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January 2013

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On Feb. 5, The Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network (NGFN) will present a webinar, National Food Hub Surveys, to describe a national survey and benchmarking study on food hubs and explain how you can help improve the world's understanding of them, and how you can help improve your food hub’s bottom line. Register here for this webinar. Also, NGFN will present another webinar on Feb. 21 — On-farm Food Safety and Access to Larger Markets — that will present some news and analysis of the latest Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) guidelines released for comment from FDA and more. Register here for this webinar.

In December, Winrock International and Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) announced that a new joint analysis from the two organizations has reached scientific consensus on gross carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from tropical deforestation. The consensus emerged from the analysis of two independent studies done earlier in 2012 by Winrock and WHRC, which appeared in Science and Nature Climate Change, respectively. Ecosystem Marketplace examines this in their report, “How Two Different Studies Found Consensus on Emissions From Tropical Deforestation.” Read the article here.

On Friday, Feb. 8, The Wallace Center at Winrock International will present a workshop at the 2013 Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Conference. The workshop — “Wholesale Success” — is open to small family farms and limited-resource farmers at no charge. More information can be found here.

Read about Winrock’s new partnership with organic farmers in Vermont and about three teams of volunteers who are travelling to El Salvador this month to provide training and technical assistance in organic farming methods to improve the incomes and livelihoods of Salvadoran farmers and their families.

Are you interested in working at Winrock? Search current openings and post your resume. Would you like to volunteer with Winrock? Learn more about new opportunities for volunteers.

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Winrock volunteer inspired by opportunity to introduce Myanmar farmers to new techniques
Winrock volunteer Howard Prussack trains Myanmar farmers in organic farming methods.Howard Prussack, an organic farm owner based in Putney, Vt., is a three-time volunteer with Winrock International. Recently, Prussack traveled to Myanmar, where he was one of few foreign volunteers to have ever visited some of the villages and he was the first Winrock volunteer fielded under the USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program in the country. In Myanmar, Prussack trained 900 men and women in organic farming methods, and shared with Winrock a few of his thoughts about the experience.

How did people in Myanmar respond to your visit?

People seemed really inspired. And it was inspiring to me. I was the first Westerner to some of the villages in 60 years! People were lining the streets, staring at me. It was quite an amazing experience driving through villages where roads didn’t even exist. Nobody has ever come out to these parts, not even people from their own country, to give them knowledge on these topics (e.g., onion production). Farmers were screaming into the fields to tell the others to come and see what was happening. It’s not like [the average person] gets to have these experiences in your life. It was almost like a movie.

The people were so hungry for knowledge, to learn anything. They were so appreciative that anyone came out there. They were pretty awesome people, just incredibly resilient and hardworking. The looks on their faces brings you to tears, knowing that they’ve been waiting all of their lives for this.

What were some of the new things that you introduced to the people of Myanmar?

There were a lot of low-tech things that are common here in the U.S., but that they have no access to there. …Continue reading interview.

Veterinarian training program increases knowledge and skills to improve rural livelihoods
Veterinarian training increases knowledge and skills to improve rural livelihoods.In China, consumer demand for quality meat and dairy is growing, and is driving Tibetan farmers to expand their yak herds to take advantage of available economic opportunities. As in other livestock-raising communities, the farmers in the eight villages of Hongxing Township in Sichuan Province face the challenge of maintaining healthy, productive animals while keeping costs down. That means veterinarians are crucial. However, their knowledge and skills have not kept pace with the needs of a changing livestock sector.

So in 2012, the Tibetan Sustainable Environment Resources for Increased Economic Growth (TSERING) project, funded by USAID, offered vet training in Hongxing. Hosted at the township’s government animal hospital, Winrock trained 60 Tibetan veterinarians on the latest findings in veterinary science. They also learned how to incorporate these developments into traditional animal husbandry practices for livestock disease prevention and health maintenance. The program combined classroom teaching with extensive hands-on sessions in which the veterinarians applied their new skills to local livestock problems.

The immediate impact of the training is on the veterinarians. All come from herding households, whose yaks will benefit from newly trained minds, eyes and hands. The larger impact, however, will be on the herders in the villages. Healthier livestock — whose meat and dairy products are major sources of income for rural households in the area — means happier herders. Yeshi, a 46-year old veterinarian from Zhakdam Village said, “This training was valuable, and I am returning to my village to use my skills to help people.”

The goal of the TSERING project is to improve livelihoods in Tibetan communities in the western and southwestern regions of China.

Winrock technical trainings improve forest carbon monitoring in Laos and Vietnam
Technical trainings improve forest carbon monitoring in Laos and Vietnam.More than 50 government officials, scientists and university staff in Vietnam and Lao PDR completed an intensive technical training course on Reference Level (RL) development as part of the Winrock-implemented Lowering Emissions in Asia's Forests (LEAF) program. Winrock's Silvia Petrova and Katie Goslee introduced participants, many for the first time, to the technical steps and data types required for RL creation to measure avoided Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the forestry and land-use sector. A Reference Level is the projected quantity of GHG emissions and removals against which actual emissions will be monitored and performance assessed.

The first training was held in Da Lat, Vietnam, from Nov. 29-Dec. 4, and another session took place in Vientiane, Lao PDR, from Dec. 10-14. LEAF staff in Vietnam and Lao PDR will also continue to support the development of national Reference Levels in both countries and further develop the necessary policy guidelines to ensure that RL development is in line with the government regulations and socio-economic development targets.

These trainings are part of LEAF’s commitment to building technical capacity across the region for monitoring changes in forest carbon stocks and demonstrating innovations in sustainable land management. LEAF is funded by USAID. Learn more about LEAF's work regarding Reference Emissions Levels (RELs) and view additional photos from the trainings here.


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