Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Yonder Calendar

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Sunday, 03.30 - Wednesday, 04.02

This national conference offers a track on Workforce Solutions, with session topics including:

· Collaborative Partnerships for Effective Outreach

· Growing Regional Opportunities for the Workforce (GROW): Advancing Lower-Skilled Adults Through Post-Secondary Education and Training on the Texas-Mexico Border

· Why Won’t They Hire Me? Emerging Issues in Recruiting and Hiring in Rural Communities

· Demonstrated Training Program in High Demand Occupations for English Language Learners


(All day)
Embassy Suites Hotels, McAllen, Texas


Who will be the workforce in the next few years? Demographic trends speak to drastic changes on how we do business and who will be the next future labor force. The number of Hispanics and Asians has been predicted to rise making them potentially the new workforce. Workforce development will play a center role on how we prepare the new emerging labor force. Come join us at the 2014 MAFO National Farmworker Conference and Convention as we explore best practices and models that can be replicated to enhance the skills of a diverse, low-skilled work force.

Come and join us and learn how to train the future workforce of tomorrow! We look forward to seeing you there!

 · Over 30 workshops representing the best thinking in all aspects of workforce development and other issues that impact communities.

· Ample opportunity to connect and network with friends, peers and experts from various sectors.


(All day)
Embassy Suites Hotels. McAllen, Texas

Wednesday, 04.09

Serving Veterans in Rural America aims to draw attention to our rural veterans -- and to showcase programs and initiatives that help with housing, health, and employment needs.   America’s veterans disproportionately are from rural areas and small towns.  Rural veterans make up over 40 percent of enrollees in the VA’s health system.  While 21 percent of the US population is rural, 25 percent of the nation’s veterans live in rural communities.  Youths from rural zip codes are 22 percent more likely to enlist than young people from cities.  And within a decade an astounding 70 percent of rural veterans will be age 65 and over.  Rural America serves, but this service is then often forgotten. 

Invited speakers include:  

  • Sen. Richard Burr (D-NC)
  • Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME)
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)


(All day)
US Capitol Visitor Center. Washington, DC

Tuesday, 04.22 - Wednesday, 04.23

oin the Housing Assistance Council on April 22-23 in Phoenix, Arizona, for Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development and ServicesMade possible with generous support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and The Home Depot Foundation, this symposium will provide training and information on housing for rural seniors and veterans. These two vulnerable and often overlapping populations face many challenges. Homeowners may need help with repairs or counseling. Renters may need affordable units, face loss of their apartments or want to become owners. The homeless or near homeless need help with basic shelter and survival. Resources and models exist to help in all these situations and will be showcased in detail at this conference.

HAC’s approach to serving seniors and veterans is grounded in the fact that those two groups are over represented in rural America. One in five U.S. residents is rural, but 25 percent of all rural homes are occupied by the elderly, and 40 percent of veterans enrolled in the VA health system are rural. This is set against the backdrop of a rapidly aging population of baby boomers. Eighty percent of rural seniors are homeowners, but rental units are also very much needed. Veterans of the United States military put their lives in danger to serve the nation, but then may face homelessness, live in substandard homes or have other housing needs.

This conference will feature program overviews, funding resources, case studies and models presented by federal and state administrators, nonprofit developers, policy experts and others. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to learn and share information on ways to meet the growing needs of these rural populations.


(All day)
Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport, Phoenix, Arizona

Thursday, 04.24

Leaders from all walks of life from Eastern Kentucky are invited to attend the conference. Any person or group that aspires to a leadership role in Eastern Kentucky should take this opportunity to meet with other leaders from the region.

The leadership of Eastern Kentucky must work together to solve the problems of this area. Through networking, discussion and sharing of time and ideas, we can create a unified front to address the problems facing Eastern Kentucky. 


(All day)
Somerset, KY

The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) has launched a series of free webinars to train interested community members in becoming farm advocates. The next training will be April 24 at 2 p.m.: “When the Phone Rings: Guidelines for Initial Farmer to Advocate Conversations.”


Farm advocates make up a small network of attorneys, community organizers and financial advisors throughout the United States who are connected to farmer crisis hotlines. They help connect farmers with social, legal, agricultural, and financial resources and services. Advocates may also assist farmers by referring them to helpful organizations, agencies, or other professionals or by directly providing assistance in their own areas of expertise.


The need for farm advocates arose after the 1980s farm crisis. Benny Bunting, RAFI’s lead farm advocate, has alone aided hundreds of farmers in his more than 20 years of work. Farm advocacy organizations like RAFI play a crucial role in giving farmers a place to turn when they hit a pit of financial distress, which can quickly lead to severe emotional and mental strain for themselves and their families.


Bunting stresses the need to enhance farm advocacy efforts to create a broader network of expert advisors and counselors. “We’re not able to prevent the crises,” Bunting says. “We don’t have enough capacity. We are good at putting out the fires. But it would be nice to be at the forefront and prevent some of those crises.”


Between 2010 and 2013 alone, Benny helped to preserve an estimated $50 million in assets for farm families. Averaging 100 cases a year and devoting 60 hours per each case that goes through an appeals process, Benny patiently works with farmers through all stages of their financial situation. In 90% of the cases he works on, he succeeds in helping farmers reach their goals.

Many American farmers are still struggling to recuperate after the 2008 recession, making farm advocates a crucial resource. In the most extreme situations, farmers call the hotline when they are contemplating suicide.

“We need that new generation of farm advocates,” says Bunting. “There aren’t many of us left. If I was a farmer in trouble, I would know just four people who I would call and trust to know this stuff.”


The next farm advocacy webinar is April 24 at 2 p.m., titled: “When the Phone Rings: Guidelines for Initial Farmer to Advocate Conversations.” The first webinar, “Farm Advocacy 101,” is available on RAFI’s website. Visit to register for April 24 or to view a past webinar.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Benny Bunting, 252-798-123



Friday, 04.25

In pioneer Appalachia, farmers sheared their sheep each spring for wool to spin into yarn or fill quilts.

The Museum of Appalachia, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, renewed this annual ritual on Friday, April 25, trimming the winter’s growth of heavy wool from its flock of sheep.

The wooly animals were trimmed by Kentucky native John Cooper, who explained the process to onlookers while using vintage hand-cranked shears operated by “student power.”


(All day)
Museum of Appalachia. Norris, TN

Wednesday, 04.30

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. New in FY 2015, USDA will make approximately an additional $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm to school program development. In this funding round, USDA is soliciting applications for four types of grants:

  1. Planning grants are intended for school districts or schools just starting to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.
  1. Implementation grants are intended for school districts or schools to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.
  1. Support Service grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with school districts or schools to further develop existing farm to school initiatives and to provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.

Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 30, 2014. A 25% cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.

  1. Conference/Event grants are open to all interested parties. They are intended to support conferences, events and trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or conferences, events and trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education and integration of agriculture‐based curriculum.

Letters of Intent for Conference/Event grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 2, 2014.

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • February 19, 2014: Request for Applications Released
  • April 2, 2014: Conference/Event Letters of Intent due via email (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • April 30, 2014: Planning, Implementation, and Support service proposals due via (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • November 2014: Awards Announced and Funds Available (pending the availability of federal funds)


(All day)