In this edition:
Upcoming Events – Farm Tours, NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs, and the Sustainable Ag Conference!
Tips from CFSA’s Organic Initiative Coordinator, Karen McSwain
CFSA is a proud sponsor of:
Blue Ridge Women In Agriculture’s High Country Farm Tour
Aug. 6-7, 2011
Learn more at http://www.brwia.org/node/479
10-week Business Planning Course for Local Farm/food System Entrepreneurs –
Beginning Aug. 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM in Greenville, SC
Clemson University’s Institute for Economic and Community Development, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Clemson Regional Small Business Development Center, and BizBuilderSC are offering NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs beginning August 22nd, 2011. This ten week program offers established entrepreneurs the tools and resources to create and implement a plan for growth. NxLevel® for Agricultural Entrepreneurs will target entrepreneurs interested in cultivating a stronger local food system: (urban/rural farmers, food artisans, chefs, value added business owners, those involved in food media, agritourism, processors, local market owners, etc.).
This program is designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and/or grow successful businesses. NxLevel® is a product offered through BizBuilderSC. Experienced entrepreneurs present the programs and guest speakers specializing in the topic for the session supplement their knowledge.
SAVE THE DATE:
Sept. 17-18, 2011
This year’s Eastern Triangle Farm Tour will be the biggest one yet. We are adding several new farms and bringing back your favorites. There will be 25 farms in all, including 5 new farms! We will also have backyard chicken demonstrations and other special surprises. Look for a kick-off celebration at the new north Raleigh Whole Foods! As always, we appreciate Whole Foods Market for their generous support of the tour. And we thank all the wonderful farms that open their doors to us.
Check out last year’s website and photos on our Facebook page to get excited! https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/etft2010.shtml
Nov. 11-13, 2011 in Durham, NC
Early bird registration begins July 20th!
For details on other sustainable ag events – and to post your own events – visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/events.shtml
Nov. 11-13, 2011 in Durham, NC
Last year’s conference was a huge success and so this year, we sat down and brainstormed the best and brightest minds in sustainable ag., gardening, local food, activism and policy – and then we invited them all! And, do you know what? Most of them said yes!
We’ve assembled cutting-edge, skill-building sessions on horticulture, livestock, soils, mushrooms, permaculture, bees and food. Some of these classes will be taught by our best local experts: people like Tradd Cotter, Ken Dawson, Daniel Parsons, Tony Kleese, and Debbie Roos. And, we are very pleased to be hosting some amazing talent from around the country. We’ll announce the full conference line-up when the early bird registration opens on July 20.
But, we are so excited about this, we just can’t wait: Our keynote this year is Joan Dye Gussow, author of the bestselling “This Organic Life!” She’s a legend in the local, organic movement. Friday night Joan will get us thinking together about what it means to defend real food. She inspired Michael Pollan and we’re sure she will inspire you and our Carolina movement.
PLUS – networking, farm tours, hands-on workshops, amazing local food, and so much more!
You won’t want to miss this conference!
Through the Organic Initiatives Program, CFSA has been working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in both North and South Carolina to assist in the implementation of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiatives (OI). This program provides cost share assistance for the implementation of conservation practices that address resource concerns on organic or transitioning agricultural lands. If you are interested in learning more about this program visit /eqip.shtml or contact Karen McSwain.
As many of you know, the General Assembly adjourned for 2011. There was a last minute flurry of activity as they approached adjournment. Status updates for the bills we’ve been following are provided below. If you have additional questions, please contact Shivaugn Rayl, Coalition Director, Sustainable Food NC or by calling 919.542.2402.
HB 200 Appropriations Act of 2011
As you know, this budget bill was vetoed by the Governor over concerns related to educaction funding and health & human services programming. The Governor’s veto was overriden by both chambers and became law anyway. The components of the budget that were identified late last year as CFSA/coalition priorities for funding were largely supported. The Tobacco Trust Fund was protected from complete elimination and funded at a reduced rate of $2 million annually; Golden LEAF retained $50 million each year in funding; the Department of Agriculture’s budget actually increased slightly although they will still undergo some reorganization and realignment of staff/programs; the Ag Dev and Farmland Pres Trust Fund will continue making grants. On a disappointing note, the Land Loss Prevention Project suffered the most significant cut of the programs we identified as priorities–20% in the 1st year of the budget and 15% in the second year. CFSA, together with the coalition worked well to organize around the trust funds and raise awareness of the importance of funding the programs. The work we did certainly had a positive impact.
HB 162 Exempt Small Ag Processing from Permit Req
This bill became law on April 19. It exempts small quantities of on-farm waste water from permitting requirements provided the wastewater is land applied and its application does not violate and ground or surface water standards. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Farm Bureau worked closely on the development of this bill language and were the driving force behind its passage. Farm Bureau and CFSA staff are now working with DENR DWQ staff to develop and distribute guidance documents that will inform farmers/farm business operators on best practices for land application.
HB 168 Farms Exempt from City Annexation & ETJ
This bill became law on June 27. This bill went through 4 versions before ratification. The final version provides that land used for bona fide farm purposes cannot be annexed by a municipal government without prior written approval of the landowner. Additionally, property used for bona fide farm purposes is exempt from the exercise of municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction until it ceases to be used for bona fide farm purposes. This is a big win for farms on the urban fringe. Unfortunately, this bill cannot undo individual farm annexations that have already occurred, nor does it exempt bona fide farms already annexed from the oversight of municipal zoning ordinances. We owe thanks to the NC Grange for their leadership on this bill, and the bill sponsors: George Cleveland (R-14, Onslow County), Dewey Hill (D-20, Brunswick and Columbus Counties) and Norman Sanderson (R-3, Craven and Pamlico Counties). (Also of note, though not specific to farmland, HB 56/S.L. 2011-177 provides that all municipal annexations may now be prevented if 60% of the property parcel owners in the area to be annexed petition against it. HB 845 Annexation Reform Act of 2011 was presented to the Governor on June 20 and will further restrict involuntary annexations).
HB 350 Property Tax Uniformity for Conservation Land
This bill became law on June 23. This bill clarifies when land used (or held) for conservation purposes by a nonprofit is exempt from the property tax base. This legislation will allow land conservation nonprofits to hold land until it is transferred to a government entity for conservation purposes without being liable for the taxes on the land during the time it is held. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina worked tirelessly to advance this bill. This may be relevant to sustainable food and farming because it removes the tax barrier to transferring land into permanent conservation when partnering with land trusts and government units, and may facilitate more conservation over the long term.
HB 406 Voluntary Ag Districts
This bill became law on June 23. It provides that land engaged in agriculture but not qualified for the Present-Use Valuation Tax assessment can be enrolled in a Voluntary Agriculture District (VAD) or and Enhanced Voluntary Agriculture District (EVAD). It also removes the requirement for recording voluntary conservation agreements with the Register of Deeds. Irrevocable (involuntary) conservation easements must still be recorded. The Farm Bureau was instrumental in the passage of this bill. It can be seen as a win for small farms that do not qualify for PUV or larger farms that have yet to meet their 3 year requirement for PUV to join a VAD or EVAD, allowing these farm owners to participate on the VAD/EVAD Board.
HB 432 Swine in Transport/Regulate Feral Swine
This bill passed both chambers by a veto proof margin and was sent to the Governor on June 20. It provides penalties for transporting live swine without proper identification tags approved by the State Veterinarian, makes it a crime to remove a swine alive from a trap, and classifies all free-roaming swine as feral, therefore a nongame animal. Note: free-roaming does not refer to pasture-raised hogs as long as they are fenced in. This bill is an attempt to protect our state’s hog farmers, both large and small, from the threat of diseases carried by increasing populations of feral swine. The bulk of the bill language is meant to curtail activity by sportmen who may contribute to the population growth of feral swine by trapping, transporting, and releasing swine for sporthunting. This bill has been a couple of years in development and included input from both pasture pork producers (Lee Menius) and Animal Welfare Approved.
SB 499 Clarify Ag Development/Preservation in DACS
This bill became law on June 23. It codifies the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund and related activities as the specific responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This creates no change to the status quo. The bill was a symbolic change to the law and is expected to prevent any executive branch reorganization from placing that program within DENR or another branch.
HB 503 Nutritional Stds/All Food Sold at Schools
This bill made crossover but was not passed by both chambers before adjournment, which makes it eligible for action in the 2012 session. As now written, it directs the State Board of Education to set minimum nutritional standards for all food sold on school property or at school events that is not part of the federal school breakfast or lunch programs. This would include all vending, snack bars, fundraisers, etc. The bill also prohibits vending at elementary schools. Charter schools would be required to adhere to standards if they participate in the federal breakfast and/or lunch program. This is one step toward a well-rounded healthy food policy for schools. Bill sponsors are Rep. Insko (D-Orange) and Rep. LaRoque (R-Green, Lenoir, Wayne).
The sustainable agriculture community won a huge victory in 2009 when we stopped NAIS, which was an industry-backed proposal to require the individual tracking of every livestock animal in the US—except animals on CAFOs. Thanks to a huge public outcry from ranchers and consumers alike, USDA eventually shelved the plan.
But the giant meat packers that dominate the livestock industry aren’t through with this issue, and they continue to seek mandated traceability requirements in order to develop international standards for exports. In response, the USDA has pressed on to develop a new traceability scheme, claiming it to be an animal health program, although admitting the importance of the export market to the United States.
The wheat harvest is just about wrapping up and record yields are being met statewide. Of the hard wheats, the report from grower Kenny Haines is that the Appalachian White and NuEast have done well— strong yield and good test weights.
Carolina Ground, L3CFINALLY received a green light from the City of Asheville to begin the upfit for our mill room. It seemed we were getting caught in the snare of regulatory overload, the word mill conjuring images– in the minds of city officials– of explosions caused by dust combustion. But we have allayed their fears. Yes, mills have caught on fire, but we are a different brand of mill– a micro mill with top projects of 1-2 tons of flour per day. A ‘small’ mill, btw, can produce up to 10,000cwt of flour a day– that means 100,000 pounds of flour before being designated a ‘medium-sized’ mill. We are off the map, a new, or renewed model for regional grain endeavors.
So, with permits in hand, our contractor is busy at work–walls erected, sheet rock hung, we are getting close… If all goes as scheduled, we expect to begin milling by mid-August and plan to have an open house mid- September (fingers crossed!)
And just up the road from Carolina Ground, Riverbend Malthouse is also busy putting up sheetrock. In the meanwhile, Brent and Brian are deep into a 3-week malt training in Canada.
Connecting Mentors and Future Farmers
CFSA’s NEW 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!
For more information, please contact Diana Vossbrinck
Matthew Ballard will intern with CFSA throughout the year until next spring. While an undergraduate, he served as a teaching assistant to a freshman seminar course on local foods, assisting in a preliminary community food assessment. He has spent the past two years at Duke Divinity. Completing his final year in the dual degree program, he will study program development, policy advocacy, and citizen participation while at the UNC School of Social Work through the lens of ‘food justice.’ Matthew is thrilled to be an intern for CFSA’s crucial work in the state and looks forward to studying system change in food and farm economies benefiting not only small farmers, but the environment. In his spare time, Matt often plays in the dirt and chases around chickens; he aspires to the greatest life in the world—being a full-time farmer.
Check out great summer stories on the beautiful, biodynamic Beausol Farms, agritourism, using summer to plan for your fall garden, Mexican Corn on the Cob, and a chance to win Andrea Reusing’s new cookbook, Cooking in the Moment!
To read the latest edition as well as old issues, sign in to the members-only page and look for the Newsletter Archives!
Not yet a member? Join today for all of the great benefits of CFSA membership, including our awesome quarterly newsletter!
In June, the scorching temperatures did little to keep families away from the farms on the 5th annual CFSA Upstate Farm Tour! This year’s unique farms, fun family activities and delicious farm-fresh food stops attracted over 1,200 guests who made more than 4,000 farm visits! That’s 20% more than last year; multiplying by 70% just since 2009!
We would like to thank everyone who came out to show their support of the farm tour. Special appreciation goes to to the farmers, volunteers, chefs, and media who came together
to make the tours such a success. CFSA also extends sincere gratitude Whole Foods Market, whose valued partnership makes the Upstate Farm Tour possible.
>Check out great farm tour photos from the tour on our facebook page at facebook.com/
carolinafarmstewards and “Like” us while you’re there.
by Alice Alexander, CFSA’s Development Director
I was delighted to participate last week at a Poplar Ridge Farm-to-Table Dinner in Charlotte. Farm owners Marianne Battistone and Philip Norwood not only enjoy providing farm-fresh cuisine based on their certified organic produce, and featuring local chefs, but they also connect dinner participants with intriguing presentations on sustainable agriculture. Greg Pillar, Ph.D., Chair of Environmental Sciences at Queens University discussed his recent travel to Micronesia with regard to global biodiversity and the connection between environmental sustainability and our food choices. I was invited to introduce the group to the CFSA’s important food policy work and farm support. Many thanks to Marianne and Philip for raising awareness of our important issues and encouraging membership in CFSA – and in such elegant surroundings!
Poplar Ridge Farm is open to the public one day a week (http://www.poplarridgefarmnc.com), and will host an open house on September 17, as part of the 3rd annual Charlotte Area Farm Tour (http://knowyourfarms.com)
In Charlotte this past week, the Unitarian Universalist Association held their annual general assembly. Part of the discussions included a statement of conscience on “ethical eating: food and environmental justice.” CFSA staff were pleased that sustainable farming methods were supported, towards protecting the environment, consumers, farmers, and all those involved in food production and distribution. Calls to action include buying, raising and consuming food that:
· minimizes the negative environmental effects by purchasing organically-produced food;
· minimizes transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions by obtaining foods locally produced through home or community gardens, farmers markets, or community supported agriculture (CSA); and
· provides farm workers with living wages by purchasing fair trade certified products.
Many thanks to Linda Watson, author of recently published Wildly Affordable Organic, who donated 10% of her book sales to CFSA at a signing at Chatham Marketplace Tuesday evening. Linda provides a link between purchasing local, sustainably raised food and knowing and appreciating how to cook it! The book is one culmination of her 4-year “cook for good” project http://www.cookforgood.com/buy/ which includes cooking lessons and a focus on eating healthy on a budget. We all enjoyed Linda’s Southern Summer Pesto and Chocolate Pumpkin Snake Cake, yum!
Chances are if you have had some rain this summer, you probably have some pretty unhappy looking tomatoes. Tomato diseases are EVERYWHERE and all they need is a little rain and heavy dew mornings to make them grow like gang busters! At this point there is probably very little you can do to save them. While I always had a second generation ready to be planted this time of year, I struggled with whether or not to pull the diseased ones out before the next generation was fruiting. I could not bear to go to market without tomatoes! If you are like me and keep them in the ground until they are so diseased they cannot possibly go on, be VERY, VERY careful! That tomato field is full of disease inoculum, i.e. bacteria or fungal spores. If your next generation of tomatoes is downwind or any other susceptible crop, your diseased tomatoes can infect other crops on your farm or in your garden. You might think nothing of harvesting tomatoes from those plants and moving on to harvest your next crop, or maybe even work in your next generation of tomatoes. The problem is, as you brush up against those diseased tomatoes you can actually pick up hitchhikers, i.e. bacteria or fungal spores, and transmit them to other plants you are working with. My suggestion, remove any diseased crop from you farm or garden as soon as possible and BURN them. Unless you are VERY confident in you composting technique, do not put diseased plants in your compost pile. You compost will have to reach temperatures above 150◦ F to kill most plant bacterial and fungal pathogens. If you don’t reach those temperatures you risk infecting next year’s plants with contaminated compost. So, so good bye to those dying tomatoes as soon as you can and get them out of your field ASAP!
Recent stories include a great recipe for raw blueberry bars, farm profiles from Happy Cow Creamery and Vollmer Farms, and an interesting piece of the best websites for local food and farming news! Check it out at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/blog/
Interested in writing for the blog? We want to hear from you! Email Sarah today.
Connect with CFSA – Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or check out our blog (https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/blog/)!
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.