Monday, June 29, 2009

Health and Safety Festival for Farm Workers and their Families

Approximately 100 people came out to learn about farm and home safety on Saturday at Henderson's Best on Saturday. The event was put together by Henderson County Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with local partners, Blue Ridge Community Health Services, Blue Ridge Fire Dept, NC AgroMedicine Institute, Migrant Education Program of Henderson County Schools, The Healing Place, Henderson County Health Dept., the Lost Sock, Pardee Hospital and Henderson County Sheriff's Dept.

Events included:
  • Puppet shows and coloring projects for kids about the dangers of poisons in the home (thanks to Cintia and Nicolas)

  • Home safety and proper handwashing demonstrations (thanks to Maria and Renay)

  • Firehouse demonstration for kids (thanks to Blue Ridge Fire Dept.)
The kids loved the slide!

  • Tractor safety and PTO danger demonstration (thanks to Romeo, C.B. and Jeff)
Top pic - Dummies filled with straw, prior to PTO demonstration (they have no idea what is coming to them)
Bottom pic - Straw dummy getting destroyed in PTO shaft

  • Good health and hygiene training for farm workers (thanks to Hilda)

  • Heat stress symptoms and what to do to remain "cool" (thanks to Daniel and Becky and Blue Ridge Community Health Services)

Hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon and other refreshments were complimentary to participants. Thanks to Pepsi for donating the sodas!

Top pic - Kids enjoying the refreshments
Bottom pic - Jack enjoying the watermelon on the hot day

Other topics included health screenings, migrant education information, pesticide safety, sexual assault and child abuse awareness and the danger of gangs.

Read more about the event in the Time-News article, Safety First Promoted on the Farm

Thanks again to everyone who made this a great success!

**A very special "Thank You" to Allan Henderson and his crew for being a host to the event! Without your support we couldn't have done it. **

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Animal Welfare Approved Announces 2009 Good Husbandry Grants

For growers with farm animals:

Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to offer Good Husbandry Grants for 2009. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded for the sole purpose of improving farm animal welfare, with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible, and farmers may apply for certification and for a grant simultaneously. Examples of projects funded in the 2008 cycle include mobile housing, a mobile processing unit, infrastructure to facilitate humane handling and equipment to improve nutrient availability for pastured sows.

Farmers may submit a proposal for one project, for a total maximum grant of $5,000. Grants will be awarded based on the project's potential to deliver the greatest benefit to farm animals. In order to receive a grant, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application and a budget by October 1, 2009. Eligible costs include design fees, contractor costs, materials, and project-appropriate equipment. Grants applications must be postmarked by the deadline date and will not be accepted via e-mail.

Guidelines and an application form are available at

Questions may be directed to Emily Lancaster at (919) 428-1641 or Emily@AnimalWelfareApproved.
org. and become a fan on!

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Emily Lancaster
Farmer and Market Outreach
Animal Welfare Approved
1000 Jay Shambley Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Monday, June 22, 2009

Local Growers in the News!

Western NC growers have been in the news lately!

Sunday's edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times featured Henderson County grower and owner of Windy Ridge Organic Farms, Anthony Owens in Organic Means Costly. Which is kind of a bummer of a title for the article.

In The Smoky Mountain News, Haywood County growers Skipper Russell and Kaleb Rathbone, were featured for getting their lettuce and strawberries, respectively, into local Ingles stores. Way to go! It is exciting to see Ingles getting more involved in locally grown produce.

Both Rathbone and Russell have received WNC AgOptions awards, including funding for an irrigation system for Rathbone’s strawberry farm and a refrigerated truck (Picture at top of post and right picture below) to haul and deliver Russell’s lettuce (left picture below). The refrigeration ensures that the lettuce doesn't wilt while traveling to the stores. “The grant has made what I’m doing possible,” Russell said. “It opened up new marketing possibilities for all of us by enhancing food safety and shelf life.”

Friday, June 19, 2009


I am aware of the problem in my new left-had side bar. Apparently, the person I got the code for the template from has not updated their Photobucket account. I hope they do it soon.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

The Future of Food?

This article, Is this the future of food? Japanese 'plant factory' churn out immaculate vegetables, is quite disturbing. You have got to check out the pictures.

Here is a some of the article:

"They look more like the brightly lit shelves of a chemists shop than the rows of a vegetable garden.

But according to their creators, these perfect looking vegetables could be the future of food.

In a perfectly controlled and totally sterile environment - uncontaminated by dirt, insects or fresh air - Japanese scientists are developing a new way of growing vegetables.

Called plant factories, these anonymous looking warehouses have sprung up across the country and can churn out immaculate looking lettuces and green leaves 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every part of the plant's environment is controlled - from the lighting and temperature, to the humidity and water. Even the levels of carbon dioxide can be minutely altered.

Rather than the conventional scruffy clothes and dirty fingernails of vegetable growers, the producers wear gloves, surgical masks and sort of dust proof protective suits normally seen in chemical plants.

Those growing the vegetables wear gloves, surgical masks and the sort of dust proof protective suits normally seen in chemical plants.

The vegetables from plant factories - which include green leaf, romaine lettuce and garland chrysanthemum - are sold at a premium to Japanese shoppers. No pesticides are used - and there is no risk of contamination with food poisoning bugs.

Because the plants are grown in a clean room, they can be eaten safely without washing. Lettuce grown in the factories can be cropped up to 20 times a year.

Some factories are vast - and can produce three million vegetables a year.

The results are hygienic, but it's about as far from real food as you can possibly get.

From the lighting to temperature and humidity, every element of the plant's environment is carefully controlled.

The spread of plant factories has been encouraged by the Japanese government amid concerns about the use of chemicals in vegetables.

A spokesman for the Ozu Corporation factory in Tokyo said: 'Vegetables are produced in the factory without being exposed to the air outside.

'Stable production is guaranteed throughout the year by controlling lighting,temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and water. They can also meet the demands of consumers who want safe foods.'"

Daily Mail Online
By David Derbyshire
03rd June 2009

What do you think about this? Personally, I like dirt and bugs and fresh air. Hey, that's just me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Downy Mildew Confirmed on Cucumber in Franklin County, NC

We have had our first report of the year of downy mildew on cucumber in NC. The outbreak is in Franklin Co, NC, located in the northeast of Wake County (Raleigh).

This disease favors the cool, wet weather we have been experiencing here in NC. Though we have not had any confirmed cases in WNC, it would be worth your time to scout your fields. Also, follow the Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecasts for updated information.

Downy mildew of cucurbits is a disease that is very difficult to control once it becomes established in your field and can spread very quickly (see pictures below- Top picture = healthy cucumber field, Bottom picture = same field a few weeks later). Research has shown that by delaying fungicide sprays to cucumber just one week after the disease has become established in the field, yield losses of greater than 50% can occur (especially in cool, wet weather).

The disease spreads via wind currents from downy mildew infected areas. It can also be spread throughout a field by water splashes.

Symptoms on cucumber, squash and melon begin as yellow spots on the leaf. The spots are bound by the leaf veins and, as a result, appear angular. On the underside of the leaf, the spots may appear water-soaked, especially in early morning when moisture is still present in the plant canopy. You may also see a light gray to dark almost black, downy growth. Those are the spores (zoosporangia) of the pathogen, Pseudoperonospora cubensis. Eventually these lesions, and then the entire leaf, will become necrotic and turn brown. The leaf may appear crispy, like it has been burned. Because of rapid onset and crispy leaves, this disease has been referred to as "wild fire:

The following products* have proven very effective for the control of downy mildew:

Presidio 4F (fluopicolide)
Ranman 400 CS (cyazofamid)- must use with non-ionic surfactant
Gavel 75DF (zoxamide + mancozeb)
Curzate 60DF (cymoxanil)

Chlorothalonil and mancozeb products can be sprayed as protectants, but when downy mildew is detected in a field growers need to take a more aggressive approach. *The label on some of these products require that they be tank mixed with a fungicide of a different mode of action. Chlorothalonil and mancozeb products make excellent mixing partners.

A sample spray program might look like this:

Curzate 60DF (3.2 oz/acre) + Manzate Pro-Stick 75DG (3 lb/acre) alternated with Previcur Flex 6F (1.2 pt/acre) + Manzate Pro-Stick 75DG (3 lb/acre)


Presidio 4F (3 fl oz/acre) + Bravo Weather Stik 6SC (2 pt/acre) alternated with Gavel 75DF (1.5 lb/acre)

These treatments can be rotated on a 7-day schedule when downy mildew pressure is great.

To read more about this disease visit the NCSU Factsheet.
In addition, look for updates in the latest NCSU Pest News.

***As always, follow the product label for instructions!***