Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group          |          November 2017
Photograph by Rush Jagoe.
How a North Carolina Minister Sowed Seeds of Hope in a Food Desert  
By  Jeff Chu for Modern Farmer

About a decade ago,
the Reverend Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church realized he was conducting funerals twice a month--a startling amount, given his town's tiny population. The predominantly African American hamlet is situated in North Carolina's Edgecombe County, where a quarter of households live below the poverty line and heart disease kills more 20- to 39-year-olds than car accidents. 

"I've closed too many coffins on young people," Joyner says. First, the Reverend got mad. Then he got a trowel. Sick and tired of seeing his congregation suffer from poor nutrition, the North Carolina minister sowed seeds of hope in a food desert. 

Photo courtesy of Southern SARE.
Hiding in Plain Sight

Cover Crops Protect Susceptible Trees from the Flatheaded Appletree Borer

Winter cover crops appear to protect susceptible deciduous trees from the flatheaded appletree borer, while also effectively managing weeds, according to results of a Tennessee State University study. The results could be useful for orchards, nurseries, urban landscapes and agroforestry producers in managing the significant economic pest.

In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, researcher Karla Addesso and her colleagues found that the winter cover crops camouflage the tree trunks from the pest, making it less likely to lay eggs. Larvae can girdle the trunks as they begin tunneling into the trees. 

Photograph by Aqua Mechanical.
It's the End of "Organic" as We Know It

by Joe Fassler and Kate Cox

In Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, a two-decade long controversy that has the potential to change organic food production hinged on a single vote: whether or not to keep the "soil" in certified "organic." In a series of 8-7 votes, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted that hydroponic and aquaponic growers can continue to market certified organic products.

Most Americans probably don't think about hydroponic farms (which grow plants inside soilless greenhouses in trays of nutrient solution), and aquaponic farms (which marry hydroponics and aquaculture-or farmed fish and other aquatic organisms-to produce plants and fish crops) when they picture an organic farm. That's because we often associate the word "organic" with a more traditional, pastoral vision of crops grown under the open air, perhaps accompanied by a red farmhouse and some cows grazing in the background.

Photograph by Martin Hawley.
Heifer USA Farm Internships Open

Heifer's mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. They are launching an apprentice program that aims to train people to be farmers and secure a decent livelihood by farming. They are specifically looking for socially disadvantaged folks, who would not have great chances in the regular work market, including immigrants and refugees. The program curriculum covers several topics from organic farming to finances and marketing. Once the program is completed the graduates will be able to sell to the cooperatives and have a livelihood. Heifer provides housing and a stipend during the program and people do not need any farming background, just be over 18 years old , hard workers and willing to make a living out of farming.

Poultry Processing Plant Closes Its Doors in Marion, NC 

Thanksgiving is just days away and many farmers across six states will have to find a new place to process their poultry after Cool Hand Meats Inc, closed its doors in October.

The facility provided Animal Welfare Act-approved and USDA-inspected slaughter and processing services in Marion.

"It is such a tragedy that it has come to a screeching halt at such an in inopportune time," said owner Amanda Carter. "We distribute to customers as far away as Florida, so it's not just the local farmer impacted. It's the entire southeast fresh pasture turkey supply chain."

Under the Harvest Moon

by Carl Sandburg

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.
Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.
Nuts about Policy? 
Join the Next PCAN (Policy Collaborative Action Network) Call

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 *  7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

I.    Policy Updates:  Federal, State and Local

II.   Farm Bill Webinar Report

III.  PCAN Meeting at the SSAWG Conference

IV.  Open Floor

V.   Adjourn

Contact to join this call.
Southern SAWG Seeks Outreach and Development Director

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Southern SAWG) is seeking a full time, self-motivated, highly organized and tech savvy Outreach and Development Director to shape the organization's messaging and build a strong plan for long term funding development. Southern residence is required for the successful candidate. 

Congrats to Both of Our Survey Winners
Immediately following January 2017 conference, we asked for your input on the event. And again over the summer we sent out another survey to get your input and see if you had used implemented ideas you gleaned from the conference. For each survey we held a random drawing for a free general conference admission to the 2018 conference and we are happy to announce our winners: 

Angelina Harrison, Market Umbrella in New Orleans, Louisiana. Market Umbrella  is an independent nonprofit, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets since 1995.

Stace Brewer, Brewberry Farms in Hiawassee, Georgia. Brewberry Farms is a 10-acre family farmstead in the north Georgia mountains, committed to organic and restorative growing practices.
Registration Is Open for the Southern SAWG Conference!

Start planning now to join us in Chattanooga, Tennessee 
January 17-20, 2018 to learn, network and celebrate! 

Our Mission

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's mission is to empower and inspire farmers, individuals, and communities in the South to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, and humane. Because sustainable solutions depend on the involvement of the entire community, Southern SAWG is committed to including all persons in the South without bias.
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