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Responses to COVID 19 #1

On-line sales platforms

There is a flurry of activity to support small farmers and their farmers markets and restaurant partners as we all grapple with changing supply chains. The good news is that with restaurants closed, people are purchasing more food from groceries. (More than 50% of the food we consume has come from restaurants!) Our independent grocery partners are now on the front line of resilience in the food system.

I will post info to this web site as it becomes available to me. For example, this webinar will discuss on-line sales platforms and will be recorded so you can participate live or listen later. [I realize not everyone has internet access – people are working on options. Time to make the internet a utility!]:

With restaurants and some farmers markets shutting down, we know many of you need to find alternative sales channels for your products. Customers are also looking for new solutions to buy quality, organic food safely.

Join Oregon Tilth’s free webinar on Friday, March 20 at 11:00am PST to learn more about direct-to-consumer online sales platforms.

Please forward this to any farmers that may benefit from attending.

We’ll hear from representatives from four online sales platforms:

 * Barn2Door
 * Harvie
 * Local Food Marketplace
 * Open Food Network

When you register, we’ll send you a round-up of online sales platforms, questions to consider, and other resources to help your farm adapt during this crisis.

The webinar will be recorded and available on our website.

*REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR <https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftilth.us10.list-manage.com%2Ftrack%2Fclick%3Fu%3Da8b54e2fc4edb4203771d7bc8%26id%3Dff815ee4fd%26e%3D86d54827d5&data=02%7C01%7C%7C6b8b60ce42c24855b99708d7cc33b50b%7Cafb58802ff7a4bb1ab21367ff2ecfc8b%7C0%7C0%7C637202394768933489&sdata=dSHxjNVgO5assJxMD6sT%2F2vo6jATUJAJxP24%2FxHBURU%3D&reserved=0>*

Drop apples

Did you know that if you intend to make hard, fermented cider from apples, you may use drops? As a grower, you will need to provide buyers with written notification that you are selling them drops. As a buyer, you need to give the grower written notification that you intend to process and ferment the fruit. Check out this drop picker, used in Serbia. You can make it yourself, and it is sized for small orchards. A labor saver, but process the apples ASAP! Please hit the link directly so they see your interest: https://serbiaorganica.info/en/apple-picker/

Responses to COVID 19 #2

March 20: Roundtable Discussion: Food Policy Councils and COVID-19

FPC leaders will explore the processes, challenges, and lessons learned from addressing food system resilience concerns in their cities.

This webinar is hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. As day-to-day operations grind to a halt with the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic threatens to highlight and exacerbate existing inequities in society. Join the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food Policy Networks project for a discussion this Friday, March 20 about how food policy councils can play a key role in connecting efforts among local governments, non-profits, food banks, farmers, schools, and grocery stores to reduce barriers to food access and security; support local food producers, workers, and businesses; and advocate for policies that protect our communities during these uncertain times. Local food policy council leaders will explore the processes, challenges, and lessons learned from addressing food system resilience concerns in their cities. We also encourage attendees to share what is happening in their communities to address the pandemic.

Speakers: • Michaela Freiburger, Dubuque County Food Policy Council (Iowa) • Dawn Plummer, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council • Nessa Richman, Rhode Island Food Policy Council • Dana Wood, Safe and Abundant Nutrition Alliance (Colorado) This discussion will be recorded and posted to YouTube afterward.

Even if you are unable to participate in the live event, you may receive the link to the video by registering. Registration link: https://jh.zoom.us/meeting/register/v5wvf-GtrDguS6Ngri3N5DlNmqAvXAiw2A Please contact rsanto1@jhu.edu if you have any questions.

Updates on food transportation

Just a news flash that a lot has happened with the Madison Food Terminal. There is more detail posted on the Regional Food Freight Tab (top of your screen). Interested in other transportation issues? I posted a short summary of the 99th Annual Transportation Research Conference on the page, too.

2020 Midwest Organic Pork Conference

March 13 -14, 2020
Hotel Julien
Dubuque, Iowa


The only conference in the United States dedicated to presenting the best resources and information available to help expand opportunities for organic and niche pork production and distribution. 

The event includes a session on hazelnut-finished pork.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN– use the link above for more information, to register or exhibit.

Reserve your hotel room now!  
Call the Hotel Julien at 800.798.7098 or 563.556.4200

Summer events in-person and on-line

Looking to learn about agriculture, food, and our food system? There are a number of events this summer if you want to get out in the field or join on-line.

July 3rd – The UN Committee on Food Security launched the HLPE Report on “Agroecological and other innovative approaches” in Rome. The recorded webcast of the 3 hour event is available here.
The full report in English will be available by mid-July, while the other language versions will be available in September. The link to the summary and recommendations document (in English) is available here: http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-hlpe/en/

July 30th, 2019 10am Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Organic Farms — Karin Jokela, Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planner, Minnesota, Xerxes Society and Caleb Langworthy Organic Specialist, Conservation Education, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service

The National Organic Program regulations require farmers to maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation including wildlife.  This presents an opportunity for conservation agents to work with producers to address the lack of pollinator habitat.  This webinar will address required practices on organic farms, NRCS practices/enhancements that meet those requirements. It will also address evaluation tools, initiatives, site preparation, success stories and resources to successfully work with organic farmers to establish pollinator habitat.

Registration link for summer webinars: Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at 


August 7-8, 2019 Innovations in the Food System: Shaping the Future of Food – a workshop

On August 7 and 8, the National Academies of Sciences Food Forum will host a workshop that will explore current innovations in the food system. Workshop presenters will discuss the dimensions of food systems and how to utilize innovations to meet the needs of small and large supply chains to support decision-making. The workshop will include discussions on issues related to safety and sustainability, economic and social challenges and opportunities, innovative case examples, and strategies in reducing food waste. Register to attend in-person or via webcast. Register to attend in person or via webcast. For more information, visit the Academies’ website.

  • When: Wednesday, August 7 (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) and Thursday, August 8 (8:30 am – 12:00 pm)
  • Where: The National Academies of Sciences Building, Lecture Room (2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20418)
  • Watch: This event will be webcast live
  • Learn more and sign up here: bit.ly/foodsystemff

Thursday August 8, 2019, Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Organic Farms with Karin Jokela, Xerces Society; Kaitlyn O’Connor, Prairie Moon Nursery, Blue Fruit Farm Tour

Free Training for NRCS agents, county conservationists, technical service providers.

  • When: 10am to 3pm
  • Where: Wiscoy Community Center, 31783 Bur Oak Lane, Winona, MN and the farm tour at Blue Fruit Farm, 31762 Wiscoy Ridge Road, Winona, MN
  • To register or with questions: mosesorganic.org/nrcs, and questions to Caleb@mosesorganic.org

Thursday August 15, Wisconsin Farmers Union summer conference: American Agriculture, Where Are We Headed? A look at the future of our family farms, food systems, watersheds, and rural towns and why we must address anti-trust in agriculture. Bill Baer, former head of the federal Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division and past Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Where: Wisconsin Farmers Union Kamp Kenwood, 19161 79th Avenue, Chippewa Falls, WI
  • When: 10 am to 2pm
  • Other details: There will be a pie contest for bakers and Acorn Day Camp for children 7+yrs for $15/child.
  • To register: RSVP to WFU at 715-723-5561 or www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/events

August 23rd, 2019 10 am, Working with Small Organic Farming Operations,KaYing Vang, Soil Conservationist NRCS and Valerie Dantoin, Instructor in Organic Agriculture, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Organic farming systems are diverse in both their production and scale. The 2017 Census of Agriculture shows 45.8% of organic farms in MN, WI and IA are under 100 acres.  A 2017 Oregon Tilth survey of farmers who participated in the EQIP Organic Initiative showed that 79% of respondents farmed less than 100 acres; 86.7% of those respondents said that concern for the environment was a motivation for them to farm organically. This webinar will provide NRCS field staff insight into working with producers on small farms to address natural resource concerns. 

Registration link for summer webinars: Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone at 


Equitable food

I had the good fortune to serve on a panel about food access at this year’s SXSW, in Austin this March. Entitled “Re-linking the Food Supply Chain: Connecting Producers and Consumers,” we heard from six people working in this space. Food access was also the topic of this month’s Talking Freight, hosted by the US Department of Transportation. An audience of about 175 state and regional transportation planners, logistics companies and others interested in improving food access to urban and rural communities participated in the session. If you have a chance to check out these sites, I would love to hear what you think.

Food, ag and climate seminar

Laura Lengnick will be at the UW-Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems from 10-noon on Friday April 26, 2019 to discuss climate resilience, midwest flooding, and give us an overview of what happened at the National Adaptation Forum at the Monona Terrace in Madison that week. Please join us!

Lengnick is a CIAS fellow, and author of the book Resilient Agriculture (2015). She recently authored a SARE publication on Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. She is the principle of Cultivating Resilience. Current and past clients include: 

Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council, Asheville, NC
USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Washington DC
North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance
Forageable Community Project, Charlotte NC
Glynwood Farm, Coldspring NYClimate Listening Project, Asheville NC
Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics, Capital Institute, Greenwich CT
Agriculture, Forestry and Climate Learning Network, Athens GA
NC Adapt: The North Carolina Agriculture and Forestry Adaptation Work Group, Raleigh NC
Farm Beginnings Program, Organic Growers School, Asheville NCAlliance for Resilient Campuses, Second Nature, Boston MA