The NCAT Gulf States Office is galloping into 2014 during this Year of the Horse in Chinese Astrology, with lots of outreach to new and beginning farmers and providing information and expertise on sustainable agriculture.
A highlight was the Feb. 20-22 visit of the National Center for Appropriate Technology board of directors to the Gulf States office in Jackson, with a farm tour of sustainable farms and an open house that brought dignitaries from around the state.
Photo: Members of the NCAT Board of Directors and others sign in to tour the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production demonstration farm at Goodman, Miss., Feb. 21, 2014. (Photo: Jim Ewing, NCAT)
The group toured the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production (ASAP) demonstration farm at Goodman, Miss.; Francis Flowers and Herbs Farm at Pickens, Miss.; and Foot Print Farms, which is located within the city limits of Jackson, Miss.
The tours highlight farms that emphasize sustainable growing practices, including organic methods at ASAP, biodynamic farming at Francis Flowers and Herbs, and small ruminants at Foot Print Farms, which is also an urban farm almost within sight of some of The Capital City's most bustling venues.
Afterwards, the board was feted at an open house at the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity Building at the old New Deal Grocery at the Jackson Medical Mall, where the NCAT Gulf States Office is located. Various dignitaries attended from around the state.
To read more about it, along with photos of the farm tour, see:
A Swirl of Conferences
Earlier this year, members of the office attended a swirl of conferences. They included the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference in Savannah, Ga., Jan. 9-11.
It was a joy and a privilege to meet with growers from across the Southeast region and hand out information provided by NCAT's ATTRA project.
ATTRA — The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service — has more than 400 publications that explain a variety of issues farmers may confront with simple, easy to understand solutions.
Photo: Amelia Hines of USDA's NRCS Georgia office shows how it's done regarding tweeting events at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference Jan. 11 in Savannah, Ga. (Photo: Jim Ewing, NCAT)
A highlight was "tweeting" back and forth between conference-goers. We enjoyed "tweets" on Twitter with members of Georgia NRCS, Georgia Organics, and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program, and visited in person, as well.
To read more, see: www.ncat.org/ncat-gulf-states-makes-splash-in-savannah/ And you can join us on Twitter, at @NCAT_org and @ATTRASustainAg
A week later, Jan. 15-19, the staff attended the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) annual conference in Mobile, Ala. SSAWG is the premier event for sustainable agriculture in the Southeast region. About 1,100 people attended.
Photo: NCAT Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods speaks with interested conference goers at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference in Mobile, Ala., Jan. 18, 2014. (Photo by Jim Ewing, NCAT)
We handed out all the printed material we brought, totaling about 1,000 publications. It should be noted that Gulf States Regional Agriculture Specialist Felicia Bell is vice president of SSAWG and was highly visible as a member of the NCAT/ATTRA team!
For more info, see:
Following the Savannah conference, members of the Gulf States office attended the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference at Auburn University, Feb. 6-8.
Photo: Ann Chambliss, outreach administrator for the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, was a welcome visitor at our NCAT Gulf States booth. Check out AFVGA on Twitter @AFVGA—and while you're at it, send a tweet to @NCAT_ORG! (Photo by Jim Ewing, NCAT)
A highlight was the demonstration farm where Auburn is testing varieties of bananas that can be grown in the United States coastal region. The field trials are being held with hopes that local growers can provide a crop that competes with grocery imports. The trials are in their infancy, but so far two varieties survived last year's 21- and 25-degree lows to harvest. They think at least one will survive this year's 9-degree low, and this was in central Alabama, not the Coast. Trials are being held further south in Alabama, as well.
For more information, see:
We have also given workshops and presentations in Louisiana and Mississippi since our last newsletter, including the Louisiana State University AgCenter in Baton Rouge, La., and Winston County.
Photo: NCAT Gulf States Office Agriculture Program Specialist Felicia Bell speaks to farmers and the Louisiana Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Winter Conference in Baton Rouge Dec. 4. (Photo by Jim Ewing, NCAT)
We also partnered in February with the Women in Agriculture Coast Chapter. NCAT Agriculture Program Specialist Felicia Bell gave a talk on obtaining government assistance for new, women, minority, and historically underserved farmers, and Outreach Coordinator Jim Ewing spoke on turning gardens into profits and expanding them.
For more information, see:
NCAT Agriculture Program Specialist Felicia Bell will speak on Planting and Planning Your Garden at the NCAT Gulf States Office March 12, kicking off the Empowering Farmers Series for 2014. The talk will be followed by a field day on March 15 at Tougaloo-Rainbow Gardens located on the Tougaloo College campus. Both events are in collaboration with Gaining Ground—Sustainability Institute of Mississippi—Central Chapter. Admission for both events is free but registration is required; contact Bell at 479-575-1386.
The 23rd annual Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) Small Farmers Conference March 24-26 at the Jackson Convention Complex, 105 E. Pascagoula St., Jackson, Miss. NCAT Agriculture Program Specialist Felicia Bell will speak on ABCs of Organic Gardening. For more info, see: www.alcorn.edu/offices/Relations/
Gaining Ground—Sustainability Institute of Mississippi 2014 Sustainable Living Conference April 4-6 at MSU Riley Center, Meridian, Miss. For more info, see: www.gogreenmeridian.com/saturday-april-5th.html
National Women in Agriculture Association's 4th Annual New Generation Symposium, April 24-26 Concourse Renaissance Hotel, One Hartsfield Centre Parkway, Atlanta , GA 30354. For more info, see: www.eventbrite.com/e/registration
The Gulf States office is available to provide sustainable agriculture information and technical assistance across the five-state region: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Call us for more information on how we can assist your organization, toll free:
Have a farm or ranch question?
Call ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service toll-free at:
Or, en Espanol:
Contact the Gulf States office at 2548 Livingston Road
Jackson, MS 39213;
toll-free (866) 643-2767.
We would love to hear your input! What can we do to help you?
Give us a call (toll free): (866) 643-2767
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