in reaching maturity already, so as enticing as it might be to run your hands over your little ones, do not touch them! They can be sensitive to oils and other substances you may have been on contact with and should be left alone. This is particularly true for those who smoke or otherwise handle tobacco products. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling plants and resist the urge to light up when setting plants out.
5. Final Preparations: Try to reduce all potential forms of shock as your transplants are introduced to the field. Before you set out your plants, it is best to given them some time to acclimate to the outdoors. Allow a “hardening off” period of about one week or more before planting. Be observant of predicted conditions so your transplants don’t get injured by a frost, wind or heavy rain since at this point you can still move them back under cover if necessary. If possible, set plants out in the morning, late afternoon, or during cloudy weather to avoid heat shock. Ideally you should have your chosen irrigation system ready to set up immediately after you finish transplanting. Try to soak transplant trays before planting, this will make them easier to pop out of celled trays and give the plants more initial moisture. Ensure that plants go into the ground as soon as possible after removing them from trays to reduce drying out. It can be helpful to give plants a shot of liquid fertilizer, in some manner, immediately following transplants (by hand, through drip irrigation lines or mixed into the tanks of a tractor-drawn transplanter).
Connect with CFSA – Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or contribute to our blog (http://www.carolinafarmstewardsblog.org)!
Share your News– Got a bright idea for a newsletter article or an upcoming event you’d like to publicize on the website? E-mail Amy.
To join the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/join/
To renew your membership, visit: http://bit.ly/cfsarenewal