Campaigning for a Soil Health Forever Stamp

Nearly 60 years ago, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issued a soil conservation stamp emphasizing the importance of soil and water conservation measures. Twenty-five years later, they issued a stamp (pictured) for soil and water conservation districts commemorating 50 years of the SWCD movement in the U.S. In the years since, there have been stamps about farming and wildlife conservation, but there has not been a stamp that focuses on the one unifying piece that makes it all possible, our soil.

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is leading the campaign to create a new soil health forever stamp, promoting the growing movement across the nation. If your organization or district would like to submit a letter of support, click here to be redirected to NACD’s website, where you can view a template letter and the letter NACD submitted. Individuals can also lend their support for this stamp by visiting this link and signing on to the ISDA general letter.

Letters of support should be sent to Meg Leader, ISDA director of soil health, by July 15. All submissions should be addressed to the USPS Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.

Registration, Hotel Reservation Deadline Friday

The 2018 NACD Conservation Forum and Tour and Southeast Region Meeting is just weeks away, and you only have until this Friday to register under discounted, early registration prices and hotel reservations. All arrangements must be made by this Friday, July 13.

This year's meeting includes four distinct tour tracks: agricultural, education and coastal topics, urban and forestry, and historical. Click here to read descriptions of the tour stops. Make sure to select your preferred tour when you register - registrations completed after July 13 cannot be guaranteed a seat.

In addition to educational opportunities during Tuesday's tours, the conservation exhibition hall and the wide range of concurrent sessions offered on Monday, meeting attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a range of prominent regional and national keynote speakers during the Conservation Forum.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting Chief Leonard Jordan will provide remarks during Tuesday's forum. Jordan previously served as the NRCS associate chief for conservation, as well as the regional conservationist for the Southeast Region, and has nearly four decades of experience with NRCS.

Meeting-goers will also hear from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) vice president of conservation, Ross Melinchuk. Melinchuk has more than four decades of experience in the natural resources field and previously served as director of conservation programs and partnerships for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

You won't want to miss out on this action-packed agenda - click here to review the summer meeting webpage and click here to save your seat.

Montgomery County Conservation District, Pennsylvania

In 2016, NACD and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded the Montgomery County Conservation District (MCCD) in Pennsylvania with funding to support technical assistance through the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative. MCCD’s project increased support for urban gardens through information dissemination, creation and maintenance of partnerships, and development and distribution of an educational guide.

Meaningful partnerships were established among community organizations including Norristown Community Garden, Edible Forest, Opportunities Industrialization Center, ACLAMO Family Centers, Center for Cultural Art, Training and Education, MOSAIC Community Land Trust gardens and two school districts.

Norristown and Pottstown represent two of the most urban areas in the county in terms of density and population, and were selected based on their classification as low-income and low-access to supermarkets and fresh food.

One highlight of the project was the distribution of composting bins and rain barrels to urban gardens, including several school gardens. These two conservation measures also served as educational tools to teach garden users about soil and water conservation and stormwater management.

In addition to these on-the-ground conservation efforts, MCCD, in partnership with GreenTreks Network, created an electronic Urban Ag Conservation Resource Guide. This digital guide includes interactive garden models and resources, as well as video documentary filmed in Pottstown’s gardens. It is intended for use by any community organization, municipality and others interested in starting an urban garden. The document provides guidance for site selection, finding funding, gathering community support, styles of gardens and technical information on planting and managing a garden.

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