Federal shot in the arm: The massive farm bill currently being debated on the U.S. House floor will include millions of dollars to benefit one of North Carolina’s fastest-growing industries: the nurseries that cultivate shrubs, flowers and sod for the state’s ever-growing population. In the past, such bills highlighted row crops such as cotton, corn and tobacco. But this year, for the first time, the bill includes funding dedicated to specialty crops – which include fruits and vegetables but also ornamentals and sod.
Farmer to Farmer rolls on: The Organic Growers School and N.C. Cooperative Extension Farmer-to-Farmer classes continue to be held on Thursdays through Sept. 5. Classes are stand-alone, so interested growers can pick and choose. Upcoming sessions include: Blackberry and raspberry production, Aug. 2; Fencing options for livestock, Aug. 9; Customizing and marketing cut flowers, Aug. 16; Pasture-raised pork production, Aug. 23; Establishing a greenhouse, Aug. 30; and Blueberry production for the mountains, Sept. 5. For more information and to register for classes, visit www.organicgrowersschool.org , or contact Organic Growers School Coordinator Dan Leroy at (828) 450-2026.
Getting your organic on: Organicfest 2007 will be held Saturday, Sept. 8, on Battery Park Avenue in Asheville. Sponsored by Pure Food Partners and co-sponsored by Asheville Parks and Recreation along with several businesses and organizations, the event includes live music, dancing, drawings for baskets of organic goodies and gift certificates, free organic samples and an Organicfest Market on the Square featuring food and refreshments, clothing, herbs, flowers and natural arts and crafts. If you or your organization want to participate, there is still time to register. For more information, visit www.organicfest.org or call Debi Athos at 253-2267.