June 2015 Updates and Opportunities

Conferences and Events

  • Farm to Fork. June 5-7, 2015. Durham, NC. Join in a weekend celebrating sustainable farming, the bounty of local agriculture, and the relationships that continue to bloom in the food community between farms, restaurants, fishermen, beverage producers, and consumers. The weekend features a local-food dinner with five acclaimed North Carolina chefs, presentations on the seafood industry, and the Farm to Fork Picnic more than two dozen chefs and farms paired together and another two dozen food artisans featured. Find more information here.
  • 2015 Local Food Policy and Advocacy Training. June 16, 2015. Summersville, WV.  Join the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition to learn more about how to become and effective local food policy advocate.  The day will include speakers, media training, a panel of legislators and advocates, working groups, and networking opportunities.  Registration is $15 and includes lunch.
  • 2nd Annual WV Women in Agriculture Conference. October 23-24, 2015.  Davis, WV. Details here.



  • Managing Farm Risk Series. June 10, 17, and 24. hosted by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) in partnership with Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, Farm Service Agency, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
    • Should Crop Insurance Be Part of Your Farm Risk Management Plan?
      June 10, 8-9 am
      Managing financial risk is a key part of farm sustainability. Crop insurance is one of the tools growers can use to reduce financial risk and increase credit worthiness. The 2014 Farm Bill made several changes that increase crop insurance opportunities for both diversified and organic farms. This workshop will be examining the newly created Whole Farm Revenue Protection policy, new organic crop price elections for organically produced crops, and new Non-insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) buy-up options. Join us as we work to understand how new crop insurance programs can increase the competitiveness of highly diversified and organic farms.
      James Robinson – RAFIHow to Pay for it: Grant, Loan and Cost Share Options for Farms
      June 17, 8-9 am
      Whether you are building the efficiency of your farm with equipment or investing in a new enterprise, this workshop will offer an overview of options for accessing capital. Hear about services and resources available through your local FSA chapter, what records you need to be eligible for loans and how to stay connected with grant or cost share opportunities for farms in our region.
      Rob Hawk II- County Extension Director, Jackson and Swain Counties
      Molly Nicholie – Program Director, ASAP 
      Becky Williamson – County Executive Director, Swain/Jackson/Macon FSA

      Sell What You Grow: Diversifying Your Market Opportunities
      June 24, 8-9 am
      Are farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores, or wholesalers a good market for your farm? Join this webinar to learn more about the pros and cons of selling to a variety of local markets and how to determine if they are a good match for your operation. Find out more about strategies and tools for connecting with buyers and promoting your products.
      Molly Nicholie – Program Director, ASAP

  • Putting Local on the Menu. June 16, 2015, 10am-11am. (Online and in-person) Presented by the Greenbrier Local Food Initiative, VC2, and partners. The Art & Science of Capturing the Local Food Movement and Increasing your Bottom Line.  Market trends indicate consumers desire to eat locally grown foods. Join us to explore how your restaurant could take advantage of this trend. Anthony Flaccavento, of SCALE, Inc, will lead the webinar and share his research, knowledge and experience.
  • Creative Financing for Food. June 18, 2015. Presented by the Wallace Center. Is access to capital holding your food business back from thriving? Whether you run a farm, food hub, processing facility, retail store, co-op or shared kitchen this webinar will introduce you to new and creative sources of capital. Register here.
  • Sell What You Grow: Diversifying Your Market Opportunities. June 24, 2015.  Join this North Carolina webinar to learn more about the pros and cons of selling to a variety of local markets and how to determine if they are a good match for your operation. Find strategies and tools for connecting with buyers and promoting your products.
  • One Page Cost Benefit Analysis Tool. August 20. Presented by the Wallace Center. Making decisions that make good financial sense is difficult. But difficult decisions become a whole lot easier when you have the right tool to walk you through the financial implications of your decision. Meet the One Page Cost Benefit Analysis Tool. Recently created by Farm Credit, this tool is designed to make your difficult purchasing (or other financial) decisions a little easier. Join us to learn how this powerfully simple tool can help your business today, or how you can use this tool to assist the farms and other business owners you work with. Register here.


Funding Opportunities

  • USDA Grants to Enable More Farmers Markets to Serve Low-Income Families:
    “The Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants will range from $15,000 to $250,000 and must be designed to increase SNAP client accessibility and participation at farmers markets, and support the establishment, expansion, and promotion of SNAP EBT services at farmers markets. Eligible applicants include farmers market organizations and associations, non–profit entities, state, local and tribal nations and other organizations engaged in farmers market management.” Applications due June 18, 2015. Funds will be available in September 2015.
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Foundational Program. Application deadlines vary by program area from March 31 through June 24; some program areas require submission of a letter of intent to apply. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is requesting applications for six AFRI priority areas through the Foundational Program for FY 2015. These priority areas are plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. The amount available for support of new projects in FY 2015 is approximately $116 million. Click here for more information.
  • Rural Energy for America Program: Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans and Grants. Due June 30, 2015. This program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Eligibility: Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and, small businesses in eligible rural areas. More information can be found here.
  • USDA Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program
    This program assists organizations that provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. USDA plans to make up to $3 million in grants available, with a maximum award of $175,000. Eligible applicants include groups of cooperatives, cooperative development centers, and cooperatives that serve socially-disadvantaged groups.
    Applications must be mailed by July 20, 2015; electronic submissions must be made by July 14, 2015.
  • 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.