Virginia Association for Biological Farming

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Soil Biology Workshops with Elaine Ingham: December 3 & 4

Soil Food Web expert Elaine Ingham ( is presenting two full day workshops in Virginia as part of the Virginia Farm to Table Conference in Weyers Cave Dec 2-3. Register NOW!  

VABF is a partner on what will be a great gathering of folks interested in better soil biology stewardship. Click here to see flyer.

VABF is still purchasing food from biological producers for the Soil Biology workshop lunch on Dec 4 at VSU in Petersburg.

Elaine Ingham

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17 September E-News


Growers Academy

Thursday, 9/18th

A whole-package approach to successful grower business is here in Southwest Virginia!
See attachment here for more information and go to to register/

Small Ruminant Field Day at Randolph Farm

4415 River Road
Petersburg, VA 23806
September 19, 2014 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Registration for the Small Ruminant Field Day will close September 15th at 5PM.  For more information see flyer here.  If you have not had a chance to complete your registration please go to:

If you have already registered, thank you and you will receive a confirmation after registration closes.

$10.00 Registration Fee Per Person. (Includes continental breakfast, boxed lunch, take home materials) In addition there will be small ruminant meat and dairy samples available for tasting.

Reminder for Beginning Farmer Financial Planning Workshop

Sept. 22, 23, and 25

Experts from USDA Farm Service Agency and Farm Credit of the Virginias will discuss a variety of different financial tips and tools for those interested in becoming involved in agriculture including programs and services offered by both groups.  A great learning opportunity you don’t want to miss!  The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition is a proud partner of this series and will share additional resources for beginning farmer participants.

To RSVP to any of these three workshops, please contact Rebecca Webert at: 540-347-3344 x5514 or by email at by September 18th.
The RSVP if for meal planning purposes only.

Three opportunities to participate:

September 22, 2014 – Christiansburg, VA
6:00-9:00 p.m.
Virginia Cooperative Extension Building Meeting Room
755 Roanoke Street, Christiansburg, VA

September 23, 2014 – Wytheville, VA
6:00-9:00 p.m.
Wytheville Meeting Center Facility
333 Community Boulevard, Wytheville, VA

September 25, 2014 – Chatham, VA
6:00-9:00 p.m.
Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex – USDA Service Center
19783 U.S. Highway 29, Chatham, VA

All three meetings will start with a light meal provided by Farm Credit of the Virginias.

To RSVP to any of these three workshops, please contact Rebecca Webert at:
540-347-3344 x5514 or by email at by September 18th.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Susan Eilertson at
804-287-1580 or by email at by September 15, 2014.   USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Getting Local Foods on the Menu:
A conversation with Anthony Flaccavento about institutions & restaurants

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
11:00am-12:00 pm Eastern Time

Learn about the Local Food Cost Calculator, a free and downloadable electronic spreadsheet that enables food buyers to calculate the true cost of using local food!
There are two versions of the calculator: one designed for college and university dining services and another for restaurants.
Visit to find the calculator and the details of study.

This dynamic webinar will include:

A brief overview of research related to the tool’s development
An introduction to the Local Food Cost Calculator and best practices for stakeholders to make local food work in their setting. (e.g., Schools, Retailers, Extension, & NGOs, etc.)
A demonstration of how to use the calculator
An opportunity for questions and discussion with Anthony

Anthony Flaccavento has 30 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development.
He has been a certified organic produce farmer for the past 15 years during which time he also founded and directed Appalachian Sustainable Development.
Anthony is also the author of Healthy Food Systems: A Tool Kit for building Value Chains and over 100 published articles.

If you are planning to participate, please go to this link to confirm your ability to log on to the Connect server:

For best results, we suggest you use Firefox or Internet Explorer as your web browser. You do not need to register.
When entering the webinar, just enter as a guest (and type your name).
We encourage questions and dialogue with Anthony about the use of this tool to enhance the regions local food opportunities!
Therefore, participants will be given a phone number at the onset of the webinar to directly communicate during the 2nd half of the session.
Please plan to connect a few minutes before 11 am to ensure a good connection.

If you can’t make the webinar in real time, an archived recording will be available on the AFP website.


Southern SARE Producer Grant Calls for Proposals Released

GRIFFIN, Georgia – The Calls for Proposals for the 2014 Producer Grants, intended for farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region, are now available from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program.

Proposal submission deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 17, 2014. Announcement of funded grants will take place in late February 2015.

Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn’t so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project.

Producer grants are not designed to pay a farmer to farm; buy livestock, equipment, or land; make permanent farm improvements or support private enterprises through capital investments.  Southern SARE Producer Grants are research grants, designed to take some of the financial risk away from trying a solution to an agricultural production issue.

Projects may be funded for up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have a majority farmer representation on their governing board.

For detailed information on how to apply for a Producer Grant, download the current Producer Grant Call for Proposals.

The Producer Grant Call for Proposals includes application information, use of funds, proposal submission instructions, and contact information. Be sure to carefully follow the information in the Call for Proposals when submitting your proposal. Failure to follow the submission guidelines may result in your proposal being rejected.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America’s Southern region.

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Central VA: Shake the Hands that Feed You!

Richmond Virginia is fast becoming a food destination city and it’s not just RVA’s wonderful chefs making this happen. The local organic farmers are playing a role too. Next weekend 12 of these farms are open for visits during the Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) and Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market’s Richmond Farm Tour. We hope food and farm lovers in Central Virginia will join us!

VABF and Ellwood Thompson's Richmond Farm Tour

All of the farms on the tour use organic and biological farming practices to grow produce. However, there is great variety among the farms. There are urban farms making it work on less than an acre as well as rural farms working 75 to 100 acre properties. Some of the farms are supplying Richmond’s booming local farm-to-table restaurants. Others are dedicated to feeding the families in their CSAs. There are also non-profit farms raising food for food banks with education as a central part of their missions.

VABF and Ellwood Thompson’s
Richmond Farm Tour
Shake the Hands that Feed You!

September 20 & 21, 2014
1pm – 6pm
Richmond, Virginia Area

One ticket ($25 in advance, $30 during tour) covers everyone in a vehicle for both days of the tour encouraging people to load up their cars with family and friends for a fun afternoon road trip adventure. At each stop, farmers will be offering guided tours of their operations and giving their visitors the opportunity to ask questions. Home gardeners and beginning farmers may especially relish this chance to learn more about organic and biological growing practices.

Origins Farm

Families with curious food-loving children will enjoy the tour too. Kids will get a much better idea of how their food is grown and what different farms look like. Some of the farms will even have activities specifically geared towards children.

Tricycle Gardens on farm tour

Farm stands will also be open at each farm with fresh-from-the-farm products that families can buy to incorporate into their dinners that evening, bringing the farm-to-table lesson full circle.

Waverly Farms csa

The farms on the tour are: Broadfork Farm, Byrd Farm, Forrest Green Farm, Manakintowne Farm, Origins Farm, Renew Richmond’s Jerusalem Connection Garden, Reynolds Community College Farm, Shalom Farms, Tomten Farm, Tricycle Gardens, Victory Farms, Inc. and Waverly Farms.

The tour is co-hosted by the Virginia Association for Biological Farming and Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market. This project is supported in part by the USDA Specialty Agriculture Grant Program, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

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Volunteers Needed for Richmond Farm Tour Weekend

Richmond Farm Tour 2014VABF and Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market have teamed up to launch the 1st Annual Richmond Farm Tour! The tour is September 20 & 21 from 1 PM to 6 PM both days. We’re excited to showcase organic and biological growing practices at 12 farms serving the Richmond area.

We could use your help. We are in need of volunteers to help take tickets and greet tour goers at each farm on the tour. Volunteer on one day of the tour and you will receive a free pass to take the tour on the other day of the tour with a carload of people. Using our signup sheet, you can choose the farm where you would like to volunteer:

Tour Farms:
Waverly Farms, LLC (Nottoway County)
Victory Farms, Inc. (Henrico County)
Tricycle Gardens (Richmond City)
Tomten Farm (Prince Edward County)
Shalom Farms (Goochland County)
Reynolds Community College Garden (Goochland County)
Renew Richmond’s Jerusalem Connection Garden (Richmond City)
Origins Farm (Hanover County)
Manakintowne Specialty Growers (Powhatan County)
Forrest Green Farm (Louisa County)
Byrd Farm Enterprises, LLC (Goochland County)
Broadfork Farm (Chesterfield County)

Please help spread the word. Thank you!

Richmond Farm Tour VirginiaVABF & Ellwood Thompson’s Richmond Farm Tour
Shake the Hands that Feed You!
September 20 & 21, 1 PM to 6 PM

Buy Tickets:
More information:

Questions? Contact Mary Delicate, Richmond Farm Tour Manager:

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28 July E-News



Glow in the Dark Hope for Hemlock Trees in Appalachia?

News from Insect biocontrol consultant Dr. Richard McDonald

It turns out the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) has blood that is fluorescent chartreuse (yellow-green like antifreeze color) under a regular blacklight. It also turns out that the predator poop glows bright orange.  (NOTE:  the scientific article with photos showing this phenomenon is a very large file, about 6Mb – contact Dr McDonald if you would like to see it)

So we can use these colors and others to determine the amount of predator activity on adelgids and show that predators are doing a good job of controlling HWA at the older release sites now.

In general, Laricobius nigrinus is ‘generally’ saturated in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancy counties now. Basically 45 miles in every direction from Grandfather Mountain as beetle central.

Trees have been regrowing for the past 4 to 5 years in lots of spots. There are also dispersed Lari populations in Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes counties that will go log scale reproduction in the next couple of years.

We have also been releasing the native summer predator (to the Pacific Northwest) called Scymnus coniferarum; we need several years of releases and studies just like with Lari before we crack this nut and get establishment too.

Richard C. McDonald, Ph.D.
Symbiont Biological Pest Management
194 Shull’s Hollar
Sugar Grove, NC 28679
(828) 297-BUUG (2884) Phone


Late Blight Information from One of Our Readers


Regalia biofungicide / plant defense stimulant available on line in gallons

Regalia is available straight from the manufacturer in gallons. They also had the best price I found, $72/gal online, with $12 shipping.  The 2.5 gallon size has hardly any price break. But shipping may be less per gallon for the larger size.

I called customer service, they assured me gallons were in stock, that my order would go out tomorrow and should be here on Friday.
There is a link at bottom right of page to buy online.

Some other good news from Virginia State U / Virginia Cooperative Extension:

USDA Organic Certification Cost Share funds available

Good Morning All!
        Hope you are enjoying your summer in good health.  With organic farm sales increasing, many producers are considering becoming certified organic.  If you are working with producers considering organic certification, please review and share the following letter regarding USDA funding to reimburse eligible growers and processors in Virginia for 75% of their 2014 certification costs up to a maximum of $750 per category of certification. The funding is through the National Organic Cost Share Program 2014.  If you have any questions please contact Mr. Kent Lewis, Director – Domestic Sales & Market Development at 804-371-6098 or    


Dr. Theresa J. Nartea, Assistant Professor
Extension Specialist-Marketing & Agribusiness
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia State University
P O Box 9081, Petersburg, VA 23806
Email:     Phone:  804.524.5491



Midsummer Sustainable Gardening Workshop

Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center, Catawba, VA
Wednesday July 30, 2014 – 6:00 -9:00 pm 

This three-hour workshop is focused on sustainable management of a mid-summer garden, with special attention to challenges of the season, which may include:
        Identifying and managing plant diseases
        Managing weeds
        Meeting plant needs 
        Attracting beneficial insects to manage pests
        Effective use of row cover during the warm season
        Tricks for starting fall crops in the heat of summer

The workshop will be held in the gardens at the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center and will identify examples of weed, pest, disease, and other common problems, and discuss strategies for dealing with them. 

Registration fee is $36.  Register on line at by Monday July 28 - or contact Josh Nease or Erin Burcham.

Directions: from Interstate-81, take exit 141 in Salem, take VA 419 towards 311 north (away from downtown Salem), turn right onto Rt 311 north.  Go about 6.7 miles.  About a quarter mile past the Appalachian Trail crosswalk enter the small village of Catawba, turn right onto Keffer Road, then immediate right onto Catawba Creek Road toward Catawba Hospital, pass post office, and come into the Catawba Sustainability Center on your right.
For more information, please contact Josh Nease at or Erin Burcham at 540-767-6145 or




Position Open- Veteran Farmer

Temple Hill Farm in Ivy, Virginia – Inquiries received through September 15, 2014

Seeking a Veteran-Farmer to establish farm business on 41 acres in central Virginia, west of Charlottesville. Applicant shall have recent military experience with an honorable discharge, be drug-free and have a comfort level with small-scale farming. Owner will consider options for farm production from vegetables to small-scale livestock, farmed organically or as close to natural as possible. Ideas for alternate enterprises are also welcome: native plant production, beekeeping, medicinal and culinary herbs, mushroom cultivation and/or farmed flowers.

Please note:  This is not a farm manager listing, rather an opportunity for a young, willing farmer to build a farm business on land under a long term agreement for it’s use. See attached flyer for full details! 

Please send cover letter, resume and 2 references (name, phone, and email) to:
Laura Farrell,

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E-News; July 6th


Blackberry Growers Meeting

Cole Berry Farm

July 9, 2014, 9AM to 11 AM
Jeff and Joey Cole have been growing and marketing blackberries for 25 years. They manage a 15-acre farm growing blackberries, raspberries & grapes. Jeff & Joey will share with you their growing & marketing experience. This informal meeting is for all growers interested in berry production & marketing. Please email your RSVP to:
This is a FREE event and open to the public made possible by a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Project.  The Cole Farm is located at 3067 Asbury Church Rd, in Vernon Hill, VA 24597

Workshop Date Change: Disease and Insect Pest Management

Charlottesville, VA - Wednesday July 10, 2014, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Bellair Farm, 5375 Bellair Farm Road in Charlottesville, VA 22902 is hosting a workshop on disease and insect pest management, sponsored by  the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville.

Join the pest experts as we take a close look at disease and insect issues facing common vegetable crops in Central Virginia. Improve proper identification and learn integrated pest-management skills to effectively control the bad guys (stinkbugs anyone?!) and take advantage of the good guys (thank you wonderful wasps and ladybeetles!). A majority of the workshop will take place in Bellair Farm‘s fields as attendees will get a hands-on lesson in proper pest and disease management.

Jim Hankins, Director of Fauquier Education Farm and Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program Agent, and Dr. Anton Baudoin, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology at Virginia Tech, will lead attendees through insect and disease identification using live and photographed examples. Ellen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Loudon County, a renowned vegetable farmer with more than 40 years of experience in farming, teaching, and consulting, will discuss preventative measures and control applications. Attendees will leave the workshop confident in their ability to know how to look for potential pest or disease issues, identify the cause, and properly manage the issue to minimize potential damage to crops.

This workshop is hosted by Local Food Hub’s partner producer Bellair Farm, and is conducted via a partnership between Local Food Hub and Virginia Cooperative Extension. Registration is $20 and includes a locally-sourced lunch provided by Bellair Farm.  This educational opportunity is supported in part by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

For questions, contact Director of Grower Services Adrianna Vargo

RSVP: Click here to sign up for this workshop and purchase tickets. 

Sorry for the confusion.  I hope you still have time to register.


Using Compost and Cover Crops in Specialty Grain Production

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 6  8 pm
All-Farm Organics William Hale, Owner Louisa County, VA

All-Farm Organics is a small commercial bulk compost operation in rural Central Va. It is also a 25 acre certified Organic specialty grain and seed farm. Production of both compost and cover crops is essential to soil health, as well as direct cash income, in the system Hale has been developing over the last decade. Come see what was once a profitable tobacco farm, then depleted hayland, and now a combination of crops and practices that are returning this diversified grain farm to profitability. Exchange insights and observations on crops, practices and equipment while walking the fields and looking over machinery – mostly from the 1970s – enabling one man to produce high value seeds, grains, and soil amendments.

Admission to tour is $15.00 for all VABF members and $20.00 for non-members. (Attendees can join VABF at the farm tour site or at All proceeds benefit the work of VABF: educating about, advocating for, and promoting organic and biological farming and gardening.

249 Bakers Branch Lane Louisa, VA 23093

Driving Directions: Off of Interstate 64, West of Richmond, take Exit 148, State Rt 605/Shannon Hill Road. Turn North onto Rt 605/Shannon Hill Road. Continue for 3.4 miles. Take a sharp right onto State Rt 640/East Old Mountain Road. Continue for 1.1 miles. Turn Left onto State Rt 754/Bakers Branch. Continue 0.5 miles to the end of the road. Proceed on the dirt driveway, bearing right, and then up a hill. Continue until the 249 house address marker on the left. Parking will be visible at that point.

Contact with questions.
Rain Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014


ASD Farm Summer Tours and Suppers

July 20, 3:00 – 7:00 pm - Floyd, VA

Appalachian Sustainable Development is presenting a summer farm tour series, featuring local farms in Southwest Virginia.  Farm Food will be providing local meals for some of the tours.  Details on the attached flyer.

Tour Dates

Spring Ridge Farms
Monday, July 21st Monday, July 21st
5:00—8:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.

Roffey Cattle Co. Roffey Cattle Co.
Monday, July 28th Monday, July 28th
5:00—8:00 p.m.

Double Y Livestock Double Y Livestock
Monday, September 22nd Monday, September 22nd
5:00-7:00 p.m.

Porter Valley Grass Farm Porter Valley Grass Farm
Monday, September 29th Monday, September 29th
5:00-8:00 p.m



New Market for Autumn Olive Berries

NC State University Extension confirms late blight on potato in eastern NC

The Southwest Virginia Autumn Berry Association is working to provide farmers with equipment and education regarding autumn olives and connecting farmers to a market for the berries.  For more information, see attached flyer.


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