first_img “We are excited to be part of this project,” said Julia Gaskin, sustainable agriculture coordinator in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “There are a number of local food initiatives in northeast Georgia that have gotten the ball rolling. We hope this partnership will really help provide new opportunities for small farms and beginning farmers.” UGA Extension will provide food hub farmers with business and technical training needed to make the most of the new distribution system. The project will help small and beginning farmers meet the growing demand for local produce and access to flash-freezing equipment. The frozen food line will not only allow farmers to sell their produce year-round, but will also supply the food bank’s clients with more locally sourced vegetables. Currently, the food hub is looking for farmers from Rabun, Towns, White, Habersham, Stephens, Franklin, Banks, Hart, Jackson, Madison, Oglethorpe, Barrow, Clarke and Oconee counties. “If they can build a year-round market by putting some of their bumper crop up to sell later, that will help with cash flow,” said John Becker, the food bank’s executive director. “This is going to allow farmers to do more with the produce or allow them to expand their farms and make a go of it.” The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s food hub, housed in its Rabun County facility, will be the first in the country to leverage a regional food bank’s supply chain to help farmers aggregate and preserve their produce. In partnership with University of Georgia Extension, the organizations will join forces to increase access to local food and local jobs. A growing number of small-scale growers find they have too much produce for a farmers market or a community-supported agriculture system but not enough to meet the needs of restaurants, schools or grocery stores. The food hub will pull these small- and medium-size farms together, so they can pool their products to fill large orders. “Having access to more fresh vegetables helps on the supply side,” Becker said. “Helping local farmers expand their markets, and maybe their farms, will help create jobs. If someone has a better job, they may not need to utilize the food bank or food pantry system. So it will help on the supply side, but it will also help on the demand side.” If the partnership between the food bank and UGA is successful, the Food Hub of Northeast Georgia could become a national model for food hubs. Currently, several models — from for-profit aggregator companies to farmer cooperatives — are being tested across the country. UGA Sustainable Agriculture’s collaboration with the food bank is one part of a larger outreach program for beginning and small farmers and ranchers. For more information, visit The food bank, which collects and distributes food over a 14-county area in northeast Georgia, will use a network of trucks, truck drivers and warehouses to support the regional food hub. The training program and logistics services will be available to farmers this growing season. The flash-freezing system should be available in late fall. Together with farm business training programs offered through UGA Extension, the food hub project and the frozen food equipment will allow farmers to expand their operations — making family farms economically profitable. Gaskin has been working with Becker to get the food hub project off the ground for the past three years. The food bank has hired a food hub manager, T.J. Smith, to manage the project in Rabun County, and the partnership is now recruiting farmers. UGA Extension has hired a new agricultural and natural resources Extension agent, Amber Arrington, to help provide support to the food hub project. While UGA Extension has agents in most of Georgia’s 159 counties, Rabun County has not had a full-time agent for several years, Gaskin said. Founded in 1992, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia distributed nearly 10.3 million pounds of food (or the equivalent of 8.3 million meals) through 215 partner agencies in 2012. For more information, visit read more

first_imgGovernor Wolf Announces Three New Apprenticeship Opportunities in Allegheny and Butler Counties SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Jobs That Pay,  Press Release,  Workforce Development Governor Wolf announced the approval of three apprenticeship grants to assist with the cost of necessary classroom training for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) apprentices in Allegheny and Butler counties. The funding, granted to Pelles Heating & Cooling Services, Inc., A-Air Company, Inc., and Techpro Building Services, will support the governor’s commitment to expanding job training opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.“Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to enter the workforce and get the necessary training that leads to family-sustaining jobs,” said Gov. Wolf. “This funding will enable these companies to build on the success of their training programs and empower workers while boosting Pennsylvania’s economy.”The following grants were recently approved:Allegheny CountyA-Air Company, Inc. was approved for $49,500 over the next four years to support the training of five apprentices in the HVACR industry. Apprentices will learn the solid foundations of fundamentals and safety through a hands-on training experience. After successful completion of the program, apprentices will become journeymen and have a set career path in a good-paying job.Techpro Building Services was approved for $49,500 over the next four years to support the training of five apprentices to help them excel in the HVACR industry. Apprentices will learn how to repair, install, and maintain HVACR equipment. After successful completion of the program, apprentices can graduate with a good-paying job, zero school debt, and become journeymen.Butler CountyPelles Heating & Cooling Services, Inc was approved for $29,700 over the next four years. Apprentices will receive the necessary classroom and on-the-job training to gain skills and knowledge to help them excel in the HVACR industry. After successful completion of the program, apprentices will become journeymen with knowledge of the equipment they will be seeing in the field.Apprenticeship programs provide access to career pathways and enable apprentices to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to compete in today’s economy. Classroom training is a required component of registered apprenticeship programs across Pennsylvania and complements traditional on-the-job training. The technical material taught in a classroom environment enables apprentices to learn fundamental concepts, terminology, procedures, safety requirements, and basic tools and instruments.Apprenticeships are a key component of Governor Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, an innovative way to improve coordination between state agencies, cut red tape, and invest in people and businesses to expand innovative job training in apprenticeships and other programs so workers get the skills they need to compete in the global economy.The Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program is a statewide program that offers assistance to registered apprenticeship programs. The program’s goal is to increase apprenticeship availability to Pennsylvania employers to assist them with their talent recruitment and development.For more information about apprenticeship programs or DCED, visit November 25, 2019last_img read more

first_imgA Battle Ground man was cited on suspicion of speeding Thursday afternoon after a crash involving a fire truck and two semi trucks in Klickitat County.The crash happened around 12:20 p.m. on state Highway 97 near milepost 12 in Goldendale.According to Washington State Patrol bulletin, Rory S. Sofranko, 44, of Battle Ground was driving a freightliner tractor-trailer south on Highway 97 when he overtook a Department of Natural Resources firetruck that turned in front of him. Sofranko moved left to evade and hit the firetruck in the left rear and then hit a Peterbuilt tractor-trailer driven by Tyrell C. Crummett, 30, of Vancouver in the northbound turn lane. Sofranko’s truck then recrossed the south lanes and went through the guardrail.The Department of Natural Resources firetruck, driven by Jose R. Terrazas, 23, of Woodland, hit the southbound guardrail and came to a rest.No injuries were reported.last_img read more