Posts Tagged ‘farmers markets

Latino Community Farmers in Oregon Feasting on New Market: School lunch

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 by

This is a repost from the Ecotrust blog, which is designed to inspire fresh thinking, spark innovation, and encourage investment in natural economies. Read more stories about Ecotrust’s work, and that of our partners and friends, at

La Esperanza farmer Araceli Roman and her daughters at the Forest Grove Farmers Market. Photo by Shawn Linehan.

In 2010, the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres saw a clear challenge when the Latino farmers on its 12-acre La Esperanza Farm in the city of Forest Grove, Ore. continued to struggle selling their abundant harvests. Adelante Mujeres provides courses in sustainable agriculture to low-income Latinos, and offers graduates small farm plots and a booth at the Forest Grove Farmers Market to sell their fresh produce. But daunting social, linguistic, and technological barriers were making it difficult for the La Esperanza farmers to find diverse buyers for their organic vegetables.

Over two years, Portland State University and Ecotrust worked in close partnership with Adelante Mujeres to pilot a program that connects La Esperanza farmers to local wholesale buyers seeking fresh, organic produce. In the process, they took a hard look at how these farmers could support greater community health among the low-income residents of Washington County. (more…)

News from the Hub – Week of May 28, 2012

Friday, June 1st, 2012 by

Fresh Picks – Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Bluefin tuna caught off Calif. reveal radiation from Japan nuclear plant over 6,000 miles away
Washington Post
The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the US and Japanese governments.

UO study links water, healthy food; key to eating more veggies could be related to drinks
The Republic
A new study by researchers at the University of Oregon suggests a relatively easy way to get children to eat more vegetables — serve water with meals.

Craft beers brew up booming business across USA
Even as U.S. beer consumption overall is flat, the craft brew market is booming, with double-digit sales growth last year. The Brewers Association says that since 2004, craft brews have doubled their market share to nearly 6%, and that 250 breweries opened last year. The 1,940 operating in 2011 were the most since the 1880s, the industry group says.

Budget Crisis Takes Toll on Community for California Farmworkers
Redevelopment efforts behind improving housing conditions in migrant worker communities are hindered by state budget reallocations.

Lawsuits slam ‘natural’ claims from juice to chips
Capital Press
Orange juice maker Tropicana markets its brand as fresh from the grove, but a series of lawsuits nationwide claim the company’s juice is so heavily processed it shouldn’t be called “natural.”  In approximately 20 lawsuits, lawyers claim the company adds chemically engineered “flavor packs” to its juice, making it taste the same year-round. (more…)

USDA Provides Millions to Fund SNAP Programs at Farmers’ Markets

Friday, May 11th, 2012 by

One criticism of the local food movement is that only the well-off can afford to take advantage of their region’s bounty.  However, now, thanks to $4 million in grant funding from the USDA, state residents who utilize SNAP benefits will be able to spend more of their monthly allowance with their local farmers, at their local farmers’ market.

“Our country’s 7,100 operating farmers markets offer opportunities to our children and their families to access healthy food across the country,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. “SNAP participation at farmers’ markets helps provide fresh fruit and vegetables to families and expands the customer base for local farmers – a win-win for agriculture and local communities.”

The additional funding will go towards ensuring farmers’ markets have the tools in place to process SNAP transactions through Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, technology. Currently, there are more than 1,500 farmers markets using the EBT systems and since 2008, SNAP expenditures at farmers markets have risen by 400 percent.

In 2009 more than 6.6 million people in FoodHub’s current 6-state membership region qualified for SNAP benefits. (Check out the break-down by state in a report by USDA Food and Nutrition Services here.) In 2010, 40 million people received benefits in an average month. As of August 2011, 45.8 million people received monthly benefits from the SNAP program.

“This funding will help SNAP customers increase their opportunities to access healthy, local foods,” Merrigan said. “And evidence suggests they will take advantage of that access. When we couple this approach with strategies like the education, cooking demonstrations, and community support often found at farmers markets, consumption of healthy foods should rise even more.”

The funding is being funneled through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which also houses National School Lunch Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Summer Food Service Program.

Learn more about getting SNAP benefits at your farmers’ market here.

News from the Hub – Week of April 30, 2012

Friday, May 4th, 2012 by

Fresh Picks – Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

A Silicon Valley-Style Incubator For Local Food
What better place to churn out savvy food startups than in Silicon Valley, the place that spawns startups on a daily basis? Local Food Lab, a food incubator that came out of Columbia Business School’s Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center (itself an incubator for student startups), wants to make it happen. “We want to tie in technology, design, and the lean startup model,” explains Krysia Zajonc, Local Food Lab’s cofounder.

Commercial food waste to be banned
Boston Globe
State environmental officials are preparing to ban hospitals, universities, hotels, large restaurants, and other big businesses and institutions in Massachusetts from discarding food waste in the trash beginning in 2014, a measure that in coming years they hope to extend to homes as well.

Study: Food insecurity is high where food is grown
Lincoln Journal Star
Food insecurity for children is more of a problem in rural areas of Nebraska than in more populated places, according to a “Poverty on the Great Plains” analysis released Friday by the Nebraska Center for Rural Affairs. Almost one in five children living in rural Nebraska counties fit the food-insecure profile in research results drawn from the 2010 Census and from 2009 Feeding America data.

Study: Organic crops sales worth $244M to farmers
The Seattle Times
The value of certified organic crops to the state’s farmers rose 16 percent in 2010, to a total of $244.6 million, according to a study by the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture released on Wednesday. The study also found that the amount of certified organic crop acreage and the number of certified organic farms in Washington state decreased.

On the Highest Floors, Food Comes to the Workers
New York Times
New York, the most vertical of cities, has become a tad blasé about its skyscrapers, high-rise malls and multistory restaurant collections. At last, though, it has a fresh take on the perpendicular: the vertical food-truck court. Every weekday in recent months, fancy-food trucks have been rumbling into the gigantic freight elevator of the Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street in West Chelsea.


Farmers’ Market Funding Frenzy

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by

Just in time for the beginning of the 2012 season, the USDA announced last week that more than $10 million dollars of grant funding is available this year through their Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). Now in its seventh year, this grant program is intended to bolster local farm-direct marketing efforts on a national scale through funding projects like road-side stands, farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA). Special priority will be given to projects that increase access to fresh and affordable food options in underserved or low-income communities. Applications can be submitted online at,  with more information available at (more…)

News from the Hub – Week of February 20, 2012

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by

Top Stories

Lenders Learn how to Bank on Small Farms, Local Food
Nic Welty employs himself full time year-round raising lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens in three low-cost passive solar greenhouses, which together cover less than one acre of land. His Nine Bean Rows farm near Traverse City, MI, is one of many smaller, diversified, often first-generation farms in the country that defy expectations, particularly among bankers and others with money needed to finance the new food enterprises.

FamilyFarmed Helps Get Local Produce To Big Markets
The local food movement is constantly criticized for its small scale. All of these hippie farmer’s markets and boutique restaurants are great for rich people who live in Chicago, but they’re not going to actually make a difference, right? Setting aside how much we disagree with that sentiment, locavores now have a good retort.

Left without food, thousands of hens die on Central Valley egg farm
San Jose Mercury News
An estimated 50,000 hens were left without feed at a Stanislaus County egg farm over about two weeks, officials said Wednesday. The hens starved apparently because of the high cost of feed, said Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation. The Modesto-based group usually deals only with meat birds, but has helped with the response at the egg farm.

Farmers market could take root in Wallowa
La Grande Observer
More than 40 people including business owners, produce growers, local ranchers, crafters and artists, the Wallowa FFA adviser and students, representatives from the Wallowa food bank and the city mayor attended a meeting led by Deb Reth, owner of Bear Creek Gardens. Even though there is no farmers market in the city of Wallowa yet, there is an overwhelming desire by the community for one — and systems are in place that would help support it.

News from the Hub – Week of January 30, 2012

Friday, February 3rd, 2012 by

Fresh Picks: Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Deborah Kane lands federal farm-to-school post
Sustainable Business Oregon
Deborah Kane, former Ecotrust vice president and founder of the group’s FoodHub initiative, was named today head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School initiative. Kane, who oversaw the food and farms program at Ecotrust, left the nonproft in December after a year that had her visiting the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Sheriffs Who Won’t Be “Milk Police” Gather in Vegas
Food Safety News
County sheriffs and federal officials bickering over land, guns and water policies are as old as the West, but the Constitutional Sheriffs Convention, underway for the past three days in Las Vegas, has something new on the menu — food safety regulation. “I made the decision that the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office was not going to be the milk police,” Sheriff John D’Agostini told his Board of Supervisors in California ahead of the convention.

Are “DIY Slaughter Hobbyists” Destroying Your City?
Mother Jones
A few weeks ago, my friend was handed a flier at a farmers market in Oakland, California. It’s from a local group called Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter that wants the City of Oakland to forbid people to raise livestock on their property. Around here, urban farming is a pretty hot issue; a nonprofit called City Slicker Farms has been promoting DIY food production for several years, and author and farmer Novella Carpenter brought the practice into the limelight with her 2009 book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.

USDA awards $40 million grants to boost local farm/food projects
The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday awarded $40.2 million in grants to farmers, ranchers and farmer-controlled rural business ventures aimed at spurring locally produced food supplies and renewable energy ventures. USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico will receive business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.

Colo. lawmakers consider trans-fat ban in schools
The Associated Press
The nation’s leanest state is taking its sweet time as it considers a proposal aimed at getting junk food out of schools. A Colorado House committee was expected to discuss a bill that represents the nation’s toughest regulations meant to keep trans fat away from students, but lawmakers Thursday delayed the hearing without explanation. (more…)