Dr. Leonard Githinji, VSU’s Urban Agriculture Extension Specialist, is spearheading the new academic-based certification program to help urban farmers and educators successfully grow safe food in an urban environment, while increasing their marketability in this growing field.
Urban agriculture is hot. And for good reason. It can help alleviate urban food deserts, make our food as “local” and fresh as possible and decrease the “food miles” associated with long-distance transportation. From rooftop gardens and aquaponics centers in converted warehouses, to growing crops on abandoned properties, urban agriculture provides a wide range of community benefits, including closer neighborhood ties, reduced crime, education and job training opportunities, and healthy food access for low-income residents.
“That’s why,” say’s Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia State University’s Urban Agriculture Extension Specialist, “It’s no wonder we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of urban farms from Brooklyn to Boise and everywhere in between.”
But training hasn’t kept up with demand for these urban cowboys. As Githinji explains, a lot of non-profits, churches, businesses and municipalities are putting a great deal of resources into getting urban farms up and running. So much so that last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an Urban Agriculture Toolkit to provide informational resources to these group leaders, many of whom have never farmed before or know a nematode from a horned toad. (For the record, a nematode is parasitic worm that often causes damage to garden crops like tomatoes and peppers. A horned toad is actually a desert lizard.)
But there’s a lot to learn, he explains, from business planning, legal issues and market development to soil quality, pest management and plant health. And while an online tool kit is a great resource, we need more science-based, boots-on-the-ground training for these urban pioneers.
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Virginia Cooperative Extension will be holding a Christmas Tree Primer on March 31.
Attendees will get an overview of Christmas tree production techniques; identification and control methods for common Christmas tree pests and diseases; financing and market analysis; labor and liability issues; and grower experiences in Christmas tree production. Demonstrations and presentations will be given by industry professionals and Extension faculty.
The meeting will be held at the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center located at 33 Calhoun Street, Warrenton, Virginia, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $15 and includes lunch and materials. Participants may register by contacting the Virginia Cooperative Extension Culpeper Office at 540- 727-3435 or email@example.com
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Last year’s Beef Cattle Health Conference set an attendance record with more than 300 cattle producers and students participating in lectures and demonstrations.
The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Farm Credit are hosting the Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Health Conference on Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Designed to give beef cattle producers an opportunity to learn strategies to improve the health of their herds, the conference will take place in the auditorium at Virginia Tech’s Litton-Reaves Hall, located at 175 West Campus Drive.
The conference will open with presentations from three faculty members in the veterinary college’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.
John Currin, clinical associate professor of production management medicine, will speak about the Veterinary Feed Directive, a new Food and Drug Administration approval process for the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Sierra Guynn, clinical assistant professor, will give presentations on pinkeye and fly control.
Following a morning break, the conference will feature special guest Andrew Griffith, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of Tennessee, who will discuss the economic outlook for the beef cattle industry. Morgan Paulette, an agriculture and natural resources Extension agent for Pulaski County, will then give an update on the New River Valley’s Virginia Quality Assured program.
4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
Eager 4-H members and volunteers from across the state will descend on Virginia’s capitol Jan. 24 to meet their legislators and learn about Virginia’s government at the annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol.
The trip to Richmond, sponsored by Virginia 4-H, gives participants the opportunity to become more familiar with the legislative process and to express their gratitude to state delegates and senators who support 4-H youth development programs. This year’s attendance is expected to surpass 1,000 members and volunteers.
“4-H citizenship projects and opportunities, such as 4-H Day at the State Capitol, empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities. This trip allows members to see firsthand how our state government works,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development with Virginia Cooperative Extension.
This year’s 4-H Day at the State Capitol will include a rally on the steps of the capitol. Virginia’s first lady, Dorothy McAuliffe; Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Sandra Adams; Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden; and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands have been invited to greet 4-H’ers. Members will also participate in various tours, attend House and Senate sessions, and visit other historical sites of interest in Richmond.
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Virginia Cooperative Extension will host a pest management workshop on updated techniques for controlling diseases and insects in greenhouse and nursery environments on Jan. 26, 2017.
The workshop will take place at Battlefield Farms Inc. located at 23190 Clarks Mountain Road in Rapidan, Virginia from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Faculty from Virginia Cooperative Extension, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the University of Maryland Extension will lead the workshops.
Other topics to be covered during the event are conventional and biological control options available to growers, plant growth regulator basics with an emphasis on perennials, and nutrient and water efficiency on nursery crops.
For more information, to register, and to request special accommodation contact Shawn Appling at 540-727-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.