Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Action Alert! Do you trust the House of Representatives with your food?

When you think about the future of food, what do you want to see? If you’re like us, you want to see thriving family farms across the countryside and your choice of fresh, healthy, affordable food in your community.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is poised to take a giant step backwards this week – away from the kind of future we want and towards unlimited subsidies for mega-farms and corporate agribusiness and reduced investments in organic and sustainable farming.

The American people didn’t ask for this – we expect better.
Help us tell Congress today.

With your help last month we made some big progress in getting farm policy back on track in the Senate and now it’s time to ensure the House of Representatives does the same. An amendment with commonsense, long-overdue farm subsidy reforms is on the table right now – as are two amendments to support local and regional food and farm efforts and organic farming. 

This is our chance to reform unlimited subsidies
and invest in a better future today!

Here’s what you need to know: on the reform front, Rep. Fortenberry’s (R-NE) amendment #93 puts a cap on commodity subsidy payments and closes loopholes that allow mega-farms to collect unlimited payments. As for that better future, Rep. Pingree’s (D-ME) amendment #176 (with Reps. Fortenberry (R-NE), Gibson (R-NY), and McIntyre (D-NC)) costs nothing and would improve policies to spur small business development and create jobs in rural America by strengthening existing credit, rural development, and research and extension programs that support local food efforts. And Rep. Ribble’s (R-WI) amendment #63 (with Reps. Courtney (D-CT), Hanna (R-NY), and DeFazio (D-OR)) would restore funding for two key programs that keep the organic sector running smoothly for farmers and consumers.
This week, with these amendments, we may finally have a shot at getting a better farm bill in the House of Representatives – one that supports fresh, healthy food and ensures real reform to corporate and mega-farm subsidies.

The House will start voting tonight – make a call today!

Calling is easy – just dial the number and leave a message like this one below with the person who answers the phone:

“Hello, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent and a voter (and tell ‘em if you’re a farmer!).  I would like to leave a message for Representative ___’s agriculture staffer.  Can you take a message for me, please?  The message is:  I urge the Representative to support three key amendments during farm bill floor debate this week: Fortenberry #93 for subsidy reform, Pingree #176 for local food and economic development, and Ribble #63 for organics. Congress needs to get our farm policy back on track by reforming subsidies and investing in a more sustainable future.  Thank you.”

We’re making great progress thanks to you – every call makes a difference!

Thanks for all you do,
NSAC’s Grassroots Team

Monday, June 17, 2013

Raising Dough for Food Businesses Webinar

National Good Food Network Webinar

Raising Dough for Food Businesses

Thursday, June 20
3:30 - 4:45pm ET

Free! Register Now

Is lack of access to capital really a problem for food businesses that are solving social and environmental problems?
There are more types of capital than ever before to support food businesses... but many don't know they exist, they can be challenging to access and even more, it’s hard to tell which type will be the best for each business.
Elizabeth Ü, author of “Raising Dough,” will provide a helpful framework for thinking about appropriate financing sources for  enterprises, sensitive to their unique values, priorities, and where they are in the business lifecycle. Her presentation is designed primarily for organizations that work with socially responsible food businesses, such as people who work for nonprofits, government offices, economic development companies, consulting firms, lenders, foundations, family offices. Of course the same principles apply to fundraising entrepreneurs themselves, who will leave with lots of tools to work with in their quest to raise money.
Gray Harris, of Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), a community development finance institution (CDFI) in Maine, will give some detailed, illustrative examples of their investments, and investment strategies in regional food systems.
Join us on this webinar to learn to “Raise Dough” for food businesses.

Reserve your spot - click here

Friday, June 14, 2013

USDA Webinar Invitation, June 27th 2-3pm

Learn How to Sell Fruits and Vegetables to the USDA
June 27, 2013
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
On Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a free interactive webinar, “How to Sell Fruits and Vegetables to the USDA.”   

Each year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) buys over $530 million and 1.1 billion pounds of frozen, processed, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  This healthy, American grown and  processed product helps feed millions of school children and is also distributed to food banks, disaster areas, and elsewhere it is needed.

Visit the Commodity Procurement website, to see what products AMS buys. Then tune in to this webinar to learn everything you need to get started selling your products to USDA.

Sara Hernandez of the AMS’s Commodity Procurement Staff will:

·         introduce you to the USDA Commodity Procurement program,
·         discuss the types of products USDA buys,
·         outline the requirements for selling to USDA, as well as the solicitation and awards processes,
·         provide information about contracting opportunities for small, socially disadvantaged, women- and veteran-owned businesses, and
·         give you all of the tools and resources you need to do business with USDA.

Following Sara’s formal presentation, the webinar will conclude with an interactive question and answer session.

This informative webinar is designed for fruit and vegetable growersprocessors and distributors of all sizes.  The webinar is free and available to anyone with Internet access.   However, registration is  required and space is limited.  Visit ( to register today! 

We will host webinars on more AMS programs and services throughout the year.  To view previous webinars online, visit our Webinar Archive
We’ll see you online!  Register Today! 

If you have any questions about AMS or our webinars, please contact Christopher Purdy at (202) 720-3209 or

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Urban Farming Classes at Soil Born Farms! Register today!!

Register here for the exciting farming and gardening classes at Soil Born Farms this summer! 
Contact Sarah Barnes, Education Coordinator for more information: 916-252-6695 or

Building Healthy Soil
Saturday, July 20, 3pm-7pm

Location: Soil Born Farms American River Ranch
Healthy plants are born from healthy soil.  This class will unlock the mysteries of soil and teach you how to build and maintain fertility to grow healthy, vibrant crops in your garden or small farm. 

Instructors: Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension
Click here to register

Harvesting, Grading, and Packing for Retail, Wholesale, and Direct Markets
Saturday, July 27, 3pm-6pm
Location: Soil Born Farms American River Ranch

How do you prepare that beautiful, tender produce for market once it’s ripe?  What kind of quality control is necessary to ensure that your customers are happy?  If you’re a new or aspiring small farmer, this hands-on class is a must for learning the crucial last steps to send off a product you can be proud of, every week.

Instructor: Elle Huftil-Balzer, Assistant Farm Manager, Soil Born Farms
Click here to register

Organic Systems Compliance
Wednesday, July 31, 5:30-8:30pm
Location: Soil Born Farms American River Ranch

Preparing for organic certification can be overwhelming.  From documenting the type, quantity, and frequency of amendment application, to determining the practices and procedures necessary to meet the certification requirements, there is a lot to know.  In this class you’ll learn from a pro all there is to know about creating an Organic System Plan and setting up your small farm for successful organic certification and compliance.

Instructor: Rex Dufour, NCAT/ATTRA
Click here to register

Crop Planning: Planning for Success in your Garden or Small Farm
Saturday, August 3, 3pm-6pm
Location: Soil Born Farms American River Ranch

Creating a crop plan is one of the most important tasks for getting the most out of your garden or small farm business.  Learn how to make a sound crop plan and seeding schedule so you can maximize your space and fertility, set your farm up for a successful season, and reap an abundant, well-timed harvest from your garden.

Instructor: Dan Gannon, Humble Roots CSA
Click here to register

Seed Saving
Wednesday, August 21, 5:30-8:30pm

Saving seed is a great way to reproduce the amazing vegetables your garden produces year after year.  It also provides a more intimate experience with your garden and the natural life cycle of plants.  Learn from professional seed saver Harald Hoven at this important hands-on class. 

Instructor: Harald Hoven, Raphael Gardens at the Rudolf Steiner College
Click here to register

The Business of Starting a Small Farm: Goal Setting & Enterprise Analysis
Wednesday, September 4, 5:30-8:30pm

What steps must be taken to evaluate and plan for a successful farming enterprise? In order to implement a successful ‘Small Farm Enterprise’ prospective farmers must first spend time articulating goals, evaluating resources and making plans to meet their financial goals. Crop enterprise budgeting is a powerful tool used to understand the costs to produce a particular crop and the economic returns. These budgets allow farmers to improve profits, make better farm-business decisions, and increase the sustainability of an enterprise. Students will learn the basic skills involved in assessing an agricultural enterprise for short and long-term profitability and of the need to create comprehensive business/financial/marketing plans for any ‘Small Farm Enterprise’.

Instructors: Organized by California Farm Link
Click here to register

Wrapping up the Season: Fall Tasks and their Timing
Saturday, September 7, 3pm-6pm

Believe it or not, early September is the time to think about the end of the growing season.  Taking time to “button things up” in the fall means healthier soil next season, not to mention a pleasant and easy start in the spring.  Plus, if you’re growing food over the winter, now is the time to get started, and this class will teach you how. 

Instructors: TBD
Click here to register

Small-Scale Berry Production
Wednesday, September 11, 5:30-8:30pm

Berries can be a delightful addition to your farm or garden, and an excellent source of income if you grow them commercially.  Learn how to prepare the soil for growing different kinds of berries, plus how to plant them, take care of them, and maximize production of delicious berries.

Instructor: Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension
Click here to register

Growing Grapes
Wednesday, September 25

In this class, you’ll learn the in’s and out’s of planting, caring for, and harvesting grapes.  Whether you want to make your own wine, sell to winemakers, or enjoy them fresh, Chuck Ingels will teach you what you need to know to get started with small-scale grape growing.

Instructor: Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension
Click here to register

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grow Your Own Business Class Series!

Grow Your Own Business! 

Meet with local restaurant and supermarket owners and learn how to appeal to their needs and increase your business. 

Each session will cover different aspects of business operations and will include an experienced grower that will share their expertise in farming. 

Participants will receive a stipend of $250 along with a wealth of resources and information about business operations and will be given on-going Technical Assistant. 

Class Schedule: 
May 30, 2013 
June 27, 2013 
July 25, 2013 
August 29, 2013 
September 27, 2013 
5:00 pm—7:00 pm 

Classes will be held at: 
5709 Stockton Blvd 
Sacramento, CA 95824

Thyan Pham | Executive Assistant 
5709 Stockton Blvd | Sacramento, CA 95824 
Ph: 916-454-1892 | Email: