|Welcome to the October issue of E-news. Click
here to view a version of E-news on the web. Can't wait until
next month's E-news?
Check out our Farmland
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN NEW ENGLAND
Maine Guide Offers Tools to Communities and
new guide produced by American Farmland Trust,
Maine Farmland Trust and the Mainewatch Institute offers communities practical
ways to support local farms and keep farmland in farming. Cultivating
Maine Agricultural Future gives specific examples and suggestions of
what local officials and residents can do to protect farmland and make their
towns more farm-friendly. “Residents and local officials alike want to see
farms in their communities thrive,” says Cris Coffin,
our New England Director. “But they don’t always know what it takes to make
that happen. This guide provides the details and direction they need.” Please
contact Peggy McCabe in our New England Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for a printed copy of the guide.
for Land Trusts Engaged in Farmland Protection!
Are you a
land trust protecting farmland within a 100-mile radius of Boston
or New York City?
If so, the Connecticut-based 1772 Foundation is looking to help you. The
foundation is offering grants to land trusts for three general purposes:
land protection; capacity building, including membership building, planned giving
programs and training; and internal revolving loan funds to cover transaction
costs. In addition to meeting the geographic criteria, land trusts must have a
primary interest in farmland protection and have adopted the Land Trust Alliance’s
Standards and Practices. Letters of inquiry are due by February 12,
New Courses for Current and Aspiring
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is offering three different
agricultural business courses for established and aspiring farmers this winter.
The courses include an Explorer course for those thinking about getting
into farming or expanding from a hobby farm into a commercial enterprise; Planning
for Start-Up aimed at those ready to plan their commercial enterprises; and
Tilling the Soil of Opportunity for those who have been farming at least
two years and need to create a comprehensive business plan. The courses will be
offered from January through March of 2012.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN NEW YORK
Friend Us on Facebook for Farm and
Food Policy News
The New York state
legislative season is almost upon us. To stay current on farm and food policy
developments at the New York State Capitol, “friend” our New York state
field office on Facebook. We’ll keep you updated on proposed legislation,
budget negotiations and the latest farm and food policy news as well as plans
for our upcoming No Farms No Food® Rally
& Lobby Day!
Federal Funds Help Protect 700 Acres
of Hudson Valley Farmland
September, new funding from the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
was announced as a match to local dollars to protect Hudson Valley
farmland. Working together, Scenic
Hudson, the Dutchess Land Conservancy
and the Town of Red Hook matched federal
funds to purchase
easements on 700 acres of farmland on 10 farms in Dutchess and Columbia counties.
Leveraging federal dollars is more important than ever for protecting farmland
in New York
given limited funds at all levels of government. The 2012 Farm Bill
negotiations are heating up and funding for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection
Program is part of the debate. Find out more
about the 2012 Farm Bill.
How Much Food Could Urban Farms in New York City Produce?
Potential for Urban Agriculture in New York City,
from Columbia University’s
Earth Institute analyzes New York City’s
capacity for urban crop production. The report identifies 5,000 acres of vacant
land in the city’s five boroughs that could be suitable for farming and points
out that—although New York City could never feed itself—yields per square foot
from intensively managed urban farms can exceed conventional agriculture. In
addition, by making city dwellers aware of farming, urban agriculture serves as
a catalyst for strengthening support for a regional food system.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN PENNSYLVANIA
Honoring a Farmland Preservation
recently honored Robert E. (Bob) Ambrose of Ridgeview Acres Farm with the
Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Local Heroes Award. The award recognizes his
outstanding efforts to further the mission of the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association
by protecting the farms, natural resources and waters of the commonwealth. “Bob has shown the power of what
one individual can do by sticking to a cause and steadily working on its
issues,” says our Mid-Atlantic Director, Jim Baird. “He has served as the
appointed chairman of the Westmoreland County Agricultural Land Preservation
Board since 2001, which has preserved over 10,960 acres of productive
farmland.” Bob and his wife run a 130-acre farm and are dedicated to protecting
farmland from development.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON
Uncovering the Network of Farms and
Food in the Puget Sound
study of the Puget Sound region is underway to research what is produced and eaten
within 100 miles of Seattle.
The study will also look at how food travels from the farmer to the consumer
and how to reconnect the two to produce more food locally. Our goal is to make
a stronger case for the need for local farmland and to identify opportunities for
increased local production of food. Look for early results in December and the
completed study by March.
What Are the Most Endangered Farm
Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest?
identifying the farm landscapes of the Pacific Northwest that are most affected
by urban sprawl, second home development, water pollution and other threats. Our
hope is to develop alliances with local groups to address the issues and
protect farms and farmers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and
Pioneers in Conservation Program
Thanks to a
recent grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, we'll
soon offer grants through the Pioneers in Conservation program to support
conservation projects on farmland in Washington. The program awards small
grants to farmers to leverage other sources of conservation incentives and
targets conservation efforts to high-priority rivers and wetlands. Look for
announcements later this year.
Time Is Running Out to Ask Congress
to Protect Conservation Funding
Congress is facing decisions that will impact the future of
programs that help farmers and ranchers protect working lands, implement
effective conservation practices and improve agriculture's role in the
environment. As early
as this weekend, the Senate and House Agriculture Committees are scheduled to submit
their budget recommendations for farm bill programs to the Joint Select
Committee on Deficit Reduction. We need your help in urging the Agriculture Committees to
support conservation programs. While our
farms and ranches must contribute to the task of deficit reduction,
conservation has already faced significant cuts among farm bill programs. Join with hundreds of other conservationists and dozens
of environmental and agricultural organizations in helping us defend
conservation funding by asking your legislators to make conservation programs a
priority. If you've already contacted your legislators, please help spread the
word by forwarding this message to a friend.
Grown Food: Not Just for Yuppies Anymore, but a New Economic Engine?
markets flourish, food-stamp recipients seek food from nearby farms, and chefs
of all stripes find success in using locally produced and seasonal
ingredients, local food
agribusiness models may be poised to help boost economies across the nation.
For example, farmers markets in King
County, Washington, gross
an estimated $30 million annually with nearby small farms ringing up
annual sales ranging from $10,000 to more than $1 million. In
northeast Ohio, a recent study concluded that if the region produced 25 percent
more of the food it consumed, 27,000 new jobs would be created and tax
revenue would grow by more than $125 million. These positive signs in the
farm-to-table movement are also needed to attract new and beginning farmers like
Jason Salvo and Siri Erickson-Brown—both 32, with graduate degrees and well-honed
entrepreneurial skills—so our farmland can stay in farming.
of farm-to-table, join diners from across the country to support farms and
farmers by enjoying a meal at a participating restaurant or eatery during Dine
Out for Farms week, October 16 to 22.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
marks the first annual National
Farm to School Month. To help support the
farm to school connection, Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont
introduced the Fresh
and Local School Foods Act in Congress.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is
currently accepting applications nationwide
from individuals looking to start their own community orchards.
experts at the University
of Missouri recently released
recommendations highlighting the health benefits of eating farm-fresh produce,
including eating seasonally and taking family trips to the farmers market.
National Resource Conservation Service Chief Dave White brought together
scientists, researchers and farmers in Maryland to
discuss new ways to protect clean water on farms.
October, the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development
Council is seeking signatures for a “We the People” petition to the White House
to reinstate federal funding for RC&D programs eliminated in April.
RC&D programs work to enhance conservation in rural communities.
Dakota, farmers, nutritionists, city planners,
business leaders, and extension service agents are coming together under the Cass Clay Food
Initiative to find ways to strengthen the local food system.
November 8-10, the tenth annual
New Agrarian Conference will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference will feature a special session with
Bill McKibben and Bill deBuys on “Climate, Land and Livelihoods in the
If you are
in Washington, D.C.,
on October 24, stop by the National Archives for
their Food Day Open House. We will be there along with the USDA and
Apple Month and to celebrate, Peeled Snacks is offering a
40 percent discount to members and friends of American Farmland Trust. Just
enter “aftforty” at checkout to take advantage of this great deal while helping
to save farms and farmland.