February 2015 Updates and Opportunities

Conferences and Events 

  • 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.


  • Organic Growers School Annual Spring Conference. March 7-8, 2015 (Pre-Conference Events on March 6, 2015) UNCA in Asheville, NC. The 22nd annual Spring Conference offers practical, regionally-appropriate workshops on organic growing, permaculture, homesteading, urban farming, and rural living plus a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction, children’s program, and pre-conference, on-farm events. More than 70 sessions per day are offered, in themed tracks including Gardening, Soils, Livestock, Primitive Skills, Permaculture, Herbs, Alternative Energy, Sustainable Forestry, Homesteading, Cooking, Poultry, Farmers I and Farmers II, Mushrooms, and Food Resilience. As the largest grassroots conferences of its kind in the region, The Organic Growers School has served to reinforce Western North Carolina’s role as a regional leader in sustainable food and farming. Click here to find more information and to register.


  • Virginia Farm to School Conference: Cultivating Success. March 18-19. Charlottesville, VA. The conference educational programs will feature procurement training, supply chain distribution, food safety, school gardens, and community collaborations. Most importantly, this conference will provide a venue to showcase, network, and inspire. The conference seeks to provide a centralized voice in the Commonwealth that will create a more vibrant and sustainable farm to school program in Virginia. Click here to learn more and to register.



  • Food Policy and Regional Food Systems: Opportunities for Networking across Jurisdictions. Wednesday, February 11, 2015 from 1:00 – 2:15 PM EST.  Where does your local food policy council fit within the regional food system? Would you like to play a stronger role in both your locality and at a regional level but not sure how? Functioning with limited resources and volunteer members, it can often be easiest for a food policy council to concentrate locally. By understanding the role of local food policy councils within the context of a regional food system, groups can network across geographies to maximize impact and effectiveness of policy changes.During this webinar, expert panelists will address a number of big picture questions local food policy councils have about regional food systems, including: the role of local food policy councils within a regional network; when is it beneficial to connect across a region; how to determine your “region” and what to do when definitions vary; best practices and challenges to organizing and building regional networks, including resources and infrastructure needed. These issues will be addressed to show participants how networking across jurisdictions can positively influence food system change. The webinar will also include time for participant Q&A. Click here for more information.


  • Web Marketing for Farmers Market Sales: A Free 6-week Course. Registration closes February 13. This 6-week online course, “Web Marketing for Farmers Market Sales” focuses on the whole life-cycle of the farmers market customer, from online interest to the committed weekly customer. Attend for free by email and leave with an actionable, measurable marketing plan for 2015! Click here to sign up.


  • TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat. March 7, 2015. Manhattan, New York and online. With an exciting roster of experts and innovators, TEDxManhattan raises public awareness about critical issues facing the food system while fostering collaboration within the food movement. This independently organized TEDx event will gather speakers and audience members from diverse backgrounds to create new synergies, connections, and collaborations across disciplines. TEDxManhattan also invites communities, organizations, and individuals to organize viewing parties worldwide for the live webcast of this one-day TEDx event. Click here to connect.


Funding Opportunities

  • 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.