Become a Racial Transformer

May 29, 2020

Racial injustice is one of the many ills of this country that extends far beyond policing and PA-WAgN is committed to identifying and addressing this historical and current oppression through our work and in particular through the work of PA-WAgN's Women's Rural Urban Network (WRUN). There is always more we can do to show up for racial justice and we hope you will consider ways that you can be a racial transformer in your own life.

INAUGURAL URBAN AGRICULTURE AND COMMUNITY COMPOST FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ANNOUNCED

May 29, 2020

(NSACs Blog, May 28th, 2020) In early May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the inaugural round of the Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program. This program makes $3 million in competitive grant funding available for projects that support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production activities. In addition, the USDA also announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot projects for fiscal year 2020.

FARMERS IMPACTED BY COVID-19 NOW ELIGIBLE TO DEFER FSA LOAN PAYMENTS

May 29, 2020

(NSACs Blog - May 28, 2020) USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will now allow farmers with existing FSA farm loans to essentially defer their payments for up to a year. However, there are a few important details and restrictions that farmers need to know about to see if they are eligible for this relief.

Pilot Program to Provide Online Purchasing to SNAP Households Expanded

May 12, 2020

In response to COVID-19¸ the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has expanded a pilot program to provide online purchasing to SNAP households.  In anticipation of Pennsylvania joining the Online SNAP pilot program, interested vendors are encouraged to review the agency’s guidance about how to become an online EBT vendor.

USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction

May 12, 2020

(USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service sent this bulletin at 05/11/2020 04:03 PM EDT) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight June 26, 2020. Projects should span two years with a start date of October 1, 2020 and completion date of September 29, 2022.

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) accepting proposals for our 2021 Sustainable Agriculture Conference

May 9, 2020

Though there remains much uncertainty due to the pandemic, what we know without a doubt is this: Farmers are facing unprecedented challenges, and the need for exploring best practices, sharing lessons learned, and connecting with our peers will be greater than ever.

House Advances Ag Coronavirus Bills

May 9, 2020

Pennsylvania lawmakers have recently taken action on a number of bills that could help farmers and rural people weather the coronavirus pandemic. The House of Representatives on April 30 unanimously passed a bill to help food processing plants safeguard worker health during the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed grant program would cover a percentage of the cost of personal protective equipment, testing thermometers, the installation of physical barriers between workers, extra sanitizing and on-site medical services.

Essentials Class Series

May 5, 2020

Are you stuck at home wanting to start a new business to make or to grow an “Essential” item to sustain humankind? Why not join PA-WAgN and Rusty and Claire Orner, stewards of Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living, to learn such skills for free (each class valued at $50-$125 per person). With each class you will have the opportunity to learn specific skills and items to make your personal livelihood and/or business thrive. You must be registered as a PA-WAgN member (free) and be present on-line or in-person to win. Winnings can be picked up in person at Quiet Creek or shipped. Any shipping costs will be the responsibility of each winner. Classes are limited to 30 participants.

COVID-19 Relief Funds Available to Farmers

April 27, 2020

A recording of PA-WAgN's March 27th Webinar, Strengthening Our Food System Together In Times of Crisis is now available. This discussion-based webinar offers perspectives from women growers and food advocates around crisis management and the food system within the context of COVID-19. Nicole Sugerman, NESAWG Policy Associate touched briefly on the federal stimulus package, shared information regarding paid sick leave, highlighted recommendations and resources for farmers markets, and offered insight into Pennsylvania policies in development related to COVID-19 and food and agriculture. Patty Neiner, PA-WAgN Program Manager/Over the Moon Farm + Lyn Garling, Over the Moon Farm highlighted emerging challenges for small direct market farmers and their ability to meet peoples’ food needs, alternative market structures, and leveraging existing infrastructure for food security. Noelle Warford, Urban Tree Connection Executive Director + Nykisha Madison-Keita, Urban Tree Connection Farm Manager shared the contingency plan for their mission-driven, community-based farm in West Philadelphia including organizational, food production, and food distribution planning. To view the recording, click the 'Read More' link below.

USDA to Purchase Up to $3 Billion in Agricultural Commodities, Issue Solicitations for Interested Participants

April 23, 2020

(April 19, 2020 - from ams.usda.gov) As part of President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s April 17th announcement of a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, USDA today announced that it is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need. USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will procure an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products and $100 million per month in meat products to provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

Adding A Nylon Stocking Layer Could Boost Protection From Cloth Masks, Study Finds

April 23, 2020

(From npr.org, April 22, 20201:34 PM ET) - During World War II, nylon stockings disappeared from store shelves as the valuable synthetic material was diverted to make critical wartime supplies such as parachutes, flak jackets and aircraft fuel tanks. Now, new research suggests that nylon stockings could once again play a critical role in a national battle — this time by making homemade cloth masks significantly more protective. Researchers at Northeastern University have found that adding an outer layer made from nylon stockings to a homemade face covering can boost its ability to filter out small particles in the air by creating a tighter seal between the mask and the wearer's face. In some cases, that extra nylon layer helped homemade cloth masks match or exceed the filtering capability of medical-grade surgical masks.

PA-WAgN COVID-19 Community Check-In and Virtual Potlucks

April 20, 2020

PA-WAgN COVID-19 Community Check-ins are an opportunity to come together (virtually, of course) to share resources, support, stories, and information with fellow PA-WAgN members. Our network is still strong and staying connected with each other is more important now than ever! Feel free to invite children, pets, partners, friends, or whoever else is part of your quarantine family to join. These check-ins are partly meant to take the place of our normal potluck series, so you are also welcome to bring dinner or a snack to "share" (on camera) with the group! Click 'Read More' for a list of upcoming regional potlucks and to register. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Penn State Extension to offer free online courses through April

April 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a way to support its customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Penn State Extension is offering its library of online courses at no cost through April.

A Secretary of Agriculture to discuss feeding the region during COVID-19 in free webinar

April 15, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, April 10, 2020 — Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding will join Fox Management ConsultingManaging Director and Temple University Professor TL Hill on Thursday, April 16, at 3 p.m. for the webinar series, Post Pandemic: Stories of Organizational Resilience and Innovation. The webinar is free and open to the public. Farming and the broader food distribution system have been deemed essential businesses and continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only is Pennsylvania’s agriculture critical to health and well-being, it is also a major part of the state’s economy that is poised to become a countrywide leader in local and sustainable production. Emerging from the pandemic as a leader will depend on a nimble, innovative response. Secretary Redding, appointed to the post in 2015, will discuss some of the challenges to the supply chain as well as innovations to agriculture business models as the industry adjusts to Covid-19. A native of Pennsylvania, Redding has an innate understanding of production agriculture, stemming from his youth on his family’s dairy farm and his time as a dairy farm operator. He currently serves as Chair of the USDA Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture. Redding is the former dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College (now Delaware Valley University). To join the conversation via a Zoom call, click 'Read More' link below.

Upcoming Farminar: Mental Health and Stress Management for Farmers During a Pandemic

April 15, 2020

Today at 12noon. Social worker, Kathy Smith will give tips for women farmers struggling with all the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on their farms, families and personal lives. Click 'Read More' link below to register.

Farmer Relief Fund-American Farmland Trust

April 15, 2020

(From https://farmland.org/farmer-relief-fund/) The coronavirus pandemic is impacting businesses that rely on direct contact with their customers, including farmers and ranchers that primarily sell their products through farmers markets and to restaurants, schools, and other institutions...To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust (AFT) is launching a new Farmer Relief Fund. 100% of donations to the fund will go directly to farmers. AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs...AFT envisions an initial application round extending until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.

Farminar Recording Available: Strengthening Our Food System Together in Times of Crisis

April 15, 2020

A recording of PA-WAgN's March 27th Webinar, Strengthening Our Food System Together In Times of Crisis is now available. This discussion-based webinar offers perspectives from women growers and food advocates around crisis management and the food system within the context of COVID-19. Nicole Sugerman, NESAWG Policy Associate touched briefly on the federal stimulus package, shared information regarding paid sick leave, highlighted recommendations and resources for farmers markets, and offered insight into Pennsylvania policies in development related to COVID-19 and food and agriculture. Patty Neiner, PA-WAgN Program Manager/Over the Moon Farm + Lyn Garling, Over the Moon Farm highlighted emerging challenges for small direct market farmers and their ability to meet peoples’ food needs, alternative market structures, and leveraging existing infrastructure for food security. Noelle Warford, Urban Tree Connection Executive Director + Nykisha Madison-Keita, Urban Tree Connection Farm Manager shared the contingency plan for their mission-driven, community-based farm in West Philadelphia including organizational, food production, and food distribution planning. To view the recording, click the 'Read More' link below.

Penn State Extension Agricultura en Español

April 15, 2020

April 06, 2020 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension is connecting with Latinx agriculturists in essential food businesses to provide timely outreach and science-based education on farm production, food safety and workplace risk management...The initiative is an outgrowth of the new Penn State Extension Latinx Agricultural Network advised by Latinx community leaders. As part of this effort, faculty in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and extension educators set up a Facebook page in Spanish, found by clicking the 'Read More' link below.

Victory Garden Reinvented! Webinar Series

April 15, 2020

Penn State Extension Master Gardeners are offering a weekly, 10-week lunchtime webinar series on Tuesdays starting next week. From the registration page: "Shelter-in-place is a new concept for most of us, and as we spend more time confined to our homes, many people are finding that time outdoors in the garden relieves stress and provides needed exercise. And as a bonus, delicious vegetables and fruits can be grown and harvested at a reduced cost. Join us for the Victory Garden Reinvented! Webinar Series to learn up-to-date, research-based information on best practices for growing vegetables." (Although this event has filled to capacity, they are urgently working to obtain a larger webinar room. Please click "register" to be added to the waiting list so they can notify you when additional spots become available. Thank you!)

USDA Announces Application Deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

April 15, 2020

(USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service sent this bulletin at 04/14/2020 04:11 PM EDT) The deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in Pennsylvania this year is June 1, 2020. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

The Giant Company Announces $250,000 Emergency Grant Program

April 15, 2020

April 10th, 2020 (Penn State Extension): The GIANT Company announced today a $250,000 emergency grant program, in partnership with Team Pennsylvania, to support small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic...Applications are now being accepted online through April 24 from any small business involved in growing, making or processing food within the Commonwealth.

All ATTRA Publications Now Free

March 24, 2020

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, home of the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, is pleased to announce it is now providing all the technical resources on the ATTRA website at no cost. This means that you no longer need to pay an annual subscription fee or individual publication fee to access any of our digital publications, videos, podcasts, and other resources and materials at https://attra.ncat.org/.

Extension Updates and COVID-19

March 20, 2020

As of today, all Extension offices are closed to the public, however, Extension educators are still working to support the agriculture industry across the state. As noted by Provost Jones, “Of course, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and there may be new directives issued by the governor and/or other governmental and health agencies in the coming hours and days. We appreciate everyone's understanding and flexibility.” With this being a busy time of year for soil test kits, Extension recommends that members of the public download the required form(s) from the Penn State Analytical Lab; use their own bag for soil; and send the form, sample, and payment directly to the Lab. Detailed instructions are available here: https://agsci.psu.edu/aasl/soil-testing/fertility/soil-fertility-submission-forms.

Farminar: Strengthening Our Food System Together in a Time of Crisis

March 20, 2020

Join PA-WAgN for an upcoming farminar (webinar) to imagine solutions and coordinate action to address the challenges that we face now and will face in the future.

Upcoming PA-WAgN Programs Cancelled/Postponed

March 16, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 virus, all in-person PA-WAgN events for the next three weeks have either been postponed or cancelled. This includes the potluck at Foggy Blossom Farm in Butler County on 3/18, the seed starting workshop at the Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery in Pittsburgh on 3/25, the Tractor Safety and Maintenance workshop in Brownsville on 3/29-3/30, the Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance workshop in Chicora on 4/1-4/2, and the potluck at Raelynn Snyder's Farm in Chicora on 4/20. The safety of our members and participants is of the utmost importance and we appreciate your understanding. In the meantime, stay tuned for new program dates and upcoming digital programs.

Farmers take advantage of $1 Million PA Farm Bill Farm Vitality Grant Program

March 12, 2020

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently announced that Pennsylvania farmers could apply for grants up to $7,500 through the PA Farm Bill’s $1 million Farm Vitality Grant Program for organic transition planning assistance. Farmers interested in taking advantage of the program should apply by April 3

2020 NESAWG Conference Call for Proposals

March 12, 2020

NESAWG is seeking exciting and engaging session proposals for the 2020 NESAWG conference. Their conference will be held in Providence, RI, on November 19th, 20th, and 21st. They are looking for sessions that tackle systemic issues with engaging activities and presentations that prioritize the leadership and voices of those most impacted by the issue discussed. The deadline to submit proposals is May 3, 2020!

Women’s History Month Spotlight: African Seed Keepers

March 9, 2020

Women’s History month celebrates the rich history of women in the United States.  Today we will be celebrating the history of African women, captured and transported to the America’s via the transatlantic slave trade, who held hope for the future through seeds kept in their braids.  We will do this by sharing and reflecting upon the opening of Leah Penniman’s chapter on Seed Keeping in her recently published book, Farming While Black.

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Three Sisters

March 7, 2020

Here at PA-WAgN we are celebrating Women's History Month by celebrating the rich history of women in agriculture. Today we would like to shine a light on the divinely feminine agricultural roots of food production in the United States by highlight the indigenous Three Sisters agricultural tradition.

USDA extends GAP program for fruit, veg growers

March 4, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Assistance Program to remain available to eligible producers until all allocated funds are depleted. The program helps fruit and vegetable growers in 16 states enhance market access by defraying the costs of user fees for voluntary audits.

Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network

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University Park, PA 16802