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COMFOOD weekly recap x 2

October 16, 2011
by Kasi Boyd

News from the past TWO weeks: 10/3/11 to 10/16/11.  Also, see Conferences announced on COMFOOD and elsewhere.  (Note: only news and resources are included in this recap.  To read all the conversation, subscribe to COMFOOD directly.)


The CISA Emergency Farm Fund was launched this week by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in partnership with Whole Foods Market, Equity Trust and individual donors. The revolving fund will offer quick, zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses who are struggling to meet their immediate needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene’s storm and flooding in the western Massachusetts counties of Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden. In the future, the fund will be available immediately following disasters to help farmers affected by unexpected events continue farming.

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) org announced the following grants (all grants are capped at $15,000):

  • Farmer Grants let commercial producers explore new ideas in production or marketing.  To qualify, you must be a farm business owner or manager in the Northeast SARE region.  Deadline 12/1/11.
  • Partnership Grants for those engaged in agricultural research or outreach in an organization like Cooperative Extension, NRCS, a state department of agriculture, a college or university, an agricultural nonprofit, or a commercial agricultural consulting business. Deadline 11/1/11.
  • Sustainable Community Grants focus on sustainable agriculture projects that address certain key issues such as finance, marketing, land use, water use, enterprise development, value-added activities, or labor. Deadline 10/19/11.

A new guide Farmland ConneCTions: A Guide for Towns, Institutions, and Land Trusts Using or Leasing Farmland outlines the legal and practical considerations involved in leasing farmland and provides information and case studies of successful community farms that have been established across the state.  Published by American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the University of Connecticut.

Pesticide Action Network North America put together at Discussion Guide regarding pollinators (especially honey bees).

Nourish released a new short video, “School Lunch,” featuring Michael Pollan.

One-pager on purchasing compost for your farm: “How to Make The Most Out Of Purchased Compost”.

Regarding liability insurance for urban ag, see “FAQ on Liability, Insurance and Risk Management for Food Enterprises and Urban Farms” from the Sustainable Economies Law Center and mod4LLP.


Maine Policy Review article: “Healthy Food Access and Affordability: We Can Pay the Farmer or We Can Pay the Hospital” explores the history of food stamps, federal nutrition programs such as WIC, and updates the current work of Wholesome Wave, which partners with local community organizations to attract more SNAP recipients to farmers markets around the country. The article includes recommendations for how to connect more nutrition program recipients to healthy wholesome food while benefiting local farmers.

Two studies on the impact of local food economies:


According to published reports, the size of the proposed 10-year cut to farm bill programs is in the neighborhood of $23 billion, or about half way in between the higher amount proposed by the President and the lower amount that would result from the “sequestration” process that will kick in if the deficit reduction measure to be voted on by Christmas fails to pass.


Food+Tech Connect is continuing its “Hacking the Food System” series each Wednesday, asking leading food and technology innovators (27 posted so far) – how can information and technology be used to hack the food system?

Mark Bittman’s column about Occupy Wall Street.  “What we need are more activists who are interested in food than ‘food activists.’ Whether we’re talking about food, politics, healthcare, housing, the environment, or banking, the big question remains the same: How do we bring about fundamental change?”  And, WhyHunger’s Civil Eats post on Occupy Wall Street and food.

MESA is offering a Certificate of International Training in Agroecology (CITA) for beginning farmers and agrarians in Tanzania and Peru, December 19-January 16. CITA is an integrated program that offers project-oriented education and community work experience in agriculture to equip YOU with the insight and experience needed to repair our global food system.

“Just Label It” is a broadbased coalition of nearly 400 businesses and organizations dedicated to food safety and consumer rights called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, to give consumers the right to know what is in our food.

Prevention Institute launched a video and campaign called “We’re Not Buying It,” that highlights the deceptive ways that food and beverage companies target our kids with unhealthy foods—and calls for the federal government to help put the health of our kids before industry profits, by supporting federal government guidelines that would provide voluntary standards for the foods we market to kids.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, has stirred controversy in the natural foods marketing arena by highlighting abusive marketing practices by some of the nation’s largest breakfast cereal manufacturers. In some cases, companies such as Kellogg’s, Quaker Oats (PepsiCo), Barbara’s Bakery and Whole Foods Market are selling products contaminated with toxic agrichemicals and Monsanto’s genetically engineered organisms while promoting them as “natural.”

FoodPool recently launched to create small, local groups to gather backyard garden produce and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. These “FoodPools” are modeled on carpools – neighborhood based, easy to set up, and easy to run.  They also released a FoodPool Starter Kit for your own community.

The Center for Media & Democracy launched a monthly “Food and Farm Heroes,” beginning with Wisconsin dairy farmer John Kinsman.

Misc. responses to a request on Local Food Systems:


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