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Agricultural Diversification Field Day

Scottsburg, VA - July 10, 9 am - 3 pm

Join us for the 2013 Ag Diversification Field Day presented by the Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program.  The program will begin at Chandler’s Gardens in Scottsburg, VA, and continue to James Brown’s farm in Clover.

Topics include:
        Greenhouse ornamental production
        Pond production
        Mushroom production
        Cut flowers
        Value added processing
        Organic vegetable production
        Edamame production
        Plastic laying and drip irrigation
        Beef cattle, swine, and meat goats
        Chickpea production

This will be a very full day!  The event begins at 9 AM on July 10 at Chandler’s Gardens,
 1151 Dryburg Rd., Scottsburg, VA ; tel. 434-454-7876 
Continuing to:
James H. Brown
1229 Neals Corner Rd., Clover, VA: tel. 434-454-7664

This event is free and open to the public. No registration required. 

For details and speaker info, please see the attached flyer, or call (804) 524-5960.

Seed Saving - Center for Rural Culture's July Workshop


J. Sargent Reynolds Community College in Goochland - Saturday July 20, 9:00 - 11:30 am

The CRC invites you to attend our July Homestead Series program - "Seed Saving".  As large seed companies continue to patent genes and control the seed markets, it is important that we help preserve our garden heritage and 
biodiversity by saving important and local varieties of seeds for the community. This workshop will take the mystery out of seed saving and help you reduce your seed cost for next season. 
The program will be a hands-on workshop where participants will harvest fruits and veggies, extract their seeds and process them for preserving till next season. Click on the "more information" link below to see program details. We will be using the labs and gardens at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College - Goochland Campus for this program. Betsy Trice(JSRCC faculty) will lead us in a discussion about seed saving and lab work. This will be a fun and informative morning on a very important topic for our time.
This program is free but regristration is required (space is limited).   

Get more program information
Register Now!

Growing Your Markets Through the SNAP Program - presented at two locations and times:

Wedgewood Golf Course in Halifax, VA - July 23, 9 am - 3 pm 
Rappahannock Community College in Warsaw, VA - July 24, 9 am - 3 pm

At this event, you can learn how to sell your goods and services to Supplemental NutritSNAP participants. Bill Jenkins (USDA Food and Nutrition Service) and Toni Blue Washington (Virginia Dept. of Social Services) will show you how to become eligible to accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps) at your road-side stand or market. 

At session’s end, you will have the opportunity to apply on-line which begins the process of receiving a USDA authorization to accept SNAP benefits. For this you need your Social Security card (If Social Security card not available, bring a tax forms prepared by a third party, a 1099, W-2, or official correspondence from SSA) ; and your  Driver’s License or other Photo ID. 

This event is free and open to the public. For registration and speaker info, please see the attached flyer.

Organic Production of Fingerling Potatoes - presented at two locations and times:

Flat Rock Farm 10109 Brown Moore Lane, Marshall, Virginia  - July 23rd 6 - 8 PM 

The VSU Small Farm Outreach Program is proud to invite you to a small farm field day on the organic production of fingerling potatoes using a thick hay mulch “lazy bed”. This high market value crop has been grown by Deanna Child of Flat Rock Farm. The seed potatoes were simply laid on top of the freshly tilled soil and then covered with a thick layer of hay mulch. This method eliminates most of the weeding, has excellent moisture retention and does not require midseason hilling. Plus the mulch hay is incorporated into the soil after harvest to improve soil fertility for next years crop.

Evergreen Acres,12801 Hazelwood Drive, Nokesville, Virginia  - July 25th 6 - 8 PM 

The VSU Small Farm Outreach Program is proud to invite you to a small farm field day on the organic production of fingerling potatoes. Jim Gehlsen of Evergreen Acres in Nokesville, Virginia is the only certified organic farmer in Prince William Co. Working with the Small Farm Outreach Program he has cultivated fingerling potatoes using four different methods. This high value crop is in great demand among gourmet chef’s and upscale groceries. In addition to the potato field trials we will be discussing Mr. Gehlsen’s on going production of organic tomatoes, pie pumpkins and his wholesale marketing efforts of these crops. Evergreen Acres also grows and markets Christmas trees on site.

To attend either event, please RSVP at
Or call 804 892 4492
This event is free and open to the public

Note from VABF newsletter editor: Jim Gehlsen is a member of Virginia Association for Biological Farming.

Reminder: Midsummer Sustainable Gardening Workshop

Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 6:00­9:00 pm at the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center - Catawba, VA

And one item not mentioned in the original announcement: registration for this workshop is $36.
Register online by July 28 at <>



Experienced Organic Farmers Moving to New River Valley region of Virginia

 - Seek Farm to Rent or Manage

Dear All,
        My husband is an organic farmer in North Carolina with over 10 years experience. I am taking a permanent position in the New River Valley area in Virginia, and we are looking for a substantial farm to rent in that area. We also run an active permaculture institute in North Carolina, are committed to food and energy regenerative practices for the Appalachian and& Piedmont regions, and would relocate part of those activities to Virginia.
        If you know of farmland to rent in the New River Valley, or an organic farm needing a manager, please contact us.  Many thanks!

Crystal Cook, Pockerchicory Farms



Farm Bill Aftermath

NSAC analysis of the failure of the House Farm Bill, and next steps

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has posted a series of three Blog entries regarding the failure of the House of Representatives to pass their 2013 Farm Bill, what factors played into it, and what the future may hold. 

The first, entitled Silver Lining for Reform in Farm Bill Failure discusses the strong showing for subsidy reform amendments during the debate - a distinctly hopeful indication of what might yet be accomplished if the House makes another try for a 2013 Farm Bill.

The second, Why did the Farm Bill Fail in the House? addresses the political factors in this unprecedented event.  A leading factor was the severe cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in the House Bill, strongly opposed by anti-hunger groups and by Representatives from districts in which many residents depend on SNAP to put food on the table.

The third, Is There a Path Forward on the Farm Bill? covers several possible future scenarios.

Connecticut and Maine Pass GMO Food Labeling Bills

Wins reported by Food Democracy Now!

This year, Connecticut and Maine became the first and second states in the US to pass laws mandating labeling of foods containing genetically engineered (or GMO) ingredients.  Advocates turned back an attempt by Connecticut's governor to water-down their bill, which has now been passed undiluted.  In Maine, the bill passed the state Senate unanimously, and the state House of Delegates by an overwhelming 141 to 4 vote.  

All this happened quietly in the wake of the narrow defeat of another GMO labeling initiative (Prop. 37) in California, where pro-GMO corporate interests threw millions into a public disinformation campaign in the weeks before the November 2012 election.

Food Democracy Now! ( is now focusing on the state of Washington, where a GMO food labeling initiative will be on the ballot in November.  Food Democracy Now is gratefully accepting donations for their campaign to promote the initiative.

Iowa State University Study Shows Benefits of Organic Practices

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture recently reported that Iowa State's Long Term Agroecological Research field trials have shown  significant soil health and fertility benefits from organic practices, including cover crops, manure compost, and longer and more diversified rotations.  Dr. Kathleen Delate of Iowa State, who keynoted at the Virginia Biological Farming Conference some years ago, has conducted the 17-acre field trial since 1998, and has documented substantial increases in active soil organic matter, soil carbon, crop-available NPK, and calcium in the organically managed rotations.  

For more information, visit:

Olive Powder Reduces Foodborne Pathogens and Carcinogens in Grilled Hamburger

USDA Agricultural Research Service finding - your tax dollars at work for the better this time!

When I (Mark Schonbeck) first saw the following headline, forwarded by a colleague in the sustainable ag network, I thought "uh-oh, nanoparticles or something ..."   But the ingredient is simply olive powder, a natural, plant based additiive, which inhibits both the growth of pathogenic e-coli in meat, and the formation of carcinogenic compounds during grilling.  Check it out:

Scientists’ Secret Ingredient for a Better Burger

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