Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, W.Va.
WV Community Food Security Symposium
Each year since 1995, USDA has monitored the level of food security—consistent access to adequate food for an active, healthy life. 2008 saw the number of U.S. households classified as food insecure reach the highest level recorded since 1995. Nationally the number of food-insecure households grew to 17.1 million, or 14.6 percent of all households, up from 11.1 percent the previous year. Among households with children, the percentage increase was larger – from 15.8 percent in 2007 to 21 percent in 2008. The Food Research and Action Center indicated that West Virginia prevalence of household food insecurity for 2006-2008 averaged 12.0%.
Farmers can help remedy this problem by creating innovative solutions to improve diet quality. On March 3 2010 the WV Small Farms Conference will host the WV Community Food Security Symposium. The conference will include presentations related to community food security, “A condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.” In addition, presentations will include the latest research on how farmers can assist in improving community food security issues. Also included will be upcoming legislation as well as important West Virginia demographics. Opportunities for farmers to participate in federally subsidized nutrition programs and methods for accepting SNAP benefits at farmers markets will be covered. This symposium will be a great opportunity for farmers to communicate with dietitians, social workers and health professionals about the role of agriculture in promoting community food security. Additionally, introductory gardening classes and contacts to specialists will be provided to increase the role of gardening to improve community food security.
Winter Cropping Systems High Tunnel Tour
On Monday, March 1, come to Lewis County to see how you can make a high tunnel grow winter crops for your family or for your business.
The West Virginia University Extension Service field tour begins at 1 p.m. and features a working high tunnel near Jane Lew. The three-hour session is a free pre-event workshop among the activities kicking off the West Virginia Small Farm Conference. This year, the conference has a new date and place: March 1 through March 4 at the Lakeview Golf Resort in Morgantown.
High tunnels are unheated, solar greenhouses that do not use any electrical inputs, according to Lewis Jett, the WVU Extension horticulture specialist who is conducting the Winter Cropping Systems High Tunnel Tour.
They accumulate heat from sunlight and protect the growing crops from rain, wind, hail, snow and pests. By using high tunnels, Dr. Jett said, growers are able to extend their growing season by two to four months for many vegetable and fruit crops.
The workshop’s topics include:
- Winter cropping (planting, growing and harvesting)
- Heating strategies
- Design and construction
- Crop choices
- Nutrient management
- Pest management
- Post-harvest handling and marketing
Follow these directions to find the high tunnel site:
- From I-79: Take Exit 105 (Jane Lew exit); travel east approximately 2 miles. The high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) will be located on the crest of a hill on the right side of the road.
- From Route 33: Travel west to Weston city limits; turn on I-79 north; Take Exit (105). Follow directions above.
No registration is required to participate in the preconference high tunnel session, and it is open to persons of all skill levels. For more information, contact Dr. Jett at 304-288-2116.
WV Specialty Crop Block Grant Project Poster Sessions
Since 2007, the WV Department of Agriculture has awarded over 125 grants for specialty crops under the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grant recipients will have an opportunity to share their projects and results at this year’s Small Farm Conference.
To present in the Poster Session, complete and return this form by February 22nd .
2010 Agritourism Media Awards
The Agritourism Awards celebrate and recognize excellence in the advertising and promotion of West Virginia Agritourism destinations and attractions. Awards will be presented during the Small Farm Conference.
Awards will be given to entrants in the categories of best brochure, best rack card, best website, best photo and others. Entries for the Agritourism Awards may be made until February 12th. To enter your material for consideration, complete and return this form by February 12th.
Better Process Control School
The Better Process Control School will be held March 1st & 2nd. Registration for the BPCS is separate from registration for the Small Farms Conference. To register, complete and return this form by February 17th.
See the for course titles
About the BPCS
Successful completion of the Better Process Control School certifies supervisors in the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 CFR Part 114 which states:
“All plant personnel involved in acidification, pH control, heat treatment, or other critical factors of the operation shall be under the operating supervision of a person who has attended a school approved by the Commissioner for giving instruction in food handling techniques, food protection principles, personal hygiene, plant sanitation practices, pH controls, and critical factors in the acidification…”
All qualified food processors are encouraged to take advantage of this training opportunity. Space is limited to 50 participants. Pre-registration and payment are required by February 17, 2010
It is the responsibility of Virginia Tech to identify to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the names and employers of those persons who satisfactorily complete this course of instruction and to identify which thermal processing systems and/or container closure operations have been completed. Certifications of completion will be prepared and mailed to each person who successfully completes the course. The unsatisfactory completion of a portion of the course will not be reported to the Food and Drug Administration.
Experience has shown that students benefit when the examination on the subject covered in the course of instruction is given immediately following the lecture and group discussion of the subject. For this reason, examinations will be given at intervals throughout the school and graded as quickly as possible so that students are aware of their positions in the course.