The Farm to School Connection

by Lorraine Strenkowski

Launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with the USDA, the “Fuel Up to Play 60” is the largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program in the nation. The program was designed to provide funding for schools looking to improve their access to nutrient-rich foods like dairy and local produce and to introduce “60” minutes of physical activity opportunities. This program is now in more than 73,000 schools nationwide.

New England hosts 3,600 of those programs with over 1,000 in Connecticut alone. Funding for “Fuel Up to Play 60” in Connecticut comes from dairy farm families through the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board, in partnership with the New England Dairy & Food Council. [Read more…]

$50 Million Anti-trust case in Federal Court

CEWN-MR-1-MILK LAWSUITby Bethany M. Dunbar

BURLINGTON, VT — A group of dairy farmers who sued their milk cooperative in an anti-trust case in federal court are divided on a potential $50 million settlement. Some involved would like to accept the settlement and have the six-year-old case finished, saying the case is a distraction to the co-op’s real purpose and taking time away from programs that could help farmers. Others say it is unfair and that the lawyers would make more money on it than the farmers. “Farmers want justice,” testified Claudia Haar, who farms in a small town in central New York State. The proposed settlement amount is so small in comparison to the damages that have been done, she said, it would be “like getting a dead calf back from a crooked cattle dealer who has just stolen your whole herd.” [Read more…]

Dehulling ancient grains

by Katie Navarra

Though ancient grains have the potential of being a value-added crop for farms, the dehulling process continues to be a roadblock in the production of grains like einkorn, emmer and spelt.

The eOrganic webinar, Dehulling Ancient Grains, explained the methods used to dehull grains and the components needed in a dehulling system. Guest speakers representing with extensive experience growing and processing grains shared feedback on the economics of dehulling and the options available to both large and small-scale growers. [Read more…]

4-Hers wow the judges…again!

CN-RP-1-4HERS WOWby Kristina Vaughan

It had been a long day at work, preparing for the 4-H Food Show and Public Speaking events. Before turning in for the night I took a few minutes to check my social media page. As I scrolled down through the posts I found myself laughing loudly when I read the discussion between two 4-H moms comparing notes about supper plans. Their plans were not uncommon for a Friday night; one was headed out to a restaurant with her husband, and the other had just returned home with take out. The humor came from their motives. One stated: “my children have taken over my kitchen to prep for Food Show”. The other wrote: “Mine just finished… time for takeout.” I couldn’t help but be amused that an event to showcase culinary skills could result in families needing to seek nourishment elsewhere.

As I drove to the event the next morning, I pondered how the 4-H kids were doing as they packed up their supplies for the show. From what I had read the night before, plans were in full swing, now I just wondered how well their nerves were holding up. [Read more…]

Cultivating forest land for non-timber products

CN-MR-3-Cultivating forest1by Tamara Scully

Forest plants, native to the eastern United States, are in demand both domestically and internationally. While often wild-harvested, these medicinal plants can be readily cultivated in their natural environment. Whether it’s black cohash, goldenseal, or American ginseng, the potential for increasing forest cultivation of these crops is enormous.

“We’re talking about crops that have very exacting locations where they will grow,” Eric Burkhart, Program Director, Plant Science, at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Penn State University, said. “The way to approach it is to get to know your forest land. Don’t fight it. Work with that ecosystem.” [Read more…]