News Roundup: April 10-16

by | Apr 16, 2010

newsroundup11Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. Click on the links to go straight to each paper’s full story.

  • “Chef on campaign to plant school gardens,” Durham Herald-Sun: “In my opinion, every elementary school in Durham should have a garden,” Jeff Ensminger says. He’s asking Durhamites to put their money where his mouth is. The 59-year-old chef, businessman and nonprofit organizer has recently had several allies send his fundraising pitch for school gardens to several local e-mail lists. Ensminger is also negotiating with businesses he hopes will sponsor multiple gardens for the Durham district’s 29 elementary schools. Ensminger launched this initiative after consulting with educators and others in Durham.  …

  • Rabid donkey prompts warning,” Durham Herald-Sun: Carl Williams, state veterinarian of Public Health of the North Carolina Division of Public health, is urging anyone who visited Elodie Farms in Rougement after March 10 and had contact with a donkey with confirmed rabies infection to consult with their physician or local health department to determine if rabies vaccination is recommended. …
  • Chicken processor adding 51 jobs in Robeson,” News & Observer: North Carolina is getting a few more chicken jobs. Mountaire Farms of Arkansas, which already employs more than 2,400 workers in this state, plans to expand its processing operation in Robeson County and add 51 workers over the next three years. …
  • NC county ensures roadside markets can keep signs,” WRAL: A North Carolina county thinks it’s protecting a rural custom with an ordinance that allows roadside markets to erect long lines of signs hawking produce during the growing season. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that Currituck County commissioners last week passed an ordinance that defines a roadside market. The move allows business like Powell’s Roadside Market to keep its row of 10-foot-tall wooden signs of a smiling farmer offering cantaloupes, tomatoes and sweet corn. The county’s planning director said previously any business along the main highway south to the Outer Banks could have put up a line of signs. County Commissioner Janet Taylor says the area’s farming heritage makes keeping the signs for roadside markets special. …
  • Strawberry season could be sweet for farmers,” WRAL: Spring is here, and strawberry plants are in full bloom. North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation in strawberry production, and this year could be one of the sweetest for growers. “This year, we’ve had the great growing conditions, and we have got tons of berries out there,” said Arnella Hunt, with Hunt Farm in Wake County. “They’re not red yet, but within two weeks, we will have them.” …
  • New laws could hurt Western North Carolina food producers,” Asheville Citizen-Times: New federal food safety laws could drive some small producers in Western North Carolina out of business with added costs and inspections, those in the industry say. The Senate this week could vote on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill that would require more U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspections of farms and processing facilities and stringent record keeping from producers. The agency also would have more power to order recalls. Local producers and sellers said the law is written for big food companies and supposes the food supply will be more global in coming decades and not more local.   …
  • Kissell: Farmers are the backbone of our society,” Richmond County Daily Journal: On the back of a t-shirt I saw recently were printed the words, “Naked and Hungry.” When I saw the front, it asked “Where would we be without farmers?” What farmers provide to our nation is invaluable. They put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, provide world-class goods and raw materials for export, represent a significant part of the economy in every state in the Union, and soon may be a key component in lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil. No nation can truly be free and secure unless it can provide for its own food, clothing, fuel and economic stability. So it is no exaggeration when I say that farmers are vital to America’s maintaining its role as a world power. Yet, all too often, family farmers are taken for granted. As we enjoy the many benefits of a productive agricultural sector, we should never forget the hard work, and the risk, and the investment, and the skill required to bring these products to market.  …
  • No Fish at Farmers’ Markets,” Ahab’s Journal (Blog): It looks like consumers won’t find seafood at Dare County farmers’ markets again this season. Hatteras Connection and Coastal Harvesters, Inc., the non-profit sponsor of the Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market, asked the Dare County Board of Public Health to authorize seafood sales at farmers’ markets operated by non-profit organizations or by municipal or county government.  Fishermen participating as vendors would have had to comply with the planning and permitting and inspection rules that govern other seafood markets in the county. In a March 24, 2010 response, Steve Evans, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Health, wrote, “The Board of Health, after discussion of your request, unanimously agreed to maintain the rules governing seafood markets in Dare County with no changes in order to continue to minimize the risk of disease transmission through the handling, processing, and sale of seafood in Dare County for the protection of the public’s health.” …
  • Day camp puts focus on food,” Hendersonville Times-News: Food is arguably an unusual theme for a summer camp — and this is going way beyond what happens in the mess hall. At Terra Summer, which may be the most delicious day camp around, the experience is all about learning through food. Middle school-age campers get to grow and cook their own food, milk goats, gather eggs from chickens, learn how to can and preserve, go on a foraging expedition, take a field trip to the landfill, keep a trash diary and more. “The history of the world through food is full of important topics of conversation,” says Sybil Fix, founder and director of Terra Summer. “The environmental, economic and health issues — that’s our curriculum; it’s an intricate thing.” By growing and cooking their own food, campers discover the complex issues and hard work that goes into putting food on the table. “This is really an activist camp,” Fix says. …
  • Schools face roadblock to buy-local food effort,” Wilmington Star-News: A regional group working to promote the “buy local” movement for farmers has hit some snags in efforts to open up local markets such as school lunch programs. But it has landed a $325,000 grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation to build a distribution center for area farmers at the WestPark Business Technology Center in Warsaw. “It’s about growing local farmers, keeping things local and buttressing our local economy,” said Leslie Hossfeld, a co-founder of The Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Project and the director of the public sociology program at University of North Carolina Wilmington. The distribution center will join a commercial incubator kitchen operated under the auspices of James Sprunt Commmunity College.  …