eNews September 2015


Dear Friends of Food and Farming,

Every day our work at CFSA focuses on our mission to help people grow and eat local and organic food by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems that organic family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic farming. Some days, however, the goals of helping farms thrive while simultaneously educating the public can be at odds with each other. After many hours of discussion of how to deal with the threat of seasonal Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza coinciding with the planned September Eastern Triangle Farm Tour, CFSA decided to cancel this year’s tour. It was not an easy decision, but we knew how important it was to keep farmers’ flocks safe. At the same time, we hope that we can continue to educate about the advantages of pastured poultry as an industry model.  Thank you for understanding this decision, and we hope to see you back on a future farm tour that is not affected by this seasonal threat.



elizabeth signature

Elizabeth Read, Director of Communications and Development




Another Great CFSA Food Project: The Spartanburg Area ConservancySPACE

The Spartanburg Area Conservancy, known by the acronym SPACE, is a nonprofit land conservancy incorporated in 1989. In 2009, they received the 300-acre Cleveland Preserve Farm as a donation from a private landowner. Their goal for the future is to develop the property as a community resource to promote sustainable agriculture, provide training opportunities for new and existing farmers, and to increase local food supply in our schools and institutions.

Learn more about SPACE and how CFSA is helping them



Where are NC Farmers Markets Heading?

by Francesca Hyatt and Salem Neff, who will be speaking at the Sustainable Ag. Conference in the Urban Farming/Creative Solutions track on Sunday

Farmers Market Salem Neff (1)With national headlines proclaiming “Are Farmers Market Sales Peaking?”, farmers markets are once again in the spotlight. Nationally, farmers markets have been on the rise over the past several decades. In 1994, the USDA reported under 2,000 farmers markets and now there are over 8,000 markets in the United States. We have over 230 in North Carolina, nearly 50 of them opening in the last four years – placing us at #10 in the nation.

Learn how farmers markets are innovating to attract more customers



Producing Vermicompost to Increase Yields (or Farm Income!)

by Rhonda Sherman, who will be speaking at the Sustainable Ag Conference during Saturday’s Soil and Seeds Track.

CompostLooking to diversify your farm income? Interested in converting manures and crop residues into value-added products? Vermicomposting may be an option for you. It is a process that relies on earthworms and microorganisms to convert organic materials to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients. Vermicompost can improve soil quality, increase plant yields, and suppress diseases and pests. You can produce vermicompost for use on your farm or gardens, or you can sell it for $400 to $1,300 per cubic yard. Markets include greenhouses, vineyards, farms, nurseries, golf courses, turf fields, landscapers, and homeowners.

Learn the secrets to producing nutrient-rich vermicompost



High-Dollar Crops that Grow Themselves (But You Don’t Know They’re There)

by Frank Hyman, who will be speaking on Foraged Foods at the Sustainable Ag Conference during Sunday’s Foodie Track
Frank HymanI never thought I’d make a dime from foraging when I first started. It just seemed like one more way to spend time outdoors (I gotta be outdoors), maybe scare up some good food and be with the best kind of people. I mean, the people who care about food and want to be outdoors are just the best kind of people, right? But here’s the funny thing. If you graphed a line of the quickly increasing number of people who want to buy foraged mushrooms and plants—like chanterelles and nettles–it would be skyrocketing up from left to right toward the upper corner of the graph. Put another line showing the slowly increasing number of people who can find and identify wild mushrooms and plants and watch it bounce along near the bottom of the graph. Translation? The distance between those two graph lines explain the high prices one can get from feral foods right now. Some examples: dense chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms, which unlike money, do grow on trees, sells for $16 a pound. And it does have the taste and texture of white meat chicken. No joke.



Funding Your Food and Ag Business

by Margaret Gifford, who is speaking at the Sustainable Ag Conference during Saturday’s Farm Business track

Barnraiser Campaign Photo.

Accessing capital can be a challenge for a food and agriculture business. The gap between investors and entrepreneurs is sometimes hard to bridge. Investors may lack understanding of farm and food business growth stages and try to apply financial models from other industries. On the other side of the equation, farmers and food entrepreneurs sometimes become “accidental entrepreneurs,” inheriting the family farm or following a passion for cheese making until one day a passion has grown into a business and it is time for expansion. Sometimes a catastrophe happens and a business needs cash fast in order to rebuild a flock, repair a barn or create infrastructure to handle recurring droughts or floods.

Learn more about how to fund your food business



Eastern Triangle Farm Tour CancelledETFT 2015 Cancelled

CFSA has made the difficult decision to cancel the 10th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour in order to protect farmers’ livelihoods and their poultry from a possible seasonal outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). HPAI is considered a seasonal threat in NC, thought to be transmitted from wild waterfowl to domestic poultry as the fowl travel south for seasonal migration. Though this strain of the disease is not a threat to human health, people may unwittingly transport the virus from one farm to another via their shoes, clothes, hands, or car tires during this unique multi-farm tour. To date, there have been no outbreaks in North Carolina and our farmers are still operating as usual.

This is a seasonal threat this year, so we are still looking forward to seeing you on future farm tours!

For more information on HPAI, resources for growers,the impact of HPAI on pastured poultry flocks and the advantages of pastured poultry as an industry model



Get to Know the Eastern Triangle Farmers!

Support Local Farms!We still want you to experience the tasty fall treats that our amazing Eastern Triangle Farmers will be offering for sale this season. Even though the tour is cancelled, you can still connect with them at farmers markets, through their websites, facebook pages, and other events they participate in. There are so many ways you can continue to support them!

Check out our website for a list of featured products grown by the Eastern Triangle Farmers who would have been on the tour, their contact info, and links to their websites where you can learn more about how to buy their local, sustainably grown veggies, mushrooms, meats, cheeses, eggs, and more!

Please remember that so far there have been no reported cases of HPAI in North Carolina, and the cancellation of the tour is a preventative measure.  We’ll keep you updated on the current situation in NC, but in the meantime we plan to continue enjoying pastured poultry and eggs purchased from our local farmers this fall, and hope that you will too! For more information on the health benefits of pastured-poultry as an industry model, check out our resources page.  

Also, check out the alternative events hosted by our incredible member farmers. Remember, the cancellation of the Eastern Triangle Farm tour fall tour is due to the unique multi-farm nature of the event. We still hope you’ll visit and get to know these inspiring farmers in other ways!



Register Now for the Exhibit Hall at the 30th Annual Sustainable Ag. Conference

SAC-2014_Vendor-KanoyCFSA’s Sustainable Agriculture conference has become the premiere food and farming conference in the Carolinas. With an expected attendance of over 1,400 individuals, this event is the ideal setting to tap into your niche markets in the sustainable agriculture community. You’ll reach a vibrant network of farmers, consumers, activists, foodies, businesses, educators and organizations.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 30th anniversary! There is no place like the Sustainable Ag. Conference exhibit hall to promote your brand and network with your key audience.  Don’t wait – exhibit hall booths are expected to sell out, and prices incur a $50 late fee after October 15th!

For more information, and to register online visit our website at: https://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/sac-2015-exhibitors/





Resources and Information for Pastured-Poultry Owners on Biosecurity Measures against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

resources for pastured poultry owners on biosecurity measures against avian flu

Since December 2014, a number of chicken and turkey flocks, both pastured and conventional, in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest were infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). HPAI is a virus that infects fowl, killing entire flocks in a matter of days. The virus is transmitted by migrating waterfowl, meaning that farms may be infected seasonally during times of bird migration.

Wild bird migration patterns make it likely that infected birds will be traveling through the Carolinas between September and January. Due to the seasonal threat and severity of the risk to poultry growers, North Carolina has taken steps to reduce the risk to the state’s poultry industry. CFSA has been paying close attention to the State’s response, with particular attention to how the response could impact organic poultry operations, pastured poultry operations, and backyard flocks.

CFSA met with the NC State Veterinarian to learn more about the specific policies and procedures that NCDA will implement in the face of HPAI. View questions and the notes we took about the answers may be found here.

For our members in South Carolina, HPAI presents a risk to your flocks as birds migrate. While CFSA is not aware of any emergency measures that have been taken by the State at this time, Clemson University and the SC State Veterinarian have provided some information about HPAI on Clemson’s website.

Learn more about the virus and find resources for pastured-poultry owners on biosecurity measures against HPAI



On-farm Organic Consulting


As an extension of our work in Conservation Activity Plan Consulting, a CFSA Farm Services staffer is available to provide on-farm consulting to farmers about opportunities to access cost share assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Organic Initiative.

Learn more about this program, which is free for CFSA members in SC.


Organic Cost-Share Funding Available

Farmers: You don’t have to wait for a renewal certificate to get your cost share!

Certified OrganicFor many growers, the annual costs associated with organic certification can be a major hurdle. However, financial assistance is available through the USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Program to cover up to 75% of certification costs, or up to $750. This federal program is administered by each state’s Department of Agriculture, is non-competitive and offered on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. Reimbursement includes all documented National Organic Program (NOP) certification costs incurred between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015.

Visit our website to learn more about the program in NC and SC, and to find all of the paperwork that you will need to fill out to get reimbursed.




Garlic Goodness

by James Cooper, CFSA Local Produce Safety Coordinator

Garlic in the fieldHave you ever wanted to grow a crop that you never have to irrigate or weed? Well, garlic is your new best friend in the garden! And this coming fall is the time to plant it.

Learn how and when to plant and harvest garlic




Defend Your Right to Know What Is in Your Food: Contact Your Congressperson about the DARK Act

GMO LabelingOn July 23, 2015 the U.S House of Representatives passed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.” Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are found in almost all processed foods and this act would eliminate state laws that require these products be labeled for consumers who want to avoid them. The U.S. Senate has yet to take up the House bill or develop its own bill. If passed into law, this bill would make it so difficult for consumers to understand what is in their food that opponents call it the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act).

That is why we are asking you to take action today by contacting your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators to ask them not to support ANY bill that limits the labeling of GMO products.

A recent Perspectives Article from the New England Journal of Medicine highlights two developments around genetically modified organisms. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts of chemical herbicides applied to GMO crops, and further increases will happen in the coming years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GMO crops, as a “probable human carcinogen” and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”

It’s not just science; consumers want to know when their food is genetically modified. The vast majority of Americans, in poll after poll, want to see foods with genetically modified ingredients labeled. Every survey for years shows consumer support for labeling to be at or above 90%.

As consumers we should have the right to know if our food has been genetically altered in a manner that introduces probable carcinogens into the food chain. We should have the right to choose if this is a product that we want to purchase.

Visit our website to learn how you can take action today by sending a short message and a link to the above mentioned article to your Representative and Senators.




Food Access SummitFood Access Summit

September 16, 2015
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM 

Register today and join CFSA, SC Community Loan Fund, USDA, DHEC, SCDA, USC Arnold School of Public Health, Lowcountry Local First, Coastal Conservation League, and Eat Smart Move More for a day of conversations about improving access to healthy food in South Carolina.

Join us as at the River Center at Saluda Shoals Park for this all-day summit highlighting efforts that improve access to healthy food for South Carolinians with limited financial resources. The Food Access Summit will provide advocacy tools, training and action-oriented ideas to educate and organize participants to support local and state efforts to make the food system equitable for all. Session topics include: advocacy and policy, farm to institution, transportation and food access, and funding healthy food projects.



CFSA Event: Organic Certification Field Day – Pelion, SC

Organic Certification Field DayOct. 15, 2015
8:45 – 4:30 PM

Location: Pelion High School and WP Rawl Farm

Registration: $10, space is limited

Please join the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and SC Experts for an Organic Certification Field Day.



  • Organic Certification and Regulations: Ryan Merck, Organic Certification Program Coordinator, Clemson University
  • Meeting the NOP Soil Management Standards: Keith Baldwin, Farm Services Coordinator, CFSA
  • Pest Management Planning for you Organic System Plan: Karen McSwain, Farm Services Director, CFSA
  • Allowable and Prohibited Inputs: Karen McSwain, Farm Services Director, CFSA
  • Challenges and Success: Ben DuBard, Organic Farm Manager, WP RAWL
  • Mock Inspection: Sarah Morrison, Organic Inspector, Clemson University




Questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help:

Funding for this workshop comes from a Specialty Crops Block grant awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the South Carolina Dept. of Agriculture. Special thanks to our hosts at Pelion High School and WP Rawl. Lunch sponsored by WP Rawl.


Interested in organic certification?  Check out our organic production and  certification consulting services!  Free for CFSA members! 


Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Sustainable Ag Conference 2015

Nov. 6-8, 2015 in Durham, NC


Register NOW

A Sneak Peek at Some of the Sustainable Agriculture Special Features and Events

It’s our goal to ensure that CFSA’s 30th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference brings together leaders from all aspects of the sustainable food system and fosters learning and networking opportunities that re-energize food stakeholders and propel your work forward for the coming year!

We’re looking forward to engaging with innovative farmers, cutting-edge academics, inspiring activists, resourceful non-profits, and helpful sustainable agriculture businesses, consultants, and input providers.

Here are just a few of the not-to-be missed networking events featured at this year’s conference:

Buyer Producer MeetUp (New!)

Co-sponsored by CFSA and North Carolina Growing together, the Buyer Producer Meet Up will be a curated networking event happening Friday afternoon at the conference.  This is an opportunity to connect ready-to-go sustainable farmers with leading wholesalers in the Carolinas.  Both buyers and producers must sign up with CFSA to reserve a space.  Contact LauraS@ for more information.


Members VIP Lounge (New!) 

Have we mentioned we love our CFSA members?  Feel  the love at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference by spending some time in the VIP Members Lounge, sponsored by New Country Organics, enjoying extra snacks, bonus meeting space, and comfy couches!  Not a CFSA member yet?  We encourage you to sign up online at www.  to begin locking in your CFSA benefits as soon as possible, but you can also sign up on site at the conference.  If you are passionate about strengthening the food system in the Carolinas, then CFSA membership is for you!


The Seed Exchange

Visit Lee Barnes, CFSA’s 2014 Activist of the Year and Doug Jones,  CFSA’s 2009 Farmer of the Year and the always popular Seed Exchange.  If you have extra seeds or plants, bring them along with any helpful information to share with other conference growers.   Lee and Doug will be available to answer your seed saving questions and provide demos during the conference passing periods.  And there will be lots of seeds to take home!



We are so proud of all the published authors who share their knowledge as speakers at the conference.  On Saturday evening you will have your chance to snag an autographed copy of their work(s), snap a photo, and chat with the authors.  Don’t miss our featured authors, including Tradd Cotter, Laura Lengnick, Craig LeHoullier, Pam Dawling, Ira Wallace, Jeanine Davis, Natasha Bowens, Rhonda Sherman, Aaron Newton, Meredith Leigh, Fred Bahnson, & April McGregor!


Reserved Meeting Space & Themed Tables

We want to help you move your work forward, and have plenty of options for onsite meeting space to help meet this objective.  There is a 16 person board room available for reservation in advance, or sign up onsite for open slots.  You can also reserve a themed table at any breakfast, or Friday or Saturday lunch.  Just contact LauraS@ and we’ll have your table marked with a themed balloon (recommended for groups of 5-10).  Need a larger meeting space?  Let us know!


Speed Networking

One of our most popular events, this is one of the best ways to jumpstart your networking experience and meet lots of likeminded conference goers!




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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