Southern SAWG Seeks Conference Session Co-Coordinator

This is a part-time, seasonal contract. Contractor will work from her/his own fully equipped office. This first year, the contract time period will be June-February, hours varying per month for 350 total hours at $15.00-$20.00/hour, depending on experience. Because of the timing of the conference, significant work will need to be done during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.

Primary responsibilities will include helping develop sustainable agriculture conference program and helping manage conference logistics. Applicants must be seeking a multi-year involvement with Southern SAWG. There is potential to expand work hours and responsibilities in future years. 

Experience, Knowledge and Skills Necessary:

  • Good working knowledge of sustainable agriculture and community food systems.
  • Good working relationship with broad network of individuals across the South involved in sustainable agriculture and community foods systems.
  • Good understanding of adult education, participatory processes and how those working in sustainable agriculture and community food systems best learn from others.
  • Experience planning large educational programs or other large events.
  • Experience working with diverse team.
  • Must be high-achieving, detail-oriented, task-oriented and highly organized.
  • Ability to independently manage multiple priorities and meet strict deadlines.
  • Must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, electronic and in-person, and enjoy interacting with a broad diversity of people.
  • Must be available to travel to the conference, and be onsite from January 26-31, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky (travel expenses reimbursed by Southern SAWG).

To Apply:

Applying candidates should succinctly describe how they fit each of the nine necessary criteria listed above. In addition, provide an abbreviated resume with contact information, education, job experience and three work references. Email applications to info@ssawg.org by May 6, 2015.     

Southern SAWG is committed to the principle of equal opportunity and equal treatment for every current and prospective employee. Substantial efforts are made to seek out potential candidates among women, minority groups, and individuals with disabilities.

The Farm to School Act of 2015


Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization

Congress revisits child nutrition program legislation approximately every five years in a single omnibus bill known as the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, or Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization for short (CNR). The last CNR is set to expire in September 2015, setting the stage for Congress to write a new bill in early 2015.

The CNR authorizes federal school meal and child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, among others. The last CNR in 2010 was groundbreaking: For the first time, the legislation supported farm to school directly by providing $5 million in annual mandatory funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program. A major victory for farm to school champions across the country, this program funds competitive grants and technical assistance for farm to school activities that increase the use of and improve access to local foods in schools. 

The demand for the Farm to School Grant Program is more than five times higher than available funding, so we are excited to announce that the Farm to School Act of 2015 has been introduced in Congress. In order to build on the USDA Farm to School Grant Program’s success, the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization must include increased funding for the program. Demand for the USDA Farm to School Grants outweighs the current available funding by more than five times.

The Farm to School Act of 2015 will continue and expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program by:

  • Fully including preschools, summer food service program sites and after school programs on the list of eligible entities;
  • Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
  • Increasing access among tribal schools to farm-fresh and traditional foods, especially from tribal producers; and
  • Improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

Show Your Support

Do you represent a school, nonprofit organization, business or advocacy group interested in supporting the Farm to School Act of 2015? If so, please add your organization’s name to the National Farm to School Network’s organizational sign-on letter to Congress. SIGN UP HERE!

Are you a parent, teacher, farmer or concerned eater? Sign this letter of support for the Farm to School Act of 2015 to tell Congress that farm to school is a powerful tool for supporting our kids, our farmers and our communities! SIGN UP HERE!

Learn More

The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are partnering to advance farm to school priorities in the 2015 reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act (CNR 2015), with the shared goal of supporting stronger communities, healthier children and resilient farms. Visit their respective websites to learn more.

Enroll Now in the Conservation Stewardship Program

Enrollment Deadline Extended to March 13

If you’re a farmer, or you work with farmers, you know that conserving and enhancing natural resources on farms is critical to a sustainable production system. But land stewardship takes time, energy, and resources. That’s why the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) exists.

What is CSP? How do I enroll? 

CSP is an innovative program for working farms, built on the belief that we must enhance natural resource and environmental protection as we simultaneously produce profitable food, fiber, and energy. By providing comprehensive conservation assistance to whole farms, CSP offers farmers the opportunity to earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming — while they work their lands for production.

For more information on the program and the process for signing up, check out this updated CSP Information Alert by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Farmers, this resource is for you!

NSAC has recently published an updated version of the Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program. Download the comprehensive guide from this website.

Are you interested?  NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the program for 2015 now have until March 13 to go to their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office and sign up. The initial sign-up process is easy! Download the updated CSP Information Alert for step-by-step instructions, the updated Farmers’ Guide for comprehensive program details, and help spread the word!

Did you enroll in CSP in 2011?

If so, then this is the last year of your five-year CSP contract and thus you now have the opportunity to sign-up to renew your participation in the program for 2016-2020. You must apply to renew by March 31. Refer to the Information Alert for further information.

Another Successful Southern SAWG Conference!

We had so much fun and learned a lot at the 24th annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference.

Thank you to all who participated in this event, led sessions, hosted field trips, facilitated sessions, provided scholarship funds, contributed food, donated milk, displayed posters and exhibited. Thank you, also, to those who coordinated these activities!

Audio Recordings

We are really thrilled to provide this year, for the first time, audio recordings of the general conference sessions! We partnered with Rhino Technologies to capture the audio. Click here to purchase mp3 downloads. If you prefer to order a CD, click here for an order form or contact Rhino Technologies: 222 Temple Hill Dr., Almo, KY 42020, 270-753-0717. Email is services@rhino-technologies.com.

Evaluation Forms

Don't forget to fill out your evaluation form for a chance to win a fee waiver to the 25th anniversary conference!

We've posted a few slideshows from our presenters and have compiled a collection of posts, tweets and photos of the weekend event from social media on the 2015 conference's home page. Catch a glimpse of some of the conference in our Facebook photo album or on our newly created Instagram account

Next year, join us in Lexington Kentucky for our 25th annual conference, January 27-30, 2016!

This is our chance to celebrate all the work that we’ve done together and prepare the ground for the next 25 years!  

Please help us sow the seeds for our biggest gathering ever: Invite everyone you know who is involved in growing sustainable local food systems in the South. We’ve all got some celebrating to do!

Carlos Robles Appointed Ag Commissioner of Virgin Islands

Carlos Robles (left), recently appointed Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands, is recognized at the 2015 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference by Southern SAWG's Executive Director Steve Muntz.

Carlos Robles (left), recently appointed Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands, is recognized at the 2015 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference by Southern SAWG's Executive Director Steve Muntz.

While attending the Southern SAWG conference this year, Carlos Robles received notification that he had been appointed the Ag Commissioner for the Virgin Islands. Robles is a long-time attendee of the Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference. He holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture science from Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University and a master's degree in horticultural science from the University of Florida.

Robles has worked at the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service since 1981 and is the state coordinator for sustainable agriculture. He was the first certified arborist in the Virgin Islands, and regularly teaches the public about the care of plants and trees in the territory through workshops and seminars.

The new administration seeks innovation in the agriculture system and believes Robles will be very instrumental in growing the farm to school effort, as well as linking farms to other institutions. Governor Mapp envisions making the island more sustainable by coordinating with farms and supplying a widely varied fresh food source to the population and proposes an Agriculture Revolving Fund to help farmers acquire the equipment they need. 

Southern SAWG is delighted and honored that one of our own has been appointed to such an influential position in the Virgin Islands cabinet. We wish Carlos Robles all the best with his new position. 

Warmer Weather Awaits You in Mobile!

Did you miss this week's pre-registration deadline? No worries! You don't have to miss the conference. Register right at the door in Mobile.

If you aren’t registered yet, come on down and register at the Mobile Convention Center. Save some time by filling in a registration form and bringing it with you. We accept checks made payable to Southern SAWG, VISA, Master Card, American Express and Discover credit cards.

There is still room in our pre-conference short courses, field trips and mini courses. 

Attention Conference Attendees:

If you are already registered for the conference, get ready to have a great time. We’ve got a big crowd coming, giving you lots of cool and interesting folks to meet and learn from. Remember we’ve added a mixer on Thursday evening with live music and cash bar. So come on over to the convention center Thursday night for the mixer, the film and the seed swap. 

We got more vendors this year, so don’t forget to visit the Trade Show in the ballroom on Friday and Saturday. Plan to purchase your farm supplies for the season and avoid shipping fees! 

If you decide you’d like to add a short course, mini course or field trip to your conference registration, come on down early and we’ll get you set up. 

Click here to see the full description of general conference sessions 
and all the pre-conference options in this year's program.

Let's Connect!

While you are onsite, don’t forget to connect with us via social media! Join our Facebook and Twitter pages and share the highlights of your experience. Please add #SSAWG to your posts so everyone can connect.