Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association

Member News

Welcome to the TOFGA news blog.  Members may post news and notices here for the general public.

 Join TOFGA!  we are always ready to expand our roots.

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  • 06/18/2018 2:50 PM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    The 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) is providing disaster payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from hurricanes and wildfires during 2017.  The funds – up to $2.36 billion – are available through the new program. 2017 was a historic year for natural disasters, and Congress appropriated more than $3 billion in disaster relief through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which includes this new program.

    USDA will hold a sign-up for the new program beginning no later than July 16, 2018. More information on how to apply will be available in the coming weeks.

    Learn more: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/wildfires-and-hurricanes-indemnity-program/index

  • 06/18/2018 12:21 PM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    If you couldn’t make it to the 2018 TOFGA Conference or want to hear what other attendees’ experiences were like, check out scholarship winner Morgan Ehmling had to say.

    “From this conference and my interactions with its participants, I’ve learned that we are no longer in an environmental epoch of simply giving back what we take from the Earth, but rather, we find ourselves in a crucial international moment that implores each of us to find ways to push past this cycle of give and take and begin to create regenerative systems of agriculture. Sustainability in the simplest sense is about maintenance, but the human forces acting upon the land and seas of this planet have historically extracted much more than we have given back. The farmers and gardeners I met during my time at TOFGA are using innovative collaborations between humans, machines and nature to not only decrease the carbon footprint of organic agriculture in Texas, but to provide resilient agricultural structures that work to give back so much more than they take.”

    Read the entire summary here. Join us in thanking Morgan for joining us and sharing her experience and Slow Food Austin for all their support.

    Planning is in the works for the 2019 Conference. If you have anything you’d like to share about your experience at a previous conference or what you’d like to see at the next, please share it with us on Facebook and Twitter.


  • 06/18/2018 11:47 AM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    Members, be ready for every change of the season by stocking up on your favorite seed varieties at Johnny’s Seeds. Don’t forget to use your 5% members-only discount.

    A new member benefits page can be found in the Members-Only dropdown of the website. There you will find the Johnny’s Seeds discount code, TOFGA events and workshops discount code, and other fun things.

    Want to get in on these benefits, too? Become a Member today.

    Smile on TOFGA with Amazon Smile

    Smile on TOFGA this hot, sunny summer (and year-round) by supporting us through Amazon Smile. Simply start your shopping “trip” at smile.amazon.com and select Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association as your charity of choice. Help our effort to ensure a bright future for sustainable agriculture while getting all your summer essentials.


  • 06/18/2018 11:39 AM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    It’s a modern day barnraising! If you weren’t able to make it to Day 1 of our exciting and informative greenhouse and strawberry growing workshop, don’t fret. There are still two days left to get your hands dirty and learn all about high tunnel construction, farm loans and grant opportunities, strawberry production, and more, all in the DFW area.

    Day 1 included site selection, layout, high tunnel selection, equipment check in, post setting, and NRCS programs including EQUIP High Tunnel contract. You don’t need to have been there to enjoy the other two days!

    Day 2 (Tuesday, June 19th) will include erecting the hoops, sides, end walls, doors, and side rollup assembly, along with a discussion on ways to finance your down payment. Register here

    Day 3 (Tuesday, June 26th) will feature final assembly of the greenhouse, skin and shade cloth, strawberry soil preparation, and strawberry variety selection. Register here.


     

    Huge thanks to NCAT, Green Phoenix Farms, and Austin Foodshed Investors for their partnership and support.

    Tickets are available here.

    For more information, see the event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/221886538394288/


  • 04/16/2018 3:07 PM | Michelle Akindiya

    Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2018 Farmer Starter

    Farmer Starter is an immersive farmer  training program designed to provide aspiring farmers with the essential the skills and experience needed to manage a sustainable farming business. We are located on a 10 acre working, certified organic, diversified vegetable farm outside of Austin.

    Through a blend of in-field training and formal classroom education, the 18 week program trains students in:

    • Organic and sustainable growing methods

    • Soil and fertility management

    • Organic pest and disease control methods

    • Greenhouse management and propagation

    • Holistic farm planning & crop planning

    • CSA distribution and management

    • Equipment use & maintenance

    • Business planning

    • Marketing


    Find out more and apply at 

    https://www.farmshareaustin.org/


     




  • 04/05/2018 4:23 PM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    By David Wall

    Many gardeners prefer synthetic fertilizers because they work so quickly, by directly feeding plant roots. Unfortunately, they don't improve the soil, are subject high leaching, and over time actually degrade soil by destroying beneficial organisms, thus hindering vegetable growth and fruiting. Organic fertilizers work slowly, because they have to be converted to a form the soil can use. BUT, they feed the soil and allow the soil mycorrhiza to feed your plants. They provide nutrients at a rate soil mycorrhiza can use, so very little of the fertilizer is lost to leaching. Virtually 100% of organic fertilizers are good for the soil. Synthetic fertilizers only have a small percentage of useful nutrients. A 15-5-10 fertilizer, for example, means than only 30% of the contents are useful to soil.

    To keep nitrogen in a useable form, partially decomposed organic matter (humus) is required. Without something to hold it in place, nitrogen can revert back to a gas and be lost or be washed into underground waterways by watering or rains. In a low organic soil content, more nitrogen fertilizer will be lost than used by your vegetables. Later after your vegetables die, nitrogen will be lost unless there is sufficient organic matter to hold it.

    While nitrogen is important for above ground growth, below ground roots and above ground flowerings need phosphorous. There is a problem, however, because while phosphorus doesn't readily leach, it is tightly held, even if large quantities are available. Only a tiny portion is available for your vegetables. Any remaining overabundance, however, prevents plant uptakes of both iron and zinc.

    Potassium is needed by your vegetables for overall plant growth, good water use, fighting diseases, resisting pests, and increased drought resistance. Potassium shortages relate to slower growth and yellow leaves. Basically, potassium assists with all plant functions.


  • 03/06/2018 10:46 AM | Michelle Akindiya

    Sunday, March 25th, 1 - 4 pm: Intro to Soil Science and Fertility Management

    What exactly is soil? How does it supply nutrients to plants, and support life? How can we as farmers best care for the soil? This class will explore the incredible ecosystem that is soil. You will learn how to evaluate soil texture and what that can tell you and techniques for nurturing the soil biome and building fertility.

    SUnday, April 6th, 1-4 pm: Soil Chemistry and Interpreting Soil Tests

    Confused by all those abbreviations? Cations got you down? This class will take a look at what is happening on a molecular level in the soil and what that means for you. Learn how to take a proper soil test and how to make sense of the results. If you have soil test results—bring them!

    Register at https://www.farmshareaustin.org/calendar-events


    Each class is $25, but if that doesn't fit your budget, e-mail education@farmshareaustin.org for financial support.
  • 02/15/2018 10:57 AM | Michelle Akindiya

    Come and learn the proper techniques to harvest, clean and store your crops in order to get them to market in peak condition. We will also cover key aspects of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

    Sunday February 25th from 10am to 3pm

    Learn more and register at: https://www.farmshareaustin.org/calendar-events

  • 02/05/2018 8:51 PM | James Buratti TOFGA Secretary (Administrator)

    Are you currently creating or expanding an agricultural business in Texas? Consider applying for the 2018 Young Farmer Grant (YFG) program. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is now accepting applications for these grants, and we hope to hear from you!

    YFG is administered by TDA under the direction of the Texas Agricultural Finance Authority (TAFA). The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance in the form of dollar-for-dollar matching grant funds to individuals between the age of 18 and 46 years of age who are engaged or will be engaged in creating or expanding an agricultural business in Texas.

    Additional details, instructions and the 2018 Round 2 application materials can be found here. Applications are due by the close of business (5 p.m. CT) on Thursday, March 22, 2018. Contact the Grants Office at (512) 463-2537 or by email at Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov with questions.

  • 01/11/2018 3:12 PM | Michelle Akindiya

    Is there an area of sustainable growing or farm management that you feel you need more help in and would love to take a class on? Farmshare Austin is planning a series of classes and workshops this spring and summer. We'd love your help in planning this programming.

    Please take our short survey here:

    https://goo.gl/forms/EhlIg2jtfMXCW0li2

    Your feedback is incredibly valuable. We hope to help connect you to the resources you need to grow your sustainable farming business and nurture the craft of growing food in Central Texas.

    Many thanks,

    Michelle Akindiya

    Farmshare Austin Education Manager

    michelle@farmshareaustin.org


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While TOFGA is a source of great news we can't move at the pace of social media. For all the latest, check out our Facebook page. Manyof our regions also have their own Facebook pages for more local news and events.

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