October Updates & Opportunities

Conferences and Events 

  • Blue Ridge Permaculture: Regenerative Farm Enterprise Planning. Oct 18-23, Shannon Farm Community, Afton,VA. This 6-day course integrates time-tested farm business planning tools with the holistic landscape planning of permaculture and cutting-edge creative financing strategies. Experienced leaders will guide participants through an intensive planning/design process, from initial visioning, through successional enterprise budgeting, to design of the farm landscape. In this dynamic course, participants will design in teams working on a shared project, with structured time for participants to integrate what they are learning with their own goals and projects. Special sessions will bring in the insight of experienced permaculture farmers. $555. Registration and information here.


  • American Farmland Trust’s National Conference. Oct 20-22, Lexington, KY, The Farmland, Food and Livable Communities conference focuses on farming, land use, and food policy. If you have an interest in the impact that land use has on food systems, economic development, job creation, and agricultural viability, visit the conference website here.  


  • VC2 Electronic Media Tools Training in West Virginia. Oct 15, Fayette Institute of Technology; Oct 16, Spencer Library; Oct 22, Doddridge County Ext Office; Oct 23, Barbour County Ext Office. This training is for farmers, restaurant owners, aggregator groups, specialty foods producers, and other agriculture-related business owners who want to learn to set up and use a Facebook page or website in order to let consumers know where to find their products. These tools are important in connecting today’s customers to the variety of fresh farm products your business has to offer. For more information and to be included in future outreach, contact Liberty Newberry-Fetty at libertynewberry-fetty@vc2.org.


  • Farm2Campus Conference. October 31 – Louisville, KY. This conference is designed to engage with food organizers, students, administrators, sustainability coordinators, dining service managers, chefs and concerned individuals to share best practices about finding and using local food, forming effective coalitions, comparing price points for local vs conventional foods, marketing healthy food to students, and the future of local food on campuses around the country. Learn more and register here


  • ASAP’s 2014 Farm to School Conference. November 1, 2014. Asheville, North Carolina. The Farm to School Conference is designed to provide school staff and community members the training and resources needed to implement successful farm to school programs. This year’s conference will offer multiple workshop sessions geared specifically for teachers, early childhood educators, parents, community health professionals, and child nutrition staff. Tracks include gardening, community connections, preschool, and cafeteria. Click here to learn more.


  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference. November 10-12, Greenville, SC.The Sustainable Agriculture Conference brings together those new to the movement and experienced veterans to network and collaborate. There is no place like the Sustainable Agriculture Conference to learn from the experts about cutting-edge techniques and innovative programs and to connect with others who are just as passionate about rebuilding a healthy, local foodshed from seed to plate. This conference will feature opportunities to connect with sustainable ag farmers, non-profits, extension agents, higher ed. Experts, exhibitors, activists and more with 55 workshops, 3 pre-conference tours to innovative farms and restaurants, 9 hands-on intensives and 2 get-your-hands-dirty off-site learning opportunities. More information and registration details can be found here.


  • Slow Money National Gathering. Nov 11-10, Lexington, KY.Slow Money gatherings are a new venue for field building, investing, and social change. The event features food entrepreneurs who are leading the way rebuilding local food systems, along with many renowned thought leaders in agriculture, investing, and philanthropy. More information and registration information is available here.


  • VC2 West Virginia Wholesale Success Workshop. Nov 7 Beckley, Nov 8 Tygart Valley, Locations TBA. At the request of local organizations, VC2 is excited to host the seasoned trainer and wholesale farmer Atina Diffley from the organization familyfarmed.org, an initiative of the USDA. Diffley will present the acclaimed Wholesale Success training on Nov 7 in the Beckley region and on Nov. 8 in the Tygart Valley region. This training will support growers to be successful in wholesale through the following components: maintaining product quality and food safety through cooling, curing, and cleaning produce; packing shed design; grading and packaging; and more! Whether you are already selling to restaurants, schools, hospitals, or other wholesale channels, or just wanting to improve your practices to have better products for the farmers market, this nationally-known training is not one to miss! Exact locations TBA. For more information and to be included in future outreach, contact Mary Oldham at maryoldham@vc2.org.



  • Building Farm to Institution Markets Webinar. November 6, 2014. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Renewing the Countryside, and Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota are presenting a one-hour webinar and survey to help Minnesota food producers grow. This webinar provides an introduction to farm to institution practices and benefits. It will focus on how the needs of the producer can be matched with the needs of the buyer, accessing the potential of this rapidly expanding market channel. Click here to learn more about this webinar.


Funding Opportunities

  • Lowe’s Toolbox For Education Grants. Deadline: October 15th, 2014. Between $2000 and $5000 grants are available for funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) as well as landscaping/clean up type projects. Projects that encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit will be favored. Please note the grant money cannot be used to pay for memorials, stipends, salaries, artists in residence, field trips, scholarships, or third party funding. Only 10% of any award granted can be used toward outside resources such as labor, installation, consultation and delivery. See eligibility information and application here.


  • Plum Creek Foundation Grants. Deadline: October 31st, 2014. The mission of the Plum Creek Foundation is to provide charitable contributions to community organizations to support and improve the general welfare and quality of life in the communities where Plum Creek serves. Grant awards of up to $10,000 are available for Human service organizations, educational institutions, youth organizations, hospital and medical programs, cultural organizations, environmental education and conservation programs, and civic service organizations. Read more information and apply here.


  • Whole Kids Foundation School Gardens Grants. Deadline: October 31st, 2014. The School Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to a K-12 school, or a non-profit working in partnership with a K-12 school, to support a new or existing edible garden on school grounds. See more information and apply here.


  • Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program. Application deadline: November 17, 2014. The four regional Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) Centers (Southern, Western, Northeast and North Central) request applications for grants up to $50,000 through the Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program. The four regional Centers anticipate awarding a total of approximately 60 new grants from this announcement. The ERME program provides funding for results and outcome-based risk management education projects designed to help producers learn and use tools and approaches that can reduce the adverse effects of the uncertainties of weather, yields, prices, credit, government policies, global markets, and other factors, including human resources and legal issues. Click here to access the southern grant program.


  • American Pastured Poultry Producers Association Scholarship. Application deadline: December 15, 2014. The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) is now accepting applications for its annual $500 scholarship/gift. The scholarship will be awarded to an individual, farm, or organization that can demonstrate an educational need directly related to pastured poultry. Full details can be found here.


  • Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. Application deadline: December 15, 2014. The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency provides funding for eligible applicants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. The EJSG Program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. The long-term goals of the EJSG Program are to help build the capacity of communities with environmental justice concerns and to create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future. The fiscal year 2015 program will consider proposals supporting community-based preparedness and resilience efforts (community climate resiliency). The goal is to recognize the critical role of localized efforts in helping communities shape climate change strategies to avoid, lessen, or delay the risks and impacts associated with climate change. More information can be found here.


  • Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America Safety Grants Program. Application deadline: January 7, 2015. Grants up to $10,000 are being offered by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA), a national coalition of agribusinesses, producer organizations, and safety professionals in order to foster new champions of agricultural safety and health. The purpose of the ASHCA Safety Grants Program is to provide financial support to promote evidence-based safety/health strategies addressing farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers. Full details can be found here.


  • Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Grassroots Organizing for Social Change. Organizing for Social Change Program offers general or project support to non-profit organizations throughout the United States and is BJF’s most competitive grant program. BJF makes one-year grants for up to $20,000, to organizations with budgets under $500,000. Only organizations with 501(c)3 status, or who have a fiscal agent with this status are eligible to apply. Click here for more information.


  • Golden LEAF Foundation Open Grants Program. The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina’s long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. In the Open Grants Program, Golden LEAF’s grantmaking is focused in the areas of Agriculture, Job Creation, and Retention and Workforce Preparedness. In agriculture, Golden LEAF sees particular promise in the areas of value-added processing, market expansion, and projects targeting alternative crops, livestock, and aquaculture. Eligible applicants are governmental entities and 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations. First, applicants complete a letter of inquiry. Applications are reviewed on a bi-monthly basis. Click here for more information.