Virginia organic farming association

Photo by Norm Shafer

Welcome to the Virginia Association for Biological Farming!

VABF’s mission is to educate about, advocate for, and promote organic and biological farming and gardening. Read More

Recent News

Buckwheat Sorgum Plots - Photo Credit - Jim Moyer, Old Crowe Farm

USDA Grant Funding Available for Local food Systems and Conservation

  • FMLFPP – Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program – $26 million ($13m for LFPP, $13 for FMPP) to fund a wide spectrum of direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects; applications due May 12. http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/fy16-fmlfpp/
  • RCPP – Regional Conservation Partnership Program – $260 million to fund multi-partner projects that €œimprove the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability” – also includes projects focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation for the first time; applications due May 10. http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/260-million-for-rcpp/
  • CIG – Conservation Innovation Grants – $20 million to fund the development, application, and demonstration of innovative conservation technologies and approaches; applications due May 10. http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/cig-fy16/

 

Help the FDA develop reasonable, science-based rules regarding manure by completing this Farmer Survey

VABF and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are looking for information to better understand how farmers are using untreated or raw manure on their farms. We’’re asking for this now because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently gathering information regarding on-farm use of manure, as well as existing scientific research on manure use and food safety, with the goal of developing reasonable, science based guidelines for time intervals between a manure application and subsequent produce harvest. Learn more about the survey.

Please complete this survey by MAY 20 so we can aggregate the responses and integrate them into the comments NSAC will provide to FDA. We recognize this is a busy time of a year for you, and we apologize for asking for responses in such a short time window. The questions shouldn’’t take more than 20 minutes! Your input is so valuable to this process. Thank you!

You can complete the survey on line here.

 

2016 SARE Cover Crop Survey

Farmers urged to participate: survey closes May 1, 2016

The USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is conducting a farmer survey on cover cropping, for the fourth year running. Survey outcomes from the first three years showed a steady increase in acreage cover cropped, and documented significant corn and soybean yield increases where cover crops are used. This nationwide survey is seeking insight from farmers across the US, whether or not they use cover crops.

The survey can be taken online at http://tinyurl.com/ccsurvey2016 until May 1, 2016. All answers to the survey are anonymous. Anyone interested in seeing results from the 2013, 2014 or 2015 crop year surveys and other related projects, click here.

 

USDA Launches First-Ever Local Foods Survey

The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey will ask producers for information on their production and local marketing of foods during the 2015 calendar year. Producers who receive the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey from NASS are strongly encouraged to respond. Farmers and ranchers can fill out the survey online via a secure website, www.agcounts.usda.gov, or return their form by mail.

For more information about the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov

 

Reminder – USDA Organic Production Survey for 2015 season

The 2015 Certified Organic Survey is underway and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is reminding farmers and ranchers that it’s not too late to respond. In early February, survey questionnaires were mailed nationwide to all known organic farms. NASS is now conducting telephone follow up with producers who have not yet responded. Some farmers may also be selected for in-person interviews to assist with data collection efforts. Your participation is strongly encouraged.  Producers can complete the survey online. http://www.nass.usda.gov/Online_Response/Attention/index.php.

Learn more about the survey: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2016/02_01_2016.php.

Upcoming Events

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Strategies for Direct Marketing

April 28, 1-4 pm – Pearisburg, VA

Dr. Theresa Nartea of Virginia State University Cooperative Extension will give this workshop on signage, product display, and other strategies for drawing more customers  season long to your farmers’ market booth.

Optional: mingle with other producers from 11:30 – 12:45, light box lunch available for $8.

Register by April 21 by contacting Christy Mutter at Giles County Extension, 540-921-3455, <jdudding@vt.edu>

Strawberry Field Tour May 12Strawberry Field Day at Grower’s Farm

The Virginia State University College of Agriculture Small Fruits and Vegetables program invites you to join them for a special field day to learn more about growing strawberries for local markets. View current strawberry growing, harvesting and post-harvest techniques and discuss local markets with our University specialists.

MAY 12, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Westover Farms
21604 Westover Drive • McKenney, VA

REGISTER ONLINE at: http://goo.gl/forms/AhZTDCOkMC

More Events

Opportunities & Actions

Radical Roots Web 88

Funding Opportunities:
Details Here

  • Specialty Crop Block Grant Deadline: April 14
  • FSA Announces Farm Buffer Initiative
  • Conservation Stewardship Program Deadline is March 31

 

Job openings at these VABF Member farms and businesses:
Listings Here

Radical Roots Farm (Keezletown)

Paradox Farm (Lexington)

Farmstead Ferments (Scottsville)

Manakintowne Specialty Growers & Virginia Growers (Powhatan)

Virginia Vegetable Company (Powhatan or Petersburg)

Brightwood Vineyard (Brightwood)

Plenty! Farm is hiring a Farm Manager (Floyd)

Policy actions for organic farmers, gardeners and consumers
Take Action

Resources

Organic-Transition-PlannerOrganic Transition: A business planner for farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs
from SARE

The Organic Transition Planner will walk you through the development of an actionable business transition plan tat is suitable for yourself, your management team or a lender.

While not a comprehensive guide to meeting certification requirements, the Organic Transition Planner will help you explore organic transition strategies and decide whether going organic makes sense for your farm or business.

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Co-Managing StewardshipCo-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices
from Wild Farm Alliance

Mark Schonbeck highly recommends this new guidebook that explains how farmers can make their farms safer by reducing pathogen presence using conservation practices.

Statistics: Organic Farm Sales in Virginia

In 2014, Virginia had 167 organic farms producing $41.3 million in organic products. This includes both certified organic farms and farms exempt from certification. Of the organic farms identified in the 2014 Organic Survey, 139 were certified organic farms and 28 were exempt. Certified and exempt farms together accounted for 28,412 acres of organic production in 2014. More Data

Virginia farmers on soil healthNew Common Ground Films!

USDA-NRCS, Virginia Extension and VABF have teamed up with film makers Eleanor Goodrich and Aaron Port to tell the stories of diverse Virginia farmers who are focused on implementation of soil health management principles. Watch Here.

More Resources

VABF acknowledges and thanks its sponsors: