Release No. 0058.14Contact:Office of Communications (202)720-4623 USDA Announces Funding to Train and Educate Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2014 – Today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of more than $19 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of agricultural producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).
"USDA is committed to the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers because they represent the future of agriculture and are the backbone of our rural economy. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established." said Secretary Vilsack. "Reauthorizing and expanding the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave us to build America's agricultural future. Through this program, we can build a diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers."
BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers and managers of non-industrial private forest land – specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years. It is managed by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA will competitively award grants to organizations conducting programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers. Learn more about eligibility and how to apply (applications are due June 12, 2014).
Priority will be given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including non-governmental, community-based, or school-based agricultural educational organizations. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested.
By law, at least five percent of available funding will be allocated to programs and services for limited-resource and socially-disadvantaged beginning farmers and ranchers and farmworkers. Additionally, another five percent of available funding will be allocated for programming and services for military veteran farmers and ranchers.
BFRDP was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, receiving $100 million to be awarded over the next five years. The program was originally funded through the 2008 Farm Bill. Since then, NIFA has awarded more than $66 million through 136 grants to organizations that have developed education and training programs. More than 50,000 beginning farmers and ranchers have participated in projects funded by BRFDP.
NIFA is hosting two upcoming webinars for interested applicants on April 30 and May 6 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The first webinar will focus on general guidelines for the program, while the second webinar will focus on the funding allocations for socially-disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.
Listed below are NIFA grants that have been opened for applications in the last 30 days or will close for applications in the next 30 days. The grant names are linked to grant summary pages, which include links to the RFA and other information. Summaries for all of our grants, both open and closed, can be found on our Grant Search page.
Cori is a multimedia journalist and digital producer for AgFunderNews. With a background in environmental engineering and sociocultural anthropology, her work focuses on the intersection of environmental science, finance and social interest. Cori holds her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. You can follower her on twitter @coricapik.
AgFunderNews is the one-stop-shop for learning about all things Ag. Covering Ag and AgTech startups, innovations and studies, AgFunderNews explores the intersection between finance and Ag. We want to give you the news about today’s Ag and tomorrow’s changes.
An online syndication platform connecting investors with ag investment opportunities
(Bridgeport, CT – April 10, 2014) Throughout 2013, Wholesome Wave’s Healthy Food Commerce Investments has coordinated and triggered over $4 million of investment in local food infrastructure through three deals in New England.
Wholesome Wave’s Healthy Food Commerce Investments initiative aims to strengthen regional food systems by supporting the development and expansion of innovative businesses that manage the aggregation, distribution and processing of regional food products – i.e. “food hubs.” The Investment’s team connects food hubs with impact investors, orchestrating innovative financing deals that address critical gaps in capital.
By directing business development assistance and capital to mission-driven food hubs, Wholesome Wave helps build the infrastructure that supports small and mid-sized farms and grows local and regional economies. “The businesses and entrepreneurs who are creating great innovative models connecting regional producers with regional markets are growing rapidly and finding themselves needing capital. On the other side we have people interested in providing capital. We found ourselves in the middle and realized there was work to be done to bring them together,” says Malini Ram Morgahan, Director, Healthy Food Commerce Investments in a recent interview.
Wholesome Wave is a national nonprofit that is helping to reshape the American Food system by putting entrepreneurial, innovative thinking to work. The organization partners with farmers and farmers markets, community leaders, healthcare providers, like-minded nonprofits and government entities to implement programs that increase affordable access to healthy, locally grown fruit and vegetables for consumers in underserved communities.
Thank you for your interest in the Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit. Please complete the following form to access the Toolkit and Resources.
We see this Toolkit as a living document based on our and others’ experiences and want to revise our approach to reflect your experience as well. We may contact you to ask you to share feedback about how you are using the Toolkit and adapting it to your needs. And please reach out to us with your thoughts and feedback.
It turns out that the price reductions and efficiency gains we’re hearing about this year for LED technology aren’t just interesting for traditional lighting applications in warehouses, streets, office buildings and so on. They’re helping a very niche area of green tech, vertical farming, take root in cities around the world.
Vertical farms aren’t just next-generation greenhouses for hobbyists, where the focus on growing vegetables and fruits on buildings rather than fields. A handful of notable startups have started tackling this space far more aggressively – at least one of which has scored seed funding from Whole Foods.
There are three different technologies prevalent among vertical farming startups:
Hydroponics, which uses a solution to grow crops rather than soil;Aeroponics, where food it grow using air and mist;Aquaponics, which raises vegetation alongside aquatic animals
“When judging farming for the nutrient-rich foods that will help feed the population boom, success depends on producing calories efficiently,” notes the Clean Edge report. “Vertical farming success may also be measured in terms of kilowatt-hour per grams of fresh produce weight.”
The Wallace Center is also reaching out to organizations like the Food Marketing Institute. FMI is a national trade group representing nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies.
Mark Baum, FMI’s senior vice president and chief collaboration officer, says:
“The retail industry recognizes the broad consumer shift towards fresher foods. We also know that meeting this demand means addressing the challenge of how to pull consistent volumes of safe, locally sourced products through the supply chain. FMI looks forward to exploring how regional food hubs can help our members implement economically viable solutions.”
Next week, America’s food hub community gathers in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the National Good Food Network (NGFN) conference. NGFN is a peer-to-peer network of regional food systems practitioners, supporters, and food hub developers across the country that the Wallace Center launched in 2008. Investors, buyers, food hubs, and more will be there to learn, connect, and grow.
Later this year, NGFN will release a financial benchmarking study of member food hubs with Farm Credit System, a national cooperative of agricultural lenders. The study’s development of sound economic metrics and measures will be another forward step in market-based approaches to a more sustainable food and farm sector.
These efforts are important because food hubs are emerging as linchpins of regional food system infrastructure. Growing their market share is essential. Equally important is ensuring the market’s understanding and adoption of “good food” values embedded in demand for local.
The Wallace Center and National Good Food Network are bringing together the entrepreneurs, researchers, and partners needed to succeed. We invite you to join us in growing the business of good food. Share Solving Local with your networks, and learn more at foodhub.info.
The National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration's National Food Hub Conference will be March 26-28 in Raleigh, NC.
What is a food hub?
A regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.
Here are the first pictures of our Urbafresh / Cowboy Trail Farms Live Towers that are now on display and use in the Aliante Casino in Las Vegas. The installation features fresh produce that will be replenished as needed for the chefs as they prepare foods using our "tower to table" freshness for the finest in nutrition and taste.
The mission of the LVCCLD Seed Library is to promote gardening, heirloom seed/plant cultivation, and seed saving and sharing. We are hoping to accomplish this by putting on programming about gardening and seed saving/storing, and by lending out seeds to patrons with the understanding they will do their best to collect the seeds at harvest time to be returned to the seed library to be shared with others. See more details at https://www.facebook.com/groups/658398494207746/
The Seed Library Social Network began as a project in 2011 by creators Devon Grissim, Elan Goldbart, and Andrew Whitman while working for the University of California at Santa Cruz Demeter Seed Saving Project. The project grew after Devon Grissim went to the Seed Library School at Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tuscon, Arizona and met other seed library enthusiasts- including Rebecca Newburn of Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, who now helps moderate our community. SeedLibraries.org boasts a network of members from around the world, many of whom have gone on to start their own libraries.
Thank you for taking the time to explore our site! We hope that you will find that we are a very helpful, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic community. We look forward to connecting with you.
Thrive has an online shop at www.thrive.org.uk where you can support Thrive by making a donation and buy from a selected range of seasonal and gardening related products.
In the shop you can also purchase a range of publications about how to garden when you have a disability, how gardening can be used when working with disabled people, and the theory and research of social and therapeutic horticulture.
Thrive also runs a programme of training courses aimed at professionals who would like to use gardening in their work with disabled people.
Passionate about improving the lives of disabled people through gardening. Berkshire, London, B'ham, Gateshead. Trainers in Social & Therapeutic Horticulture
For the past six years, the urban research nonprofit Terreform has carefully considered exactly what New York City would look like if everything New Yorkers ate was grown inside city limits.
“At some level, it’s absurd,” says Michael Sorkin, who leads Terreform. “We discovered that with intense use of vertical agriculture and a change in diet, we could in fact physically provide the facilities to grow 2,500 decent calories for every resident in New York. But the energy estimates were so enormous we estimated that 25 nuclear power plants would be required.”
Rick Passo's insight:
Fast Company's Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation. We talk about the environment, energy, tech, food, health, transportation, & more.
Terreform ONE [Open Network Ecology] is the official non-profit design group that promotes green design in cities.
Why You Should Join Us! Organic Edibles was formed for three reasons: To benefit people by giving direct healthful food assistance to families in need. To help the community by educating families how to grow local and healthy food in the desert. To show families how to improve their quality of life with healthy low cost sources of food in their homes.
Cowboy Trail Farm is now open every Saturday 10am-12pm We've got great plans fo r 2014; there will be a focus on promoting natural health plus showing kids that it's fun to grow and eat healthy food.
Next weekend in Las Vegas the towers will be unveiled for a public event featuring vertical farming. Our partner in Las Vegas, Marilyn Yamamoto of Cowboy Trails Farms will be hosting and conducting the event. If you happen to be visiting or live in Las Vegas ... mark you calendar ...
Urbafresh has accepted the challenge to bring fresh food prouction and supply to our urban centers through the use of innovative vertical farming installations.
Urbaform Technologies has followed the vertical farming area for over five years and has emerged as a technology evaluator and curator of current information in the field. Through our active curated web site we provide a moving landscape of vertical and urban farming. Through this vehicle we discovered what we believe to be one of the technology innovations that could usher in our new age. We believe the ZipGrow Towers and their revolutionary Spring base system provide a platform that can transform what we call local and fresh for our communities.
Our installations will deliver live herbs and produce that will be true farm to fork with nothing in between. Chefs will be able to snip and serve, while consumers will harvest what they need at their local supermarket so wasted ingredients will be no more and they can provide no fresher or more nutritious food to their family.
Urbafresh has initially targeted San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Maui as sites for our initial installations. We have finalized San Francisco and are negotiating the other venues. We will provide more details of our local partners and where our produce will be available in the coming weeks .... Urbafresh and our partners are proud to introduce local live fresh produce to these selected markets ...
But Fremont Street's rebirth started before the shoe mogul became the city's de facto ambassador, says Rick Van Diepen, executive director ofGreen Chips, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit working with public and private stakeholders on clean energy and development projects. "[Hsieh's] efforts are an endorsement that we care about our quality of life. You can feel it, the investment in the community, the environment, the social fabric," he says, crediting former Mayor Oscar Goodman for seeing the potential in downtown. "The seeds were definitely planted, and then Tony kicked it into hyperdrive," he says.
The Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Corn created an atmosphere where all Indigenous Corn Peoples could unite around a single mission to protect their sovereignty and identity. They called “for a new focus on sustainable and respectful use of corn as a basis for our traditional and collective economic, social and cultural development”. The Indigenous Corn Peoples committed to halt the use of pesticides and GMO corn in their territories. They also resolved for all communities to focus on restoring and strengthening local markets and economies by protecting their food and seed sovereignty. The conference attendees decided that the way to do this is by reestablishing Indigenous seed banks and trade relationships so that the seeds with the most resistance and adaptability to climate change can be used, replicated, and shared among communities. They believe that the renewal of an indigenous trading system in the Americas will be the most beneficial way to share knowledge across communities and ultimately, bring change.
This past September, the Yaqui Peoples of Sonora Mexico hosted the inaugural “Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Corn” in the Zapoteca Nation of Oaxaca Mexico. The conference, attended by 48 Indigenous Nations across from North, Central and South America, was created to encourage unity among indigenous communities, restore traditional economies, and ensure the survival of all native varieties of corn.
The idea that gardens can have calming, restorative, and even healing effects is certainly not new to western medicine. InVictorian Britain, gardens were an important feature of many psychiatric hospitals. In the modern design of hospital and care-facility gardens, however, landscape architects are looking to understand and maximise these effects for different types of patient.
“In the case of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, we now know enough about the implications of changes in spatial cognition to create gardens that are accessible, supportive, and prosthetic”, explains Clare Cooper Marcus (University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA). “For example, the Living Garden at the Family Life Center (designed by Martha Tyson) in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA), is [first] designed to be safe for patients. It is visible from a frequently used indoor space since residents may forget it is there. Entry from a single door to a level garden path, which is a simple figure-of-eight loop with recognisable landmarks along the way, enables people to navigate with no confusing right or left turns or dead ends that could give rise to agitation or anger. The return of the path to that single door prevents any confusion as to how to re-enter the building, and all parts of the garden are visible to the staff.”
Rick Passo's insight:
Nice article about Gardens in Health Care conference. It was a good one!
The Therapeutic Landscapes Network is a knowledge base and gathering space about healing gardens, restorative landscapes and other green spaces that promote health and well-being. We are an international, multidisciplinary community of designers, health and human service providers, scholars and gardeners. Though our focus is broad, our primary emphasis is on evidence-based design and landscapes in healthcare settings.
Naomi Sachs, ASLA@healinggarden
Director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network: Connecting people with nature to promote health and well-being.
The most distinguishing aspect of OSSI, it is the idea that genetic resources – in the form of seeds- are going to be set aside for humanity to use in any way it sees fit. These genetic resources cannot be patented or otherwise legally protected, making them essentially available in perpetuity in a protected commons. If they were just in a regular commons, people could obtain them and protect them, but in this commons they must remain free.
This week, scientists, farmers and sustainable food systems advocates will gather on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to celebrate an unusual group of honored guests: 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains that are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed Pledge.
The pledge, which was developed through a UW-Madison-led effort known as the Open Source Seed Initiative, is designed to keep the new seeds free for all people to grow, breed and share for perpetuity, with the goal of protecting the plants from patents and other restrictions down the line.
The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) has been developed over the past two years by a working group of plant breeders, farmers, non-profit agencies, seed advocates, and policy makers. OSSI is dedicated to maintaining fair and open access to plant genetic resources worldwide. OSSI supports innovative plant breeding that produces resilient and productive cultivars.
Enabling the open exchange of germplasm, with no restrictions on further breeding, is crucial to this new agriculture. OSSI will work toward achievement of (1) A germplasm release framework with no breeding or seed saving restrictions on the germplasm released through its auspices other than that derivatives must also be released with the same freedoms; (2) A robust, vibrant, and well-supported public plant breeding sector producing germplasm and cultivars that can be equitably grown, sold, changed, and distributed; (3) A plurality of sources for farmers, gardeners, and breeders to obtain seed; (4) Integration of the skills and capacities of farmers with those of plant scientists for enhancing and enlarging participatory plant breeding; and (5) Respect for the rights and sovereignty of indigenous communities, and of farmers and farm communities, to play a role in solutions to obtaining seed for food production.
We are a collective of food lovers, hackers, designers and entrepreneurs who love to create, build, prototype, birth and scale innovative solutions to the challenges in our food system. We plan and host Food Hackathons.
Over the course of the two-day event, techies and food lovers alike will hack the food system to, as described by Food Hackathon’s website, “build networks, cross pollinate ideas and create new products and tools to innovate and improve the food ecosystem.”
“Food is our greatest common denominator,” West said in a post on Foodnetconnect.com. “If we begin to address the challenges in our food system, then we will begin to solve the problems in our economy, our environment and our health care all while building community.”
Gawad Kalinga (GK, is officially known as the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, a Philippine-based poverty alleviation and nation-building movement. Our mission is to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024.
Our country’s land area and tropical climate set us up to grow our own crops but instead we import 70% of our chocolate, milk and cheese demand, among others. If only we made productive use of our lands and started to hammer away and innovate on the structure that makes farming a discouraging venture, there’s no reason for any Filipino to be poor.
The village aspect of the Enchanted Farm lies in the belief that it is our disconnectedness from our land, from the poor, and even from one another through artificial barriers such as economic status, 'public and private' distinctions, that sustains poverty in the country. GK EF is one physical space where we can all come together and plant seeds of goodness side by side with the very poor whom we wish to help.
Our current educational system can do better in instilling appreciation for the agricultural industry and love for the poor. Coupling these two with the courageous spirit of an entrepreneur, the possibilities for our country become endless!
Rick Passo's insight:
The GK Enchanted Farm is Gawad Kalinga’s platform to raise social entrepreneurs, help our local farmers and create wealth in the countryside. As we learned that the road out of poverty is a continuing journey and therefore, providing homes is merely the beginning, we also realized that our country is abundant with resources (land included) that we can harness for every Filipino to continuously lead a life with dignity.
Farmerpie.Filipina, Social Entrepreneur, Agriculturist, Landscape Designer, Gawad Kalinga Fulltime Worker,TOSPian
Just in time to celebrate Earth Day 2014 (Tues Aprill 22, 2014) we have created kits that can be used to promote recycling, sustainable gardening and really provide a fun activity for kids of all ages. We call them CapGardens as these tiny plants are growing in recycled or upcycled caps from water or soda bottles. They come in all colors and teach that us that we can find other uses for things than normally end up in our landfills.
We believe that the production of food within the urban environment will become a necessity in our future. New technologies and innovations like vertical farming will drive us to a more sustainable future ....
The 2nd Annual Indoor Agriculture Conference unites farmers, entrepreneurs, suppliers, technology geeks, investors, researchers and policy makers in an educational two-day discussion on the status and future of hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic produce farming. Join us to hear leading experts explore the state of the industry, take a walk by cutting-edge technology and innovation displayed in the exhibitor hall, and leverage plentiful networking opportunities throughout the conference!
See you at the Mini Maker Faire LVCC at Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, April 5th! Bombs away! http://makerfairevegas.com/ Have great fun and learn more about the goals and vision of Seed Library Las Vegas! Lots of amazing community groups will be collaborating for this wonderful event including but not limited to Diverse City Civitan Metro Arts Council of Southern Nevada Clay Arts Vegas Fan Page Downtown 3RD Farmers Market
Combine the seed and compost. Mix in the clay. Be sure you have completely mixed these ingredients. Gradually add enough water to allow the mixture to stick together. Take a pinch of the finished mixture and roll in the palm of your hand into penny-sized round balls. Place the balls on a tray or some newspaper and dry for 24-48 hours. Scatter your seeds and water or wait for the rain.
Please note that this is a fun and easy project, but can be a little messy!
Seed bombing or aerial reforestation is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation (seed balls). Often, seed bombing projects are done with arid or off-limits (for example, privately owned) land.
The term "seed grenade" was first used by Liz Christy in 1973 when she started the "Green Guerrillas". The first seed grenades were made from balloons filled with tomato seeds, and fertilizer. They were tossed over fences onto empty lots in New York City in order to make the neighborhoods look better. It was the start of the guerrilla gardening movement.
'The earliest records of aerial reforestation date back from 1930. In this period, planes were used to distribute seeds over certain inaccessible mountains in Honolulu after forest fires.
Seed bombing is also widely used in Africa; where they are put in barren or simply grassy areas. With technology expanding, the contents of a seed bomb are now placed in a biodegradable container and "bombed" grenade-style onto the land. As the sprout grows, the container biodegrades into the soil. The process is usually done as a large-scale project with hundreds dropped in a single area at any one time. Provided enough water, adequate sunlight, and low competition from existing flora and fauna, seed-bombed barren land could be host to new plants in as little as a month.
In 1987, Lynn Garrison created the Haitian Aerial Reforestation Project (HARP) in which tons of seed would be scattered from specially modified aircraft. The seeds would be encapsulated in an absorbent material. This coating would contain fertilizer, insecticide/animal repellent and, perhaps a few vegetable seeds. Haiti has a bimodal rainy season, with precipitation in spring and fall. The seeds are moistened a few days before the drop, to start germination. Tons of seed can be scattered across areas in the mountains, inaccessible to hand-planting projects.
Another project idea was to use C-130 aircraft and altering them to drop biodegradable cones filled with fertilizer and saplings over hard-to-access areas.
Location: Springs Preserve Date: 03 Apr 2014 7:30 AM PDT Event Information:On Thursday, April 3rd to Saturday, April 5th, 2014 at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and the Nevada State Museum, USGBC Nevada and Green Chips will host the Green by Southwest Leadership Summit for Community and Chapter Leaders, Chapter Volunteers, and Invited Guests. During this exciting event, attendees will be inspired by distinguished national and internationally known leaders from USGBC and the Green Building movement, gain insight from seasoned national and regional non-profit professionals and leaders, and connect with over 100 fellow Chapter leaders from the Pacific West regions.
In January, the University of California, Davis hosted an event called "Women Feeding the World: Farmers, Mothers and CEOs." Farmers and others gathered to talk about the women across the globe who are producing food. Along with the presentation, researchers and students contributed photographs and stories of the women they had met and worked with the world over who are involved in farming and food production.
plant some ideas & germinate community collaborations
The mission of the LVCCLD Seed Library is to promote gardening, heirloom seed/plant cultivation, and seed saving and sharing. We are hoping to accomplish this by putting on programming about gardening and seed saving/storing, and by lending out seeds to patrons with the understanding they will do their best to collect the seeds at harvest time to be returned to the seed library to be shared with others..
Now, through policy initiatives and partnerships, Cleveland is tapping into its geographical bounty.
Rick Passo's insight:
An Urban Agriculture and Green Space Zoning Ordinance had been adopted by the city in 2005, but at first, the city was primarily focused on parks and recreation facilities. The agriculture aspect of the ordinance began to gain traction in 2007 as the city began to allow farming uses through zoning. In 2009, zoning rules were further modified to allow most city residents to keep chickens, ducks and rabbits, as well as beehives. Now, people in the city may also raise goats, pigs and sheep.
And in 2010, zoning regulations were altered to permit agriculture as a principal use on all vacant residential lots in the city.
“We’re making lemonade out of lemons,” says Jenita McGowan, chief of sustainability for the City of Cleveland.