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Good News from NCAT's Gulf States Region!


new truck for Gulf States region

It’s that lovely time of year when the days are still long, the sun is still hot, but fall is just at the edge of the horizon. The promise of some relief from the heat, but we still have plenty of vine-ripe tomatoes to gorge on, and vivid zinnias to enjoy.

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NCAT Board Visits Mississippi

Sam Humphrey

We hosted NCAT’s Board of Directors in Jackson, Mississippi this March. During their meeting the Gulf States team reported on our activities, including the progress of the NCAT-led Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative (MFJC). Calvin Head, Director of the Mileston Cooperative; John Hendrix with Choctaw Fresh Produce; Dorothy Grady-Scarborough with the Farm to School Network; NCAT Ag Specialist Felicia Bell; and FoodCorps Fellow Marlena Nip presented about their MSFJC activities. The board also made time to tour the NCAT Demonstration Farm at The Piney Woods School. And before we let them go back to their various homes around the country, we made sure they got the chance to tour the new Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS. We were so glad to host this meeting!




shipping container for farm storage

Our Farms, Our Future Conference

In April Felicia and Regional Director Rockiell Woods traveled to the Our Farms, Our Future ATTRA/SARE Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. This national conference, held every ten years, gave Rock and Felicia the chance to meet up with colleagues from across the region and promote the services and activities that NCAT and ATTRA provide to farmers all across the country. We saw old friends, made new connections, and met up with fellow NCAT folks from our other offices.




Rock Woods presenting

Mississippi Food Justice Collaborative Leadership Training

In June, Liz Broussard, NCAT’s Food Justice Coordinator, gathered the whole Gulf States team as well as food system leaders from around Mississippi for NCAT’s first Food Systems Leadership Training. This training was facilitated by Joseph McIntyre, with 10 Circles Consulting, and was an intensive two-day event to connect and train the group of 30 leaders. Read more about this training at our blog.





Felicia Attended SARE Training

On July 23, Felicia attended a training for farmers and farm group leaders, to learn the details of the SARE Grant application process, led by SARE’s Mr. Brennan Washington. Mr. Washington walked attendees through the process of applying for SARE’s farmer grants. In attendance along with Felicia were approximately 12 other leaders from around Mississippi who will be bringing this information back to farmers in their networks, in order to spread the word about these grant opportunities statewide. For more information on SARE’s farmer grants, see their website.




Rock Joins Mississippi Delta Council for Lunch and Learn Event

In July, Gulf States Regional Director Rockiell Woods presented at a Lunch and Learn event with the Mississippi Delta Council of Farm Workers Opportunities, Inc. in Clarksdale, MS. Approximately 40 farmers and students attended. Rock spoke about farm finances, and various production considerations for specialty crops including weed pressure, harvesting, and crop planning. He has been working with this group of farmers extensively, helping them create and follow a crop plan to allow for efficient use of a nearby processing facility.




Rock Woods presenting

Rock and Felicia Conduct “Growing in the City” Workshop

Rock and Felicia conducted a workshop together in Gulfport, Mississippi, titled “Growing in the City” on August 16. Mr. James Franklin, executive director of the 34th Street Wholistic Garden & Education Center, partnered with NCAT to conduct this day-long workshop on sustainable urban farming and gardening, farm finances, risk management in vegetable production and an on-farm tour. This workshop was the first of a series we will be hosting around Mississippi to discuss sustainable production practices and risk management topics. Make sure you’re signed up for our Weekly Harvest e-newsletter so you don’t miss out on these upcoming opportunities!




Rock Woods presentingRock Woods presenting

Demonstration Farm Update

Sam Humphrey, NCAT Demonstration Farm Manager, has been hard at work at the farm all spring and summer. He was busy getting vegetable transplants started in the greenhouse, getting the wide range of crops planted as soon as weather allowed, and he made his first CSA-style veggie box delivery April 24! He has continued to make weekly deliveries and to date has been providing customers with veggies for 19 weeks. Sam and former FoodCorps Service Member Kristin Lynch have been providing recipes for simple, healthy preparations of the various veggies included in the delivery. If you’re interested in seeing these, they are posted on our NCAT Gulf States Facebook page! Sam has been doing all of this, while still maintaining the farm and conducting educational activities for area farmers and students at The Piney Woods School. Students have just returned for the fall semester, and Sam is looking forward to supplying the cafeteria with fresh produce to be incorporated into student meals as well as doing some hands-on sustainable agriculture lessons. For more about Sam’s activities, check out our blog!





Upcoming Events

On September 4 and 5, NCAT is partnering with the Alliance of Sustainable Farms to host two workshops in two locations, titled “Expanding Market Opportunities: Understanding Marketing, Branding, and Social Media.” The Sept. 4 workshop will be at the NCAT Demonstration Farm at The Piney Woods School in Piney Woods, MS. The Sept. 5 workshop will be at the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, MS. See the Events page at NCAT Gulf States on Facebook, or contact allianceofsustainablefarms@gmail.com to register or for more information.

On September 18, Rock will be attending the Mid-South Organic Conference at Arkansas State University in West Memphis, Arkansas. The conference agenda says, “The event will be a mutual opportunity for farmers, landowners and agents from around the Mid-South to learn and share from their experiences and knowledge of organic farming. This will be a great chance for anyone thinking of transitioning to organic or agents who work with progressive farmers looking to make the leap to organic!” If you’re at the conference, come by the NCAT/ATTRA table and say hello!

On September 29, Felicia has planned a workshop to teach farmers about the application process for USDA Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG). This workshop will include:

  • • Instructions on how to obtain your DUNS, SAMS and Grants.gov registration
  • • Completing a walk through of the grant application. While all grant questions will be discussed, the walk through will focus on two areas of the application:
  • • Strategies to prepare the work scope, work plan, objectives and evaluation sections of the application. Content presentation will be followed by a working/brainstorming session to discuss scope, work plan, objectives and evaluation sections for the participant’s grant application.
  • • Strategies to identify partner organizations and prepare letters of support for in-kind matching funds. Content presentation will be followed by a working session to discuss participant’s proposed strategies for partners and in-kind match.
Register for these at www.ncat.org/events.

 


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The National Center for Appropriate Technology


NCAT Gulf States mailing address:
510 George Street, Suite 212
Jackson, MS 39202
(479) 575-1385
(866) 643-2767 Toll Free
rockw@ncat.org
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