FOG: Organic Certification Cost Share Applications Due October 31


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The Following Text via Florida Organic Growers
FOG, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), is pleased to once again administer the 2017-2018 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program in Florida.
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program provides cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining or renewing their certification under the National Organic Program (NOP).
To be eligible for reimbursement the operation must have received or renewed organic certification on or between October 1, 2017 and September 30th, 2018. The amount of reimbursement is 75% of certification costs (maximum of $750) per scope of activity. Instructions can be found on the application and all questions can be directed to our Cost Share Coordinator at or by calling 352-231-7116.
Please note: this application must be signed and be postmarked no later than October 31st, 2018.
End Text via Florida Organic Growers

Food Dignity


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The Following Text via Food Dignity


The Food Dignity team is pleased and proud invite you to explore the:

new Food Dignity website:
Food Dignity special issue (with open/public access) of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development:
From 2011 to 2018, five US community-based food justice organizations collaborated with academic partners on a research, action, and education project we called “Food Dignity: Action research on engaging food insecure communities and universities in building sustainable community food systems.”

We asked how communities work to build sustainability, equity, and food security through food system work. We also sought means of creating more equitable community-university partnerships. We learned about both by doing, and also by tapping the collective decades of expertise the five community-based organizations brought to the table. We had five funded years, with nearly $5 million from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI program (competitive grant no. 2011-68004-30074).

Explore our results, partners, and partnership on the website. Words from some of the 21 titles in this (277-page!) special issue include: Costs of Community-based Action Research, Follow the Money [to] Academic Supremacy, Visualizing Expertise, What Gardens Grow, Community-Designed Minigrant Programs, Social Movement Frames Used by Collaborators, Triple-Rigorous Storytelling, and five community essays on Entering into a Community-University Collaboration. This marks the official end of the Food Dignity project, though we will have a series of additional papers in this journal over the next few years and we will be adding new results, learning guides, and details about the work of communities remaking food systems to the website.

Over three dozen members of the co-investigation team have done this work. This included people from Blue Mountain Associates (Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming), Dig Deep Farms (Cherryland and /Ashland, California), East New York Farms! (Brooklyn, New York), Feeding Laramie Valley (Laramie/Albany County, Wyoming), Whole Community Project (Tompkins County/Ithaca, New York), University of Wyoming, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and University of California Davis.

As collaborators imprinted on a plaque they gifted to me at our last team meeting in January 2016, Food Dignity was a five-year action research project; food dignity is an aspiration for a lifetime.


End Text via Food Dignity

Hello Sanford!


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On this historic day we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the resolve to do something about the food situation both locally and statewide!

Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018


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Release No. 0008.18

Contact: USDA Press

Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

(Mifflintown, PA, January 24, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

“Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.”

(Secretary Perdue holds a town hall meeting at Reinford Farms where he rolled out USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles)

Download USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles

farm bill

USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and Legislative Principles:


  • Provide a farm safety net that helps American farmers weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments.
  • Promote a variety of innovative crop insurance products and changes, enabling farmers to make sound production decisions and to manage operational risk.
  • Encourage entry into farming through increased access to land and capital for young, beginning, veteran and underrepresented farmers.
  • Ensure that voluntary conservation programs balance farm productivity with conservation benefits so the most fertile and productive lands remain in production while land retired for conservation purposes favors more environmentally sensitive acres.
  • Support conservation programs that ensure cost-effective financial assistance for improved soil health, water and air quality and other natural resource benefits.


  • Improve U.S. market competitiveness by expanding investments, strengthening accountability of export promotion programs, and incentivizing stronger financial partnerships.
  • Ensure the Farm Bill is consistent with U.S. international trade laws and obligations.
  • Open foreign markets by increasing USDA expertise in scientific and technical areas to more effectively monitor foreign practices that impede U.S. agricultural exports and engage with foreign partners to address them.


  • Harness America’s agricultural abundance to support nutrition assistance for those truly in need.
  • Support work as the pathway to self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility for individuals and families receiving supplemental nutrition assistance.
  • Strengthen the integrity and efficiency of food and nutrition programs to better serve our participants and protect American taxpayers by reducing waste, fraud and abuse through shared data, innovation, and technology modernization.
  • Encourage state and local innovations in training, case management, and program design that promote self-sufficiency and achieve long-term, stability in employment.
  • Assure the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process through greater transparency and reliance on the most robust body of scientific evidence.
  • Support nutrition policies and programs that are science based and data driven with clear and measurable outcomes for policies and programs.


  • Enhance our partnerships and the scientific tools necessary to prevent, mitigate, and where appropriate, eradicate harmful plant and animal pests and diseases impacting agriculture.
  • Safeguard our domestic food supply and protect animal health through modernization of the tools necessary to bolster biosecurity, prevention, surveillance, emergency response, and border security.
  • Protect the integrity of the USDA organic certified seal and deliver efficient, effective oversight of organic production practices to ensure organic products meet consistent standards for all producers, domestic and foreign.
  • Ensure USDA is positioned appropriately to review production technologies if scientifically required to ensure safety, while reducing regulatory burdens.
  • Foster market and growth opportunities for specialty crop growers while reducing regulatory burdens that limit their ability to be successful.


  • Protect public health and prevent foodborne illness by committing the necessary resources to ensure the highest standards of inspection, with the most modern tools and scientific methods available.
  • Support and enhance FSIS programs to ensure efficient regulation and the safety of meat, poultry and processed egg products, including improved coordination and clarity on execution of food safety responsibilities.
  • Continue to focus USDA resources on products and processes that pose the greatest public health risk.


  • Commit to a public research agenda that places the United States at the forefront of food and agriculture scientific development.
  • Develop an impact evaluation approach, including the use of industry panels, to align research priorities to invest in high priority innovation, technology, and education networks.
  • Empower public-private partnerships to leverage federal dollars, increase capacity, and investments in infrastructure for modern food and agricultural science.
  • Prioritize investments in education, training and the development of human capital to ensure a workforce capable of meeting the growing demands of food and agriculture science.
  • Develop and apply integrated advancement in technology needed to feed a growing and hungry world.


  • Create consistency and flexibility in programs that will foster collaboration and assist communities in creating a quality of life that attracts and retains the next generation.
  • Expand and enhance the effectiveness of tools available to further connect rural American communities, homes, farms, businesses, first responders, educational facilities, and healthcare facilities to reliable and affordable high-speed internet services.
  • Partner with states and local communities to invest in infrastructure to support rural prosperity, innovation and entrepreneurial activity.
  • Provide the resources and tools that foster greater integration among programs, partners and the rural development customer.


  • Make America’s forests work again through proactive cost-effective management based on data and sound science.
  • Expand Good Neighbor Authority and increase coordination with states to promote job creation and improve forest health through shared stewardship and stakeholder input.
  • Reduce litigative risk and regulatory impediments to timely environmental review, sound harvesting, fire management and habitat protection to improve forest health while providing jobs and prosperity to rural communities.
  • Offer the tools and resources that incentivize private stewardship and retention of forest land.


  • Provide a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that reflects the Administration’s budget goals.
  • Enhance customer service and compliance by reducing regulatory burdens on USDA customers.
  • Modernize internal and external IT solutions to support the delivery of efficient, effective service to USDA customers.
  • Provide USDA full authority to responsibly manage properties and facilities under its jurisdiction.
  • Increase the effectiveness of tools and resources necessary to attract and retain a strong USDA workforce that reflects the citizens we serve.
  • Recognize the unique labor needs of agriculture and leverage USDA’s expertise to allow the Department to play an integral role in developing workforce policy to ensure farmers have access to a legal and stable workforce.
  • Grow and intensify program availability to increase opportunities for new, beginning, veteran, and underrepresented producers.

Free Online Food Policy Council Course


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Dear Food Policy Council Enthusiasts,

Jodee Ellett, Local Foods Program Director with Purdue University, and I are launching a new, online professional development course to help Extension and community development colleagues build local food councils. Over 20 experts have contributed to the development of this course, including experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. We are so grateful for these contributions and the support of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development to create this self-paced learning tool.

“Supporting Local Food Councils” is a free online resource that is open to all. There are 15 modules in the course, which take about 1-2 hours per module to complete. Each module contains videos, readings and online tools. There is a certificate of completion awarded for participants that complete all modules and quizzes. Earning a certificate is optional. There is no deadline for completion and the videos/course materials can be accessed at any time – including during your food council meetings. The course was designed for professionals with less than three years of experience working with food councils at the local level.

To learn more, we invite you to join a webinar about the course next Monday, January 15. (Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Day – it is not a holiday for us and we think Dr. King would support the community building concepts behind this course.) There is no pre-registration required for the free-webinar. If you aren’t able to make the webinar, it will be recorded. Or you can sign up for the course and take a look by visiting the course web page at

Please feel free to forward this information to your colleagues and/or food council members. Thank you for your time!

WEBINAR: Supporting Local Food Councils: A New Professional Development Course

SPEAKERS: Jodee Ellett, Purdue University and Kendra Wills, Michigan State University

January 15, 2018 – 12:00 PM Eastern Time

About the webinar: Extension professionals and other community development specialists are often asked to engage in local food systems work. Fulfilling this request can be a challenge, especially for staff who are unfamiliar with local food systems programming and/or do not regularly facilitate community groups. Supporting Local Food Councils is a new professional development course designed to equip Extension staff and community development professionals with the education, material resources, organizational tools and videos to support the development and sustainability of food councils. Participants in this webinar will be given an overview of the course’s 15 modules and will have a chance to view a few of the course videos. Twenty local food council experts from around the U.S. provided content for this self-paced online course. Supporting Local Food Councils is available to all at no charge. Course participants that complete the quiz for each module will earn a certificate of completion.

Presented by:

Jodee Ellett is the Local Foods Coordinator for Purdue Extension, working across program areas to build food system networks and deliver research and education. Jodee works at the individual, community, business and leadership level to engage and synergize local food system development.

Kendra Wills has served with MSU Extension for the past 17 years. She is based at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan and serves five counties in west Michigan. Kendra began working on local food systems issues in 2010 (focusing on farm-to-school and youth gardening programs) and in 2015 began developing a local food council in Lake County, Michigan.

Registration: There is no registration and no fee for attending this webinar.

To join the webinar go to, “enter as a guest” is by default already chosen. Type your name into the text box provided, and click on “Enter Room”. You are now in the meeting room for the webinar. NOTE: CHROME is not compatible with Adobe Connect, use either Firefox or IE.

The webinar will be recorded and archived at

I hope you can join us on Monday!
Kendra Wills

Educator, Community Food Systems
Michigan State University Extension
Grand Rapids Downtown Market

109 Logan Street SW, Suite B102
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-608-7424 (office)
517-930-0928 (mobile)

MSU Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status.

Press Release – Inaugural Meeting in Ft. Myers


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This Sunday, Florida will make history with the first member convening of the Florida Food Policy Council in Fort Myers. This meeting follows the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference being held April 1-2 at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport, 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive at Town Center, Fort Myers, Florida. The Food Policy Council convening will be held on Sunday from 9:30am to 3pm.

The event is sponsored by Winter Park Foundation, Health Foundation of South Florida, Florida Blue Foundation and Heal the Planet and will feature food policy expert Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty. Winne will lead the group in solidifying desired goals, identifying the membership and governance process and making the new organization as member-driven and grassroots in character as possible. All segments of the food chain are encouraged to be represented.

Winne’s efforts will help focus the functions and time frames for development of the emerging council including expectations and roles for its emerging leadership. Members will be invited to enroll in three initial committees to focus the work of the burgeoning council – 1) Organizational development; 2) Communication and outreach; 3) Policy issues, research and assessment.

Organizations from across Florida expected to be represented include: UF/IFAS, Florida A&M University, University of South Florida, University of North Florida, Greater Marco Family YMCA, Florida Food & Farm, LLC, Urban Oasis Project, Root & Tail Farm, Food Policy Council of Indian River County, Apalachee Food Council, Audubon Community Market/Gather & Grow, LLC, GMO Free Florida, and local Community Redevelopment Agencies.

The Florida Food Policy Council provides an opportunity to participate in the state’s rapidly developing local food movement, supporting efforts to develop more sustainable and just food systems.

Membership is $25 which includes admission to this event and other events throughout the year. Lunch will be available for purchase at the event site. Please visit to join and register register for the workshop. Please email for more information.

The Florida Food Policy Council’s Inaugural Membership Meeting will be held Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 9:30am to 3pm at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport, 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive at Town Center, Fort Myers.

Contact: SHARON YEAGO: 352-256-8115