eNews November 2015

Dear Friends,

On Friday, we are excited to welcome over 1,000 folks to the 30th Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Durham, NC, an event that has has turned into the largest gathering in the Southeast of people who care passionately about how their food is grown and raised. The growth of this Conference is incredible evidence that our sustainable food movement is on the rise.

Thank you to everyone who has helped the movement grow and thrive over the past 30 years. From the inspiring presenters, to career-changing networking, to delicious foods grown by our friends and neighbors, we at CFSA are thrilled to bring on the next 30 years of the Sustainable Agriculture Conference.


Elizabeth Read – Communications and Development Director





Your Support is More Important Than Ever.

Ben StreetDuring this season of gratitude and hope, the Board of Directors of CFSA will be sharing stories of some of our members – stories which inspire us and represent the impact we are making as we work together – and asking for your continued support with an end-of-year gift.

We hope that as you enjoy these stories you will consider making a contribution to CFSA this season. Your gift to our annual fund will make it possible for CFSA to continue our work to ensure a safe, healthy and sustainable food system – now and for future generations.

We are especially pleased this year to have become the overseers of the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Cabarrus County, NC, and our first story focuses on one of our Farmers-in-Training:

Meet Ben Street, a Lomax Farmer in Training

Living in a camper to save money. Farming evenings and weekends after a full-time day job. Up and out by 5am on Saturdays to sell at the farmer’s market where sales are as variable as the weather. Huge learning curves in soil science, growing a variety of crops and planning crop rotations, pest management, irrigation, harvesting, processing, food safety, equipment operations and maintenance, organic standards, marketing, taxes, licenses and a business plan… this is Ben Street’s life as a beginning farmer.

“Do you feel like quitting?” we ask him. “Sometimes,” he admits.

But then he lights up and shares how exciting it is to see something grow; to know that he is providing nutrient-dense and fabulous, healthy food for his community; how he is inspired by the other new farmers and the wisdom of seasoned farmers; how rewarding it is to be working in tune with nature; how thrilled he is to be part of a movement that is creating a viable, sustainable future for us all.

This is where CFSA and the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Cabarrus County, NC, make the difference. Lomax is the only certified organic incubator farm in the Southeast. Farmers-in-Training like Ben gain access to land and equipment, specialized training and support, and the essential hands-on mentoring from qualified and experienced successful farmers which they need to succeed.


Programs like Lomax are necessary to ensure a future of sustainable food systems, which will surely become increasingly imperative to the survival of humanity. Lomax has provided me with the tools and resources necessary to attain a real world experience of what it takes to be a farmer.”

Ben Street


Please give today. You can donate online at /give. Your gift to CFSA is one of the best ways you can support local farmers and champion food that is good for consumers, good for farmers and farmworkers, and good for the land.

Thank you for being an important part of the sustainable food movement!



Michael Twitty Shares Afroculinaria Perspective at CFSA Conference

by Felicia Cenca, CFSA Intern.

Come hear Michael Twitty at the Local Food Feast where he will deliver the keynote at the 30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference. Twitty will also present a Friday Pre-conference and a Sunday Workshop. 

Michael Twitty, photo from afroculinaria.com

Michael Twitty, photo from afroculinaria.com

We are thrilled to welcome Michael W. Twitty as our keynote speaker at this year’s 30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference.  The Carolinas are no exception to the slow progress we’ve seen throughout the South to strengthen the ‘socially just’ leg of the sustainability stool. Twitty, a talented writer, activist and culinary anthropologist, has made it his mission to shine a much needed light on these issues through his inspiring blog, AfroCulinaria, and his accompanying book The Cooking Gene. Twitty will share his extensive knowledge of the connections between food and deeper sociological questions related to the historical roots of American southern cuisine, and challenge the audience to seek out ways to express their own complex identity through food choices. Join us at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference starting this Friday for three unique opportunities to connect with Twitty’s work.  He will be giving an in-depth pre-conference presentation and delivering the Conference keynote during our Legendary Local Food Feast on Friday, and offering a workshop open to all conference attendees on Saturday afternoon.

Read more about our keynote, Michael Twitty! 



Pork Checkoff Misuse Troubling Small Farmers

by Marianna Spence, CFSA Membership Coordinator, and Rochelle Sparko, CFSA Policy Director

Pigs from Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Photo with permission from Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Did the USDA look the other way as the pork industry used funds it collected from farmers promising that they would be used for research and marketing to instead pay lobbyists? We don’t know yet; a federal court will be to the bottom of this bizarre story.

Read about what happened, and get one North Carolina pork producer’s thoughts about it all in this intriguing Sweet Potato post! 



New Federal Interest in Reducing Food Waste

by Jared Cates, CFSA Community Mobilizer

Naturally Imperfect apples are still delicious

Canadian retailer Loblaws sells ugly fruit at a discount to curb food waste.
Photo credit: Loblaws

Currently, an estimated thirty percent of the U.S. food supply ends up in the landfill. This loss is not only a waste of the limited natural resources that go into food production, but it also is an economic hit to families – the average American family of four throws away $1,500 of food into the trash each year. Meanwhile, one in six Americans are food insecure. Also, harm is caused to the atmosphere by the petroleum that is burned by hauling food waste and by the methane gas released when it is left to rot in landfills. An estimated 21 percent of all waste in landfills is food.

Read our new blog post on recent federal actions that are working to find solutions to our food waste problems.


Welcome Lisa Fouladbash, Our New Organic Policy Coordinator

LisaLisa is psyched to join the CFSA team, as she believes local, sustainable agriculture can improve the lives of farmers, conserve our lands and waters, and reduce societal inequalities.  Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, and a Master’s of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. For her Master’s thesis, Lisa led a study in Liberia, where she interviewed farmers to assess the potential of agroforestry to improve food security. She moved to North Carolina from Michigan last year with her fiance, two kittens, and puppy, and is excited to become a part of the vibrant local foods community!

What does an Organic Policy Coordinator do? Lisa will be using her research and advocacy skills to promote the interests of family-scale organic farmers with national and state regulators. She’ll be protecting organic standards from dilution and and ensuring that consumers’ expectations of the standards—environmental stewardship, family-scale farming, fair labor practices, high animal welfare standards, zero tolerance for GMOs, freedom from chemical residues, and wholesomeness—are met. If you’re an organic farmer in North or South Carolina, Lisa wants to hear from you. You can reach her at lisa@ or at 919-542-2402



Want to support family farms?
Then this t-shirt is perfect for you.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at TS Designs​ on these sustainably stylish t-shirts to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our Sustainable Agriculture Conference!  This local t-shirt supports local jobs and local farms.  $5 from the purchase of every tee goes straight back to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association!

In the spirit of TS Designs dirt-to-shirt philosophy these shirts are printed on 100% Cotton of the Carolina’s. Stop by the TS designs exhibit hall booth at next week’s Sustainable Ag. Conference to try on sample shirts and place an order or visit their website to place your order online!

Please note: This is a pre-order campaign. Orders will be processed when pre-order quantities are reached.



Come Work with Us!

Organic Research Coordinator Description 

The Organic Research Coordinator is a full-time, salaried position that will conduct on-farm research that supports the needs of organic farmers in the Carolinas; conduct on-farm demonstrations to validate the effectiveness of organic production practices; and collaborate with research and education providers to assist in gathering and disseminating information on organic production practices and organic transition. This position will be based out of the Elma C. Lomax Farm in Concord, NC and will require travel throughout the Carolinas.

Apply today!



Join us at the CFSA Annual Meeting

Nov. 8 at 12:45,

following the Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Auditorium at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center

4700 Emperor Blvd.

Durham, North Carolina, 27703


The agenda includes reports on the activities of the association, election of members of the board of directors, and other business of the association.


Current CFSA members will be voting on an outstanding slate of new board members at our annual membership meeting.


The candidates are:

Ardis Crews Henderson of NC.  Ardis retired from a career in education to become an organic farmer, and serves as Vice President of the Southern Organic Female Farmers Association and the Director of Training and Resource Services for the Green Rural Development Organization.


Ben DuBard of Blythewood SC.  A 20-year veteran of the local, organic food movement, Ben has been a natural foods grocery buyer, a direct market farmer, an heirloom grain grower and miller, and currently runs the organic farming operations of W.P. Rawl & Sons.


Jennifer Lapidus of Asheville NC.  Jennifer ran Natural Bridge Bakery, a pioneering wood-fired artisanal bakery, for 14 years, and now is the CEO and General Manager of Carolina Ground, an artisan-scale organic flour milling business incubated by CFSA.


Fred Miller of Willow Springs NC.  Fred and his wife Virginia run Hilltop Farm, a North Carolina Century Farm and the only organic-certified farm in Wake County, selling through farmers markets, CSA, restaurants, and Eastern Carolina Organics, of which he was one of the founding partners.


Chef Patrick Wagner of Greenville SC.  Chef Wagner has been involved in the culinary arts for 24 years, and is a chef instructor with the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas at Greenville Technical College, where he was honored as Teacher of the Year in 2011.





Deadline to Apply for CFSA’s Food Systems Business Development Consulting Services Fast Approaching!Food Systems Business Development Consulting Services

Who should apply? Any food business sourcing raw or value-added products from local or organic farmers, and seeking assistance with feasibility assessments, business planning, legal or organizational structure guidance, capital sourcing, market channel access, product sourcing, etc., are encouraged to apply.

Farms are businesses, too! Our Food Systems Team will also work with small family farms interested in further marketing or business development. Examples of these services include: business planning; branding/identity development; market channel development; and social media marketing.

The deadline is Friday, November 13 at 5:00pm.

For more information and to apply, see our Food Systems Business Development Consulting Services webpage.



Apply NOW for EQIP Fundingeqip_header

NC and SC transitioning and certified organic farmers interested in implementing conservation practices such as cover cropping, forage and biomass planting, drip irrigation and conservation crop rotations have until November 20, 2015, to be considered for funding through the USDA/NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative (OI). This is the ONLY “batching period” opportunity that will be available to producers for 2016.

There are several EQIP initiatives included in the signup. A worthwhile initiative is the Conservation Activity Plan 138, a “transition to organic” plan, completely paid for by the OI. It provides a generic “system plan” required by the NOP for certification. In addition, EQIP funding pays cost-share for specific practices such seasonal high tunnels.

Visit your local NRCS office as soon as possible to apply for EQIP-OI financial assistance to implement environmentally sustainable practices on your farm or to sign up for a CAP 138 plan.

A complete list of EQIP practices eligible for cost share can be found at : http://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/treemenuFS.aspx. Select “Section IV” and “Conservation Practice Standards.”

For more information about conservation planning and CFSA’s initiative on CAP services, please see our CFSA website: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/conservation-and-environmental-planning/





FSMA Produce Rule Coming Soon

by Roland McReynolds, CFSA Executive Director

FSMAThe final regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governing the production and harvest of fruits and vegetables under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are due to be published very soon.  Under the law, farms with:

  • annual revenues under $25,000 will be completely exempt from the Produce Rule;
  • annual revenues under $500,000 that sell the majority of their products direct to consumers, restaurants and retail food establishments within the same state or within 275 miles of the farm will not be subject to the Produce Rule, unless they become associated with an outbreak of foodborne illness;
  • over $500,000 in annual sales will have 2 years plus 60 days from the date of publication of the final rules to come into compliance (and possibly 4 years for the Produce Rule’s water regulations);
  • less than $500,000 in annual sales and that don’t meet the ‘local sales’ threshold above will have 3 years plus 60 days to come into compliance (and 5 years for the water rules).

CFSA will publish information about the final Produce Rule as soon as they’re public.

You can find more information on FSMA on our website.





Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins and Winter Squash

by James Cooper, CFSA Local Produce Safety Coordinator

winter squashWinter squash are not only very nutrient-dense foods (containing high levels of vitamins A and C), but also have a long storage life and can be stored anywhere from one month (for the table queen variety), to six months for types such as Hubbard, thus pro-longing the farmer’s season by generating cash-flow into the off-season.

Learn more about post-harvest handling of winter squash






30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Nov. 6-8, 2015  |  Durham, NC


There is plenty of room at the table for you in Durham!



The 30th Anniversary Sustainable Agriculture Conference is the largest conference we’ve ever produced.  It is chock-full of learning, connecting, feasting and championing local and organic food and farms.  You’ve got to be there!


This year we’ve got 66 incredible workshops, 5 Pre-conference Bus Tours, 13 Hands-on Intensives, 3 Amazing Local & Organic Meals, including the Local Food Feast with keynote by Michael Twitty, 70 Table Exhibitor Hall and Seed Exchange, tons of opportunities to network, and the Book-Sign-A-Ganza!




Learn more about the Conference!


A very special thank you to this year’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference sponsors!  The Conference would not happen without them!



Workshop Series: Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices

Nov 12, 2015   9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Dec 16, 2015   9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Farmers Market Salem Neff (1)

Working in partnership, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, NC Cooperative County Centers, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – NC Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT) will be offering a two-part workshop aimed at providing farmers with the tools to identify hazards on your farm; to prepare a food safety hazard assessment; and to create and implement a custom food safety plan that integrates your farm’s practices while meeting market requirements for GAP certification. Taking this course will not result in GAPs Certification; rather attendees can leave these workshops with a well-developed working draft of their specific food safety plan, which becomes the framework for a GAP certification audit and can be used to demonstrate an individual farm’s risk-reduction program.


Workshop Locations across NC:

Franklin County Cooperative Extension Center
103 S Bickett Blvd Louisburg, NC 27549

Dates: November 12 & 19, 2015
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Registration Deadline: November 5, 2015

Registration is $40 (check or money order ONLY made payable to Franklin County Cooperative Extension) and includes lunch both days. Space is limited (10-12 participants) and available on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to register, Martha Mobley, Agricultural Agent, by November 5at (919) 496-3344, martha_mobley@ncsu.edu.


Mountain Horticultural Crops & Research Center
455 Research Drive Mills River, NC 28759

Dates: December 16 & 17, 2015
Times: 9 AM to 5 PM
Registration Deadline: December 9, 2015

Registration Information (TBA)

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U. S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2013-68004-20363. 


Questions?: Contact Diane_Ducharme@ncsu.edu, 704-250-5402.




Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference

March 7, 2015 | Mt. Olive, NC

More details coming soon!





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

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