Help Napa Save 20%, Reduce Your Every Day Water Use

Under regulations adopted by the State Water Board, the City of Napa must reduce its total water consumption by 20% for the period of June 2015 through February 2016 (compared to those same months in 2013). With your help, the City has been meeting this goal for the last 5 months and we need to keep it going! Water is a critical part of every Californian’s way of life and we need water to flourish. Our water supply is limited, especially during the drought, but there are lots of simple ways to reduce the amount of water we use at home, both inside and outside. Here are a few easy tips to get you started. By following these easy steps, you can start saving more water every day:
⇒Collect water from rinsing your fruit and veggies and use it to water your house plants
⇒Defrost frozen foods in the fridge, instead of using running water to thaw your food
⇒If you drop an ice cube, don’t throw it in the sink, drop it in a house plant instead
To learn more, click here.

Top 10 Reasons to Shop at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s a good idea to shop your local farmer’s market, the good folks at the St. Helena Farmer’s Market have created an easy to read list of the top 10 reasons on their website. Take a peek and see if you can find a few new reasons that weren’t already on your list! As one of only a handful of Farmers Markets in the country that have 501(c)3 status, the St. Helena Farmer’s Market is committed to helping the community learn more about the benefits of eating locally grown and sustainable food products. Offering educational classes and events for kids throughout the year, their outreach efforts focus on engaging kids directly with tasty and nutritious food , as the first step in establishing a pattern of improved eating as adults. For real, long term change in our food system, we must help to create the next generation of thoughtful food consumers. To learn more, click here.

Winner of St. Helena Farmer’s Market “Eat Your Veggies” Art Competition Announced!

School kids in grades 3-5 were asked to draw original artwork in the form of an animal, vegetable or fruit that encourages kids to eat fruits and vegetables. The artwork had to include the slogan “Eat Your Veggies” and artists were asked lots of questions that focused their attention on healthy eating. Seventy-four students from the St. Helena Elementary School, St. Helena Catholic School, St. Helena Montessori School, and The Young School submitted entries. The young artists did such a great job that the judges had a hard time choosing, but the Grand Prize Winner was a St. Helena Catholic School fifth grader, Gianna, whose artwork will be used to decorate clothes and other merchandise for sale at the market. All of the children’s artwork will be displayed at the market’s General Store throughout the season. To learn more, click here.

USDA National Organic Certification Cost Share Program

If you are a certified organic farmer, handler, or processor, remember you are eligible to participate in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. This program provides a rebate of 75% of your certification costs and up to a maximum of $750 per scope (crops, livestock, wild crops, and handling), so the rebate could be even higher. The USDA allocates cost share funds to state agencies, usually state departments of agriculture, which then administer the programs and provide reimbursements. To learn more, click here.

CanDo CanGrow

CanDo CanGrow had its beginning at the 2013 Napa Food Day, when some Napa Valley CanDo volunteers and members of Napa County Master Gardeners realized that our Napa Valley Food Banks are in need of more fresh produce. In 2014, on land donated by the Napa Community Garden, a core group of 5-6 volunteers grew and donated 1,533 pounds of fresh summer vegetables for the Emergency Food Pantry on Yajome Street. Now in its second year, that Food Bank garden is even larger and is being ably tended by students from Napa County Office of Education schools and a committed group of CanDo volunteers. Our next step is to encourage other gardeners—whether their garden is at home, at school, or at their place of work—to “Plant One For The Food Bank.” Several wineries, schools, and places of business have already accepted the challenge. Won’t you be next? For more information, click here.

The Demand for Sustainability Resonates with the Wine Industry

Working together and sharing knowledge is part of the wine industry culture, and sustainability in vineyard operations and wine making is nothing new. Napa Valley wineries are responding to the growing awareness and demand for sustainability from consumers, which has created new challenges and opportunities. To read more about sustainable practices in the wine industry throughout Napa and beyond, click here.

Call for Input and Proposals for the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference – Deadline July 15th

The Organic Seed Alliance invites you to help shape their upcoming conference by providing proposals for content. This is your opportunity to share important research and ask timely questions related to organic seed. The conference will be held February 4-6, 2016, in Corvallis, OR, and brings together diverse members of the organic seed community for two days of presentations and networking events focused solely on organic seed. Proposals for presentations, workshops, posters, panels, and roundtables are welcome. Expand your seed knowledge and skills, hear the latest in scientific research, and discover new resources and tools that help you breed, grow, and sell more seed. Together we are changing our food system one seed at a time. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to trade knowledge, techniques, and ideas that strengthen the organic seed community – it’s the only event of its kind! For more information, click here.

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