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Dairy Dash Results!

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Sep 03, 2013 08:15 AM |

Thanks to all registrants, sponsors and volunteers who made our Dairy Dash 5K Fun Run & 1-Mile Memory Walk a huge success!

All of the 5K results are available here.

PASA to Participate in PVCA's Crickfest

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 31, 2013 04:32 PM |

Stop by the PASA booth at Penns Valley Conservation Association's annual Crickfest.

Held the Sunday after Labor Day since 2002 CrickFest is a celebration of our waterways. We hope to showcase the beauty and unique place nestled along our healthy waterways at Coburn Park where Elk, Pine and Penns Creek meet. Come to Crickfest and celebrate the fruits of your gifts and those of your neighbors. CrickFest benefits PVCA's work of Environmental Education around the Penns Valley Area through hiring an Environmental Education Coordinator who has taught in the Penns Valley Area School District since 2003, and implementing on the ground projects that make our waterways more healthy through increasing fish habitat and reducing run-off from local farms through riparian buffer planting. Crickfest is a wonderful event to meet your neighbors, taste some delicious food, and hear some fantastic local and renowned musicians.

Read more here.

Food Alliance Relaunches Third-Party Certification Program

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 30, 2013 06:33 AM |

Our partners at Food Alliance have relaunched their third-party certification program for farmers, ranchers, processors and distributors that implement sustainable agricultural and food handling practices.

All current Food Alliance certifications will continue under existing terms. Food Alliance is prepared to receive new certification applications, and will begin conducting new farm and facility inspections starting October 2013.

READ THEIR FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE.

PASA Members Sunnyside Farm Wins York Co Conservation District Award

PASA Members Sunnyside Farm Wins York Co Conservation District Award

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 23, 2013 10:01 AM |

The York County Conservation District held its annual Conservation Awards Picnic on Tuesday, August 6 at Rocky Ridge County Park to present their 2013 Conservation Awards. Each year a committee selects individuals and businesses in York County to recognize for their stewardship and commitment to conservation efforts. Award recipients were presented with a signed, limited edition print by Millicent Neill Decker while guests that evening celebrated the 65th Anniversary of the York County Conservation District.

Congratulations to PASA members - Sunnyside Farm! They were named as the 2013 Conservation Farm. Operated by Dru Peters and Homer Walden, Sunnyside Farm is a pasture-based, intensive-grazed family farm in Dover where they offer hormone-free eggs, chicken, turkey, pork and beef and operate a Community-Supported Agriculture program.

Save the Date! PASA's Annual Meeting

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 22, 2013 12:39 PM |

PASA's Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, September 28th from 4:00pm-8:00pm in Boiling Springs, PA (Cumberland County) at the Dickinson College Farm.

Full details, directions and the form to RSVP are available here!

Grafting Regional Fruit Trees Webinar

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 22, 2013 05:55 AM |

Bud and Graft Fruit Trees for Organic Production

Free upcoming webinar will explore regionally and locally adapted crops

Regionally and locally adapted fruit crops aren’t just a treat for the palate. Developing them can fill a number of needs – from providing a boon to organic fruit growers to helping detail-oriented farmers and nurserymen make a decent on-farm income.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames will present a webinar addressing what it takes to develop fruit that’s adapted locally and regionally – and he’ll get hands-on with a discussion of grafting, budding, cuttings, and other forms of asexual fruit propagation.

The webinar, which is being offered by NCAT free of charge, will have plenty of time for participants to ask questions – general or about their own operations. And Guy will respond to any questions that aren’t answered during the webinar in the days following via email.

Webinar Title: "Budding and Grafting Fruit Varieties for Organic Production"

Date: August 29, 2013

Presenter: NCAT Horticulture Specialist Guy Ames

Time: 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time

To Register: Go online at https://attra.ncat.org/grafting_fruit

As a horticulture specialist at NCAT, Guy provides farmers, especially fruit growers, with the best information available to empower them to be the most environmentally sound growers they can be while maintaining a sustainable income.

He has a B.A. in History and English and an M.S. in Horticulture. In the past, Guy has been a professional nursery man and orchardist as well as a technical writer in the area of sustainable fruit production. In addition, he was a public school English teacher for 10 years.

Guy has had a busy year. Recently he and NCAT Specialist Robert Maggiani finished work on a new ATTRA publication, “Plums, Apricots, and Their Crosses: Organic and Low-Spray Production.”  It focuses on organic and reduced-spray management options for disease and pest problems of plums, apricots, and their crosses (pluots, apriums, etc.). It also relates progress in broadening the practical climatic adaptability of the apricot. The publication discusses adding these fruits as specialty crops for small-scale, diversified farms and identifies marketing opportunities.

“Plums, Apricots, and Their Crosses: Organic and Low-Spray Production” is available to be downloaded free of charge on the NCAT ATTRA website at www.attra.ncat.org

The upcoming webinar will be recorded and archived on the ATTRA website as well.

Volunteers Needed for PASA's 6th Annual Bike Fresh Bike Local - September 22nd!

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 21, 2013 08:38 AM |

PASA is in need of about 12 volunteers for our 6th Annual Bike Fresh Bike Local Ride through Chester County on September 22nd.  There are various task including :

Parking Coordinators                        6:30am-9am and 9am-12pm

Rest Stop Attendants                        7am-10am and 12pm-2:30pm

Registration Set up/Clean up           6am-12pm

All volunteers will receive  a delicious local foods lunch and one refreshing award winning Victory Beer (or Root Beer) at the end of the day.

Contact:  Denise@pasafarming.org or 610-999-0734

Future Harvest CASA's Beginner Farmer Training Program Now Accepting Applications

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 21, 2013 07:21 AM |

Finding workable land, knowing local resources, and connecting to peers are just a few of the challenges faced by our new generation of farmers. The demand for sustainably grown produce swells each year; it is ever more critical that new farmers get the support they need to grow our food. Enter the Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP), in its 5th year, a comprehensive, year- long experience designed for farmers who are ready to launch their farms in the Chesapeake region.

The BFTP is unique among farmer training programs across the nation in that it can allow participants to work part time or full time at their farms or jobs, by choosing from several training farms proposing a variety of work schedules. This framework reflects the philosophy that sustainable farms grow gradually and slowly; participants are encouraged to transition into farming, integrating the skills they learn from the BFTP into their daily lives. It also enables training farmers to adapt their teaching schedule to the specific needs of their farm operation.

The BFTP begins with Future Harvest CASA two-day Annual Conference in January. Participants meet for the first time with trainers and BFTP graduates. The conference encompasses both the business planning and technical production aspects of farming, starting off the participants' year-long process of formulating a business plan for their current or future farm enterprise. Participants continue to attend classes and workshops from January until March; topics include:

•    Critical Thinking: farm goals, identifying values, long term planning

•    Marketing: choosing your markets, formulating strategies, reaching your customer base

•    Business Planning: creating a business plan, using spreadsheets to your advantage

•    Regulations: requirements for farms in Maryland, understanding different business structures

•    Crop Planning: preparing for the season, prioritizing farm tasks, assessing potential challenges

•    Crop Production: crop rotation, understanding soils, sustainable pest and weed control, season extension, time management, post-harvest handling

•    Financial Opportunities: grants, loans, support systems for farmers

From April until November, each participant trains shoulder-to-shoulder with a farmer who serves as his/her trainer. This is an opportunity for participants to ask questions while experiencing their trainers' farm systems. The hands-on training component of the BFTP is invaluable to participants, who not only learn basic facts such as where to buy farm implements and what varieties of seeds are best suited to the Chesapeake climate, but also receive encouragement and inspiration that lend momentum to their own farm enterprise.

Jack Gurley, one of the founders of the program, and long-time Baltimore County farmer at Calvert's Gift Farm, speaks to the mutual importance of the trainer-trainee relationship, saying that "working with this years' farmer trainees reminds me of when I was a new farmer, and how excited I was to learn the craft of farming. This enthusiasm is what makes farming new for me even after 17 years of growing produce." The participants give back to their trainers, bringing energy to the field and opening a dialogue about new farming techniques.

Many graduates of the program are now leaders in the sustainable food community. Christian Melendez, farm manager at ECO City Farms in Prince George’s County, Maryland, speaks of the perspective the BFTP gave: “Just understanding that different farmers may choose to do things different ways gives me confidence to try new things – it’s a different context than just reading it in a book,” Melendez said. Other graduates include Denzel Mitchell of Five Seeds Farm, who is often a spokesperson for urban farming in Baltimore, and Kristen Carbone of Radix Farm, who is now a BFTP trainer. Training farms are available across the state in Frederick, Baltimore, Harford, Prince George’s, and Kent County.

Thanks to a USDA grant provided in partnership with the University of Maryland, the BFTP is not only free to participants, but offers a $2000 farm start-up mini grant to participants that successfully meet its requirements. The grant is critical to Future Harvest's mission, which focuses on creating a variety of tools and resources to support beginning farmers. Alice Chalmers, executive director of Future Harvest, a Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (FHCASA), states that "As the interest in sustainable agriculture and local food has grown, FHCASA has been able to expand the customized assistance it provides to beginner farmers, helping to prepare the people who will choose farming as their career, and contributing to building the next generation of farmers in the Chesapeake Region.”

This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2012-49400-19552, and by the Abell Foundation.

8th Annual Centre County Farm Tour Draws Over 2,000 Visits

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 21, 2013 06:50 AM |

On Saturday, August 10, cars crisscrossed valleys and traversed Centre County from end to end as part of the 8th Annual Centre County Farm Tour. The day was bright and breezy, bringing over 400 people out to  explore seventeen of the county’s farms. Coordinated by Buy Fresh Buy Local® (BFBL) Centre County Chapter, the Farm Tour is a highly anticipated event that lets consumers get a behind-the-barn-door look at farm life, talk with the farmers, and get up close with the agricultural bounty found right here in Centre County. No matter the level interest or previous knowledge that tour-takers brought with them, there was something for everyone to see, taste, and experience. From  apples to zucchini, from petting sows to picking tomatoes, the Farm Tour gave visitors a well rounded and hands-on approach to the many facets and niches of small scale farming.

With more farms than anyone could get to in one day, it was up to each party to decide what farms to visit and how long to stay there. No two farms are ever the same, and each farm took a unique approach to sharing their lifestyle with visitors: with farmer or self-guided tours, animals to feed, samples to savor, produce to pick, or demos to watch, each farm had something new and exciting to connect the guests with their products.

Spring Bank Acres, an Amish family-run farm just outside of Millheim, received over 200 visitors of all ages eager to take a draft-horse-drawn wagon tour of the fields, learn about producing raw milk cheese, discover tips for keeping produce fresh and plentiful for markets, and cool off with homemade ice cream, root beer, or kombucha tea. Rising Spring Meat Company opened their doors to visitors interested in touring the newly renovated USDA Inspected slaughterhouse in Spring Mills. Production was stopped for the day so that visitors could walk through each step of the slaughtering, butchering, and packaging process while learning about the important role that a local, transparent company plays for both farmers and consumers. At Bear Meadows Farm, a 167-acre dairy farm tucked into the base of Tussey Mountain, the squeals of enthralled youngsters rang across the fields as they received snuffly kisses from the gentle grass-fed Guernsey cows before sampling the farm’s “Udderly Delicious” milk that is sold unpasteurized, keeping it just as wholesome when you drink it as it is when the cow is milked.

Tour-goers may have arrived empty handed, but all left with bags and coolers bulging with farm-fresh ingredients: eggs fresh from the chicken, creamy milk practically straight from the cow, fruit and produce picked from luscious tilth, raw-milk cheeses, butter, the juiciest of meat cuts, and baked-goods hot out of the oven. These delicacies aren’t just limited to Farm Tour visitors—many of the farms are regular vendors at the county’s many farmers markets or sell from their on-farm store, so be sure to stop by and stock up on the freshness. BFBL sends out its  e-newsletter every other week highlighting what’s in season and what you can expect at area farmers markets - for those interested in being on that list, visit buylocalpa.org.

Brian Futhey, owner and head cheesemaker of Stone Meadow Farm in Woodward, was extremely pleased with how the day went. Stone Meadow produces six types of cheese from milk from their herd of pasture-fed jersey cows. Despite being the farm furthest East of State College, he saw about 100 people come through, all excited to get a feel for farm life and learn about cheese making. “People were really curious and very appreciative that they can actually come onto a farm and see how things are done,” he says. “So many people [who go on the Farm Tour] have never been on a farm before, let alone a cheese plant, so they really get a lot out of it. Some had no idea how cows are fed or the difference of grass versus grain diets, and there was a lot of interest with both the cows and the cheesemaking process.”

Ben Macneal, co-owner of Macneal Orchard & Sugarbush, also had a great day showcasing his bumper apple crop. “It went as well as we hoped it would,” he happily reports. “We generated a lot of newfound interest, and had great maple syrup sales. We got quite a few new customers who had never bought apples from us before—they said they’ll be waiting by our roadside stand when we open on Labor Day weekend!”

In its eighth year, the Farm Tour was once again a great success. Farmers got to show off what they do best while meeting new and established customers face to face, and consumers were able to spend the day in the sunshine and get their boots muddy in true farmer fashion. While farming isn’t for everyone, there’s nothing quite like seeing the faces and fields behind your food to really impact consumer decision to locally source their meals.

Brian's Latest Blog Post - Strawberries, Raspberries & Bagged Salads

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 21, 2013 06:04 AM |

Strawberries, Raspberries and Bagged Salads

by Brian Snyder

This is a guest post coming from two very experienced PASA farmers regarding the potential impact of the rules being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). I have learned that it is often best to just step aside and let the farmers we work with do the talking, and this piece helps to prove that point!  Readers should keep in mind that the FSMA rules are open to public comment through November 15 of this year.  To learn more, please look elsewhere on this blog, or check the National Sustainable Ag Coalition website on this matter.

READ THE FULL POST HERE.

Local Farmers Worry About New Food Safety Guidelines - Listen to the WPSU Interview

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 01, 2013 02:14 PM |

Listen and learn more here!

Read Brian's Latest Blog Post on Writetofarm.com, Including an Update on Food Safety

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Aug 01, 2013 05:18 AM |

Our Lives in the Balance
by Brian Snyder

Well folks, we received word last week of yet another extension of the deadline to comment on the proposed rules related to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The new deadline will be November 13 of this year.  We are told that this is a “final” deadline, and we have every reason to believe that description, since the courts are now involved in limiting FDA’s ability to extend the process any further. We can at least be happy that the month of August will not be spent trying to motivate farmers and the general public to respond in great numbers to the proposed rules – the fall season will work much better for that, and we’ll still be done by Thanksgiving!

Read more of this post

PASA Request for Proposal: Capital Campaign Feasibility Study & Campaign

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 30, 2013 08:28 AM |

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit entity, requests proposals from qualified firms or consultants to work with its Board of Directors, Capital Campaign Committee and Management Team to conduct a feasibility study related to PASA’s desire to raise capital for the implementation of “The Institute for Agrarian Leadership and Innovation”.

PASA plans to launch a capital campaign to raise a minimum of $3.0M to $3.5M for the establishment of The Institute for Agrarian Leadership and Innovation (ALI). This move will focus and deepen PASA’s farm-to-fork educational programs, strengthen farmer-to-farmer learning and facilitate farmer-driven research. The ALI  Institute will not only provide a unique and powerful resource to the sustainable farming and agricultural research communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, it will also constitute a huge step for PASA as an organization, in assuring both its permanence as a nationally recognized and respected food system leader, and our traditional and proven focus on farmer-centered educational programming.

READ THE FULL REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL HERE.

Smithsonian Seeks Farmers' Stories for New Exhibition

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 26, 2013 09:28 AM |

Smithsonian National Museum of American History is seeking farmers' help in telling stories of the innovation and experiences of farming and ranching across the United States.

Farmers are invited to share their personal stories about the ways innovation and technology have helped to continually improve the industry at www.americanhistory.si.edu.

The museum is currently seeking stories, photographs and other memorabilia to feature in its upcoming "American Enterprise" exhibition, which will paint the picture of American business through agriculture, consumer finance, information technology/communication, manufacturing and retail/service.

Innovations in Wastewater Management for Small Meat Processors - Webinar Recording

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 26, 2013 09:25 AM |

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network webinar


Finding an affordable and legal way to manage wastewater can be very challenging for small meat and poultry processors. On this webinar, you will learn about an innovative, economic approach that a small, USDA-inspected processor in rural Indiana is using with great results: a constructed wetlands system.

Greg Gunthorp of Brushy Prairie Packing and Gunthorp Farms, and Craig Chivers, environmental sanitarian with LaGrange County Health Department, explain how the system is designed and how it works, give data about its effectiveness in improving water quality, and discuss costs, the permitting process, and other aspects of using this type of system for a meat plant.

More details are available here.

Centre County Local Foods Week Activities Connect Eaters with Growers

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 25, 2013 01:42 PM |

August is a month of cookouts, family gatherings, and finding creative ways to beat the heat. Did you realize that all the ingredients you need for your next summer get-together—mouthwatering burgers, juicy watermelons, crisp salads, and refreshing ice cream—are produced right here in Centre County? They’re closer than you think, and the growers are eager to meet you in person. Buy Fresh Buy Local® Centre County Chapter is presenting Local Foods Week from August 3rd through August 10th,which will offer events for the whole family to explore and connect with the county’s vast agrarian offerings and sustainability practices. The week’s happenings will appeal to anyone with an interest in local foods at any level, from backyard gardening, homesteading, or cooking with sustainable ingredients right up to larger scale farming. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, Local Foods Week will help you and your family appreciate and understand what it takes to bring your meals from the farmers’ fields to your fork.   

The importance of celebrating our local food economy has long been acknowledged by the Centre County Board of Commissioners, which has officially declared a Local Foods Week each year since its inception. They will announce Local Foods Week 2013 at their meeting on July 30th. This is done in recognition of the abundance of fresh, wholesome food produced in the county and the wish of consumers to access healthy foods while supporting local farmers. By declaring Local Foods Week, the Board of Commissioners helps provide an avenue to build strong relationships between farmers and consumers throughout the county, bringing growers and consumers together to celebrate the harvest and rich agricultural heritage. This year, they will issue in a week filled with lots of great events!

Local Foods Week will kick off with Pennsylvania Certified Organic’s (PCO) Farm Fest on August 2nd and 3rd at the Grange Fair grounds. This community-building event will include educational sessions on organic agriculture and sustainable living, live music, a silent auction, a Homemade & Homegrown market, children's activities, a 5K Run &  Fun Walk, and delicious local food. Learn from the expert keynote speakers including Gary Zimmer, co-founder of Midwestern BioAg, a consulting company focused on biological agriculture; Jerry Brunetti, founder of Agri-Dynamics, a holistic product supplier and consultant for livestock and crops; and Brian Snyder and Susan Beal of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Both days of FarmFest are free and open to the public.

After learning about the area’s sustainable and organic environment, see it for yourself—by bicycle! PASA’s Bike Fresh Bike Local will take place here in Centre County for the first time, and you won’t want to miss out. The ride, your choice of 25, 50, or 75 miles, will start and end in Millheim, PA, and encompass the farmscapes, woodlands, and villages of Penns and Brush Valleys. After the ride, sit back and enjoy a sumptuous locally sourced, seasonal lunch provided by event partner Elk Creek Café + Aleworks, including a brew for riders over 21 years of age. Bike Fresh Bike Local will take place on Sunday, August 4th and is open to beginner and advanced cyclists. The cost of this event is $40 for advanced registration, or $45 for walk-ins.

Fresh air and exercise are enough to boost anyone’s appetite, and what better place to stock up on fresh grown foods than a farmers market? If you’ve ever brought home a bag of market goodies but been at a loss for what to make from them, come learn from the experts at the Boalsburg Market Golden Basket Chef Competition. Watch nine chefs from local restaurants compete to prepare the best main dish and two sides out of ingredients they find right there at the market. Judges will score each dish on taste, texture, presentation, and creativity, then declare a champion. Be sure to get there early to watch the chefs at work—and snag some samples! The competition will take place at the Boalsburg Farmers Market on Tuesday, August 6th from 2:00 to 4:00pm, and is free to the public to watch.

Once you’ve learned about organic farming, pedaled through valleys, and tasted market-fresh culinary masterpieces, it’s time to experience the farms themselves. Join us for PASA’s 8th Annual Farm Tour, when seventeen farms will be open to the public on Saturday, August 10th from 12:30pm to 5:00pm(some farms will be open earlier for visitors who have purchased a Farm Tour Pass, available for pre-sale only and not on the day of the tour).

Each farm will offer unique opportunities to get up close and personal with agriculture: meet the farmers, see sustainable growing in action, get hands-on farming experience, interact with animals, and take home tasty items straight from the fields. Stop by the Buy Fresh Buy Local® table at a farmers market or a BFBL partner business to purchase a Farm Tour Pass. Passes are $15/car and$10/bike, are good for entrance at any of the listed farms, and include special deals for dining and shopping at BFBL partner locations. Don’t have a pass? Don’t worry—non-pass holders will be asked to pay $5 per vehicle at each farm visited.

Details about the week’s events can be found at pasafarming.org/localfoodsweek.

Nominations Sought for PASAbilities Awards

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 23, 2013 12:54 PM |

PASAbilities - Nominations Needed for Sustainable Ag Leadership Awards for 2014

One of the highlights of PASA's annual Farming for the Future Conference is the presentation of the Sustainable Ag Leadership Awards exemplifying the spirit of sustainability in agriculture and food systems. The PASA Board is currently accepting nominations for two leadership awards, one to an individual farmer (or farming couple) and another to a business proprietor. Award winners will each be asked to prepare a 18 to 20-minute presentation for one of the plenary sessions and will receive a plaque and modest cash prize.

The PASAbilities series is designed with three distinct objectives in mind:

•    Hear the stories of our successful leaders and innovators in the sustainable ag community.
•    Inspire farmers and business owners in the audience to improve their operations and/or begin transitioning to more sustainable management.
•    Provide outreach to the public in promoting sustainable agriculture.

The Organizational Leadership Committee of the Board of Directors will be receiving and reviewing the nominations for awards. Nominations are being accepted for either category (farm or business) via this web form, you can also mail submissions to the PASA headquarters office at the address below. Surface-mailed nominations should also include a brief statement explaining why the nominee is qualified. All nominations should be received by September 30, 2013.

If you choose to mail in a nomination, please use this address:

PASA
Attn: Awards Nominations
PO Box 419
Millheim PA 16854

Present on PASA's Stage at the Mother Earth News Fair! Application Deadline is July 19

Present on PASA's Stage at the Mother Earth News Fair! Application Deadline is July 19

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 12, 2013 10:40 AM |

Mother Earth News Fair

Seven Springs, Pa. | September 20-22, 2013

Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Seven Springs, PA

The Mother Earth News Fair is a fun-filled, family-oriented sustainable lifestyle events. FAIRS feature practical, hands-on demos and workshops on organic gardening, renewable energy, modern homesteading, and more!

PRESENT ON PASA'S STAGE
At the Fair, PASA hosts a stage with workshops and presentations led by PASA members, and an informational booth where members can volunteer and also promote their products. Over 10,000 people visit the Fair annually, and hundreds of people attend workshops on the PASA Stage!  Read more about the Fair here.

PASA Stage Presenters
PASA members are invited to present a 60 minute presentation on a topic related to sustainable agriculture. The Fair audience is mainly small scale farmers, family homesteaders, and people interested in sustainable living.  Presenters receive free admission to the Fair for the weekend, and a Mother Earth News Gift Bag. Once you have expressed interest in presenting, PASA will contact you to connect you with Mother Earth News Fair staff for scheduling.

If you have questions about presenting, please contact Leah Smith, 412-365-2985.

Fill out the PASA Stage Presenter Form Here. Deadline: July 19

PASA Seeking Volunteers to Help at Ag Progress Days Booth

PASA Seeking Volunteers to Help at Ag Progress Days Booth

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 10, 2013 10:15 AM |

PASA will once again be hosting an informational booth (complete with quiz wheel this year!) at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, coming up Tuesday, August 13th - Thursday, August 15th.

We are looking for a few PASA member volunteers to help staff our booth during this three-day event. If you are interested in helping us out, please contact Michele Gauger, 814-349-9856 x17 directly or visit the Volunteer Page of our website to sign up for a shift.

And if you want to volunteer on a day with other activities happening that you may be interested in, here is the full Ag Progress Days' schedule of events.

PASA to Hold Workshop to Help Herb Growers Improve Profits & Find Their Niche in the Herb Market

Posted by michele@pasafarming.org at Jul 02, 2013 09:49 AM |

A Pinch of This and a Dash of That...
Workshop to Help Herb Growers Improve Profits & Find Their Niche in the Herb Market

PASA and Herbalist & Alchemist will be hosting a Field Day to explore ways to make a profit with an herb growing enterprise. This event is designed for anyone interested in entering the growing market for cultivated culinary and medicinal herbs at any scale. The event will be hosted at Quiet Creek Herb Farm in Brookville, Jefferson County on July 10, 2013 from 10am to 4pm.

Herbs have been found useful to humanity since ancient times. Even with the onset of modern conveniences and technology, herbs have held their place as the tried and true turn-to for perfumes, as natural cures for aches and pains and, most commonly, for a burst of flavor in any dish. Expanding markets for herb growers include restaurants, community supported agriculture programs, farmers markets and holistic medicinal businesses. Join us at this Field Day to learn how you can get the biggest bang for your basil.

This Field Day will include presentations by Claire and Rusty Orner, stewards of Quiet Creek Herb Farm, and by Beth Lambert, CEO of the reputable company Herbalist & Alchemist. The day will include a tour of Quiet Creek Herb Farm to observe growing methods for high-demand herbs and propagation techniques for their top-selling herbs. Discussion topics will cover a wide range including production estimates, direct sale versus wholesale versus retail markets, value-added production, strategies for successful marketing and effective communication with consumers. There will be ample time to network with fellow herb growers and share ideas.

For a company like the Alchemist and Herbalist, it is critical to have reliable, knowledgable quality suppliers. “As the industry is expanding, we are experiencing changes in land ownership and seeing long time growers retiring or cutting back,” Beth Lambert reflects. “It’s really very important to have young farmers coming in and looking into growing medicinal herbs, and is especially exciting when people who are local within our bioregion are interested in growing herbs.”

If you have any qualms about adding an array of herbs to your list of goods and wares, Rusty Orner assures that you won’t regret it. “As a marketing aspect, herbs are a good thing to add to your business because they’ll sell year round. Many are perennial, and people are always buying them. You can sell them [to plant] spring through fall, then the ones you haven’t sold can be processed into a value-added product like dried herb mixes or teas,” he advises.

The event costs $35, is open to the public and includes a networking lunch incorporating herbs and veggies from the farm. PASA members can attend for $20. To learn more and register for this event and others, visit pasafarming.org/farmbasededucation or call (814) 349-9856.

PASA strives to ensure all those interested in becoming a member of the organization or attending an event can do so at a reasonable rate. PASA is offering this field day for free when you purchase or renew your PASA membership. To access this offer, choose the “Membership & Field Day Combo” offer when you register online. This offer gains attendees access to a quality educational program, a delicious locally sourced lunch, all of the benefits of membership for one year and access to PASA’s growing network.

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