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Our office in downtown San Antonio works on national, regional and local projects that advance NCAT's mission. We support organic farming, local food, water conservation, and community energy planning. We take a special interest in the needs of economically vulnerable people. And we are always open to new collaborations. If you would like to continue receiving this newsletter, please sign up here.

Thanks for reading our newsletter and please visit our web page.

—Mike Morris, Southwest Regional Office Director

 

Our Food Hub Feasibility Study is Out!

 

OrganicTexas consumers spend around $365 million per year on certified organic produce in the grocery store (or $1 million per day), yet only a tiny fraction of this produce is Texas-grown. Robert Maggiani and Mike Morris have completed a Feasibility Study for a Texas Organic Food Hub. The report concludes that a statewide food hub could be run profitably in Texas: aggregating produce from small organic farms and giving these farms access to the largely untapped market for Texas-grown certified organic produce. The project team also created a planning workbook that allows food hub organizers anywhere to conduct similar studies, forecasting the financial performance of a hypothetical or existing food hub. This work was supported by a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development. View or download the report and workbook.
 


Soil for Water

Organic  

Instead of building taller dams, longer pipelines, and deeper wells, what if we worked with nature and focused on storing more rain water in the soil? Our new Soil for Water initiative focuses on increasing organic matter and water-holding capacity in soils—an idea that has immediate application on grazing lands and great potential in addressing chronic water conservation needs throughout the Southwest. This fall the program will host a series of four seminars in central Texas, showing landowners how to improve soil health and restore damaged rangelands. See "Upcoming Events" below for more details. Funding is provided by the Dixon Water Foundation. Visit the Soil for Water website.




Farm to Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley

 

Farm to HospitalFarming, food, diet, and health... they are all connected. After a series of meetings between NCAT staff, Juan Raygoza (Terra Preta Farm), and Alex Racelis (UTRGV), the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (Edinburg, Texas) has decided to start an ambitious new schedule of weekly deliveries of fresh organic produce to hospital employees in November. Mike Morris drafted an agreement between Terra Preta farm and the hospital, and the project is modeled after the San Antonio Farm to Work program launched by Robert Maggiani last year.View a 3-minute video about the project.




Meet our Summer Interns

 

InternsSOARRonja Behrends (left) is a senior Communication and Psychology double major at Trinity University, with a minor in Film Studies. Taylor Brown (right) is a senior Chemical Engineering major at Prairie View A&M University. Among their many accomplishments, Taylor analyzed the results of our annual campus food survey (see story below), and Ronja designed a beautiful new logo for the SOAR Project. In July, Ronja and Taylor joined us on a trip to the Rio Grande Valley, where they interviewed students and local farmers and shot video segments on hoop house construction, cover crops, and planning for a new local food initiative. Watch Ronja's short videos.

 

Food Survey Results

 

Food SurveyNCAT has completed its second annual food survey on the campus of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (formerly known as UT-Pan American). The UTRGV Environmental Awareness Club pitched in to help with the survey, which was taken by over 400 people this year. The overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) agreed that organic farming practices are better for the environment, and 96% were concerned about pesticide residue in their food, but 72% thought that organic food costs too much. The campus survey will be conducted again in 2016. Visit the SOAR Partnership Facebook page.




New Poultry Publication

New Pastured Poultry Publication

 

Kevin Ellis has completed a new publication, Pastured Poultry: Egg Production. The guide covers breed selection, predator prevention, and many other topics. View or download Kevin's publication.

 

Our Office Phone Number Has Changed

 

We always like to hear from you. Our office in San Antonio has a new phone number: 866-319-1669. Please change your address books as our previous number will be disconnected soon.

 

Workshops and Webinars


  • Texas Chefs Association Annual Conference (McAllen, TX): Robert Maggiani spoke on using local and organic foods.
  • Blue Bonnet Master Gardeners Association (Sealy,TX): Justin Duncan spoke on soil remineralization.
  • Food Hub Organizing Meeting (Seguin, TX)
  • Soil for Water Introductory Workshop (Fredericksburg, TX)
  • TX Small Farm Conference Organizing Meeting (San Marcos, TX)
  • Common Ground II (San Antonio College)
  • Eco Centro (San Antonio, TX): Justin Duncan spoke on the benefits of buying organic foods.
  • Food Safety for Organic Producers: Watch the recorded webinar.
  • Organic Certification through the Texas Department of Agriculture: Watch the recorded webinar.
 

Upcoming Events

Small Scale Crop Producers Event (Robert Maggiani)
September 12, Caldwell, TX
More Info Here

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference (Justin Duncan and Kevin Ellis)
September 25-26, Bryan, TX
More Info Here

2015 Soil Talk Series (Peggy Sechrist and Mike Morris)
All Soil Talks are free and open to the public, but RSVP to soilforwater@ncat.org.
More Info Here

Ecosystem Function
September 25, 9 AM-5 PM
2818 E. U.S. Hwy 290, Fredericksburg, TX

Ecosystem Monitoring
October 9, 9 AM–5 PM
Lyndon B. Johnson Group Dining Hall 199 State Park Road 52 (off HWY 290 E.), Stonewall, TX

Grazing Planning
October 23, 9 AM–5 PM
Gillespie County AgriLife Extension Building 95 Frederick Road, Fredericksburg, TX

Financial Sustainability
November 13, 9 AM–5 PM
2818 E. U.S. Hwy 290, Fredericksburg, TX

Texas Organic Farmers and Garderners Association "Herbs for Health" and "Soil Remineralization" (Justin Duncan)
October 17
Mt. Pleasant, TX

 


Have a farming or energy question? Call our ATTRA toll-free English language hotline at 800-346-9140 or the Spanish-language ATTRA hotline at 800-411-3222.

 

We routinely publish news and events as they are happening on our Regional Page on the NCAT website. Bookmark it to keep up to date!
See: https://www.ncat.org/southwest/

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Copyright © September 2015
The National Center for Appropriate Technology


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