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Streams. Trees. Food. Agroforestry Improves Water & Farms

Streams. Trees. Food. Agroforestry Improves Water & Farms

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at Jun 12, 2018 01:25 PM |

Over an inch of rain fell on our one-acre homestead in this past weekend—that’s the equivalent of over 27,000 gallons and nearly 113 tons of water! We are at the bottom of a drainage, and we are the stewards of a culvert—essentially a funnel—that collects runoff from a state highway and our neighboring lots. This culvert empties directly to a tributary of Spring Creek, a Class Awild trout stream that contains some of the highest-quality naturally reproducing trout populations in Pennsylvania.

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Earth Week Campaign Celebration Photos

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at May 16, 2018 10:30 AM |

Eleven years ago, Four Seasons Produce of Ephrata, Lancaster County pioneered an important annual fundraising campaign for PASA by donating a portion of their produce sales during Earth Week to us. Their campaign has raised more than $265,000 to date!

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Sage Advice from Farmer to Farmer on Finding Work-Life Balance

Sage Advice from Farmer to Farmer on Finding Work-Life Balance

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at May 16, 2018 07:05 AM |

When plants and animals don’t take time off and the work can be all-consuming, how can farmers balance work life with personal life? Leading sustainable farmers from across the U.S. and Canada grapple with this topic—and many others—on Chris Blanchard’s nationally renowned Farmer to Farmer podcast.

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PA Farmers Across the Political Spectrum Prioritize Sustainable Agriculture over “Business as Usual” in 2018 Farm Bill

PA Farmers Across the Political Spectrum Prioritize Sustainable Agriculture over “Business as Usual” in 2018 Farm Bill

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at May 03, 2018 01:55 PM |

A large majority -- 71 percent -- of Pennsylvania farmers surveyed want a farm bill that prioritizes sustainable agriculture and conserves soil and water, and nearly three-quarters would be more likely to back a candidate for public office who favors such priorities.

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Q&A: What is CRAFT?

Q&A: What is CRAFT?

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at Apr 18, 2018 10:20 AM |

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training—more commonly known as CRAFT—began over twenty years ago in New England when a network of farmers began taking turns hosting informal afternoon farm tours and educational events for their interns, apprentices, and employees. These events helped beginning farmers learn about the growing methods and sustainability principles guiding the physical work they were doing each day.

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Webinar: Improving the Bottom Line through Integrating Grazing in the Modern Dairy

Webinar: Improving the Bottom Line through Integrating Grazing in the Modern Dairy

Posted by Clay Chiles at Apr 13, 2018 08:25 AM |

Farmer Matt Bomgardner, of Blue Mountain View dairy farm, discusses the economics and logic behind various management decisions on his third generation dairy farm in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

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As Earth Week Approaches, We Celebrate Our Vibrant and Growing Sustainable Ag Community

As Earth Week Approaches, We Celebrate Our Vibrant and Growing Sustainable Ag Community

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at Apr 04, 2018 10:50 AM |

"Whether it's chips, crickets or vegetables, Pennsylvanians are buying more organic food than ever." New data puts Pennsylvania second in the nation for total organic sales (California is first). Our Executive Director, Hannah Smith-Brubaker, observes state policymakers taking note: “When I visit with legislators, I just can’t believe the change in literacy even from five years ago,” Smith-Brubaker said. “And it can’t just be the farmers. It’s that the consumers are prioritizing it.”

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Hands-On Soil Health (Webinar Recording)

Hands-On Soil Health (Webinar Recording)

Posted by Clay Chiles at Mar 30, 2018 05:55 AM |

Healthy soils are a critical resource on any farm. Growing soil health requires a sound strategy and tools to measure progress. Through our Soil Health Benchmark Study, PASA member farmers are working to measure and improve their soil health over time, as individuals and as a community.

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From Big Hill to Capitol Hill: Shaping Conversations About Sustainable Agriculture

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at Mar 21, 2018 11:55 AM |

On National Ag Day, PASA Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker discussed the importance of continued funding for the Farm Bill’s Research Title and the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant program at an event hosted by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to celebrate Pennsylvania farmers. After toasting to Pennsylvania’s farmers with locally produced cider at Big Hill Ciderworks in Adams County, where the event was hosted, Secretary Redding listened to industry representatives to learn about their priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill and offered to do what he could to advocate for Pennsylvania’s farmers.

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Master soil health management in 2018

Master soil health management in 2018

Posted by Melissa Cipollone at Mar 05, 2018 11:20 AM |

Master your soil health management practices by participating in our 2018 Soil Health Benchmark Study—a citizen-science project that supports farmers in monitoring soil health and planning for improvement. Join us this month at a hands-on workshop or webinar to learn how you can join the study.

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Young Farmers Impacting PA

Young Farmers Impacting PA

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Jan 23, 2018 03:05 PM |

As with much of life, farming is an unpredictable force. The fields and the animals guide us in many directions, confronting us to make many decisions along the way. These decisions can lead us to places we’ve never been, or places with new challenges. With that of course, comes new opportunities. A mixer at a local farm in the Spring of 2015 presented the opportunity to form the Young Farmers of Southeastern PA, one of 38 affiliate chapters of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). Since its founding in 2010, NYFC’s primary focus has been to ensure the success of...

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Can Pastured-Livestock Become a Bigger Part of our Food System?

Can Pastured-Livestock Become a Bigger Part of our Food System?

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Dec 13, 2017 05:05 AM |

With the holiday season upon us, many of us will be coming together with our families for special meals. For those of us who include animal proteins on our plate, and even those whose decision not to is based in anything having to do with animal health or conservation implications, decisions about sourcing often provoke dialogue. It is only recently that the lexicon of conservation has begun to include pastured animals as a solution rather than a complication for issues such as carbon sequestration or soil health.

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Charting Financial Benchmarks for Vegetable Farm Profits

Charting Financial Benchmarks for Vegetable Farm Profits

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Nov 29, 2017 11:28 AM |

Direct market sales (farmers markets, CSA’s, etc.) are an $86 million industry in Pennsylvania, yet very little information is available to help vegetable farmers serving direct markets make successful business decisions. In the winter of 2017-2018, PASA is coordinating a research project to help diversified vegetable farmers improve their bottom lines.

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Jim Travis: Fruit Specialist by Trade, Grower by Passion

Jim Travis: Fruit Specialist by Trade, Grower by Passion

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Nov 14, 2017 01:47 PM |

Jim Travis grew up helping his father in the fruit orchards, developing a passion for the art of growing quality fruit, and being a steward to his environment. Each morning, while leaving the back door, Jim would pick an apple off one of his father’s Jonathan apple trees before boarding the school bus. One day, in the early Spring...

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Native Bees & Plastic Tube Habitat

Native Bees & Plastic Tube Habitat

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Oct 19, 2017 07:03 AM |

An informal experiment conducted by Chester County, Penn State Master Gardener, Tony Buck. I had read that native bees, especially Mason Bees, do not nest in plastic tubes. However, due to my day job of fixing houses, I once observed them nesting in an electrical outlet, so I knew they were adaptable....

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John Good on Farming and Life

John Good on Farming and Life

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Oct 02, 2017 07:05 AM |

Since the summer of 2000 John and Aimee Good have been growing food for themselves and their community. They currently farm certified Organic vegetables on 18 acres in Germansville, PA in northern Lehigh County. Nearly all of their produce goes to their 200 member CSA, with the remainder going to one farmer’s market as well as a few wholesale and restaurant customers. Having recently moved to a new farm site, John noted that this year “many crops, yields and quality are the best we have ever seen.”

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Chicano Sol's Sunny Outlook on Farming

Chicano Sol's Sunny Outlook on Farming

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Sep 18, 2017 12:15 PM |

In October of 2009, as a tribute to her husband’s Mexican heritage and with a respectful bow to the essential role the sun plays in growing plants, Jarrah and Agustin Cernas’ “Chicano Sol” began to shine....

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About the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship

About the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Sep 06, 2017 08:30 AM |

In late 2015, the PASA team met with the founders of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) to talk about a partnership. At that time, DGA was the only formalized apprenticeship in agriculture. PASA was interested in bringing this program to Pennsylvania, to help strengthen and expand a system of dairy farming that has not only proven to have economic viability, but can also be viewed as sustainable and regenerative, both ecologically and socially...

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Master Grazier Brian Moyer and Apprentice Joseph Moyer Approach Milestone

Master Grazier Brian Moyer and Apprentice Joseph Moyer Approach Milestone

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Sep 06, 2017 08:25 AM |

Joseph Moyer grew up on a dairy farm, but he didn’t work on the farm. His older brother, Jacob, eventually became a dairy farmer, but Joseph tried his hand at carpentry, instead. After a relatively brief time working in that trade, however, Joseph began to become curious about the farm and, when he became aware of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program, he expressed interest....

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Setting and exceeding benchmarks for soil health

Setting and exceeding benchmarks for soil health

Posted by Christina Kostelecky at Aug 23, 2017 09:55 AM |

Soil health is the foundation of productivity and profitability on any farm. While most farms regularly test their soils, it can be challenging to put results in a meaningful context. For instance, how do you understand what a “good” soil test result is for your farm, and how do you develop a practical strategy for improving soil health over the long term? ...

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