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PASA's Annual Meeting To Include GMOs in Pennsylvania Presentation

Posted by at Sep 23, 2013 12:20 PM |

PASA's Annual Meeting is coming up Saturday, September 28th at Dickinson College Farm in Boiling Springs (Cumberland County), PA.

All current PASA members are invited to attend this meeting, newly added to the agenda will be a presentation by PASA Board Member, David Mortensen, entitled "GMOs in Pennsylvania: Poised at a Critical Juncture".

Registration begins at 3:30pm.

The agenda will include:

  • PASA Board Member, David Mortensen, will present "GMO's in Pennsylvania: Poised at a Critical Juncture"
  • Review of the past year's financial report & activities
  • Presentation of PASA's strategic plan
  • Introduction of Board of Director candidates
  • Acknowledgment of departing Board Members - John Jamison, Louise Schorn Smith & Rita Resick
  • Open question-and-answer period

Farm tours will be available for those interested and will occur between the business meeting and dinner.

Dinner will be a potluck. Please bring a dish to share. PASA will provide non-alcoholic beverages. We encourage you to bring your own table service ware to reduce waste.

Further details & RSVP information is available here.

Contact Michele Spencer, 814-349-9856 x17 for questions.

York County Buy Fresh Buy Local® Hosting Farm to City Dinner

Posted by at Sep 23, 2013 11:43 AM |

Sun, October 6, 2013
2:30 PM

Register now for the collaborative Farm to City dinner and silent auction on Sunday, October 6 to benefit Healthy World Cafe, Buy Fresh Buy Local and Horn Farm Center.


Three extraordinary non-profits offer an unforgettable dining experience.

Drawing from the rich and diverse abundance of regional farm, fresh foods, the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education, the local chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local and Healthy World Café will host the first ever Farm to City Dinner

Friends and families will gather together to embrace, celebrate and ensure ongoing access to York County’s rich agricultural heritage and healthy foods.

Tables topped with the finest fall harvest from local farms, wineries and pastures will be the backdrop to this historic event. Music and laughter will fill the city as the community gathers to enjoy the feast. This is an event you really can’t miss.

Join us on Beaver street, just outside of our beloved Central Market House, on Sunday October 6 at 2:30 pm. Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis for $65. Proceeds from the event will be evenly divided between the sponsoring organizations.

The Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education showcases and interprets the rich heritage, viable present and exciting future of York County agriculture
York County Buy Fresh Buy Local connects consumers with locally grown food and farm products to make it easier to find, choose, and appreciate great local foods while supporting the farmers and lands that produce them.
• York’s Healthy World Café is dedicated to providing fresh, locally sourced meals, in a welcoming, non-stigmatized environment where once pays what they are able. If one is unable to pay, they are able to exchange work in lieu of payment

Art on the Farm - This Sunday At Dickinson College Farm

Posted by at Sep 19, 2013 12:55 PM |

Tickets are still available for the Art on the Farm event coming up Sunday, September 22nd at Dickinson College Farm.

Local Food + Local Art + Educational Programs = CELEBRATION!

This unique event raises funds and awareness for two local initiatives that support sustainable food systems and celebrate the arts in our region.  Come and enjoy an afternoon outdoors meandering farm fields and seeing 2D, 3D and performance art in action while learning about sustainable land management practices.

Art on the Farm includes a robust dinner menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, wines and craft beer.

Art on the Farm is a collaboration between Dickinson College Farm, Carlisle Arts Learning Center (CALC) and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). All proceeds will be donated to CALC and PASA.


Tickets are $40 per person or $20 for college students.

Tickets are available for purchase online at Carlisle Arts Learning Center (CALC) or by calling 717-249-6973.


  • En Plein Air Farm Tours start at 3pm
  • Locally Sourced Menu with dinner starting at 5:30pm
  • Local wines and craft beer
  • Live and Silent Auction
  • Performance Art
  • 3 & 2-D Art
  • Educational Programs


For more information about the artists, menu, contributing local farms, and event program, please see Art on the Farm.

Join PASA at the Mother Earth News Fair this Friday - Sunday

Posted by at Sep 19, 2013 05:58 AM |

PASA will once again be participating in the Mother Earth News Fair at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA (Somerset County).

Several regional PASA members will also be presenting on the PASA stage, sharing their homesteading and farming knowledge.

We hope you can join us, and if you do attend be sure to stop by the PASA information booth!

Northern Tier Buy Fresh Buy Local® Chapter Releases New Local Food Guide

Northern Tier Buy Fresh Buy Local® Chapter Releases New Local Food Guide

Posted by at Sep 12, 2013 11:41 AM |

PA's Northern Tier Buy Fresh Buy Local® chapter is pleased to announce publication of a new Local Food Guide as well as a brochure listing 2013 Northern Tier Region Farmers Markets.  Both can be downloaded at

Upcoming Food Justice Certified Training In NY

Posted by at Sep 11, 2013 10:32 AM |

Farmers and businesses in the northeast:Food Justice Certified logo

The Agricultural Justice Project is hosting a Food Justice Certified training in upstate NY from October 30th to November 1st.  See below for more information.

The Food Justice Certified label was created to unite a standard for farms, processors, and retailers. The goal is to take a holistic view of working conditions for employees, business practices and fair pay for farmers.

The label is managed by the Agricultural Justice Project, which brought together farmers, farmworkers, retail workers and consumers to analyze the social justice element to agricultural work and to codify certain standards. These standards include:

  • Workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • Fair wages and benefits for workers
  • Fair and equitable contracts for farmers and buyers
  • Fair pricing for farmers
  • Clear conflict resolution policies for farmers or food business owners/managers and workers
  • The rights of indigenous peoples
  • Workplace health and safety

The label is only just taking off, but it’s a great place for the beginning or sustainable farmer to jump in and take part in a growing movement!


PASA Business Member Turner Dairy Wins National Awards

Posted by at Sep 11, 2013 09:45 AM |

Turner Dairy recently took home 7 Gold Medals (for all 7 products entered) for their Skim Milk, 1% Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Fat-Free Chocolate Milk, Whole Chocolate Milk and Charlie's Old Time Buttermilk at the 2013 Los Angeles International Dairy Competition.

They also took home four "Top 3" Awards at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin including 1st Place for Charlie's Old Time Buttermilk (a perfect "100" score), 2nd Plan for Fat Free Chocolate Milk, 2nd Place for Whole Milk, and 3rd Place for Lowfat Cottage Cheese.

Local Food Bash to Benefit Arias M. Brownback Memorial Scholarship Fund

Posted by at Sep 11, 2013 06:44 AM |

PASA Business Member, The Supper Club at the Greensburg Train Station is hosting a Local Foods Bash coming up on Thursday, September 19th in recognition of Local Food Month in Western PA.

This unique dining event will showcase the best of the region's local foods, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit PASA's Arias M. Brownback Memorial Scholarship fund. Call 724-691-0536 for tickets and details!

Rob L Johnston Jr, Founder & Chairman of PASA Business Member, Johnny Selected Seeds Receives AAS Breeders Cup Award

Rob L Johnston Jr, Founder & Chairman of PASA Business Member, Johnny Selected Seeds Receives AAS Breeders Cup Award

Posted by at Sep 09, 2013 02:12 PM |

All-America Selections (AAS) hosted their annual Summer Summit August 12-14 this year in Ontario, Canada. Rob L. Johnston, Jr., Founder and Chairman of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, was selected by the AAS Board of Directors to receive the 2013 Breeders’ Cup. The AAS Breeders Cup Award recognizes someone who has had a significant impact in horticulture by breeding stand-out varieties.

Rob’s contribution to the world of horticulture includes helping produce varieties that in diverse climates have outstanding flavor, disease resistance, and garden performance. Under Rob’s leadership, the Johnny’s breeding team has introduced more than 50 varieties. Seven of these Johnny’s-bred varieties have been honored with the prestigious All-America Selections award.

All-America Selections is an independent, nonprofit organization that trials new varieties alongside two or three similar varieties currently on the market, and then introduces only outstanding garden performers as AAS Winners. Johnny's Selected Seeds’ research farm is an official trial ground for AAS.

About Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Established in 1973, Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a 100% employee-owned company. Johnny’s mission is to help families, friends, and communities to feed one another by supplying superior seeds, tools, information, and service.

Menu & Cue Sheets Now Posted for Bike Fresh Bike Local Chester Co - September 22

Menu & Cue Sheets Now Posted for Bike Fresh Bike Local Chester Co - September 22

Posted by at Sep 09, 2013 12:43 PM |

The delicious local foods lunch menu, as well as the route cue sheets for the 10, 25, 50 and 75-mile cycling route options are now available on the Bike Fresh Bike Local - Chester County webpage.

Don't forget pre-registration ends Thursday, September 19th at 5:00pm or when we reach our goal of 900 riders - so be sure to sign up today. Please share this information with your cycling friends, family & neighbors too!

Special thanks to all of our ride event sponsors as well - you can view the entire list here.


PASAbilities Award Nominations Due Sept 30

Posted by at Sep 04, 2013 07:02 PM |

PASAbilities - Nominations Needed for Sustainable Ag Leadership Awards for 2014

One of the highlights of our 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 of Directors 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 at our conference in February 2014 and will receive a plaque and modest cash prize.

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

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

Announcements of awards will be made approximately one month in advance of the conference. 

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 mailing a nomination, please direct these to:

Attn: Awards Nominations
PO Box 419
Millheim PA 16854

Dairy Dash Results!

Posted by 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 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 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.


PASA Members Sunnyside Farm Wins York Co Conservation District Award

PASA Members Sunnyside Farm Wins York Co Conservation District Award

Posted by 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 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 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

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

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 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: or 610-999-0734

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

Posted by 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 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

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.

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