eNews February 2011

In this edition:

Nurturing Beginning Farmers

Organic Breadflour Project: The Story of how NC grown wheat was used to make the bread and cookies at the SAC

Sustainable Food NC Receives Grant

Winter Stewardship Newsletter

Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference was a Big Hit

Action Alert: Keep up the Fight Against GE Alfalfa

Upcoming Events:

Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Sec. of the USDA, to speak in NC

This Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is pleased to announce that Kathleen A. Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has accepted our invitation to speak at NCA&TSU and NCSU on Wednesday, February 9.

Dr. Merrigan – named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the World” in 2010 – oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA’s many programs and spearheads the $149 billion USDA budget process. She has managed the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative highlighting the connection between farmers and consumers and supports local and regional food systems that increase economic opportunity in rural America. She also helped to spearhead the Organic Food Production Act.

Learn more at: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=bios_merrigan.xml

Dr. Merrigan will discuss efforts to support farmers and build local food economies and pinpoint professional opportunities available to graduates and researchers at the USDA. Both lectures are free and open to the public. Student participation is strongly encouraged.

Dr. Merrigan’s visit is an important component of CEFS’ ongoing Farm to Fork initiative to build N.C.’s local food economy.

Schedule for Wednesday, February 9:

10:00 a.m. in Room 100, B.C. Webb Auditorium, NCA&TSU

The auditorium is located at the corner of Benbow and East Market Street. Parking is available on the street and in the NCA&TSU parking deck behind the library on Laurel Street. View a map of the NCA&TSU campus here: www.ncat.edu/campus/.

2:30 p.m. in Room 124, Dabney Hall, NCSU

Dabney Hall is located on the North Campus at 2620 Yarbrough Drive. Parking is available on Hillsborough Street and in the Dan Allen parking deck. Click here to view a map of the North campus: http://www.ncsu.edu/campus_map/north.htm.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Training

February 15-16, 2011 in Anderson, SC

Learn more

Registration closes on February 6th and spaces are limited, so please register now!

Carolina Meat Conference

March 25-27 in Concord, NC

NC Choices is offering a special discount for CFSA Members to attend the conference!

 

When you register, choose “CFSA Member” in the first step of the online registration. Then, type in the code, “LOCAL”when you register to receive $20 off the general admission price of $150 (which is the early bird price). Just FYI – the price will go up to $175 after Feb 18th and will be $200 on the day of the conference – so register today!

For more information about the CFSA Member Discount, email casey@ncchoices.com. Not a CFSA member? You can receive the CFSA discount by joining CFSA today!
Carolina Meat Conference Details:

If you are an independent meat producer, processor or butcher, retail grocer, chef or food service professional, Extension agent, or interested consumer, you WON’T WANT TO MISS this first-ever statewide conference at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center (www.cabarrusarena.com).

Attendees will:

– engage in hands-on training sessions to improve carcass utilization, value-added product development & artisanal butchery techniques,

– learn about innovative marketing alliances & regional processing initiatives

– discuss emerging trends, marketing standards, & regulatory issues, and

– explore how production practices impact meat quality, marketability and profitability.

Check out the attached agenda and you won’t be disappointed—the schedule offers 2 FULL days of information-rich, fun-filled activities for those interested in the growing market for local meats.

Visit www.carolinameatconference.com for registration information and a link to register on-line.

Early registration rates run until February 18th. Some training sessions are limited to 25 participants and are available on a first-come, first-served basis so act now to make sure you secure a spot.

CFSA is sponsoring this conference.

2011 Piedmont Farm Tour

April 16-17, 2011 in Farms in the Triangle, NC

Please mark your calendar for the 16th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour, co-sponsored by CFSA and Weaver Street Market. We are still in the planning stages, but I can tell you that we will have some cool new farms this year, lots of perennial favorites and some new special features that you won’t want to miss. Tell your family and friends! If you don’t live in the Triangle, know that we do have plenty of folks coming in from out of town for day or weekend trips.

Details about tour sites, tickets, volunteering and new features will be available soon!

For details on other sustainable ag. events – and to post your own events – visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/events.shtml

Association News

Nurturing Beginning Farmers

The South Carolina New & Beginning Farmer Apprenticeship Program, as administered by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, kicks off in February with three dedicated interns paired with three of the most successful and acclaimed farms in the state. The apprenticeship program is part of a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, led by the Clemson Institute for Community and Economic Development. Congratulations are extended to Gail Cooley of Patient Wait Farm in Pied- mont, Bub Dillon of Long Branch Farm in Fair Play, and Sylglenda Saziru of John Smith’s Hill in Spartanburg, who were chosen for apprenticeships in the first year of this three-year program. (CFSA will have four internships to be awarded in 2012, and five in 2013. Lowcountry Local First is administering internships in the lower part of the state.)

Ms. Cooley will be interning with Chris Sermons of Bio-Way Farm in Ware Shoals, where she will learn how to build a small, sustainable farm from the ground up, with a focus on permaculture design, greenhouse manage ment, and biodiversity. Gail Cooley is especially eager to study Bio-Way’s innovative methods of edible-forest gardening, which will be well suited for her own farm in Piedmont where she is currently raising heritage turkeys.

Bub Dillon understands the challenges of diversity. So does Chad Bishop of Greenbrier Farms in Easley, who will be mentoring Mr. Dillon forthe eight-month program. Mr. Bishop will share his expertise and ideas on how a highly diverse, sustainable/organic farm works on a daily basis. Areas of work and study will include plant propagation, insect and disease control, cover cropping, pasture management, livestock management and processing, value-added food production, and marketing and agri-tourism.

Daniel Parson of Parson Produce will lend his store of knowledge and experience to Sylglenda Saziru, who is looking to ensure the sustainability of the farm that has been in her family for 100 years by diversifying produc- tion and expanding markets. At Parson Produce, Ms. Saziru will learn intensive but highly diverse vegetable production, including Parson’s methods of fertility and pest management through cover crops and rotations. Parson Produce will also expose her to the process of becoming certifi ed organic, as well successful marketing strategies.

Interns and mentors were chosen with compatibility foremost in mind and CFSA is pleased that all three mentor farms are in a position to offer their interns a learning experience that can be directly implemented on their own farms. All interns and mentors this first year are CFSA members who have demonstrated a passion for and commitment to sustainability in their current operations and their goals for the future.

Carolina Grown and Ground: NC Organic Bread Flour Project Update

by Jennifer Lapidus

wheat

For those who attended CFSA’s 25th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, you likely tasted at least one of the various baked goods made with NC grown wheat. The cookies provided for the mid-day break were from West End Bakery, made with Arapaho wheat grown by Fred Miller on Hilltop Farm in Wake County, smack dab in the middle of the state. The bread presented at Saturday evening’s reception was from Farm and Sparrow Breads, made with Turkey wheat grown by John McEntire on Peaceful Valley Farm in Old Fort, at the foothills of our mountainous western region. And the rolls served with Saturday evening’s dinner were from Annie’s Naturally Bakery, made with Lindley Mills flour, from TAM303 hard red wheat, grown by Ben and Kenny Haines of Looking Back Farms located in Tyner, on the far northeastern end of the state.

For each, there was a story illustrating a different route to the same end: the revival of regional grain production and commerce. Three different varieties of wheat, each from a different time in agriculture’s history: a heritage wheat, Turkey; a modern wheat, Arapaho; and a regionally adapted wheat, TAM303.

Turkey wheat is a landrace grain, meaning that it predates modern breeding. Turkey arrived in this country in the early 1870s, brought to Kansas by Mennonite immigrants from the Ukraine, fleeing Tsarist per- secution. Turkey wheat is, ironically, partly to blame for the death of the community stone mill. It thrived in Kansas, swiftly becoming the primary wheat variety planted throughout the Central Plains. It did so well, that it pushed forward the advancement of milling technology. But that’s a whole other story. What’s important for this telling is that Turkey was replaced in the mid-1940s, by modern higher-yielding cultivars. Though a small group of farmers in Kansas have started a wheat revival project to bring back this wheat and Slow Food has inducted Turkey into its U.S. Ark of Taste, they remain in production and on our plates.

But how did bread made with Turkey wheat grown in NC make it onto our plates? Enter Farm and Sparrow Breads. Farm and Sparrow is a small operation, a craft bakery run by owner and operator, Dave Bauer. Dave is deeply committed to his craft. He employs Old World methods—cultures to leaven his doughs and wood to fire his massive masonry oven. Finding a farmer to grow his wheat was the natural next step. Dave befriended farmer John McEntire. John grows heirloom corn that he mills into grits that Dave uses in his Heirloom Grits Bread. Dave acquired enough seed for four acres of Turkey wheat and John, whose father and uncle used to grow wheat, happily planted it. Dave was able to acquire the seed because of that small group of farmers back in Kansas committed to reviving this wheat.

The seed that grew the wheat that went into the rolls baked by Annie’s Naturally Bakery was thanks to a friendship between a farmer and a miller. Kenny Haines has been growing soft (pastry) wheat for Joe Lindley for years. The two met when Kenny, who also has a trucking business, arrived at Lindley Mills for a pick up, and they got to talking. At the time, regionally adapted bread wheat varieties were not even a possibility, but in 2002 the USDA-ARS launched the Uniform Bread Wheat trials to develop bread wheat varieties that can withstand the hot and humid climate of the southeast. The first of the varieties released was TAM303, through Virginia Foundation Seed. No one was growing out the seed stock though, so Joe and Kenny stepped up to the plate, purchasing all the seed that was available. The seed was treated, so it could not be planted on an organic farm, but Kenny had a conventional grower plant it, so there would be untreated seed to plant the following year. Which, the next year, is what Kenny and Ben did. And with the harvest from that planting, and Lindley Mills, and Annie’s Bakery, the rolls from Saturday evening’s dinner were made.

And enough seed was held back so that this past planting (planting just ended), over 600 acres of TAM 303 were planted on four different organic farms in NC and one in VA. Kenny and his son, Ben, by the way also planted close to 20 acres of Turkey.

And the Arapahoe? Fred was curious about growing wheat, acquired some seed, not regionally adapted, but he got lucky, the weather behaved, he had 500 pounds to sell, and he called me up. We met in a Sam’s Club parking lot in Raleigh to make the exchange. Yes, a Sam’s Club parking lot.

Sustainable Food NC Receives Grant

In November, CFSA was awarded a grant of $205,000 over two years from the Z. Smith Reynolds Founda- tion for support of the Sustainable Food NC coalition. The grant agree- ment was fi nalized in January, and will allow for a seamless continu- ation of the work begun in 2009. Coalition members will work with the General Assembly and other policymakers during the 2011-2012 legislative sesssion to raise aware- ness about the value of local-scale agriculture and food production.

SFNC is committed to advocating for policies in North Carolina that foster locally supported sustainable and organic food production, enhance local economic development, support community health and increase access to local food throughout the state. For more information on the coalition’s work, contact Shivaugn Rayl at 919.576.9173 or email her.

Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference was a Big Hit

The Carolina Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference and Trade Show was held January 20 and 21, 2011 in Oxford, NC. Hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the NC State University Organic Grain Project and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, the event was attended by over 180 people from a variety of agricultural backgrounds on top of nearly 150 certified organic growers. Add to that a dozen industry vendors and by any standard, the conference was a great success!

If you weren’t there, you missed a great opportunity to connect with commercial-scale organic producers, distributors, retailers and academic leaders in the field of organic and sustainable agriculture. All of our workshops and sessions were well-attended and valuable information was shared between our speakers and our attendees. The intimate setting encouraged give and take between the speakers and our participants and question and answer sessions helped people get the information they were looking for.

The CFSA appreciates everyone who attended or contributed to the conference and is especially grateful for the generous support of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco. Thanks also to all our speakers and panelists who helped make the conference a success.

Winter Stewardship Newsletter!

Can’t get enough of the good news from CFSA?  Become a member and you’ll receive our quarterly newsletter, Stewardship News.

The latest edition came out this week and includes great stories on Plum Granny Farm in Stokes Co. NC, Winter Season Extension by Pat Battle of Sparking Earth Farms, The Gardener’s Calendar, Year-rount Farmers’ Markets, two amazing recipes from the SAC, winter growing tips and favorite new seed from our panel of expert farmers, and more!

Members can access the newsletter in the members-only archive by logging in at: https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=CFSA&WebCode=HomePage

 

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