Soil Management – A Foundational Strategy for Conservation

Read the full story from the Nature Conservancy.

When we talk about conservation, most people think about protecting landscapes and wildlife and ensuring clean air and water. What they’re probably not thinking about is soil.

But soil is more than just our geological backdrop. Healthy soil means healthy landscapes and water systems—it’s the basis of all life and provides water, food, clean air, a stable climate and good health.

Farm to School Grant Program

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 tasked USDA with supporting farm to school efforts through grants, training, technical assistance, and research. For FY 2018, we offer the following grants:

  • Implementation grants are intended to help schools, school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts to scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Implementation awards range from $50,000 – $100,000.
  • Planning grants are for schools or school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts that are just getting started on farm to school activities. These funds are intended to help these entities organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by embedding known best practices into early design considerations. Planning awards range from $20,000 – $50,000.
  • Training grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities to support trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and/or integration of agriculture‐based curriculum. Training awards range from $20,000 – $50,000.

In bee decline, fungicides emerge as improbable villain

Read the full story from Cornell University.

When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they expected to find stressors like changes in land use, geography or insecticides.

Instead, they found a shocker: fungicides, commonly thought to have no impact.

Soils and your Thanksgiving meal

Read the full story from the Soil Science Society of America.

As you sit around your Thanksgiving table this year, we thought we’d give you some ideas about current research topics that help bring you your dinner. In addition to the growers who tended your food, perhaps you’ll also be thankful for the research scientists working behind the scenes to help us have a sustainable food supply for a growing world.

 

Climate Change Ripens Prospects For German Winemakers

Read the full story at NPR.

Across Europe, hotter temperatures are reshaping the wine industry. In southern Spain and Italy, growers worry the heat will dry out their vines. A fledgling wine business is taking root in the United Kingdom. In Germany, warming has been a blessing, and it comes as Riesling enjoys a renaissance, especially among American drinkers.

Inside Trump’s Cruel Campaign Against USDA’s Scientists

Read the full article by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.

The folks at the Department of Agriculture laid on a friendly welcome for the Trump transition team, but they soon discovered that most of his appointees were stunningly unqualified. With key U.S.D.A. programs—from food stamps to meat inspection, to grants and loans for rural development, to school lunches—under siege, the agency’s greatest problem is that even the people it helps most don’t know what it does.

Could indoor farming help address future food shortages?

Read the full story from PBS NewsHour.

By 2050, Earth’s population is expected to rise to 10 billion, while the resources on the planet continue to shrink. Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with less: growing crops indoors. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano takes a look at how indoor farming could shift our relationship with food.