Posts Tagged ‘grants

News from the Hub – Week of June 11, 2012

Friday, June 15th, 2012 by

Fresh Picks – Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Antibiotic-Free Meat Business Is Booming Thanks To Chipotle
It’s no longer just foodies at farm markets or Whole Foods buying antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meats. Demand from big players, including Hyatt Hotels; institutional food providers such as Bon Appetit Management Co., which caters to schools and companies; and the fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is changing the game.

Oregon food bank celebrates success with protein packed soup mix
KMTR NewsSource 16
Instead of focusing on protein rich donations of canned food, recently, Food for Lane County turned to a new idea: Put together a package of locally grown ingredients for a homemade soup that’s easy to make.

Bostonians testing Japanese composting system as new food waste solution
Wall Street Journal
A private country club in Massachusetts is trying bokashi, an obscure composting method it says will help it recycle 4 tons of food waste each year.

Sacramento food waste project awarded $6 million
Sacramento Bee
The California Energy Commission on Wednesday awarded $6 million to Sacramento’s Clean World Partners to help construct a facility in south Sacramento that will convert food waste into natural gas.

US farmer looks to China to market organic wheat

This fall, China will start importing its first-ever shipments of organic millet and wheat from the United States. Their origin: Clint Jessen’s farm north of Pine Bluffs. (more…)

New Food Hub Resource Guide Expands Market Opportunities for Farmers and Ranchers

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by

Today, FoodHub was proud to be present for the release of the USDA’s  Regional Food Hub Resource Guide at the National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration conference.

“The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide is an important tool to help promote local and regional efforts to support small and medium sized producers,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan. “Food hubs play a critical role in developing stronger supply chains and addressing the infrastructure challenges while supporting food access, regional economic development and job creation.”

The guide is an extensive collection of information and resources, providing background on everything needed to develop or participate in a regional food hub. It also highlights the economic contributions food hubs make to local communities and the role they play in expanding regional food systems. Included in the guide are resources for finding funding opportunities, support, best practices, strategies to address challenges and more.

Currently, according to the USDA, there are more than 170 food hubs operating throughout the country. The innovative business models espoused by food hubs allow farmers of all sizes to meet the growing consumer demand for fresh, local food by gaining entry into commercial and larger volume markets such as grocery stores, hospitals and schools.

“The new guide is the most comprehensive handbook on food hubs ever available,” Merrigan said. “Now farmers, buyers, researchers, consumers or anyone interested in creating a food hub in their community can tap into a single resource to find the information that they need.”

The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide follows a release earlier this year of the Know Your Farmer Compass, a guide to USDA resources related to local and regional food systems. The Compass consists of an interactive U.S. map showing local and regional food projects and an accompanying narrative documenting the results of this work through case studies, photos and video content. Both the Food Hubs Resource Guide and the Compass will be updated as new findings arise from case studies and projects underway.

USDA Grant to Bring More Farm-Fresh Food to Schools

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 by

Starting this year, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services will award up to $3.5 million in grants to assist schools in procuring food from local producers and support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.

These grants are part $5 million in funding awarded to the USDA through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and will be provided to the agency annually. The grants are intended help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses. The remainder of the funding will go to support technical assistance and administrative costs related to USDA’s farm to school program.

“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan during a visit to Southern High School in Harwood, Md., where she announced the funding opportunity. “More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet related diseases, farm to school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices.”

Letters of intent are suggested, but not required, by May 18, 2012. Project proposals are due June 15, 2012.

Check out the Farm to School section of FoodHub’s Knowledge Base for resources on developing your own Farm to School program, then visit the USDA Farm to School website to learn more about this new grant and sign up for an educational webinar on how to prepare your proposal.

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…)

NRCS Initiatives Offer Financial Assistance for Energy Audits, High Tunnels and Organic Operations

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) unveils three initiatives aimed to help producers conserve energy, extend the growing season, and assist organic production; applications for the first ranking period are due by February 3, 2012.

“The On-Farm Energy and Seasonal High Tunnel Initiatives are new to Oregon,” said Ron Alvarado, NRCS Oregon State Conservationist. “This is the fourth year for the Organic Initiative, which has been very successful here.”

All three initiatives are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. “These initiatives can help producers implement practices that protect or conserve natural resources,” said Alvarado. “For example, discovering ways to save energy on a farm is not only good for the environment, but also good for sustaining farm operations.”

The On-Farm Energy Initiative helps producers conserve energy on their agricultural operations. Funds may be used to develop agricultural energy management plans based on energy audits. Funds may also be used to implement recommended energy conservation measures.

The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative helps producers purchase and erect high tunnels, or hoop houses. The tunnels extend the growing season for high value crops.

The Organic Initiative provides assistance to install conservation practices on agricultural operations that are either certified organic or are working towards organic certification. Funding is available specifically to address natural resource concerns such as soil erosion, water conservation, or plant condition.

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis with three cutoff dates to allow for ranking applications: February 3, March 30, and June 1, 2012.

For additional information regarding these initiatives, visit the Oregon NRCS website at:

Interested producers can determine their eligibility and submit an application at their nearest USDA Service Center, listed with federal agencies in the telephone book and posted online at:

USDA grants support move to organics

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by

Interested in helping producers in your area go organic? It may be that the USDA would be interested in helping you out with that.

In a release discussing the recently awarded grants USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said, “As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms. America’s brand of organic agricultural goods is world-renowned for its high-quality and abundance of selection. These research and extension projects will give producers the tools and resources to produce quality organic food and boost farm income, boosting the ‘Grown in America’ brand.” (more…)