January Updates & Opportunities

Conferences and Events 

  • Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference. January 8-11, 2015. Savannah, GA. The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors, and suppliers. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to be a part of this event. More than 80 hours of educational sessions will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields, and marketing strategies. Find out more here.


  • Southern SAWG’s Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. January 14-17, 2015. Mobile, Alabama. Southern SAWG’s Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference draws over 1,000 farmers and local food advocates from across the nation. The agenda features outstanding “field-tested” presenters and a full slate of hot-topic conference sessions, plus pre-conference courses and field trips. Programming for both beginning and experienced farmers is offered. Topics include production, grazing management, marketing, food policy, food hubs, and business management. A limited number of conference scholarships are available to veterans. Click here to learn more.


  • Future Harvest CASA’s Cultivate the Chesapeake Foodshed. January 15-17, 2015. East Hyattsville, Maryland. Every winter, Future Harvest CASA holds the largest sustainable agriculture conference in the lower Mid-Atlantic. This year, the conference includes an extra day of hands-on, pre-conference workshops. The main conference features an inspiring line-up of keynote and featured speakers, seven different tracks comprising 42 sessions, and breakouts for networking. Click here for more information.


  • Call for Presentations:
2015 UVM Food Systems Summit: The Right to Food: Power, Policy, and Politics in the 21st Century. Proposals due January 15. Conference will be held June 16-17, 2015. Burlington, Vermont. The University of Vermont (UVM) Food Systems Summit is an annual event drawing scholars, practitioners, and food systems leaders to engage in dialogue on the pressing food systems issues facing our world. This year, UVM is partnering with Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems to increase collaboration from the law and policy community. By doing so, we seek to foster transdisciplinary scholarship and cross-professional partnerships in order to further humanity’s efforts to feed itself and steward natural resources. Click here to find out more.


  • Appalachia Grows: Beginning & Small Farms Conference. January 23-24, 2015. Frostburg, Maryland. This conference is for anyone interested in farming, producing food or farm products, currently farming and want to expand or diversify, or just want to learn from experts. Friday’s program is exclusively for new and beginning farmers, and Saturday’s program is for everyone. Vendors will be available to talk about their latest products, and there will be lots of time for networking and great sessions on a variety of topics. Click here for details.


  • Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. January 27-29, 2015. Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention has become the premier grower meeting in the Northeast, combining three days of six or more concurrent educational sessions with a large industry trade show and numerous networking opportunities, all designed to enable fruit, vegetable, and berry growers, as well as direct marketers, to stay on the cutting edge of their industries. Click here for more information.


  • Healthy Food Systems.January 28, 2015. Baltimore, Maryland. The 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will again feature an optional pre-conference workshop on healthy, equitable food systems. This workshop will inspire and equip participants to advance local and regional food systems aligned with smart growth objectives and strategies. How can local or regional food production, processing or distribution activities create economic opportunities, foster environmental sustainability, and promote community health? How are urban, rural, and suburban communities working to improve food access for their most vulnerable residents? What partnerships and resources have enabled successful planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts across the country? Click here to learn more.


  • Virginia Biological Farming Conference. January 30-31, 2015. Richmond, Virginia. This event features three pre-conference intensives, a tradeshow, keynote speaker John Ikerd, and multiple sessions for beginning and advanced farmers. Click here for details.


  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association Annual Convention. February 1-6, 2015. Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee. The Convention is a five-day event comprising of bus tours, educational sessions, workshops, and a business exchange. It is a full-immersion convention that brings farm direct marketers and agritourism operators from all over the continent together for learning and networking. Click here to find out more.


  • ASAP Business of Farming Conference. February 14th, 2015. University of North Carolina-Asheville. ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for those involved in local food and farming. Each year, approximately 250 area farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists attend tailored 90-minute workshops, meet with restaurant and wholesale buyers, exchange resources, and celebrate the start of the season. If you’re currently farming or seriously considering farming as a profession, you won’t want to miss our 2015 conference! For more information and registration click here.


  • 2015 Road Map for the Food Economy Conference – with A Local Foods Day at the Legislature. February 17, 2015 Charleston, WV. The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition invites its Working Group members, network organizations, farmers, and consumers to the 2015 Road Map for the Food Economy Conference beginning with a Local Foods Day at the Legislature. Click here for details.



  • Building the Capacity of Small Meat Processors: Successes and Lessons from North Carolina. January 7, 2015. The Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network presents this free one-hour webinar at 1pm EST. NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University, spent two years working with a set of small processors in North Carolina, providing a range of technical assistance and support. On this webinar, NC Choices and three processors who participated in the project will tell us how they did it, what they accomplished, and why it matters. To attend: Follow this link 5-10 minutes before start time and log in as a guest.


  • Managing Risks on an Urban Farm. January 15, 2015. A free webinar presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, “Managing Risks on an Urban Farm,” will focus on the risk management strategies of two urban farms and how they have overcome several of the barriers facing urban farmers today. Follow this link to register.


Funding Opportunities

  • 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.


  • Sow It Forward Garden Grants Program. Application deadline is January 9, 2015. Sow It Forward is the grants and partnership program of Kitchen Gardeners International. The grant is for nonprofit causes or organizations (schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.) interested in starting or expanding food garden projects that are of general benefit to their community. The grants provide a combination of cash, supplies, and information resources. Click here for more information.


  • 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.


  • Cedar Tree Foundation. Letters of inquiry are accepted at any time. The Cedar Tree Foundation is a small family fund whose grant making focuses on sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and environmental health. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, but welcomes letters of inquiry for U.S.-based work from non-profit organizations working within its program areas. Click here to learn more.


  • The Harry Chapin Foundation. The Foundation Board meets three times a year on an as-needed basis. The Harry Chapin Foundation funds 501(c)(3) not-for-profit programs that operate in the United States that fall within the areas of Community Education Programs, Arts-In-Education Programs, and Agricultural and Environmental Programs. Grant sizes range from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $10,000. Find out more about applying here.