Monday, December 13, 2010

Vimeo Account and New Movies

We recently started a Vimeo account to post our growing collection of videos.
Our friend and video production professional, Joel Wolpert, recently made a video for us to promote Farmers Markets.

The video is called "Trying Something New", and it is a beautiful promotion of farmers and farmers markets. The link is provided below. Enjoy.

Landowner Assistance Public Meetings Announced

Landowner Assistance Public Meetings Announced

MORGANTOWN, WV, November 30, 2010—The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with local, state, and federal government agencies, is planning a series of public meetings concerning the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the USDA Organic Initiative. These meetings will showcase assistance and activities provided by local, state, and federal government agencies available to landowners.

CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing or adopting enhancements to their current systems while improving, maintaining, and managing existing practices on agricultural land and non-industrial private forest land. Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship.

NRCS program specialists will be available to provide information, answer questions, and sign-up applicants. Please plan to attend one of the following meetings to find out what you can do to help improve environmental quality on your land. The participating agencies have a variety of programs—for agricultural producers, urban landowners, or just concerned citizens.




December 7, 2010

John Marshall High School
1300 Wheeling Avenue
Glen Dale, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

December 9, 2010

Jacksons Mill
160 WVU Jacksons Mill
Weston, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

December 13, 2010

USDA Service Center
201 Scott Avenue

Morgantown, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

December 14, 2010

USDA Service Center/US Forest Service
241 Mercer Springs Road
Princeton, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

December 15, 2010

Philip Barbour High School
99 Horseshoe Drive
Philippi, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

December 17, 2010

Lincoln County Public Library
7999 Lynn Avenue
Hamlin, WV

6:00 – 8:00 P.M.

The 2008 Farm Bill provides Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with authority to provide organic growers an opportunity to compete for funds through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative. The program is directed to growers certified as organic according to the National Organic Program (NOP) and those transitioning to organic production.

For additional information about West Virginia landowner assistance public meetings, please contact Charlotte Elliott-Friend, Assistant State Conservationist–Civil Rights/Outreach, at 304-284-4247, or, or contact your local NRCS office.

USDA-NRCS: Philippi Field Office USDA-NRCS: Elkins Field Office

(304) 457-4516 x 3 (304) 636-6703 x 3


Persons with disabilities who require special accommodations and/or alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) associated with this meeting should contact Charlotte Elliott-Friend at 304-284-4247 at least one weeks prior to the meeting with his/her specific request.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202-720-6382 (TDD).

Winter Market

This past weekend was the Winter Market at the Community Garden Market in Downtown Philippi. Order forms were handed out several weeks ago, and customers were to pre-order baked goods from several different vendors. Pick up and payment was this past Friday and Saturday. The choices ranged from breads (banana-nut, Zucchini, Cinnamon Swirl, and others), to pies, cookies and fudge!

Orders ready for pick up!

There were additional baked goods available for sale as well.

Delicious Baked Goods for sale!

And not only were there lots of delicious baked goods for sale, but there was a lot of produce available as well.
The items available were: Baby spinach, purple-topped turnips, Horseradish root, carrots, apples, potatoes, garlic, butternut squash, Popcorn, Honey, Pumpkin and Eggs.
Locally produced honey and popcorn!

There was lots of produce available as well!

Popcorn on the cob, purple topped turnips and butternut squash!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Farm to School Delivery

Turnips awaiting delivery

WesMonTy is proud to announce that the first farm to school delivery in Barbour County took place December 9th at 7am. 30 pounds of white turnips and turnip greens were delivered to Philippi Middle School for use in their Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program. By delivering these turnips to the school and offering them to children as snacks we will begin the process of providing the schools with fresh, local produce. We will also be fulfilling the vision of Senator Tom Harkin who believed that children will eat fruits and vegetables if given the opportunity. Senator Harkin's vision was instrumental in placing a fresh fruit and vegetable program in the 2002 farm bill.

These Turnips were grown by Mark Hollen, a local producer who uses organic practices. The turnips are sure to be liked by the children with their mild flavor and fun size. Mark's 2 year old granddaughter loves to eat them and even calls them apples! They are sure to be a hit with the school children!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Organic Opportunities for Small Scale Producers

On December 8th at 1pm, the Tygart Valley Growers Association will be discussing the EQIP Organic Initiative.
The meeting will be held at the WesMonTy Office in Philippi. We are located in the USDA service center which is located next to the WVU extension office for Barbour County. For more information and directions please contact:

Here is the Release:
Organic Initiative Funding Announced
MORGANTOWN, WV, November 5, 2010—The 2008 Farm Bill provides NRCS with authority to provide organic growers an opportunity to compete for funds through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The program is directed to growers certified as organic according to the National Organic Program (NOP) and those transitioning to organic production.
The primary focus of the program is to support the implementation of practices which help growers meet the provisions of the statute and the NOP Act. Successful applicants will be required to develop an Organic System Plan before installation of conservation practices to help achieve organic production and certification. Growers already certified as organic are eligible for financial assistance to install practices after they submit their existing plan.

Landowners must submit their applications to their local USDA Service Center by February 25, 2011 to be considered for funding this year.

Please follow these links for more information:

Definitely check out:

Assuming that the wife of RC&D Coordinator, Jason Teets, is not giving birth, he will be on hand to assist with the NRCS Organic initiative organic process.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Philippi Healthy Families Initiative hosts cooking demonstrations in Philippi that are targeted towards families. They recently hosted one on the 29th, and WesMonTy was able to attend.

These great workshops are funded though the DHHR Healthy Lifestyles office which received a grant through the CDC. Philippi is allowed the funding because it is a Mainstreet Community. Davis Memorial Hospital also supports this project through funding of equipment and providing expertise of their clinical nutritionist a RD/CDE.

They market the program through the local elementary school by handing out a flyer to each student. The child accompanied by one parent must register ahead of time in order to participate. This week there were around 12 families present.

This week the menu was:
Vegetarian Chili with Hominy option
Vegetarian Chili with winter squash option
Corny Corn Bread
Secret Chocolate cake (made with beets)

The Onion, Garlic and Beets used this week were produced locally.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Growers Meeting

This past meeting of the growers club went incredibly well. There were a total of 11 members present.
Discussions included the new food safety legislation (Food Safety Modernization Act S.510). This is something that concerns all farmers, large and small alike. However, if passed it will have enormous consequences for all the progress that has been made in the local food systems.

The growers club will proudly hosting a group seed order through Fedco, a cooperative seed company. This order will take place at a pot luck dinner that is being arranged at a local venue. This order will mark an important milestone in the growth of the organization and will help us to engage more growers from the Community Garden Market.

Mark Hollen also gave a presentation on the effectiveness of the low-tunnels. He admits that we got them installed later than what is recommended, but despite that they have been performing wonders with his rows. He suggested that we should mark Labor Day as the last day to plant. We are excited for next year when we can use the low tunnels at the beginning and end of the season, and really see the results come through!

The next meeting does not have a date set, but we are working on organizing it.

We here at WesMonTy want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Healthy Families Cooking Demonstration

Butternut squash cooking in a pot
The Philippi Healthy Families Initiative hosts cooking demonstrations in Philippi that are targeted towards families. They recently hosted one on the 14th, and WesMonTy was able to attend.

These great workshops are funded though the DHHR Healthy Lifestyles office which received a grant through the CDC. Philippi is allowed the funding because it is a Mainstreet Community. Davis Memorial Hospital also supports this project through funding of equipment and providing expertise of their clinical nutritionist a RD/CDE.

They market the program through the local elementary school by handing out a flyer to each student. The child accompanied by one parent must register ahead of time in order to participate. This week there were 24 registered, with 30 being the limit.

Even this late in the season, the class was accomplished with some produce by a local grower. Several things were provided by Mark Hollen. He provided the root vegetables for the homework, the butternut squash for the Squash Mash and the corn meal for the pancakes. The cornmeal is something special, it was hand-ground and produced from a variety of corn that is organically grown abenaki calais. This is a strain that was raised by the abanaki indians in New England by the time the pilgrims arrived.

All the produce waste is also collected and composted. This is a good lesson in the energy cycle and the resuse of these products.

The cooking work is accomplished through the mobile kitchen units: gas stoves, utensils and all the kitchen supplies needed for food prep. They arranged six stations, with 4 or 5 families and one assistant per station.
Kitchen Utensils
Gas Stoves

Using the menu for the week, they prepare the food using the mobile kitchen. In between food prep, the children sit down to watch a video on nutrition.
Making the pancakes and the pear topping
Watching the nutrition video
When the food is all prepared, they clear the table, set it and eat as a family.
Setting the table for a family dinner!
At the very end they get 'homework', which is a bag of food to take home and prepare by the instructions. In this case it was a bag of root vegetables with a recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables. Each family also gets an incentive gift. The gifts are given with practicality in mind. For instance, this class they received a pancake pan, and previously they have received measuring cups and pumpkin muffin tins.

During the class, the instructors teach about food safety, food preparation, and for the children how to measure, prepare and cook the foods.
Measuring out the ingredients for the ranch dip
The children had a great time getting to work with the food and learning about the food preparation. Using toothpicks and chopped veggies, the children also made 'Veggie Robots', a fun little way to prepare and eat the vegetables.
A completed Veggie Robot
Some delicious Ranch Dressing

This weeks menu was:
1. Squash Mash
2. Ranch Dip
3. Warm Ginger Pear Topping
4. Cornmeal Wheat Pancakes
5. Veggie Robot

Monday, November 8, 2010

Barton Bench Article

The Barton Bench Ecosystem Restoration Project was featured on the front page of the Charleston Gazette! Check it out here:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deep Tillage Video

Here is the video of the site visit to Barton Bench on November 4th, 2010. The video shows deep tilling in progress, with a before shot in the beginning and some still shots at the end. We hope you enjoy! It took place near Cheat Bridge, West Virginia.

Deep Tillage at Barton Bench

WesMonTy in partnership with the US Forest Service, and others has begun Phase II work on a restoration project of a former surface mine near Cheat Bridge, WV.

Barton Bench located on Cheat Mountain in Randolph County is named for it's three separate strip mine 'benches' separated by steep slope. This area was mined for coal in the 1970's and 1980's. It is now part of the Monongahela National Forest.

Deep tillage (also called deep ripping) is a practice whereby a large steel shank is dragged through the ground.
This can serve several purposes such as bringing buried nutrients to the surface, and breaking up compacted soils. In this case, the soils of the former mine site are extremely compacted and are inhibiting plant growth. By breaking up the compacted soil, and encouraging native plant growth the opportunity, a native ecosystem will begin to take hold in the area and restore the ecosystem to it's previous state. Due to the dominance of invasive grass species in the area, native plants have been unable to reassert themselves and the ecosystem development has therefore remained stagnant over the last 30 years. By giving a toehold to native species, it is expected that this will give them a trajectory with which to begin the redevelopment of the area into a native habitat.
The information on deep tillage from NRCS can be found here:

The Barton Bench Restoration Project has the potential to convert a long-standing brownfield into a high profile demonstration site that can be used to showcase the natural resources of West Virginia. The project goals are threefold:
  1. Restore watershed conditions and the native red spruce-northern hardwood ecosystem within the project area;
  2. Use the results of this project to move forward with large-scale native species restoration across the previously mined areas of the Mower Tract, and;
  3. Maintain this landscape as a greenspace that supports a diversity of wildlife, improves water quality, serves as a model for other restoration sites, and provides a space for residents to meet, recreate and exercise.

On Thursday when the site was visited, the weather was cold and rainy in the lower elevations. However, when reaching the elevation of Cheat Mountain (4,000 feet), we encountered snow.
Fortunately, this did not stop work, and everyone was able to see some deep tilling in action!
This is some soil that was upturned by the machine:

We will be posting a video of the deep tilling very soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Effectiveness of Low Tunnels

Low tunnels have already shown their effectiveness this season. Mark Hollen, a participating producer has set-up over 100 feet of low tunnel over his garden plots and is using them to assist with carrots, turnips and beet production. Mark lives in a frost pocket, and experiences heavy frosts early. He has already had several hard frosts on his farm this season.

Last week he placed plastic covering on top of his pepper plants to keep them from feeling the effects of the frost that was expected that night. The low tunnel covering completely saved those plants that were placed under the covering.

As you can see in the picture, only half of the plants were covered. The uncovered plants were killed off, and the covered ones were saved. This is a great example of the effectiveness of low tunnels. Even just a simple plastic covering (bottom left of picture) was able to save his pepper plants.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $9.6 Million in Partnership Agreements to Help Small and Underserved Producers

In Partnership with Potomac Headwaters RC&D and Center for Economic Options, we were awarded $160,000 to implement a farm to school project in 20 counties of West Virginia.
Follow this link for the .pdf file detailing all the projects funded:

USDA Funds Community Risk Management Education through Innovative Agreements

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Risk Management Agency (RMA) has awarded $9.6 million in Partnership Agreements to provide producers with opportunities to learn more about managing risk in their businesses, which provides an important educational opportunity for limited-resource and underserved farmers and ranchers. Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Michael Scuse announced the awards on Vilsack's behalf at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Annual Crop Insurance Conference.

"The partnerships we are announcing today will provide community-based opportunities for underserved, small and limited-resource producers to be better managers in an inherently risky business," said Scuse. "For small and beginning farmers in particular, risk management often means understanding direct marketing and for this they need legal, financial, and food safety tools and information appropriate for the scale of their operation and the markets that they serve."

Many of the partnerships that RMA is offering can help farmers diversify production and marketing practices, or to provide planning tools to help farmers obtain the insurance and credit that are often critical to their ability to stay in business or to diversify their existing business.

The Federal crop insurance program and Risk Management Education and Outreach programs together provide a safety net to ensure that farmers and ranchers will weather the perils of nature and the marketplace and continue in business, thus ensuring the food supply and the survival of small, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers . RMA administers these partnership projects as well as the Federal crop insurance program, with funding and authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

The new partnership agreements announced today include:

Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States: $5 million is being awarded to deliver crop insurance education and information to agricultural producers in 16 states designated as historically underserved with respect to crop insurance. These targeted states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions: $1 million is being awarded to fund 110 commodity Partnership Agreements across the country, delivering training to U.S. farmers and ranchers in managing production, marketing, and financial risk, such as the award to Annie's Project in Illinois, Education for Farm Women. The program gives priority to educating producers of crops currently not insured under Federal crop insurance, specialty crops, and underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. RMA expects to reach 1.2 million producers with Risk Management Education Partnerships alone; a 10 percent increase over 2009.

Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships: USDA is awarding $3.6 million for collaborative outreach and assistance programs, such as the $100,000 award to provide emerging risk management tools to returning veterans to support successful farming. This partnership category targets limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally under-served farmers and ranchers, who produce priority commodities.

Complete listings of the agreements can be found on the RMA Web site at the following address:


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

South Morgantown Farmers Market

The South Morgantown will be having it's last outdoor market this Thursday (28th) at 4pm. They will resume with an indoor winter market for two dates in November and two dates in December.

Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Farm Bill Information

This link is "Conserving Habitat through the federal farm bill". Clicking the link will pull up the option to download a .pdf. This article will be helpful for anyone who is looking to engage in conservation practices and wants to know how the farm bill can help them do this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

West Virginia Sustainability Summit and Expo: Building a 21st Century Sustainable Economy

There is a great program happening in November, sponsored by our partner at the Center For Economic Options (CEO). We suggest you check it out!

It’s time to talk about Sustainability and we have created an opportunity to do just that. The West Virginia Summit and Expo will be focused on our state’s rapidly growing sustainability business sector and will bring diverse perspectives and dynamic discussions related to these important topics:

· Emerging sustainable business opportunities and entrepreneurship

· Building local sustainable economies

· Competitive advantage for sustainable businesses

· Roles of local governments and organizations

· Green Job training and preparation

The one-day event will also focus on the importance of “buying local” and how it helps to grow local economies by supporting small to medium sized businesses. It will highlight businesses that are transitioning or actively engaged in the sustainable economy – one that builds social, environment, and economic assets for everyone!

The Expo booths will feature a variety of businesses and organizations that are committed to helping balance profits with the needs of people and the planet. You will have a chance to learn first-hand how they are positively changing the way we do business.

Featured keynote speakers:

  • U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller
  • Neil Hawkins, Sc. D, The DOW Chemical Company
  • Anthony Flaccavento, Scale, inc.

Registration Fee:

$75.00 - includes Continental Breakfast, Lunch, Beverage Breaks, and Summit Materials.

The event will take place on: Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia 26501


Wednesday, October 20, 2010


WesMonTy RC&D has joined the Twitter community! Please read our updates and follow us!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Canning Workshop

Children washing vegetables
On Saturday, October 9th, WesMonTy sponsored a canning workshop in the Chestnut Ridge Community. This workshop was in partnership with West Virginia University Extension of Barbour County, The Healthy Families Initiative, Heart and Hand House, inc. and World Servants. The workshop was instructed by Mary Beth Lind, a local author and dietitian. She was accompanied by a host of skilled volunteers and seven participants.

All of the food was local and locally purchased through the Community Garden Market in downtown Philippi. The Community Garden Market is operated by Heart and Hand House, inc. a local non-profit organization. The wonderful thing about the garden market that worked well for this workshop was the role of the market as a local food aggregator. Most of the food used was locally-based, including the bread. Only a few ingredients such as sugar, milk and butter were not able to be sourced locally, but they were purchased through the local grocery store. The presence of the garden market made purchasing very simple in that there was only one bill for food purchased from several producers.

WesMonTy provided a pressure canner, which was available for the participants to learn from. There was also a water bath canner there for the high-acid foods. The pressure canner will be available for residents to borrow throughout the seasons.

The workshop was a great success, with each participant learning a vegetable soup recipe, an apple crisp recipe and an apple pie filling recipe. Both the Vegetable soup and the apple pie filling were canned. Each participant was able to take home one can of each along with a copy of the book 'So Easy to Preserve'. All the recipes came from the book, so that participants will easily be able to return to the recipes they used.

This event was created with families in mind, so children were given activities to do as well. Thanks to the beautiful weather on Saturday, the children first washed vegetables outside then went inside to make a delicious pumpkin dip, which was served with sliced apples. They were also able to make crafts, paint a pumpkin, make spice packets for the soup, and watch A Charley Brown Thanksgiving. It was important that the children take part in the food preparation within their own capacity. New research suggests that kids that participate in food preparation are more likely to try a new food. Some were hesitant to eat the pumpkin dip, but they soon learned that they really liked it!

Making Pumpkin Dip.

Drying apples

Meanwhile the adult session went well. Without having to worry about what their children were up to, the participants were free to focus on the class. Mary Beth went over food cleaning, the basics of canning and the agenda for the day.

The participants were divided into several groups, and each group had a cooking station. Thanks to mobile kitchen supplies provided by Healthy Families Initiative, each station had a portable gas stove, utensils, knives and cutting boards. This allowed participants to cook right at the tables they worked at! First they chopped the veggies which had been cleaned by the children, and then began to cook. After the soup was made up, and the jars sanitized, they began to can. They learned all aspects of canning and how to do it safe and clean.

Preparing the vegetables for soup

Blanching tomatoes

After everything was canned, everyone sat down to eat a great lunch of vegetable soup, bread and apple crisp! It was a great event in that parents were able to eat with their children and their community.

The event was concluded with a visit to the high tunnel project on Chestnut Ridge. At the high tunnel, Jeff Sickler accompanied by Dr. Lewis Jett of WVU made a presentation on the high tunnel. They spoke of benefits of the high tunnel, and gave first-hand examples of the success of it. They also spent some time talking about low-tunnel technologies, a new venture in the area. Low-tunnels are a potentially cost-effective means of season extension. They are a fraction of the price of a low-tunnel, and create many of the same benefits.

Lewis Jett speaking about the benefits of the high tunnel

The high tunnel on the left and the low tunnel on the right.

A view from inside a low tunnel.

Overall it was a great day! WesMonTy has been fortunate to have so many good collaborators and resources in the community. We also look forward to doing an activity like this in the future with other communities.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NRCS Announces Farm Bill Ranking Period

MORGANTOWN, WV, September 3, 2010—Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers voluntary conservation program opportunities through the Farm Bill. Applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and Agricultural Management Assistance program (AMA) are accepted at any time. The first ranking cut-off is October 29, 2010. Applications will be evaluated and ranked following this date based on funding.
EQIP funds are used to help correct environmental problems caused by agricultural operations. Participants typically address soil erosion and water quality problems associated with cropland and animal agriculture. Also included in EQIP are funds to address issues on non-industrial forestland.
The CBWI is much the same as EQIP, but is limited to counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This includes the eight counties in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Common to both programs are practices such as cover crops, animal waste management, pasture management, livestock water development and forestry practices.
WHIP funds assist participants to install practices aimed at improving wildlife habitat. Funds are available for threatened and endangered habitat protection, stream habitat improvement, riparian area development, early successional habitat and other declining and important wildlife habitat. Practices include fencing of key areas, developing field borders, and natural stream restoration.
AMA is a program to assist agricultural producers minimize risk associated with agricultural production. Popular practices under the AMA program are irrigation and deer exclusion fencing. For more information and to apply for programs, please contact your local USDA Service Center, listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture, or your local conservation district
Please follow this link to access information about the project:

This picture is a good example of a drip irrigation system

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Community Garden Market Fall Hours

The Community Garden Market in Philippi has new hours for the Fall. They are Friday 9-1, and Saturday 9-12.

As you all know, this is the first season that the Community Garden Market will be open through the Fall and Winter. Right now they have a great selection of Butternut Squash, Hubbard Squash, Apples, Carving Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, Chestnuts, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes, and other vegetables!
Within the next several weeks, we anticipate the arrival of Carrots, Greens, Beets and Turnips!
It is also expected that they will have eggs through the whole winter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BFBL Posters

WesMonTy, in it's continuing partnership with Buy Fresh, Buy Local West Virginia, produced some amazing promotional items for area markets and schools.
Susan Sauter headed the design of these beautiful posters (pictured above). 1000 were printed, and over 400 will be going to local markets to aid them in the promotion of their farmers markets. Some will be going into local schools to promote healthy diets among youth.

We would like to thank Buy Fresh, Buy Local West Virginia for all of their hard work in this wonderful project!

Low Tunnels Project

Recently, WesMonTy in Partnership with Heart and Hand House, purchased low tunnel materials to distribute to small-scale producers in our area.
Low tunnels are much like high tunnels, only about 3 feet high and 5 feet wide. These tunnels serve much the same purpose as high tunnels to extend the growing season, and help manage pests. Luckily, low tunnels are only a fraction of the cost of the high tunnels. This means they will be an effective means of season extension in the WesMonTy area.

Also, some big thanks go to Dr. Lewis Jett of WVU Extension who provided an enormous amount of technical assistance concerning the implementation of the low tunnels and the seed varieties currently being used.

So far, we have three growers who have set-up low-tunnels on their plots. So far, there are pictures for one of them, and there will be more pictures posted soon.

Mark Hollen's low tunnels #1
Mark Hollen's low tunnels #2
Mark Hollen's low tunnels #3
Chris Peters low tunnel #1
Chris Peter's low tunnel, #2. It is important on a sunny day like this to let it vent a little but, thus the loose sides.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Local Food Initiative In Barbour County Schools

Today, WesMonTy RC&D Coordinator Jason Teets and Sustainable Projects Coordinator Ben Nemeth had a meeting with the County Food Service Director of Barbour County schools.
During this meeting, expectations were set on what would be needed to begin a local food based initiative with the Barbour County schools. Currently, the school district receives federal grant funds that focus specifically on healthy food initiatives in the schools. One part of this takes the form of a snack several days per week. We have worked out an agreement to assist in the procuring of local food for the snack, as well as using foods that the children may not be exposed to otherwise. The local food can easily be provided for with current resources in the community. It is also important to expose children to a variety of foods to help encourage a healthy diet and also to affect the wave of food related health problems that are so prevalent in West Virginia.
A very important, and unique, aspect of this project is the sourcing of food through the local Community Garden Market. The market, being the main hub for local food in Barbour county is the ideal place to purchase the food from. This will keep it all very local and ensure that the producers benefit from this project.
A tour of WesMonTy's projects was also conducted. A visit to the Community Garden Market (a receiver of funding through WesMonTy) showed the Director the main local food hub of Barbour County. It was a good demonstration as to the availability of these foods especially entering the cold season. Finally, we took short trip to Chestnut Ridge to look at the high tunnel and low-tunnel projects. We were able to demonstrate WesMonTy's work towards assisting local producers with season extension and what our vision for the future is. Also at the high tunnel, we met with Jeff Sickler and spoke about his efforts and his excitement for the project.
The meeting went very well and the Director was able to see the a portion of our projects and get a better sense of what we are doing. This is a very exciting partnership between WesMonTy and Barbour County schools. Next week could possibly be the first week of the project, with local food being used in local schools!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Food Corps

After submitting a letter of intent to Food Corps, WesMonTy was selected to submit an RFP!
WesMonTy was only one of a handful of organizations selected to represent their state in the upcoming site selection process. 105 organizations from 40 states applied.
Now WesMonTy is requested to submit an RFP that will be sent out today.
This is a very exciting piece of news and we will continue to work hard towards hosting volunteers in September 2011!

Local Producer Success Story

Congratulations to local producers Jeff (Pictured) and Lisa Sickler on their big sale to the Shop N' Save in Belington. Jeff and Lisa live in the Chestnut Ridge community and aside from having a high tunnel where they grow amazing produce, they also grow beautiful Chrysanthemums. They began by selling their mums at the Community Garden Market in downtown Philippi, and they were being sold as fast as they could supply them. They were also able to sell some at the local Southern States store.
Several weeks ago, Jeff approached the Belington Shop n' Save when he heard they were buying local produce. At the sight of his mums, they immediately bought several hundred that he had on hand!

Consistent with the Community Garden Market, their mums have sold out quickly, and have impressed not only the management at the Belington Shop n' Save, but a regional manager as well.

The mums have been so popular and are of such high quality, that they were recently asked to grow some for next year! They now have an agreement with the Belington Shop n' Save to grow several hundred just for them. They also may be able to supply several other area stores with mums as well!

Congratulations to Jeff and Lisa on your recent successes!

Our advice to you is to buy them when you see them because they won't last long on the shelf!

Friday, September 17, 2010

South Morgantown Farmers Market

Two weeks ago, South Morgantown Farmers Market on US-119 received funding from WesMonTy to run a large ad in the local newspaper. WesMonTy visited the market to see the results of this ad.

The results were incredible. According to the market manager Lesa Gay, the market has seen it's best business after ads of this size have been run. As you can see from the pictures, the market was bustling, and many people came out, enjoyed the weather and spoke with the friendly local producers.

This market is such a great social meeting place for the community. It allows neighbors to come together, support their local producers, and enjoy some company.
Congratulations to the South Morgantown Farmers Market on their great success!

The South Morgantown Farmers Market is open Thursday's from 4:30 to 7:30. Please visit their website for more information:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food Safety Guidelines

At the local marketing club, several of our members mentioned the confusion over allowable processed foods at the farmers markets, especially pertaining to the Community Garden Market. For instance, hot pepper jelly is no longer allowed, and there is a lot of confusion as to why this is.
On the DHHR website there is a handy guide titled: Farmers Market Vendors Guide. It is a PDF file that can be found at the link below:

This guide is very useful in answering any questions vendors may have on what they can and cannot sell at the market and also the reasons why this is. It lists Apple Butter, Sorghum, Molasses, Eggs, Meat, Jams and Jellies, Honey, Baked Goods and a host of other foods. If you are interested in producing any goods for the farmers markets in your area, you can use the form to get the proper information on food safety.

Friday, August 20, 2010

High Tunnel Visit

This past Thursday, Dr. Lewis Jett from WVU paid a visit to the high tunnel on Chestnut Ridge. As a continuing source of technical assistance, Dr. Jett has been very involved in the high tunnel from the initial planting to the present. During his visit he recommended some late season crops to plant and also some ways to prepare the high tunnel for the coming fall and winter seasons. Dr. Jett provided them with several different seeds for a late season crop. He handed out several types of peas, some beets, and lastly some carrots. These are crops that will flourish in the warmer environment of the high tunnel as the temperatures begin to drop.

Along with some seeds, he also provided some technical advice. For instance, the night temperatures are beginning to drop, so he recommends that the sides of the high tunnel now be rolled down at night to hold in the heat. The crops inside the high tunnel were not his only focus however. He also recommended some treatment for a blight that is occurring on the pepper plants located outside the high tunnel.

Dr. Jett was very impressed, as were we at the difference in quality between the pepper plants inside the tunnel versus the pepper plants outside the tunnel. Both rows of plants have received the same treatment (or a lack thereof in the case of pesticides), in watering, initial manure application and fertilizers. The peppers outside the tunnel are suffering from a pretty severe blight which has obviously stunted their growth. Overall, they do not look very healthy. However, the pepper plants inside tell a completely different story. They are flourishing to say the least. The have avoided the blight, despite being some 10 feet away from the other plants. They are at least 1.5 times taller than the plants outside, and the peppers they are producing are large and healthy. This small 'study' being put on clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of a system that a high tunnel can create.

As well as pepper plants, the tunnel also has several varieties of tomatoes, as well as a row of green beans. The tomatoes are large and will be ready for harvesting soon. The green beans have been coming in for several weeks now and are green and delicious.

The high tunnel project on Chestnut Ridge is proving to be very valuable and informative. Now we need to begin spreading this technology around the area.

Please check back soon for more updates!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Opportunity For Local Growers!

WesMonTy recently spoke with the Produce Manager of the Shop N' Save in Belington. This locally owned store has been featuring locally grown produce on their shelves for the last 5 seasons! A small section is given to in-season produce which currently includes:
Yellow Squash

We recognize this great effort on their part to support the local growers. We are also incredibly grateful that a store that large would take the lead in such an important issue for the community and the region.

Thank You Belington Shop N' Save!

Market Information

Hello all!

If you are looking for a Farmers Market in West Virginia, here is a great resource:

Another great resource is to look at the Buy Fresh Buy Local/West Virginia Farmers Market Association Website:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Community Garden Market featured in The InterMountain

Recently, the Community Garden Market was featured in a wonderful article in The InterMountain newspaper.
Here is the link:

This section really describes the market and it's place in the community:

"The garden market promotes the health and well-being of our community, not only from a nutritional standpoint, but economically, as well as socially," Hunt said. "It's not just a place to buy and sell fresh, local produce; it's also a place where people come together to share ideas, learn new growing or cooking techniques, support one another, and just catch up on community news. It provides an opportunity, too, for some of our local families to supplement their income. We've had several of our growers tell us that they depend on the income from the market to help pay high winter heating bills or cover medical expenses."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Traditional, or Modern, Agriculture

The other day I was listening to NPR in Michigan and they had a piece on the 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico. The dead zone is a large area of water that is unable to support life due to extremely low levels of oxygen. Every year the area gets larger, and scientists believe that the oil spill will contribute to it. The point of the piece was to mention how the problem of the dead zone is being overshadowed by the spill in the Gulf, despite the latter's contribution to it.
The dead zone they believe is caused by chemical run-off from farms in the midwest. The fertilizers and chemicals from these farms all flow into the enormous watersheds that contribute to the Mississippi river. The Mississippi river then flows out into the Gulf of Mexico and causes reactions within the ecosystem, creating lots of dead organic matter, which when decomposing uses oxygen in the water, creating a dead zone.
This dead zone has been known about for years and has been monitored by various groups. The part of the broadcast that stuck out for me though was the word they used to describe the farms. The person being interviewed said that 'traditional agricultural' farms were contributing to the fertilizers and chemicals and runoff. I mainly found this interesting because if someone tells me something about 'traditional agriculture' I tend to think back to the days before large mono-cultured farms with hundreds, or even thousands of acres of one product. I think back to a small farmer with a homestead and maybe a few hundred acres to plant.
My question is more of a sociological one. When did modern agriculture become traditional? And if it never was, wouldn't the new 'organic' and poly-cultured farms count more as traditional, than the new stuff? Take for instance the beatniks. Would one say that they are a traditional culture? The use of the word would more or less imply something much older.
Modern agriculture in the form we know it now, has really been around for about 40-50 years. Slowly over the decades, the small farmer lost against large industrial agriculture that could afford to buy the latest seed, and all the chemicals needed to intensify and increase yield. Slowly but surely during the industrial revolution and beyond, people began to forget about utilizing nature's own devices to create a balance on the farm. Modern agriculture is really the exception rather than the rule in the course of human history. Everything that is happening now, would suggest almost a circling back to the older ways of doing things. Smaller production, fewer chemicals, etc.

The purpose of this post is just to ask the question and hopefully create discussion on this matter. What is traditional agriculture, and has modern agriculture turned into the tradition, or in other words the 'norm'?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

USDA Grant creates opportunity for ecosystem-enhancing partnerships.

Through a partnership with National Wild Turkey Federation, The Forest Service, Tygarts Valley Conservation District, WVU Extension, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, WesMonTy will be working to implement conservation practices among farmers in the Gandy Creek, Laurel Fork and Dry creek watersheds in Randolph County.

The funds have been awarded for a three year program focusing on the improvement of natural resources on private agricultural and forested lands. The objectives are to control or eradicate the invasive plant species multiflora rosa, autumn olive, tyrol knapweed and other invasive species. These programs will also work to improve the soil quality and increase the diversity of plant species in the grazing lands. The program will partner with private farmers in addressing the goals of this program.

The methods used will include lime application, brush management, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, and forest stand improvement.

The photo is a good example of a hillside that is unevenly grazed.

Prescribed grazing is a concept that focuses more on natural, chemical free management of invasive species. It does this uniquely by using multi-species grazing on the pastures. It is a new concept that is thousands of years old.
By having several species of grazing animal in the pasture, this ensures a more even consumption of pasture plants. By using all these pasture plants more evenly, it helps to contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem.
Different animals have different preferences for plants. Cattle prefer grasses. In many instances when cattle exclusively graze a pasture, some species of plants will grow in abundance. By bringing in animals with different preferences, mainly a preference for the plants that cattle do not like, then it ensures equal consumption of the pasture. In North America two animals to bring in are sheep and goats. Sheep will eat more legumes, and some grasses that the cattle will not eat. The goats on the other hand will eat whatever the sheep and cattle do not eat. Another advantage of the sheep and goats is that they are more nimble than the cattle. They will be able access more of the hillsides that are common among the ranches in Randolph county.

An example of the hilly terrain common among farms in Randolph County.

By having an even consumption of the pasture land, the health of that system will be improved dramatically. The overall goal of the project is to increase the health of most lands in this area. After the initial three years, we hope similar programs will be encouraged throughout the state.

Keep coming back for more updates!