eNews March 2015

Dear Friends of Farms and Food,

As March brings spring and warmer weather, I hope that all of our farmers survived the recent colder weather without too much damage to farms and crops. Our Lomax Farm Manager was busy making sure snow did not stay put on the roof of the high tunnel, an activity we know a lot of farmers in the Carolinas are fast becoming experts at doing.

In the office, we welcome the warmer weather as we are actively planning the upcoming 20th (!) Piedmont Farm Tour and on-farm workshops. We’ve been combing through the CFSA archives and have found some vintage farm tour photographs from the early years of the tour. Look for these on social media over the next few weeks.

Do you have a farm-tour memory to share? I love hearing from people who have stories of how attending a farm tour has connected them to the person who grows their food, and in some cases, inspired people to become farmers.

Please email me and share your farm tour memories – we might share your story on our blog!

Warmly,

elizabeth signature

Elizabeth Read, Communications and Development Director
Elizabeth@

 

CFSA NEWS

Waccamaw Market Cooperative and The Local Table: Connecting Small Regional Growers to Large Tourist, Retail and Wholesale markets on the SC Coast 

From CFSA’s Blog, the Sweet Potato

Now Accepting Sustainable Ag Conference Workshop Proposals 

 

CFSA RESOURCES

Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trials Reportse-variety-trials-report

CFSA’s Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trial Report was developed to support organic growers in two ways: to increase access to variety trials results and to provide a significant listing of organic seed purveyors.

Download the full report!

 

Marketing Consultingmarketing-consultingFree market consultations for a limited number of NC and SC producers.

FREE Services for CFSA Members include: assistance accessing social media, developing branding material, or developing a business plan.

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS!

https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/marketing-consulting/

 

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Take Advantage of Financial and Technical Assistance!  NRCS Organic Initiative Deadlines Coming Up! 

 

TAKE ACTION

The Farm to School Act of 2015 Officially Introduced in Congress! 

Help SC Lead the Nation in Protecting Local Food: Support Senate Bill 284! 

Shell Egg Victory in North Carolina 

The Fight for Healthy Food Financing in South Carolina 

Come Grow with Us at Ag Awareness Day in Raleigh

 

EXPERT TIP

Preventing Damping Off in Spring Transplant Production

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

20th Anniversary Piedmont Farm Tour

April 25-26 from 2-6 PM

https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/pft/

 

GAP Workshops in Polk Co. and Wayne Co. 

Polk Co – March 11 from 9-4 PM

Wayne Co – March 24 from 9-4 PM

Event details and to register: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-workshop-series-navigating-the-usda-gap-audit-brunswick-nash-polk-wayne-cos/ 

 

CFSA Workshop: Organic Crop Certification for Agricultural Small Businesses (Henderson)

March 20, 2014 from 8:30 – 3:00 PM 

Register by March 18!  http://bit.ly/ocvance or call 919-542-2402

Location: Vance-Granville Community College, Building 7, Room 7107
Cost: $8/person, includes lunch

Event details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-workshop-organic-crop-certification-for-agricultural-small-businesses/

 

CFSA Field Day: Organic Certification (Rougemont)

March 31, 2015 from 8:45 – 4:30 PM

Register online or call 919-542-2402

Cost: $15, includes lunch

Location:
AM Session: Schley Grange Hall

3416 Schley Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278

PM Session: Down 2 Earth Farm

8115 New Sharon Church Road, Rougemont, NC 27572

Event Details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/field-day-organic-certification-rougemont/ 

 

CFSA Field Day: Organic Certification (Black Mountain)

April 2, 2015 from 8:45 – 4:30 PM

Register online or call 919-542-2402

Cost: $15, includes lunch

Location: New Sprout Farm, Packing Facility and Offices
190 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Event Details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-field-day-organic-certification-black-mountain/ 

 

Sustainable Organic Pest Control

March 23, 2015 from 1-5:30 PM 

RSVP required: http://bit.ly/cfsapestcontrol

Location: Joseph Fields Farm – 3129 River Rd. Johns Island, SC 29455
Cost: Free, but RSVP required by March 22

Event details at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/free-cfsa-workshop-sustainable-organic-pest-control/ 

 

 

 

 

 

CFSA NEWS

Waccamaw Market Cooperative and The Local Table:

Connecting Small Regional Growers to Large Tourist, Retail and Wholesale markets on the SC Coast

waccamaw-market-cooperative-slide

In the third installment of our ongoing series highlighting this year’s food projects, CFSA’s Stephen Nix talked to Kimberly Busse of The Local Table (TLT) and Blake Lanford, Regional Lead Agent for Clemson Extension and organizer of the Waccamaw Market Cooperative (WMC).  By combining efforts, Kimberly and Blake are looking to expand access to local, healthy food, as well as increase opportunities for sustainable farmers in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina.

 

CFSA:  Tell us about Waccamaw Market Cooperative and The Local Table.  How did the ideas for the business come about and how are they related?

 

TLT and WMC: The WMC is an incorporated 501c3 nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating and managing community based farmer’s markets throughout Horry County.   The Local Table, LLC is an agricultural business that connects consumers to farmers by offering locally grown products through an Online Market System.  Both were started because we wanted to help our local growers get their products to more people throughout our community.

 

CFSA:  What were you doing when you realized this project was the next logical step?  In other words, how did you get to this point?

 

TLT and WMC: The Local Table had been working closely with WMC since its inception.  Throughout the first year, there were several instances where the marketing, advocacy, or training work ran parallel.   This past fall, The Local Table had reached a point where more investment was required to continue and grow.  At the same time, the WMC was exploring opportunities to grow its own programming.  The CFSA consulting project seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally combine our efforts and capitalize on the growing interest in local food in our area.

Waccamaw Market Cooperative Farmers Market

Combining under the umbrella of the Waccamaw Market Cooperative, we will enhance supply, promote demand, and increase access to healthy local food in Horry and Georgetown Counties.  We will create one comprehensive local food organization for the Waccamaw Region of South Carolina with three big goals:

  1. Expansion of Existing Farmer’s Market Program   

There are currently over 50 participating members, both farmers and artisans, in the WMC and over 12 participating farmers within The Local Table.   The WMC will expand market opportunities into virtual market and mobile market programming and will recruit new growers for market participation.

 2.    Development of an Online Farmer’s Market and CSA Program 

The Local Table CSA Box

Current market facilities are in need of both expansion and renovation to support market activities including retail and wholesale distribution.  A  strong local food infrastructure and network will allow more small regional growers access to the large tourist and consumer driven retail and wholesale markets in Coastal South Carolina.  Building upon the online market experience of The Local Table, LLC, the WMC will develop a multi-leveled online market system.  The WMC will organize and train local growers for participation, and coordinate, aggregate, and distribute local food sold online in both retail and wholesale applications.                    

 3. Coordinate Events and Programs that Support the WMC Mission

The WMC has successfully accepted EBT payments for 6 years, but recognizes that transportation to market locations at market times can be an impediment to access for residents of low to moderate income areas.  The WMC will establish a mobile market program with online ordering capabilities that increases healthy food access in food desert communities.  The WMC will increase brand recognition, advocate for local food and local farm issues, and fundraise through community partnerships and participation in area events.

 

CFSA:  What about the Pee Dee/Grand Strand regions make them ideal locations to start local food businesses?

 

TLT and WMC: We are a hugely under-tapped market.  Horry County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state and the Myrtle Beach area hosts an estimated 15 million visitors each year.  Market data indicates $27.5 million in retail leakage in food categories for the three zip codes that comprise the Conway, SC primary trade area.  Recent studies conducted by Clemson identify the Pee Dee as a prime area for growth in agribusiness – especially businesses related to food production, processing and distribution that match existing production capacities with consumer populations in nearby urbanized areas. (i.e. Florence, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington etc.)

Many of the farmer’s market activities hosted by the Cooperative are dedicated to satisfying demand for local foods in dynamic tourist areas along the coast. Consumers exist all over the region, but the bulk of demand is driven by high growth areas dominated by tourism economics. This creates tremendous opportunity for growers in adjacent rural areas that make up the region. Unlike many of the other regions that make up SC in particular, the Pee Dee Region maintains significant production capacity within relatively close proximity to the consumer demand. The Cooperative helps to connect willing producers with consumers through its market program and local food advocacy efforts.

 

CFSA:  Why are you passionate about using local, sustainable foods as part of your business?  How do you plan to work with local farmers and artisans?

 

TLT and WMC: It has always been the mission of both The Local Table and the WMC to support local food and local farmers.  It’s the reason these organizations exist.

Kimberly Busse of The Local Table says, “A strong local food system is the key to a strong local community.  We can improve our local economy, by keeping our food dollars here at the beach and in the Pee Dee.  We can improve community health by promoting and increasing access to the fresh fruits and vegetables grown here.  And I believe we can strengthen our sense of community and our identity through a stronger connection to our unique local growers and producers. “

 

CFSA:  What are your goals for the Waccamaw Market Cooperative and The Local Table, and where do you see it in 5 years?  What can CFSA do to help you get there?

 

TLT and WMC: Primary goals include: 1) expansion of the existing farmers market network; 2) the creation of new direct market programs that expand access to local foods for underserved populations (mobile market); 3) the coordination of a web based CSA program (virtual market); and 4) collaborating with public and private partners on the development of food system infrastructure projects in the region, including, but not limited to, public farmers markets, food nodes/hubs, producer cooperatives and other innovative food distribution strategies. 

In 5 years, the Waccamaw Market Cooperative would like to a primary resource for food system producers, distributors and consumers in the region. CFSA can help the Cooperative develop a sustainable plan and can offer guidance with respect to similar work and projects in other parts of NC and SC.

 

CFSA:  In addition to your work, what are your thoughts on how we can grow local and organic foods in the Carolinas?

 

TLT and WMC: Growth of local and organic food in NC and SC will largely be dependent on work among numerous organizations to address needs in three main areas: production, distribution and consumption. No one agency can bear the burden for programs and projects that attempt to address issues in all three areas. We must work all three areas in tandem to ensure movement in the right direction. At the same time we are working with consumers to cultivate demand, we have to work with producers to give them the capacity to satisfy that demand. In addition we must work to bridge the gap between production and consumption by advocating for and actively pursuing the development of infrastructure projects and policies that result in greater distribution of local food products in our communities. There is no one formula or model that may be pursued on this course. Each community is unique and the solutions and strategies pursued within must be equally as unique.

 

waccamaw market cooperative

 

To learn more about Waccamaw Market Cooperative and their five market locations, visit www.waccamawmarkets.org/.  To keep up with the local food scene in the Grand Strand, visit The Local Table at www.thelocaltablemb.com/.

 

Meet the passionate people behind CFSA’s other Food Projects – https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/food-projects/

 

 

From CFSA’s Blog, the Sweet Potato

 

 

Now Accepting Sustainable Ag Conference Workshop Proposals

SAC-logoCFSA’s 30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference  will be held November 6-8, 2015 at the Sheraton Imperial in Durham, NC.  CFSA seeks talented farmers, educators, activists, chefs, and sustainable agriculture experts to submit a workshop proposals to present at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference.

Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, and cannot be considered for the 2015 conference after June 5, 2015.

 

Guidelines

Proposed presentations should align with the Sustainable Agriculture Conference tracks (see last year’s workshops) and are welcomed from a variety of organizations and individuals.  If you are interested in organizing a panel discussion, please email LauraS@ directly before completing this form.

All workshops are 1.5 hours with the exception of Big Ideas, which are one hour in length.

Please submit proposals by completing the ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM. All submissions will be reviewed by the Sustainable Agriculture Planning Comittee.

A limited number of travel scholarships are available to presenters coming from more than one hour from the conference center.

 

Questions?

All questions about the proposal submission process can be emailed to LauraS@.

 

 

 

CFSA RESOURCES

Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trials Report se-variety-trials-report

CFSA’s Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trial Report was developed to support organic growers in two ways: to increase access to variety trials results and to provide a significant listing of organic seed purveyors.

Download the full report!

 

Marketing Consulting

marketing-consultingFree market consultations for a limited number of NC and SC producers.

FREE Services for CFSA Members include: assistance accessing social media, developing branding material, or developing a business plan.

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS! 

https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/marketing-consulting/

 

 

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Take Advantage of Financial and Technical Assistance!

NRCS Organic Initiative Deadlines Coming Up!

eqip_header

North Carolina transitioning and certified organic farmers interested in reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, and creating wildlife habitat on their land have until March 20, 2015, to be considered for funding through USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Organic Initiative (EQIP -OI) for fiscal year 2015. There may be one additional “batching period” in North Carolina for 2015, May 15th, but that is not a certainty.

 

Through EQIP-OI, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices such as cover cropping, nutrient management, pasture renovation, mulching, hedgerows, wells, drip irrigation, pumps and more.

 

In 2014, the EQIP-OI funding pools in NC and SC were not completely expended. For this reason, organic producers are encouraged to make applications in 2015, with chances of funding good.

 

There are several EQIP initiatives included in the signup, where NRCS sets aside financial assistance for specific practices and producers. Examples include the Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 138, a ‘transition to organic” plan that helps transitioning producers write the farm “organic system plan” (OSP) required by the NOP. A CAP will provide you with an organic production guide for your farm.  It contains farm maps, a nutrient management plan, a rotation plan, pest management recommendations, management calendars, soil mapping and much more. The plan will be formatted to closely resemble the OSP required by certifiers.  We have a sample CAP Plan on our website!

 

The way a CAP works: You first put an application in to your county District Conservationist (DC), who has an office at the county USDA Service Center.  Tell the DC that you want to apply for a CAP 138 through the EQIP Organic Initiative. Say that you are in the process of transitioning, which means you’ve made contact with a NOP accredited certifier such as QCS or CCOF (see our website  for a list of certifiers.

 

You will need a farm number from the USDA FSA office (both NRCS and FSA are located in the USDA Service Center in your county), but there wouldn’t be much more paperwork.  You may already have a farm number, even if you’re not aware of it.  Once you get into the USDA system, you can provide CFSA with your farm info by completing the CFSA application for a CAP (see https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cap-consulting-services/).

 

The way the money works for a CAP: Once you get your contract for a CAP signed, your DC will tell you to contact a Technical Service Provider (TSP), who is certified by NRCS to write the 138 plan.  Keith Baldwin, CFSA’s Farm Services Coordinator, is our certified TSP.  We’ll sign an agreement to work together.  NRCS will pay CFSA for the completed plan.  They will send a check to us.  For new and beginning and other “historically underserved” producers, the total payment for the CAP will be $2726. We will take our portion of the payment ($1851) and provide the remainder to you as a cash rebate of $875.  There’s no out of pocket expense for you.  You get a plan and $875. You will need to be a CFSA member to receive a rebate.

 

You can, of course, apply for other EQIP-OI conservation practices through the Organic Initiative.  Some examples are Seasonal High Tunnels, Fencing, Micro-irrigation, Mulching, etc.

 

Again the deadlines for the application periods in NC are 3/20 and 5/15, but you should try to get an application in for the former. There’s a higher likelihood of getting a contract awarded to you this year.

 

Visit your local NRCS office as soon as possible to apply for EQIP-OI financial assistance to implement environmentally sustainable practices on your farm and/or to sign up for a CAP Plan. For more information about conservation planning and CAP planning see our CFSA website https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/conservation-and-environmental-planning/ or contact Keith Baldwin (keith@ or 919.302.3871).

 

 

TAKE ACTION

The Farm to School Act of 2015 Officially Introduced in Congress!

The Farm to School Act of 2015 is a bipartisan effort is being led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). The current funding stream will end on September 30, 2015, so Congress needs to pass a Farm to School Act by that date to ensure the continuity of the program.

 

Bill Basics

The Farm to School Act of 2015  – Senate Bill 569 and House Bill 1061 – will continue and expand upon the successes of the current USDA Farm to School Grant Program by:

  • Fully including preschools, summer food service program sites, and after school programs in the USDA Farm to School Grant Program (F2S);
  • Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
  • Improving program participation from beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; and
  • Increasing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers.

 

Why It Matters

  • Farmers and ranchers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food, down significantly from the 31 cents they received in 1980; rural poverty and jobless rates are consistently higher than urban poverty rates.  The Farm to School Grant Program helps combat rural unemployment by boosting farm income through increased marketing opportunities.
  • Over 30 percent of all children in the US are overweight or obese, resulting in more missed school days and poorer academic achievement; obese youth are also at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and psychological problems and incur $19,000 more in lifetime medical costs than children of a normal weight, totaling roughly $14 billion in additional medical costs for the country.  The Farm to School Grant Program helps children improve their access to and consumption of healthy foods.
  • Native American communities face disproportionately high rates of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.  Encouraging farm to school partnerships between tribal schools and tribal producers will increase consumption of nutritious traditional foods while also supporting Native farmers and ranchers.

 

The Benefits of Farm to School

Farm to school activities provide a variety of benefits to students, parents, schools, communities, and food producers, including:

  • Strengthens children’s knowledge of agriculture, food, nutrition,and the environment;
  • Increases children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables;
  • Increases market opportunities for farmers, fishers, ranchers, and local food system entrepreneurs, and
  • Supports community and economic development.

CFSA, together with the forward-thinking, bipartisan and bicameral sponsors and champions of this new measure, call on Congress to fully include these proposals in the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015.

 

What Can I Do?

We will need your help soon! Your members of Congress will need to hear from you about this issue in the coming weeks. Sign up now to receive our Federal Policy Action Alerts; you will receive up-to-date information on how you can take action to support this important legislation.

 

 

Help SC Lead the Nation in Protecting Local Food: Support Senate Bill 284!

by Rochelle Sparko, Policy Director and Roland McReynolds, Executive Director

South Carolina’s local food entrepreneurs would be protected from unreasonable federal food safety rules under a bill up for consideration in the state Senate.

On February 19, CFSA Executive Director Roland McReynolds testified before a subcommittee of the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.  Roland educated members of the subcommittee about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Senate Bill 284 (S.284).  S.284 will allow small food processing facilities to avoid needless FSMA paperwork.  If S.284 becomes law, food -makers with less than $1 million food sales per year will save an average of $31,000 in compliance costs annually.

The bill, introduced by Ag Committee chair Danny Verdin of Laurens County, would allow these very small businesses to continue to be regulated under SC’s existing, pre-FSMA, food safety rules. The US Congress expressly authorized states to provide FSMA alternatives for small business. S.284 will permit small food businesses to continue operating under existing regulations rather than under industrial-scale practices required by FSMA. Passage of S.284 will make SC a national leader in protecting local food should it pass.

The subcommittee members recognized the need for the bill, and unanimously approved it for consideration by the full Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.  The full committee hearing is scheduled for March 12.

SC readers: Show your support for this important legislation by calling members of the SC Senate Ag committee today to ask them to approve S.284. Please consider sending an email to thank Sen. Verdin for introducing this critical bill.

Please call Senate Ag committee members today!

 

 

Shell Egg Victory in North Carolina

by Rochelle Sparko, Policy Director

You may remember that back on July 15, 2014, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) published a proposed rule that would make it illegal for all retailers of shell eggs to replace a broken egg with an unbroken one. NCDA said that it wanted this rule in order to increase traceability of eggs back to the farm in the event of food borne illness traced to eggs.  The rule as it was proposed last summer would have hurt farmers engaged in direct sales without any increase in food safety.  NCDA heard us, and the final rule, published last month, will allow farmers selling their own product to repack eggs.

CFSA submitted a comment to the proposed rule, as did some of our members, to express our concern with the proposed rule.  We pointed out that farmers selling eggs at farm stands or farmers’ markets could experience huge losses if they had to follow NCDA’s proposed rule, as a carton of 11 eggs isn’t marketable. NCDA would cause these losses without any increase in traceability, since any replacement in the carton would be from an egg laid on the same farm.

NCDA changed the proposed rule to respond to our concerns when it published the final rule last month. To read the final rule, go to page 1753 for the text of the final rule.

 

 

The Fight for Healthy Food Financing in South Carolina

by Rochelle Sparko, Policy Director

The South Carolina General Assembly is considering a $100,000 appropriation that will provide affordable financing for businesses looking to expand access to healthy, local food for South Carolinians. Senate Finance Sub-Committees will hold hearings about the budget beginning on March 17 and continuing through early April.

CFSA supports this effort, as it will help local food system entrepreneurs access financing not available to them through traditional lending mechanisms.

Learn more about this initiative and find the resources you need to contact your state Senator to express your support.

 

 

Come Grow with Us at Ag Awareness Day in Raleigh

RSVP here to make sure there is lunch and an advocacy packet for you!

nc-ag-awareness-day-2015-logo

Join farmers from across North Carolina at the General Assembly on March 18! CFSA is joining the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and over 20 farm advocacy groups to educate lawmakers about the needs of NC agriculture. Join us in Raleigh to make sure legislators hear about the accomplishments and needs of local, organic agriculture.

Farmer, food business, and consumer-members of CFSA should mark this day on their calendars, RSVP, and come to the General Assembly on March 18!  CFSA will make sure you have everything you need to do a great job getting your message across to your elected officials.

The day will start at 9 a.m. at the State Fair Grounds (where there will be plentiful, free parking). Shuttle buses will run from the State Fair Grounds to the General Assembly every 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

When you arrive at the General Assembly, come and find CFSA’s table on the first floor of the Legislative Building. We’ll sign you in, give you an advocacy packet and any other information you might need to have a successful day.

As we learn more about the logistics of this day, we’ll be updating our “Come Grow With Us: NC Ag Awareness” website, so check back frequently for updates. We will also send information by email to those who RSVP.

Don’t want to drive to Raleigh? Some Farm Bureau county offices are chartering buses to get to Raleigh; once we know which counties are offering this service, we’ll put the information on our website so that you can sign up for a free ride to the state capital.

 

 

EXPERT TIP

Preventing Damping Off in Spring Transplant Production 

by Eric Soderholm, Organic Production Coordinator

If you raise your own organic vegetable transplants, you may have experienced losses of young seedlings due to a disease issue know as “damping off.” This can be caused by a number of species of soil-borne fungi, but in cool spring conditions Pythium, Sclerotinia, and Phytophthora are the dominant culprits.  These parasitic fungi are most commonly brought into the greenhouse on infected growing media. Tender transplants that have successfully germinated, emerged and appear perfectly healthy can rapidly decline in a matter of a day or two, decimating entire. Seedlings that succumb to damping off will rot at the soil line near the base of the stem, eventually dying. Those that are able to hold on after infection will continue to show stunted growth that leaves the plant unable to perform when planted. Follow these prevention tips to minimize the condition where fungal diseases thrive and reduce your chances of infection this season:

 

  1. Sanitize transplant trays. If you reuse plastic trays, fungi can remain on their surfaces and infect future crops. Either steam sterilization or dipping trays in a diluted chlorine solution are effective at killing the species responsible for damping off.
  2. Use soilless media.  There are numerous peat-based potting mediums that are OMRI listed and fairly easy to source. If you make your own potting mix, do not use garden soil in the blend.  Biologically active compost makes a good addition to home mixes, especially worm castings. These ingredients contain beneficial microorganisms that can be competitive with parasitic fugal species.
  3. Avoid overwatering. Excessively moist or saturated potting media make an ideal environment for the proliferation of fungal species. Water sparingly while being sure to meet seedling needs. Be aware of overcast and cooler outdoor temperatures when evaporative effect is reduced. Time watering appropriately so that you are not irrigating in the evening hours.
  4. Encourage good air circulation. Fans that operate when any built-in ventilation systems are not activated help ensure proper circulation is maintained.
  5. Maintaining proper temperatures. Pythium and other species are most problematic when temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. If you are raising transplants in structure that is passively heated, you can employ innovative techniques to retain day-time heat such as the use of water filled barrels or heat-capturing block.
  6. Thin transplants at the two-leaf stage. Be careful of overcrowding in transplant trays. Reduce tray populations when they are mature enough and established, at the two-leaf stage for most crops.

 

NOP Compliant Products

Preventative practices are critical and your best means for reducing issues with damping off in the greenhouse. As a last resort, there are a number of organic approved products available that may help in reducing losses to damping. If you are a certified organic grower, remember that you are required to contact your certifier before using any new inputs that are not already documented on your Organic System Plan (OSP). Even if a product is OMRI or WSDA listed as being compliant with the National Organic Program regulation, be certain you are familiar with any restrictions that are specific to the product, the crops for which it is labeled and its prescribed uses. Consider the following biological products, whose active ingredients are beneficial soil bacterium: Cease, Serenade (Bacillus subtilis) and Actinovate (Streptomyces lydicus). These products are meant to be applied once plants have two true leaves and could be applied even before symptoms appear.

 

For more information on organic means for controlling fungal disease issues in transplant production, consult the following resources:

http://www.extension.org/pages/64951/soilborne-disease-management-in-organic-vegetable-production#.VPR8BfnF8RS

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/oldnotes/od14.htm

 

If you’d like to discuss input compliance when managing damping off for certified organic production, you can reach out to Eric Soderholm at eric@.

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

20th Anniversary of the Piedmont Farm Tour

April 25-26 from 2-6 PM

https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/pft/

PFT 2015 logoJoin CFSA in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Piedmont Farm Tour, the oldest and largest farm tour of it’s kind. The tour will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 25th and 26th from 2-6 pm both days. Don’t miss your chance to visit 40 local farms, including several that have been on the tour since the very beginning like Perry-winkle and Millarckee farms. Plus, check out the 4 new additions to the line up – Open DoorSweet PeaDown2Earth, and Peaceful River. And, we are thrilled to welcome back farm tour veterans from PeregrineMcAdam’sWhitted Bowers, and Sunset farms.

CFSA members save $10 in by registering in advance – Prices are 25$ in advance for CFSA members ($30 for nonmembers), and 35$ for day-of tickets.

Visit our website for details on volunteering, and to find the full list of participating farms on our Google map: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/pft/

 

 

GAP Workshops in Polk Co. and Wayne Co. 

Polk County – March 11 from 9-4 PM
60 Gibson Street, Columbus, NC 28722
Cooperative Extension Contact: Jimmi Buell, jimmi_buell@ncsu.edu
Register online by March 6

Wayne County – March 24 from from 9-4 PM
208 W. Chestnut Street, Goldsboro, NC 27533
Cooperative Extension Contact: Jessica Strickland, jessica_strickland@ncsu.edu
Register online by March 19

Cost: $20, lunch included 

 

Note: Content will be repeated at each workshop – register only for one!

 

Navigating the USDA GAP Audit combines classroom and on-farm instruction to provide producers with the tools needed to identify potential food safety concerns, as well as strategies to minimize potential contamination. Available resources, including cost-share assistance and consulting services, will be provided to growers to assist with the implementation of an effective on-farm food safety program.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance to fulfill training requirements for USDA GAP/GHP certification.

Portions of the workshop will take place outside. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and appropriate weather gear. The workshop will take place rain or shine.

 

Event details at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-workshop-series-navigating-the-usda-gap-audit-brunswick-nash-polk-wayne-cos/

 

 

CFSA Workshop: Organic Crop Certification for Agricultural Small Businesses (Henderson)

March 20, 2014 from 8:30 – 3:00 PM 

Register by March 18!  http://bit.ly/ocvance or call 919-542-2402

Location: Vance-Granville Community College, Building 7, Room 7107
Cost: $8/person, includes lunch

Learn from regional experts as they demystify the USDA Organic Certification process and crop production requirements.  Gain practical tips for soil and pest management, organic inputs and application completion. Connect with a certification agency and current certified organic grower to ask questions that are relevant to your agricultural small business.

Event details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-workshop-organic-crop-certification-for-agricultural-small-businesses/

 

CFSA Field Day: Organic Certification (Rougemont)

March 31, 2015 from 8:45 – 4:30 PM

 

Register online or call 919-542-2402

Cost: $15, includes lunch

Location
AM Session: Schley Grange Hall

3416 Schley Road, Hillsborough, NC 27278

 

PM Session: Down 2 Earth Farm

8115 New Sharon Church Road, Rougemont, NC 27572

Event Details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/field-day-organic-certification-rougemont/ 

 

 

CFSA Field Day: Organic Certification (Black Mountain)

April 2, 2015 from 8:45 – 4:30 PM

 

Register online or call 919-542-2402

Cost: $15, includes lunch

Location: New Sprout Farm, Packing Facility and Offices
190 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Event Details: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/cfsa-field-day-organic-certification-black-mountain/  

 

 

Sustainable Organic Pest Control

March 23, 2015 from 1-5:30 PM

 

RSVP required: http://bit.ly/cfsapestcontrol

Location: Joseph Fields Farm – 3129 River Rd. Johns Island, SC 29455
Cost: Free, but RSVP required by March 22

Join Clemson Extension and CFSA staff as we take a look at pest management options for sustainable and certified organic vegetable production. We’ll discuss preventative strategies to minimize the use of pesticide inputs and tips for selecting appropriate products when prevention proves insufficient. Gather with growers and professionals in an open roundtable discussion to identify anticipated pest issues in 2015 and share management options for specific crops. Learn techniques for scouting and developing thresholds when applying approved inputs. Explore best practicesforscale-appropriate pesticide application through in-field demonstration. Learn about proper handling of organic pesticides and calibrating equipment to reduce input expenses and ensure proper coverage.

 

Event details at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/free-cfsa-workshop-sustainable-organic-pest-control/

 

THERE ARE AWESOME EVENTS HAPPENING ALL ACROSS THE CAROLINAS!  CHECK THEM OUT IN OUR EVENTS CALENDAR!  

 

______________________________________________________

Connect with CFSA

Join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carolinafarmstewards) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/carolinafarm) or contribute to our blog (https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/blog)!

To join the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, visit: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/join/

Renew your membership to CFSA

 

 

Related Articles