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Communities are invited to apply for assistance from Local Foods, Local Places, a new program supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to help create more livable places by promoting local foods. Together, the agencies are investing $650,000 in the Local Foods, Local Places program, which aims to: Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, and foster entrepreneurship; Improve access to healthy local food, particularly among disadvantaged groups with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables; Revitalize downtowns, main street districts, and traditional neighborhoods by supporting farmers’ markets, food hubs, community gardens, community kitchens, and other kinds of local food enterprises, and by providing people with affordable choices for accessing those amenities, such as walking, biking, or taking transit. Local Foods, Local Places will provide direct technical support to selected communities to help them develop and implement action plans promoting local food and downtown revitalization. Special consideration will be given to communities that are in the early stages of developing or restoring local food enterprises and creating economically vibrant communities. Selected communities in Appalachia and the Delta region will be eligible to receive financial assistance to help them implement those plans. Local Foods, Local Places builds on the ARC-EPA-USDA Livable Communities in Appalachia partnership, which works to promote economic development, preserve rural lands, and increase access to locally grown food in Appalachian towns and rural communities. Eligibility Communities anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply. Particular consideration will be given to communities in the following places: Areas served by the Appalachian Regional Commission in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Areas served by the Delta Regional Authority in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Federally designated Promise Zones in the Choctaw Nation region of Southeast Oklahoma; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and Southeastern Kentucky. USDA-designated StrikeForce counties in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota,Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. How to Apply Communities are invited to submit a letter of interest of no more than two pages that describes the community’s needs and goals related to local food and the revitalization of downtowns and traditional neighborhoods. The letter should indicate a primary point of contact and other members of the community or organizations that would participate in the technical assistance process. Communities are strongly encouraged to seek the support of their local development district or regional development organization, or, alternatively, a local community college or university, and to indicate this partner organization in their letter of interest. Letters of interest may be submitted by any community representative, including representatives of local government and nongovernmental organizations. Applicants will be evaluated on their commitment to USDA’s Seven Strategies for Economic Development and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ Livability Principles, as well as their potential for success in: Producing and distributing healthy local food; Creating economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses; Expanding access to healthy foods among disadvantaged members of the community; Revitalizing existing downtowns, main streets, and neighborhoods; and Partnering with local agricultural producers, business, government, transportation, education, and other relevant organizations. Submit letters of interest by email to Ed Fendley at email@example.com by July 15, 2014. Please include “Local Foods, Local Places” and the name of the community in the subject line of the email. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/announcement_-_local_foods_local_places_2014_final.pdfREAD THE REST »
North Carolina is moving forward with work funded by the USDA Farm to School Grant! As a reminder, the Farm to School Coalition of NC was funded to: Develop a searchable online directory of farm to school activities and leaders across NC Host a statewide conference in spring of 2015 Manage the development of a strategic plan for farm to school in NC During the spring of 2014, seven stakeholder meetings were hosted around the state. Nearly 100 individuals participated in conversation about the status of farm to school in NC, as well as possible directions going forward. All of this information will be used to guide the three deliverables listed above. If you were not able to attend, or know someone who was not able to attend, please consider forwarding a link to an online survey that will give folks a chance to provide input and perspective. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RD92B97 Even if you have already participated in a meeting, but have something new to share, please use the link! Forward to any and all who could help move the state forward on the three items listed above. This survey will remain open until Friday, July 25th. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next big step is to finalize the date and location for the statewide conference. We will put that information out through our networks as soon as we have it! If you’d like to be directly involved, please email Caroline Stover (email@example.com) and ask to be added to the Farm to School of North Carolina listserve.READ THE REST »
North Carolina law
permits some farmers to purchase some items for use in their farming operations without paying North Carolina sales tax of 4.75%.
If you received an Ag Exemption Number before July 1, 2014, you will need to fill out a new application as soon as possible. You may use your current Ag Exemption Number until October 1, 2014 if you are a qualified farmer under the new law. If you’ve never applied, you may be eligible. Read on! Some farmers who have Ag Exemption Numbers may be ineligible now. The NC General Assembly passed a law that restricts the exemption to certain farmers: Farmers who grossed over $10,000 in the previous year from the sale of their farm products; Farmers who average gross income of $10,000 per year over the previous three years; or Farmers are conditionally eligible for three years even if they do not gross over $10,000 per year if they run the farm as a business. Read this letter from the North Carolina Department of Revenue to determine if you are eligible for a new Ag Exemption Number. Fill out this form if you believe you are a qualified farmer (either grossed more than $10,000 last year or grossed an average of $10,000/year over the last three years). Fill out this form to apply for a three-year conditional exemption number as a farmer who is farming as a business but not yet grossing $10,000 per year. Not sure what it all means? Visit CFSA’s Advocacy page for more detailed information at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/nc-issues. Be aware that CFSA can explain the law, but cannot provide any legal advice about how the law will affect a particular farmer. For specific questions about your farm, please contact your attorney. Jared Cates, MSW Community Mobilizer Carolina Farm Stewardship Association --READ THE REST »
BY MARTI MAGUIRE Correspondent May 17, 2014 MORE »
The Annual Main Street Conference in New Bern last month offered a variety of presentations on the tricks and tools of the downtown redevelopment trade. In the coming weeks, we will be posting MORE »