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Local, regional and national food news from the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance
Bucks County Foodshed Alliance

Mark your calendar

Feb 25, 2012 Ottsville Winter Farmers' Market [9 am - 12 pm]
Feb 25, 2012 To Bee or Not to Bee (class) [1 - 4 pm]
Feb 28, 2012 Garden Soils [7 - 8:30 pm]
Feb 29, 2012  Wednesday Lunch Series: Vegetable Disease Management [12 - 1 pm]
Feb 29, 2012  Small-Scale Poultry Farming [6 - 9 pm]
Feb 29, 2012  Introduction to Soils [6:15 - 9:15 pm]
Mar 7, 2012  Social Media & Mobile Technology for Ag Business Webinar [10 - 11 am]
Mar 7, 2012  3rd Annual Farmers' Forum [ 7 - 9 pm]
Mar 8, 2012  Exploring the Small Farm Dream [ 6:15 - 9:15 pm]
Mar 10, 2012  Wrightstown Farmers' Winter Mini-Market [10 - 11 am]
Mar 13, 2012  Pasture Management [7:30 - 9:30 pm]
Mar 14, 2012  Wednesday Lunch Series: New Insect Pests [12 - 1 pm]
Mar 14, 2012  BCFA Board Meeting [6:30 - 9:30 pm]
Mar 15, 2012  Living on a Few Acres [7 - 9:30 pm]
For more details, see the BCFA full calendar here.

Groceries

Giving to food pantries

Interested in giving food to local pantries but not sure where to go? Click on this link to www.BucksCountyAlive.com for a full listing of area pantries.
Donations

Help us help you

Consider making a donation to the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance. Our mission is to foster and expand a local, sustainable food supply in Bucks County, and to connect producers and consumers. Right now we are also working on establishing a Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter in Bucks County. Our goals are:
- Improve the variety, amount and availability of fresh, healthy and delicious locally grown food.
- Support local farmers’ ability to grow and market food.
- Be the “go-to” place for trusted information about locally produced food in Bucks County.
- Increase demand for local, sustainably grown food.
Click here to make an online donation. Thanks for your support.

Warm winters and early springs

With such mild winter weather, it's hard not to think that Spring is just around the corner. Local farmers and backyard gardeners are torn - should we start seeding spring crops earlier than usual? Should we start getting ready? But...we know about March snow storms too, don't we?

Even though Spring isn't here yet, this newsletter is full of stories about growth - be it local sustainable partnerships bringing together restaurants, farms and recycled oil, courses on farming, or more USDA grants for value-added farm products and infrastructure. Check out our calendar too for events having to do with sustainable food in Bucks County.

On March 7th, BCFA presents its 3rd Annual Farmers' Forum at the Heritage Conservancy. This year's forum will give local farmers an opportunity to network and discuss topics directly relating to farming in Bucks County. If you're a farmer, or interested in becoming one, be sure to join us. The event begins at 7 pm (6:30 pm for networking and refreshments) at Aldie Mansion, 85 Old Dublin Pike, in Doylestown.


Don't forget that you can still find local produce and food stuff at the Wrightstown Winter Mini-Market, which takes place on the second Saturday of each month (3/10, 4/14) through April at 10 am - 11 am at the same location by the Wrightstown Municipal Building at 2203 2nd Street Pike in Wrightstown. The regular market season will be here before you know it!

Be well and warm!
Promoting Local Partnerships
The salad you order at the Triumph Brewery may be made with micro-greens grown at Blue Moon Acres in Buckingham. When the day is done, the New Hope restaurant will bottle up its used cooking oil for Bucks County Freedom Fuel, a Perkasie company that uses it to make biofuel for farm tractors — including the tractors at Blue Moon. The soap Triumph uses in its kitchen is made by Freedom Fuel's sister company, Wash Tyme – also using the waste oil. The unique partnership between the companies demonstrates how local businesses can work together to create a local, sustainable supply chain. Read more here.
2012 Farm Bill Debate
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition reports on the major factors influencing the 2012 Farm Bill debate The political backdrop for everything that Congress does this year is the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.  This affects the farm bill process in two main ways.  First, the legislative calendar will be shorter to accommodate Congressional campaign schedules.  That leaves less time for hearings, committee meetings, and floor debates and votes.  Given the condensed Congressional schedule, the majority of the work on the 2012 Farm Bill, though not necessarily final votes, would have to be finished by summer for a new bill to be enacted in 2012. Four Senate Agriculture Committee hearings have been scheduled to discuss Farm Bill issues.
We can fund that! USDA grants help the local food movement grow
As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food effort, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced the largest allotment of grants for value-added producers in recent history: nearly 300 grants across 44 states and Puerto Rico - to the tune of $44 million. Value-added foods - products like jam, flour, beef jerky, and pickles are “at the core of what it will take for the local food movement to mature," says an article in Grist. “Without these higher-value, less perishable products, farmers and ranchers working at a small, sustainable scale and selling their products locally can rarely make a real living," the article continues. "In addition to the home food preservation trend, small businesses are also working to fill the gaps that exist between heavily processed, industrial foods and local produce - and the result is often minimally processed ‘value-added products.’ Such products allow farmers to extend their season, providing a way for locavore consumers to, say, eat peaches in February, and - perhaps more important - providing a product for farmers to sell long after peach season is gone.” Read more here.


Exploring Your Small Farm Dream
If you have thought seriously about turning a profit off a few acres or you already have a small agricultural operation and would like to change strategies, then Exploring Your Small Farm Dream can help. This course, offered in partnership between Delaware Valley College and the Penn State Cooperative Extension, is designed to help guide beginning farmers through the initial exploratory decision making process and bridge the gap between ideas and action. Whether your vision includes making goat cheese, selling cut flowers or growing rare tomato varieties, this course will give you the tools to start making that dream come true. Participants will discuss current opportunities in small-scale agriculture, explore objectives, assess personal and financial resources, conduct preliminary market research, and develop an action plan for pursuing their interests in food and farming. The course will take place on four Wednesday evenings beginning April 11th and will be held at Delaware Valley College's main campus in Doylestown. To register for this course, and to see other course offerings on sustainability, click here
Spring courses & workshops
The Penn State Cooperative Extension will be offering courses
for new and aspiring farmers. Whether you are dreaming of starting a small farm operation, in the first few years of production or revising your farming techniques, Penn State’s beginning farmer and rancher program offers tools and techniques to help your farm succeed – START FARMING! Join us this winter/spring for courses in: Exploring the Small Farm Dream (in Doylestown beginning April 11), Living on a few acres (in Doylestown beginning March 15), Grazing, Poultry, Potato production and Soils. Click here for more information and locations.
Know Your Watershed
New EPA website tool lets you track pollutants being released in your watershed
 For example, you can see a list of polluters and the types of pollution they are releasing into the Chesapeake Bay watershed on an annual basis. For the uninitiated, the numbers are shocking.
Copyright © 2012 Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, All rights reserved.
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