CA Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Announces 2015 Funding for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)

CA Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Announces 2015 Funding for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
The CDFA recently began accepting applications for the SWEEP Program, authorized by emergency drought legislation (Assembly Bill 91). An estimated $10 million will be available for competitive grant funding to provide financial assistance for implementing irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations. Agricultural operations can apply for funding up to $150,000 per project. The funding can be supported by a broad range and/or combination of irrigation and water distribution-related practices that provide quantifiable water savings and greenhouse gas reductions. Prospective applicants must access the “Application Guidelines” at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/SWEEP for detailed info on eligibility and program requirements.

To streamline applications, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, and all applicants must submit an online application using the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov by Friday June 29, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

CDFA will hold several application workshops to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process. Workshops will be held on June 1st in San Martin, June 2nd in Tulare, June 3rd in Ventura, and June 9th in Oroville. Workshop hours are 1:00-4:00 p.m. CDFA staff will provide examples and answer questions. Reserve a seat for one of these free workshops by sending an email to grants@cdfa.ca.gov with your contact info, the number of seats you want and the location of the workshop you want to attend. Prospective applicants may also contact CDFA’s Grants Office by email with general program questions. To learn more about the program, click here.

To learn more about the state’s drought response, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

For Commercial Farmers

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently implemented new requirements related to direct marketing and food safety. While the new requirements could increase growers’ costs, they could also help create more favorable market conditions for smaller farms that engage in direct marketing. The new issue of Small Farm News (published by Shermain Hardesty, Leader of the UC Small Farm Program) offers specific information on regulations and requirements for Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), Farmers Markets, and Community Food Producers. For the full story, please see click here.

Land Bank

Land Bank

LandBankIn 2015, the Napa Local Food Advisory Council hopes to promote local food production by encouraging landowners to consider converting a piece of their property into food farming. In our county, there is an increasingly high demand for locally grown produce, as well as many outlets and opportunities to market and sell these goods. Read more here

Cultivate a Peace Garden

The Department of Agriculture has a downloadable PDF that explains how to cultivate any area near your home where you can grow fruits and vegetables into a peace garden. They recommend starting with at least four planting beds and rotating your vegetable types to give variety and balance your diet. The guide includes instructions for planting, fertilizing,
To download and read or print the guide, click here.

The Butchers Guild

The Butchers Guild believes that good meat can change the world. Founded by local folks from Sonoma and San Francisco who recognize that food is part of a greater system that affects our health, environment and economy, the guild is a fraternity of meat professionals who encourage the use of whole animals from local farms. The guild provides a support network for localized food communities, while helping to serving consumers who value the knowledge a good butcher can provide. To learn more, click here.

Colorado begins $3.4 million effort to save water and create power

The State of Colorado plans to transform the flood irrigation farmers use to grow crops into an efficient and sustainable power source. The “small hydropower” project was recently launched in Denver and is taking advantage of new federal grants nationwide to spur innovation around water, soil and drought. The goal of the project is to pressurize flows of agricultural water and produce hydro-power for more efficient irrigation. If successful, it could greatly reduce the amount of water required to sustain agriculture in many semi-arid western states. To read the article, click here.

Round Pound Seed to Table: Planting Your Seedlings

It’s time to ready your garden and get your plants into the ground! Here’s a simple 5-step guide from the MacDonnell family at Round Pond Estate that will have you filling your garden with nature’s bounty in no time. You can read it online or download a printable PDF to share with your friends and family, to get them excited about planting your own backyard garden. To learn more, click here.

Civil Eats

Civil Eats is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. Publishing stories to shift the conversation around sustainable agriculture, in an effort to build economically and socially just communities. Founded in January 2009, Civil Eats is a community resource of over 100 contributors who are active participants in the evolving food landscape from Capitol Hill to Main Street. To learn more, click here.

Appetite for a Change

Appetite for a Change is a campaign sponsored by the Organic Consumers Union, to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides, toxins, and junk foods. One of the goals of the campaign is to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on school property and support the use of integrated pest management practices. Another goal is to get rid of junk foods and make school lunches healthier, by using locally grown and organic foods and offering vegetarian options The campaign also teaches kids about healthy food choices and sustainable agriculture through school garden projects and curriculum materials. To learn more about the campaign, click here.

Farmigo is an online farmers’ market created to connect consumers directly to local farms

Farmigo wants to empower people to create a better way to eat, by creating farm-to-neighborhood access to fresh food from local farmers, bakers, and butchers. You can learn new ways to bring friends and neighbors together to support local farmers by becoming a local organizer or attend community events with farmers, chefs, and good food advocates. To learn more, click here.