Workshop: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP: Click here to sign up for this workshop and purchase tickets.
Plenty! Farm and New Barn Celebration
July 20, 3:00 – 7:00 pm – Floyd, VA
Plenty! is a unique non-governmental non-profit food bank that accepts donations of sound fresh suprlus produce from local farmers and distributes the food to low income, elderly, and disabled residents of Floyd County who would otherwise have a hard time obtaining fresh, nutritious food. Plenty! has been in operation for several years, and has been a source of hope and inspiration for those facing food insecurity and those seeking to help them out.
This year, Plenty! has taken a major new step – starting a farm at Elephant Curve just three miles north of downtown Floyd, specifically to grow and distribute fresh food to those in need. This June, they also moved their office and packing shed to this location.
Now, Plenty! is throwing a party to celebrate this new and expanded phase of their work. This event, from 3 until 7 pm on Sunday July 20, offers good food, good music, and great company to share the celebration. Directions: from the county’s one traffic light in downtown Floyd, at the intersection of Rt 8 and Rt 221, take Rt 8 north for three miles, turn onto Elephant Curve Road on your left, and proceed to the farm. From Christiansburg or from I-81, take Rt 8 (exit 114 on I-81) south for about 17 miles, and take a hard right onto Elephant Curve Road.
Questions? Contact McCabe Coolidge or Karen Day at 540-357-4657 or -5657.
Sunday July 20, 2014 – Glade Road Growing, 2351 Glade Road, Blacksburg, VA
Co-sponsored by New River Land Trust and Monkey House Concerts. Farm tour at 5:00-6:00 pm; music at 6:30 – 10:00 pm. Tickets ($10) available through New River Land Trust P.O. Box 11057 Blacksburg, VA 24062-1057 (540) 951-1704, www.newriverlandtrust.org. All proceeds benefit land conservation in the New River Valley region.
Midsummer Sustainable Gardening Workshop
-presenter Mark Schonbeck
Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center -Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6:00 to 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.
To register, visit http://www.cpe.vt.edu/reg/msgw/. Registration deadline is July 28. For more information, please contact Josh Nease at email@example.com or Erin Burcham at 540-767-6145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
21st Annual Southeastern Permaculture Gathering
Celo, North Carolina – Friday August 1 – Sunday August 3 ?
Pre-gathering Workshops Thursday, July 31st
Hello Friends and Family! We are excited about this year’s gathering happening August 1st- 3rd, 2014. Our theme will be “Time for Change” and together we’ll explore how making changes can actually make our lives more meaningful. . .
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN
Earlybird Registration from Fri to Sun is only $115.
Check out our Thursday workshops for an extra $60
We have a Youth Program & Children under 10 are free
Work trades and Scholarships are available
Contact Kimchi Rylander at email@example.com or phone 828 669 7552. Southeastern Permaculture Gathering,www.southeasternpermaculture.org
Late Blight in the Area: protect your crops
NC State University Extension confirms late blight on potato in eastern NC
I received the following notice a few days ago. You might be wondering if it can indeed be “late blight” if it arrived in eastern NC at the beginning of summer. However, I have seen it up here in Appalachia on one occasion at the end of June, attacking potatoes mostly. It was a wet, stormy year, and in some areas (including mine at the time) hail stressed the plants, and they regrew but then contracted the late blight.
I have long contended that the two major blight diseases of solanaceae should not be called early blight and late blight, but “regular blight” (=Alternaria solani = early blight, usually causes irregular brown spots with concentric rings on lower leaves, moves gradually up the plant, causing partial yield reductions; it can be slowed down by applications of copper fungicide and Serenade biofungicide); and “malignant blight” (Pytophthora infestans = late blight, grayish roundish spots anywhere on the plant, visible mold growth during damp conditions, spreads extremely fast, ususally incurable once symptoms appear – some strains can be stopped in their tracks if a spate of hot, dry, sunny weather takes place, but the recent strains seem more impervious to heat and dryness).
The pathogen spores travel on the wind and with weather fronts, especially on mild, wet days. Because prevailing summer winds are generally from the south and southweset, with an occasional blast from the northwest when a cold front (often with thunderstorms) passes, those of us west of eastern NC may be at less risk – unless either a tropical storm (coming from southeast) or a retrograde front (from the northeast or due east) sweeps over NC moving inland. Those of you located north and east of the outbreak are at most immediate risk.
In any case, following is the recent alert, from eastern North Carolina where late blight has occurred on potatoes.
Late blight was confirmed yesterday on a potato crop in eastern North Carolina. Growers throughout the state are encouraged to actively scout potato and tomato crops (both are susceptible) and take steps now to protect their crops.
More information plus control recommendations can be found at North Carolina Cooperative Extension s Plant Pathology Portal at http://go.ncsu.edu/n7hmjg
If you think you have late blight please contact your county Extension agent.
It has been reported that weekly sprays of copper fungicide + Serenade (Bacillus subtilis) biofungicide can protect crop from late blight so long as the sprays are started before the disease arrives in the field. So, if you have high value crops to protect, and especially if you live near or north/east of the outbreak area, it might be a good idea to begin this protocol. Even those of us who are not “downwind” might want to consider takeing this step, especially here in Appaachia where it has been mild and showery – excellent conditions for the disease.
Serenade and two formulations of copper fungicide suitable for USDA certified organic production are available through Seven Springs Farm, www.7SpringsFarm.com.
New USDA Resource for Beginning Farmers
From Dr. Kim Niewolny, VA Tech, Director of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program
Today USDA continues its commitment to the future of agriculture by unveiling www.usda.gov/newfarmers, a one-stop shop for new and beginning farmers entering agriculture. It’s a practical, workable tool that will help farmers and ranchers of tomorrow tap into the range of USDA resources today. Featuring direct links to USDA programs and services, as well as case studies about how USDA support is being put to work to for America’s agriculture future, usda.gov/newfarmers is a welcome new resource.
New and beginning farmers and ranchers are as diverse as American agriculture itself. They are veterans entering agriculture after their military service and immigrants new to the country. They are farmers returning to the land after long absences and young people taking on their first jobs. They are professionals entering agriculture in their post-retirement years, and new couples raising tomorrow’s farm families.
USDA defines beginning farmers as those who have been farming for less than 10 years. This new web site and all USDA services for new and beginning farmers are provided for farmers all along the gamut from explorers / aspiring farmers (not yet farming, looking into the possibility, want to farm or are in a decision process whether to start a farm, where, and how), new farmers (first couple of years), and those who are in the process of refining their farming systems and stratgies as they become more established (up to 10th year in production).
Many of you on this e-mail list may find yourselves somewhere along this spectrum of beginning farmers – and you may find the new USDA site as well as current USDA services very helpful.. Also, do availa yourselves of the services of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program,
Read the press release from USDA for more information. Visitt www.usda.gov/newfarmers and see what there might be that could help you in your endeavors, and help spread the word!
National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) Working with USDA to maximize benefits to begining farmers from the new initiatives
Finding Affordable Farmland cited as Key Hurdle for Aspiring Farmers
On June 25, the one-year anniversary of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) announced the availability of a document that articulates principles and recommendations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to consider as it implements conservation programs under the 2014 Farm Bill that address the nexus between climate change and agriculture.
USDA has launched a climate change initiative, which includes new Regional Climate Hubs and science-based guidelines for cover crop management, among other new tools and programs. NSAC has recently submitted recommendations to USDA regarding ways that existing programs such as the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program can be utilized to help farmers improve the resiliency of their farming systems to the erratic weather precipitated by climate change, and also to make a greater contribution toward mitigating climat change (e.g., through conservation and organic/sustainable practices that improve net carbon sequestration into the soil).
Read more at NSAC’s blog post http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/farm-bill-climate-recs/ and press releasehttp://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/climate-recs-press-release/ .
Petition to FDA to provide GMO content information on food labels
My mobile phone company, Credo Moble, is promoting a petition campaign to get FDA to provide food label information regarding the GMO content or freedom-therefrom as part of a new update / reform of food labeling requirements. I signed the petition – it took less than a minute, as most on-line petitions do. If you see eye-to-eye with this petition, here is a chance to weigh in – you do not have to be subscribed to this phone company to participate
Tell the FDA: Include GMOs on Nutrition Facts labels
In an effort initiated by Michelle Obama, the Food and Drug Administration is updating the look and content of the Nutrition Facts labels on the food we buy, but there’s one critical and glaring omission: the new plan doesn’t include labeling of genetically modified food.
It’s no surprise. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, and others are spending a lot of money to prevent labeling of GMOs. Some members of Congress, whose campaigns are backed by the Koch brothers, are even working to ban mandatory labeling of GMOs at the federal level.
But now we have a real shot at convincing the FDA to include GMOs as part of this food labeling update. That’s why I started my own campaign on CREDOMobilize.com, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to the FDA, says the following:
Add specific information about genetically modified organism (GMO) content to Food Nutrition Facts labels and one of the two following blanket statements, as applicable: “Contains one or more GMOs” OR “Does not contain any GMOs.”
Sign the petition: Tell the FDA to include GMOs on Nutrition Facts labels.
Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. In fact, more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling of GMOs, but the United States is one of the only industrialized countries in the world without mandatory GMO labeling laws. Some states like Vermont have already passed laws requiring GMO labeling, but with this FDA action, all consumers in every state would know whether or not their food contained GMO ingredients.
The FDA has extended the comment collection period to August 1, so this is our chance to convince the federal government that nutrition labels must include GMO information.
Will you join me and add your name to my petition urging the FDA to include GMOs on Nutrition Facts labels?
Thank you for your support.
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – grants and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications
Deadline: July 7
Through REAP, the USDA is providing $12.4 million in renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants for eligible farms and other rural businesses. For renewable energy and energy efficiency system grants, the minimum grant is $2,500 and the maximum is $500,000. For energy efficiency improvement grants, the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum grant is $250,000. Applicants can also apply for a combination grant and guaranteed loan (loan applications are due July 31 – see below).
USDA Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Renewal Signup
July 11- September 12
If you enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service during the 2009-2010 Enrollment Period, you have an opportunity to renew your contract later this summer. Renewal enrollment opens July 11, and continues through September 12. To learn more, visit http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/csp-renewal/
Risk Management Education Partnerships Program
Deadline: June 30
This is a competitivee cooperative partnership agreement program that provides crop insurance education and risk management training. It aims to help agricultural producers identify and manage production, marketing, legal, financial, and human risk. The program prioritizes educating producers of crops currently uninsured under Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. It also prioritizescollaborative outreach and assistance programs for limited resource, socially disadvantaged, new and beginning and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Deadline for pre-proposals July 14
This newly-created conservation partnership program is now accepting applications! It was created by merging the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI), and Great Lakes Conservation Initiative (GLCI)). For fiscal years 2014 and 2015, nearly $400 million will be available through RCPP. RCPP allows for partnerships of farm and conservation organizations working with state and federal agencies to deliver federal farm bill conservation assistance to farmers to help tackle specific natural resource and environmental concerns in a specific state or region. NOTE: groups like VABF, ASD, and Local Food Hub qualify as a farm organization and could be eligible for RCPP – as organic specialty crop producers, some of working hilly land in the Appalachian and Piedmont regions, we do have specific natural resource challenges, and it might be fruitful to team up with Natural Resources Conservation Service. If this stimulates ideas on the part of some of you reading this, check it out, and let me know.
Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP)
Deadline July 15
LFLP is a new initiative that will prrovide technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community’s economic action plans. A team of ag, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with the selected communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet their specific needs. $650,000 has been invested in the program. All communities in the United States are eligible to apply, and particular consideration will be given to areas in the Appalachia and Delta regions. This looks like a real opportunity for our region.
Funds Available to Monitor Smith Creek Conservation Success
Application deadline July 18, 2014
If you are located in the Smith Creek watershed, and have implemented or would like to implement conservation practices such as cover crops, buffers, and field borders to protect water quality and enhance the watershed, the Virignia office of NRCS is now offering funds to support on-farm comparison trials of fields without and with conservation practices and their impact on the watershed. See attached Word document (Smith Creek Conservation) for more information, or contact Harrisonburg District Conservationist Cory Guilliams at 540-433-2901, ext. 118, or Strasburg District Conservationist Mike Liskey at 540-465-2424, ext. 108. To learn more about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Virginia, contact your local NRCS office or visit us online at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov/.
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – Guaranteed Loans
Deadline July 31
Through REAP, the USDA is providing $57.8 million for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loans. The minimum guaranteed loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum amount of a guaranteed loan to be provided to a borrower is $25 million. Applicants can also apply for a combination grant and guaranteed loan (see grant info in July 7 section).
Position Open: Agriculture Teacher at Floyd County High School
Floyd County High School is looking for an agriculture teacher to begin this upcoming school year. This position will require a person who is or will be eligible for an Agriculture Education endorsement from the state of Virginia with either a Technical Professional or a Collegiate Professional license. For more information, and to apply, please refer to: http://www.floyd.k12.va.us/employment/job-opportunities
Questions about this position or about the current agriculture program at the high school? Contact: Joe Tesauro, Agriculture & Life Sciences Teacher, Floyd County High School, (540)745-9450 x5698, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: Over the past year,, the Floyd County public high school has been re-envigorating and expanding its agriculture program under theleadership of their new agriculture teacher, Joe Tesauro, himself a sustainable vegetable farmer. The goals of the program are to train new farmers, teach others how to grow their own food, provide a lab that techers can use to teach related subjects, provide advanced students an opportunity to conduct independent research and learning projects, and teach basic work-readiness skills. They have set up an aquaponic lettuce operation and are developing a high school farm for hands-on learning which has already become a major and popular part of the ag curriculum at the high school. Those of you who receive the VABF print newsletter – look forward to a more in-depth article in the Third Quarter issue later this summer.
Joe just contacted me to let me about the above position open. The new agriculture teacher who will work alongside Joe to continue to build this exciting hands-on sustainable ag program – only one of two such programs in public schools in Virginia.