Food waste solutions webinar

There has been much talk lately about the food waste problem, but less about solutions. The focus of this webinar will be on existing programs and solutions implemented by four public entities that can serve as models for other public and private programs as well. Topics covered include program development and evolution, lessons learned, and solutions that may be applicable to other cities and programs.

To register click here

The webinar costs $29 and will feature the following Programs:

  1. San Francisco’s Comprehensive Mandatory Food and Other Organics Source Separation and Composting Program. Alex Dmitriew, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator. San Francisco Department of the Environment

Learn why and how San Francisco has implemented mandatory composting resulting in 99% of all properties compliant in having service. Hear the challenges and lessons that you can learn to utilize this model for food and organics recovery.

  1. The City of Minneapolis Residential Organics Recycling Program. Kellie Kish, Recycling Coordinator. City of Minneapolis, Division of Solid Waste & Recycling

Discussion will include the timeline going from a pilot to drop-offs to the citywide residential organics recycling program and share educational tactics to encourage participation in the program. The City’s residential program has less than 1% contamination due to their continued educational efforts.

  1. The City of Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance’s Organics Diversion Program. Selene Castillo, Waste Diversion Planner. Austin Resource Recovery, City of Austin.

Discussion will focus on Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance’s Organics Diversion component, upcoming studies, and the results of a commercial organics diversion baseline study.

  1. Pursuing Organics Management in NYC, America’s Largest City. Bridget Anderson, Deputy Commissioner Recycling and Sustainability, New York City Department of Sanitation

Learn about the diversified approach NYC is using to provide organics recycling our residents and businesses, the status of the program to date and what is coming in 2018.

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Project Coordinator Organic Seeds and Markets: Corn Case Study

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to coordinates and manage a participatory project that seeks to strengthen regional organic food systems by improving our ability to use organic methods and on-farm testing networks to improve seed supply, and satisfy consumer preferences in growing markets.  This multidisciplinary research project will present ample opportunity to interact with scientists across disciplines and institutions. The candidate must have excellent organizational skills, be detail oriented, and have the ability to work well with farmers, agricultural industry, and academic audiences. This person will work as a network facilitator by leading communication with partners and collaborators to ensure accomplishment of objectives, coordinating data collection efforts, organizing field days, and developing content for eOrganic. This person will lead analyses and publication of results in peer-review journals. The on-farm component of this project will require travel within the Midwest.

The minimum qualifications are a PhD in agronomy, soil science, agricultural communications or related discipline. The candidate must have experience working with farmers and be knowledgeable of organic grain cropping systems.

This is a 12-month position and benefits eligible. The expected start date is January of 2018. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.  Contact Carmen Ugarte at  Applicants should submit a letter of interest, a CV and the names of three references by December 8.





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eOrganic webinars this week: Corn Types and Barcode based data collection

There is still time to register for this week’s webinars!

September 27: 10AM Pacific, 11 Mountain, 12 Central, 1 Eastern: Hybrid, F1, Double Cross, and Open-pollinated Corn: What Does it All Mean? The intended audience is anybody with an interest in different types of corn varieties and their relative merits. In the webinar, corn breeders Margaret Smith of Cornell University and Richard Pratt of New Mexico State University will explain what different types of corn varieties are, how uniform or variable each type is, and highlight the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different variety types. This webinar is part of the NIFA OREI funded research project Breeding Non-Commodity Corn for Organic Production Systems. Register here.

September 28: 11AM Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central, 2 Eastern: Part 3 of Webinar Series on Barcode Based Digital Data collection for Vegetable Breeding Programs: Harvest Data and Final Analysis

Part 3 of this ongoing series will focus on harvest based component of the system with an emphasis on the connected instrumentation for dimensions, weights, photographs and quality instruments and how data is compiled for final analysis. At the conclusion, participants will be able to evaluate whether they will choose to invest in this technology and will have examples of how to get started in assembling their own data collection pipeline.  If you haven’t attended any other webinars in this series, register here. The recordings of the first 2 webinars can be found on the Plant Breeding and Genomics YouTube channel!

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Still two Land Connection ‘Women who farm’ field days left

I don’t know about you but I am kicking myself that I have missed these..   this weekend sept 24 focuses on fruit and herbs!

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IOGA-ASAP Field day at U of I tomorrow

Sept 14  Building a farm to fork business

After starting at the Student Sustainable Farm at 9.30 with Matt Turino w

We move to the I Hotel at 10.30. 

Agenda and some notes.. 

10:45 a.m.  Dr. Carmen Ugarte and team members will discuss a new Illinois Local Grains Initiative .   This includes an on-farm trial and related on-campus work that involves NRES, Crop Science, Food Sciences, ABE, ACE, USDA-ARS and Extension!

11:10 a.m. Brian Jacobson will describe how Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Food Processing Pilot Plant is partnering with U of I’s dining services before Dr. Juan Andrade explains how their research can help optimize processing for local product development—  Brian and Dining services are taking all the organic grain from our new organic study that resides on the south farms for use in the dining halls.  Juan Andrade will look at how processing influences grain quality. Next year we hope for capacity to look at edamame quality.. not this year.

12:15 p.m. Lunch will feature SSF produce and Chefarmer Ken Myszka of Epiphany Farms who will discuss how to grow a farm to fork business. *  This is a local farm to table success story you wont want to miss.

1.30. Fred Kolb and Bill Davison will talk about a new wheat variety named Erisman that was developed by the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station and released in 2017. Erisman is an early maturing soft red winter wheat adapted to Illinois and surrounding states for organic production. The new variety was developed by the small grains breeding program headed by Fred Kolb. The project was spearheaded by Allison Krill, who worked with Fred since 2013.  Breeding lines were selected that were disease resistant and moderately tall to provide competition with weeds. Breeding lines were evaluated at multiples locations for several years. The U of I wheat breeding program partnered with local organic farmer Harold Wilkins to evaluate Erisman under organic production on Janie’s Farm in Danforth IL.  Harold has been working with others including U of I Extension’s Bill Davison and the Grand Prairie Grain Guild to develop high quality grains for local production.   The variety has been named “Erisman,” in honor of Jack Erisman, a long-time leader in Illinois’ sustainable agriculture movement and one of the first organic farmers in the state, who was involved in the formation of the Illinois Organic Crop Improvement Association Chapter, The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society and the Council of Food and Agriculture Research.  While Jack acknowledges that the variety might be tall, like he is, he isn’t sure he deserves the honor. The new variety is already making waves as grain grown in the 2017-18 growing season on campus’ South Farms will be milled at the Food Processing Pilot Plant for use by campus’ Dining Services.

At 2:30 p.m. Interested folks will go to campus to tour the FSHN Pilot Processing Plant.

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Promoting equity in local food systems through Cooperative Extension

When: Wednesday, September 6, 12 – 1 pm Pacific Time/3 – 4 pm Eastern Time

How can we apply equity and anti-racism principles to our food system work? In answer to this question, this webinar provides three examples from the Cooperative Extension System of efforts to promote equity and undo racism in local food systems. These examples from North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania offer a range of experiences and strategies.

Kaitlin Wojciak, from Michigan State University Extension, will describe a recent training and learning group dedicated to exploring issues of power, privilege, and racial equity for the state’s Community Food Systems team. Shorlette Ammons, from North Carolina’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will discuss the Center’s efforts to embed an equity lens and practice into all areas of its work. Heather Manzo, from Penn State Extension, will describe work with an urban food policy council to engage diverse community members and positively impact equity issues in the metropolitan food system.

Please join our speakers to discuss how these equity initiatives have evolved, the challenges they have faced, and the supportive factors that contributed to the success of their efforts. This webinar is put on by the working group on Undoing Inequality in the Food System and the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association.

Please register here and be sure to include any questions you have for our speakers about their work.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


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Register today for this Sept 14 Field Day if you want food

On Sept 14 you will want to go to the Sustainable Student Farm on the U of I campus at 9.30 and then the I Hotel to hear ‘CheffarmerTM’  from Ken Myszka to learn how he and Bloomington’s Epiphany Farms are developing a farm to for organism that uses intensive pasture rotation and permaculture methods to provide the Central Illinois community with fresh, nutritious, local food to reconnect people to their food. Its worth the drive to their Bloomington restaurant (220 E. Front Street) to try the food!

After training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Ken Myszaka engaged in the production side of the food business and after that he and the Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group devoted themselves to the farm to fork movement.   You can find more about Ken on the internet- eg: an article from Illinois Farmer , and from the Chicago Tribute (warning the pop up adds are obnoxious).  *The nice images are from here.

In addition to hearing from him you will learn about how Illinois Dining Services, the Sustainable Student Farm and the Food Processing Plant are making farm to fork happen at the U of I!

If you want to make sure to get a taste of this you need to register this week!  Just $10 in advance.  On site or late registrations may not get lunch.  Register here

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IOGA-ASAP-SSF Sept 14 Field Day: Growing Farm to Fork Businesses



To register for this event ($10 in advance, %15 at the door) click here

Start at the SSF

9.30 a.m. with a tour of U of I’s Sustainable Student Farm, 3505 S. Lincoln Ave. Urbana, Il 61801, led by  Farm Manager Matt Turino.

At 10.30 we will head over to the I Hotel (1900 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820) for the following program:
10:45 a.m.  Dr. Carmen Ugarte and team members will discuss a new Illinois Local Grains Initiative
11:10 a.m. Brian Jacobson will describe how Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Food Processing Pilot Plant is partnering with U of I’s dining services before Dr. Juan Andrade explains how their research can help optimize processing for local product development—
12:15 p.m. Lunch will feature SSF produce and Chefarmer Ken Myszka of Epiphany Farms who will discuss how to grow a farm to fork business.
1:30 p.m. Dr. Fred Kolb and Bill Davison will recognize Jack Erisman, Pana Farmer, and discuss the release of U of I’s new wheat variety!
2:30 p.m. Interested folks will go to campus to tour the FSHN Pilot Processing Plant.

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National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Intern

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which represents over 100 organizations working for small and mid-sized farms through advocacy to support agriculture and food systems that are ecologically and socially responsible, is looking for a policy intern for the fall term. This short term position (Aug.-Jan.) is in Washington DC. The Policy Intern will have the opportunity to work on a range of issues and campaigns, including local and regional food systems, working lands conservation, beginning and minority farmer issues, sustainable agriculture research, crop insurance reform and much more.

The full description and info on how to apply are at:

Apply by July 20!

This is a great (paid!) short-term opportunity for some real-life experience in Science Policy.



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Summer Field Days

Don’t miss upcoming organic field days!

So far there is

  1. a MOSES field day on artisinal grains July 24 in Pecatonia IL
  2. an ‘In her boots’ field day in Libertyville IL. on Aug. 24 and,
  3. an ‘Opportunities in Organic Farming’ event planned for Sept. 8 in Atlanta IL.



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