Welcome to the summer edition of NCAT Southeast’s newsletter, The Dirt! We hope you’re enjoying this season of garden-fresh veggies and fruit, longer days, and bright sunshine. We’ve been busy in the office producing podcasts, publications, and tutorials, but we’ve also had a chance to get outside for some fun workshops—read about them below. You can sign up to receive The Dirt by email here. And we now have an NCAT Southeast Facebook page! Give us a “like” here.
Arkansas Armed to Farm Trains 30 Veterans
We had our largest Armed to Farm class since the program began in 2013: 30 veterans from 15 states spent June 12-16 in Fayetteville, AR, learning about small-scale sustainable farming. The week featured classroom sessions on business planning, recordkeeping, marketing, and more. Farm tours included fruit, vegetable, and livestock farms. Several NCAT staff members presented on topics including soils, vegetable production, whole-farm planning, social media marketing, digital tools and recordkeeping, business planning and funding, fruit production, and sheep/goat production and handling. We had a fun week with a great group of engaged learners. For a detailed recap of the training, see our blog post here.
Summer Fun with FoodCorps
Our FoodCorps sites have selected new service members for the upcoming year of service, which begins in August. We will be growing our corps of Arkansas members to 11 this year. We’ll welcome seven new members, and four will be returning to complete a second year of service. They will serve in six school districts across the state, in a total of 19 schools.
We celebrated successes from the past year with our site supervisors and service members last week in Russellville, AR, acknowledging the hard work that everyone put in to make this year a successful one for Farm to School efforts in all our partner communities.
School may be out for the summer, but our current class of service members is staying busy until their term ends July 31. They are doing garden camps, open garden hours, community garden work days, and setting up plans to successfully and sustainably carry their programs into the future—long after their FoodCorps term expires.
Follow FoodCorps Arkansas year-round on Facebook here.
NCAT Southeast Out and About
- NCAT’s Southeast Regional Director Margo Hale, Horticulture Specialist Luke Freeman, and Northeast Regional Director Andy Pressman held a double-header of workshops for vegetable producers on May 10 and 11. NCAT’s partner on the project, Heifer USA, hosted the trainings at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR. The first day featured Margo and Luke
presenting sessions on risk management, business planning, recordkeeping, produce safety, and digital tools for recordkeeping. During the second day, Andy led sessions on scales of production and equipment for varying scales of production, along with interactive lessons on evaluating and choosing equipment and determining costs of purchasing equipment. The day ended with hands-on time with a wide variety of tool—from hand tools to BCS tractors and implements. For more information about NCAT’s resources for vegetable producers, visit the Horticultural Crops section of ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture’s website here.
- Guy Ames traveled to Ferguson, MO, to train apprentice farmers at EarthDance Organic Farm School. He spent time in the orchard showing them how to recognize successes and issues, then presented a lecture on organic fruit production. For more information, see ATTRA’s fruit production resources here.
- Margo Hale and Nina Prater attended events in Arkansas geared toward livestock producers. Nina attended the Arkansas Grazinglands Coalition Annual Conference in Ozark, AR, on March 16. Margo presented on multispecies grazing at the Crooked Creek Conservation District Pasture Conference in Yellville, AR, on April 6. For more information on grazing practices, see ATTRA’s Pasture, Rangeland, and Grazing Management resources here.
NCAT staff members will participate in the following events:
Southern Illinois Farming Alliance
July 10, 2017 from 1:00-3:00 pm
Produce Safety Workshop
August 10, 2017 from 7:30 am-5:00 pm
Event listings are added regularly to the ATTRA Workshops page at:
New and updated ATTRA publications and resources:
If you have questions about sustainable agriculture production or marketing, using renewable energy on your farm, or how to become certified organic, call ATTRA. We’re here to help! 1-800-346-9140 or 1-800-411-3222 en Español. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATTRA – A National Sustainable Agriculture Assistance Program – is developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.