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Valley Conservation Council awards ag mini-grants

Valley Conservation Council, through its Resource Conservation and Development Program, is pleased to announce its mini-grant recipients for Agriculture Sustainability and Vitality in the Shenandoah River Watershed.

The VCC RC&D Program sponsors and promotes projects and programs that improve the quality of life and sustainable use of natural resources, primarily in the Shenandoah River Watershed, by providing volunteer leadership, technical resources, and financial assistance.

The following awarded projects will help support the Shenandoah River watershed area’s rural economic base and protect and enhance the area’s natural resources by promoting sustainable agriculture:

– Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission. Accessing Healthy Local Foods in the Northern Shenandoah Valley: Establish community gardens at the new affordable housing complex at the former Toms Brook School site.

– Shenandoah County and Shenandoah County Cooperative Extension Service. Shenandoah County Sustainable Farm Demonstration: Demonstrate farming practices, at the Shenandoah County Farm, that are sustainable for the environment, the long-term viability of a farmer, and for the financial well-being of the landowner.

– Virginia Cooperative Extension, Northern District Office. Shenandoah Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local Mobile App and Database Development: Offering producers a chance to add value to their farm products and make consumers aware of the steps producers have taken to protect water quality on their farms via an expanded database at and creation of a mobile application.

– Friends of the Shenandoah River. Spout Run TMDL Benthic Impairment Study: Establish the basis for installation of stream bank restoration practices to reduce sediment loads in Spout Run sufficient to meet TMDL requirements.

– White House Farm Foundation. White House Organics Garden: Demonstrate that small gardens, if managed sustainably and organically, can produce sufficient produce to feed an average family, as well as allow families to preserve a percentage of their crop for winter consumption and even sell a portion for profit.

Funding was made possible by the Agua Fund, Inc., a family foundation based in Washington, D.C. that works to protect the natural environment and engages in social services.

“VCC is pleased to be the conduit for funding that helps keep agriculture strong and economically viable in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Ben Craig, Program Manager for the Valley Conservation Council.

The Valley Conservation Council’s RC&D Program is one of 375 local RC&D chapters across the United States, under the provisions of the National Resource Conservation and Development Council. The National RC&D Council, formed out of the Agriculture Act of 1962 to address rural poverty and help rural communities generate natural resource-based economies, is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Founded in 1990, the Valley Conservation Council is a private, nonprofit, member-supported land trust promoting land use that sustains the farms, forests, open spaces, and cultural heritage of the Shenandoah Valley region. VCC serves Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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