$50 Million Awarded for Beginning Farmer Training, NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse, New Hires at NSAC, and More News from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Over $50 Million Awarded to Train Next-Generation Farmers and Ranchers
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds all the organizations awarded grants for the critical work they do to support next-generation farmers and ranchers, especially those farmer and community-based organizations who work directly with beginning farmers and ranchers every day. Several NSAC members were among the grantees including Kansas Rural Center, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Land for Good, Georgia Organics, and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. About 69 percent of this year’s awards went to nonprofits or community-based organizations, and 37 percent of projects focused on providing education and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers.
NCAT Launches the AgriSolar Clearinghouse
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post authored by Stacie Peterson, PhD, Energy Program Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology.
Solar developments are expected to cover 3 million acres of land in the next ten years. Under traditional solar development, some of these lands could be taken over for energy-only production and this could impact pollinator habitat, food production, soil health, and cultural landscapes. However, there is tremendous opportunity for low-impact solar development that is complementary with sustainable agriculture. This co-location, when designed and managed with best practices, can increase pollinator habitat, promote native species, and include grazing and specialty crop production, all while diversifying revenue streams and increasing public acceptance. To support this, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has developed the Department of Energy (DOE)-funded the AgriSolar Clearinghouse at the website:
Welcome Ma’raj Sheikh! NSAC’s New Grassroots Director
As NSAC’s Grassroots Director, Ma’raj staffs the Grassroots Council and leads the coalition’s grassroots campaigns. Ma’raj comes from a lineage of liberation leaders and is part of the inaugural Castanea Fellowship cohort, a cross-sectoral group of movers and shakers dedicated to advancing racial equity in the food system. Ma’raj has worked across many areas of food system development including: soil remediation, bioenergy, regional supply chain development, stakeholder relations, and public policy. As a National Science Foundation Fellow, she moved to Iowa from Southern California to learn about industrial agriculture at Iowa State University where she studied Sustainable Agriculture and Community and Regional Planning. Ma’raj comes to NSAC after serving as Systems & Strategy Manager at the Chicago Food Policy Action Council. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from University of California, Riverside and an M.A. in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from Wright Graduate University.
Welcome Madeline Turner! NSAC’s New Grassroots Fellow
Building upon a life in the Ohio dairy industry, Madeline is a writer and community-builder who holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Sustainable Food from Smith College. Her work and advocacy seek to situate the political economy of agriculture within its cultural context and are informed by her lived experience as a food-service worker and farmer in addition to her community work. As a researcher and creative writer, she seeks to uplift rural voices with particular attention to issues of climate change-driven land degradation, rural development, and food insecurity. Madeline has extensively taught on issues of food justice and farming and organized food access projects in pursuit of vibrant local and alternative economies. She is the co-author of The Land of Milk and Money: Lessons Learned and Business Earned from Women in Dairy and is currently working on a writing project focused on the relationships between cultural trauma and landscape transformation.
What We’re Reading
In this space we share suggested readings that NSAC staff find relevant to the Coalition’s mission and work. The opinions expressed in these readings are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect an official NSAC policy or position.
Behind the farm succession crisis stands rising asset prices from real estate to retirement funds, which have remade the global economy over the past 50 years.
A beloved interview from the Spring 2011 issue of Ms. between bell hooks and Jennifer D. Williams. In this prescient conversation, hooks frankly shares her bold takes on the past, present and future of feminism.
Recent record-breaking fertilizer prices suspiciously coincide with an increase in income farmers are earning from commodity crops like soybeans and corn. While fertilizer corporations claim these prices are the result of shortages and high natural gas prices, their own annual and quarterly reports refute these claims and reveal they have additional capacity they’re not utilizing.
The country’s prime minister has agreed to roll back laws that threatened to corporatize agriculture, jeopardizing the food security of more than 800 million people and further enriching the ultra-rich.