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A VCE Community Viability Newsletter - August 2015
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Fresh Perspectives
Farms - Economy - Community - Environment
Editor’s Note

With new circumstances and seasons, there are always changes. These changes provide an opportunity for a fresh perspective and time for reflection. Change allows us to ask: where have we been, where are we, and what direction do we need to go? At the same time, it is important to keep foundational elements of life as well as community viability in proper perspective. Our communities need strong farms of different sizes and types of operation; well-nourished individuals and community members for learning and participating in the workforce; diverse vibrant businesses to enhance the resilience of the economy; and a healthy environment for present and future generations.

In this issue, Lauren, Beth and I share perspectives and informational resources, along with upcoming events, that we hope will continue to strengthen farms, nourish communities, empower economies, and protect environments.

Sincerely,
Eric S. Bendfeldt
Extension Specialist, Community Viability
Editor
Strengthening Farms
Agriculture: An All Seasons Approach
By Lauren Arbogast

The telltale signs of summer coming to a close are all around the Shenandoah Valley. School buses once again prolong the morning commute, the tomato vines show off more fruit than leaves, and cicadas rhythmically hum in the trees. Perhaps it’s the loss of tomato abundance that flips the seasonal switch or the dip into cooler morning temperatures.

To read more, visit www.buylocalshenvalley.org!
Empowering Economy 
Filmmaking of Sustainable Agriculture: Importance of Stories
By Eric Bendfeldt and Beth Schermerhorn

“We live in stories. We breathe stories. Most of our best conversations are about stories.”
~ The Cluetrain Manifesto

We all realize life is busier, even with the advent of new technologies, and time is even more precious these days. For educators and technical service providers who routinely organize workshops, field days, and demonstrations to encourage sustainable agricultural practices, it is important to utilize time wisely and use educational methods that connect and relate to everyone in the most efficient way.

Read the full article on Virginia SARE's News & Events page.
 
Nourishing Community
2015 Virginia Farm to Table Conference: Strengthening Your Foodshed, Protecting Our Watersheds
By Lauren Arbogast and Eric Bendfeldt

For the 4th year, Virginia Cooperative Extension, in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) and community partners, is pleased to present the Virginia Farm to Table Conference December 2 - 4, 2015 at Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Strengthening Your Foodshed, Protecting Our Watersheds.’
 
Read the full article at Virginia Farm to Table.
Protecting Environments
Health from the Soil Up
By Eric S. Bendfeldt

Soil is the foundation for farming and the production of fresh nutritious food, therefore, ecologically sound soil management is critical for the present and future well-being of Virginia's  communities. Similarly, ecologically sound soil conservation practices are needed to protect the environment and keep farms profitable and viable. Soils should not be treated like dirt, but should be cared for to encourage health and proper ecological function. 

 For more information visit Extension's Virginia Farm to Table topic page.

 
Who We Are
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE Community Viability Specialist; ebendfel@vt.edu
www.cses.vt.edu
http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/farm-to-table/

Lauren Arbogast, Shenandoah Valley Farm to Table Coordinator; laurena1@vt.edu
www.buylocalshenvalley.org

Beth Schermerhorn, Virginia SARE Education Support Specialist; elizams@vt.edu
www.southernsare.org/virginia
Copyright © *2015* *Virginia Cooperative Extension*, All rights reserved.