A Re-Focus on Food Safety

Brian Snyder, PASA

Brian Snyder, Executive Director of PASA

This piece is re-posted with permission from “Write to Farm” by Brian Snyder, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.  Click here to read the original.

Food Safety Back On the Agenda

If you thought we were done with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), you can think again. It has been most of a year since the process of responding to newly proposed food safety rules seemed to be smothering every waking moment of our lives, and late December since we heard the good news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had “heard” our concerns loud enough to force serious reconsideration of those first drafts of the Produce and Preventive Controls rules. (more…)

September News: Climate Justice, Food Safety News, and Land Access Training

It’s officially fall  — we hope you’re catching your breath in the fields and watching the new season edge its way in. 

The FDA just released a new draft of Food Safety rules and significant improvements were made. The agency certainly listened, but we’ll need your help to ensure that the final rules work for local farms. Read more about this campaign, NYFC at the People’s Climate March, our work to make farmland affordable and upcoming events in this September newsletter.

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Food Safety Regulation is Back on the Agenda!

Last Friday, the FDA re-proposed draft rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These rules aim to ensure a safe food supply by changing the food safety regulations on farms and food facilities.

NYFC members discussing the new regulations at a letter-writing event last year.

NYFC members discussing the proposed regulations at a letter-writing event last year.

The original rules, proposed last year, would have placed disastrous burdens on small, diversified farmers. In response, NYFC members sprang into action.  NYFC volunteers hosted an incredible 70 letter-writing parties across the country, generating nearly 1,000 comments, out of the 18,582 total submitted. (more…)

NYFC Takes a Step in Protecting Working Farmland with Land Access Innovations Training

Land Access Training

Representatives from over twenty land trusts listened as Equity Trust and other mentors, along with Jen Smith – the farmer and owner at Crimson and Clover CSA – talked about their land access innovations.

“Forty years of farmland conservation, and we are watching it unravel before our eyes.”

That was the warning that John Halsey, president of Long Island’s Peconic Land Trust, delivered to a room full of conservation professionals at this weekend’s Land Access Innovations Training in Providence, Rhode Island. He was referring to the acres of farmland the land trust has protected from development, only to subsequently watch fall out of agricultural production as non-farmers purchase the properties for second, or third, homes. (more…)

USDA Launches Local Food Directories, but Still Needs More Listings

Jubilee Farm, a biodynamic vegetable farm in Washington State, hosts an on-farm market. Image courtesy: Dennis Lussier / PCC Farmland Trust

Jubilee Farm, a biodynamic vegetable farm in Washington State, hosts an on-farm market. Image courtesy: Dennis Lussier / PCC Farmland Trust

Building on the success of its on-line Farmers Market Directory, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is creating directories for CSAs, food hubs, and on-farm markets (such as farm stands). Farmers or marketing managers can upload information on their market, CSA, hub, or farm to the respective directory. Customers may then search for markets nearby.

To get these markets up and running, USDA needs more listings! Each directory will not be published until AMS’s target number of listings is reached. By listing your CSA, food hub, or on-farm market, you can help push these directories over the edge! (more…)

Introducing Rose Robson and Robson’s Farm LLC of North Hanover, NJ

We’re excited to publish a new Farmer Profile of an inspiring beginning farmer every few weeks on the NYFC blog to help showcase the breadth and vision of the next generation of agricultural leaders.  This one is from Rose Robson of Robson’s Farm LLC of North Hanover, NJ.

Robsons Farm - RoseMy mom had originally thought I would build a house and board some horses on the 40 acres of preserved farmland she kept from my family’s original 1,200 acre fruit and vegetable operation.

And she couldn’t have been more wrong.
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Calling All Experimenters, Tinkerers, and Innovators: SARE Has Funding for You!

Participants spread wildflower seeds that will become pollinator habitat at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm as a part of a SARE-funded project. (Photo courtesy of USDA)

Participants spread wildflower seeds that will become pollinator habitat at the Dirt Works Incubator Farm as a part of a SARE-funded project. (Photo courtesy of USDA)

Did you know the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program offers grants directly to farmers?

Through it’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program, SARE funds individual or groups of farmers to test solutions to their sustainable farming challenges. For example, grants could be awarded to try out an innovative erosion control technique or pest management regime. These grants are designed to produce research that other farmers in your community can use as well. (more…)

Hangout with USDA!

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden address Champions of Change at a White House event (Photo courtesy of USDA)

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden addresses Champions of Change at a White House event (Photo courtesy of USDA)

Next Tuesday, USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will be hosting a Google+ Hangout to talk all about new farmers and the Farm Bill. Passed at the beginning of 2014, the Farm Bill has a ton of programs, resources, and opportunities for new farmers. USDA is middle of implementing this law right now, so it is the perfect time for an update! (more…)

Bootstrap @ Lemonade Springs Farm – A Modern Farm Education

Lemonade Springs Farm - tomatoesIt’s important to remember that the greatest investment you can make for the health and success of your farm is you. This is a platitudinous sentiment, perhaps, but accurate enough. If your farm is to be, like many of us hope, a hand raised up against the monoculture- a place of resiliency amidst collapse- then you would do well to train and educate yourself towards such ends.
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Bootstrap @ Wild Ridge Farm – Looking Back on Training

Alissa seeding at Chubby Bunny.

Alissa seeding at Chubby Bunny.

It was clear from the beginning of my farming internship at Chubby Bunny Farm that my boss, Dan Hayhurst, loved the work of growing vegetables. Most mornings I would be lying in bed, just waking up around 6:30 am, and I’d hear his truck roll up to the barn. I’d listen as Dan got out and started hauling sacks of feed out of the barn to drive out to the small flock of chickens and few pigs on pasture. This was my cue to get up and stumble about my trailer, putting on filthy work pants and shirt, probably mildly hungover, quickly frying eggs and making coffee so I could meet him and my co-interns in the greenhouse or at the tailgate of his truck in time for the morning meeting. I knew he’d been up for hours thinking on the farm, planning the most efficient way of doing all the days’ many tasks, and it was barely 7 am. (more…)