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USDA Launches Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

Posted by at Jul 16, 2012 10:05 AM |

On July 17, USDA is proudly unveiling the 2.0 version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital resource detailing USDA’s involvement in local and regional food.  The Compass highlights USDA’s wide-ranging investments in local food development; showcases inspiring local food success stories from around the country; and features an interactive map. The 2.0 Version of the map has over 15,000 data points, including USDA-funded local food projects in all 50 states, farmers markets, food hubs, wholesale markets, meat processing facilities, and other critical information about local food’s imprint from coast to coast. 

In honor of the 2.0 Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, you are invited to participate in an exciting launch event.  On Tuesday, July 17 at 3 pm ET, the USDA and the White House will host a Google+ Hangout with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, White House Director of Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson and six women leaders – producers, small business owners, and others – to explore local foods through the voices of women.  This virtual event can be viewed on or on the White House Google+ Home page live at 3pm ET.  Watch the event and participate by sending twitter questions via #KYF2 or #WHHangout or on the White House Google+ page. 

On Tuesday, July 24 at 1:30 ET, you’re invited to join USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan for a follow-up Twitter chat about local and regional food.   You can ask her questions directly using #KYF2 or #ASKUSDA.

Volunteers needed for PASA info booth at Ag Progress Days - August 14-16

Posted by at Jul 14, 2012 10:40 AM |

PASA will once again be hosting an information booth at Penn State's annual Ag Progress Days , Tuesday, August 14 - Thursday, August 16. This event is sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, and is being held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College, PA.

Full details about vendors, tours, etc is available here.

PASA is looking for a few member volunteers to help us cover our booth by helping to distribute materials, answer questions about our organization, etc. For those of you who have attend Ag Progress in the past, or that have helped at at the booth in the past, should note that the organizations that have been historically grouped under the Crops, Soils, Conservation tent - will now have a new building to call home, the J.D. Harrington Building at the East end of 5th St.

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit this page of this website (scroll down to the Ag Progress Opportunity) to see a list of available days & shifts.

You can also contact Michele Gauger, 814-349-9856 x17 directly with details - thanks for your attention!

Farm Aid - Special Offer for PASA Members

Farm Aid - Special Offer for PASA Members

Posted by at Jul 13, 2012 12:50 PM |

An exclusive ticket offer to current PASA members!

All of us at PASA are so excited that the annual Farm Aid Concert is coming back to Pennsylvania for the first time in 10 years!  Well, okay they were in New Jersey, just outside Philly 6 years ago, but you get the point.  This year’s concert will take place Saturday, September 22 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA. 

Tickets have already gone on sale to the general public, however PASA has been afforded the opportunity to buy a limited block of tickets if there is interest amongst our membership to attend and sit together as a group.  You also would save $10/ticket by coming as part of the PASA team (wearing some of those old PASA conference t-shirts highly recommended!). We have potential for seat blocks in sections at the $57.75, $41.75 and $27.75 ticket levels.  As you might expect, the distance from the stage would be inversely proportional to the ticket price.

These tickets are being offered to current PASA members (immediate family only please!) on a first-come, first-served basis, with the stipulation that payment must be made in full and in advance by check. Availability of tickets will be cut off at some yet-to-be determined number, so getting your name in early is a real plus. 

If you would like to reserve tickets with PASA - please complete this online form or call Michele Gauger at 814-349-9856 x17. We are asking that folks let us know by Monday, July 23, so we can hold the appropriate number of seats. After that time, you will of course be free to buy tickets in the usual manner through the procedures identified on the Farm Aid site (assuming there are open seats remaining).

It was great fun for many PASA members to sit together at both the Pittsburgh and Philly concerts in the past, and I’m sure this year will be just as rewarding.

P.S. Also consider becoming a Farm Aid Volunteer
Farm Aid is also looking for volunteers! Farm Aid Staff have always been big fans of the annual PASA conference. Now it's your turn to check out their annual event in your own backyard and even get in on the action. Volunteers are used throughout concert weekend and play a huge role in Farm Aid's annual event- even the musicians volunteer their time! A limited number of volunteer positions still exist for this year's show. Volunteers receive great perks in exchange for their time including a T-shirt, a meal, and parking. Saturday volunteers will gain admission to the volunteer section and be able to watch the show before and after their volunteer shift. Please email Anna Miragliuolo at for additional information and write "New Volunteer" in the subject line.

Mother Earth News Fair - special $10 full weekend pass offer

Mother Earth News Fair - special $10 full weekend pass offer

Posted by at Jul 13, 2012 04:59 AM |

PASA will once again be participating in the Mother Earth News Fair coming up on September 21-23, 2012 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA (Somerset County).

This year PASA is again hosting a presentation stage, where many of our knowledgeable PASA members will be offering presentations on a myriad of topics. And new this year, we will be hosting a Farmer Olympics competition. We are looking for farmer & non-farmer teams to compete, so consider signing forming a team & sign up today!

Beginning Saturday, July 14 - Monday, July 16 you can get a full weekend pass for only $10! A limited supply of these discounted tickets are available to be sure to place your order soon.

The $10 Full Weekend Pass Includes:

  • Access to more than 150 hands-on workshops
  • Motivational keynote speakers (ex: Temple Grandin & Joel Salatin)
  • 25% off coupon at the Fair bookstore
  • Free bumper sticker
  • Free parking
  • Kids 17 and younger get in free
  • Plus, you'll find local food and a vast eco-friendly marketplace

Order your $10 weekend pass now and we will see you at the Fair!

PASA South Central Regional Advisory Committee Mtg Planned - Volunteer Today

PASA South Central Regional Advisory Committee Mtg Planned - Volunteer Today

Posted by at Jul 11, 2012 04:50 AM |

We are getting PASA's South Central Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) back up and working!

Learn more about PASA's membership regions & the goals of Regional Advisory Committees - here

If you have interest in helping on our regional advisory committee please attend this meeting and potluck! 

Our goal is to plan 3 educational and 3 social events for our region in the next 7 months. 

The organizational planning meeting is Tuesday, July 17 from 7-9 pm, held in the packing house at:
Oylers Organic Farm
400 Pleasant Valley Road
Biglerville, PA  17307

This is a potluck meeting so please bring a dish to share and your place setting.   If you are unable to attend but still want to help please let us know!

To RSVP or learn more about this Committee, contact:

Melanie Dietrich Cochran, PASA Board Member, 717-440-4650

Sara Oyler Baldwin, PASA Board Member, 717-677-4448

What Are Regional Advisory Committees?
PASA's strength as an organization benefits tremendously from having member-based Regional Advisory Committees (RAC) actively engaged in our membership regions. As our membership grows, the role of the RAC takes on even greater importance, providing a critical link between PASA's governing Board of Directors, staff, our diverse membership, and the potential audience for new members.

We hope members will embrace the opportunity to get involved on these regionally based committees. Your initiative and insights add greatly to PASA's presence and ultimately to our success in "farming for the future."

Back to Basics Learning Series offered in our Western Region

Back to Basics Learning Series offered in our Western Region

Posted by at Jul 05, 2012 02:11 PM |

Over the course of the 2012 season, our Western Region will be offering a series of Master Classes, Field Days, farm tours and potlucks to bring people together around topics related to the foundations of sustainable farming operations.

These are promised to be great learning and networking opportunities for aspiring and beginning farmers, and even experienced farmers looking for some new ideas! Farm interns and apprentices are especially welcome at all the events!

Upcoming Back to Basics Events:

Master Class: Harvesting & Packing Systems
Thursday, July 12
Harvest Valley Farms
Valencia, Allegheny County

Master Class: Small-Scale Production: Equipment and Tools
Monday, July 23
Edible Earth Farm
Tionesta, Forest County

Master Class: Direct Marketing Strategies & Summer Potluck (attend just one or both)
Friday, August 10
Master Class: 3:30-5:30pm
Silver Wheel Farm
Harrisville, Butler County
Networking Potluck: 6:00-8:30pm
Rock Falls Park
Slippery Rock, Butler County

Field Day: Cover Crops & Compost: Balancing Nutrients for Optimum Soil & Crop Health
Wednesday, September 5
Weatherbury Farm
Avella, Washington County

Pre-registration is encouraged for all events, click on the event name to learn more & register today!

Seasonal Farming for the Future Conference employment positions are now available

Posted by at Jul 05, 2012 06:11 AM |

Have you always wanted to work for PASA? Now may be your opportunity, as we are currently looking for three, seasonal employees to help with planning our annual Farming for the Future Conference.

These hourly positions are for approximately September 2012 - March 2013 (some availability before or after this time frame is preferred). We are currently looking for a Registrant Assistant, Program Assistant & Development Assistant.

Applications must be submitted by August 28, 2012 - more details are available here.

Centre Gives online day of giving a success for PASA - THANK YOU - to all who donated!

Centre Gives online day of giving a success for PASA - THANK YOU - to all who donated!

Posted by at Jun 29, 2012 05:47 AM |

What an event!

We would like to give a special thank you to all our supporters who participated in Centre Gives, the 36-hour online day of giving opportunity. We are touched by the generosity of so many! With 66 donors, PASA was tenth out of 74 organizations in the number of donors, putting us on the map in the region! We raised $4,915 throughout the two days and we will receive an additional matched gift from the Centre Community Foundation in the coming days. We cannot thank everyone enough for your gifts of support!

Vote for your local farmers market! American Farmland Trust has launched their annual contest

Vote for your local farmers market! American Farmland Trust has launched their annual contest

Posted by at Jun 22, 2012 11:20 AM |

To raise national awareness about the role farmers markets play in supporting local farms and the importance of protecting American farmland, PASA member - American Farmland Trust - is launching their fourth annual America's Favorite Farmers Market™ contest.

We know there are some great farmers markets out there - including some that are dedicated PASA members! Vote now for your local market!

Winning markets will be featured on the foodsite and will receive a prize package of promotional tools to help them grow support for their farmers market.

Vote now and then tell your friends, neighbors & colleagues to do the same!

Our Spring Campaign 2012 ends soon - help us reach our goals

Our Spring Campaign 2012 ends soon - help us reach our goals

Posted by at Jun 22, 2012 07:30 AM |

PASA's Spring Campaign 2012 ends on June 30th, please consider helping us reach our end of the fiscal year goals by buying/renewing your annual PASA membership or considering making a donation.

Not able to financially contribute or already a member? That is ok - we appreciate everyone helping to spread the PASA message - one of the reasons why we created and began offering these resources during the Spring Campaign.

Consider sending a letter to your local newspaper editor, post a message about PASA to your Facebook page or include a note about PASA in your email to customers or family/friends.

PASA wants to thank all of our dedicated members, supporters and fellow organizations for helping to make our Spring Campaign 2012 a success!

Be sure to stay involved this summer - check out our upcoming Farm-Based Education and other regional events!

Read PASA's Board of Directors Adopted Policy Statement on Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction

Posted by at Jun 14, 2012 04:50 AM |

The Board of Directors of PASA recently adopted a policy statement on the topic of unconventional natural gas extraction after considering comments from the organization's members and supporters.

PASA struggled with the issue of unconventional natural gas extraction, involving long horizontal drilling and hydro-fracturing, or "fracking," for a long time before arriving at this policy statement. "I'm sure many folks will consider this statement to be 'too little, too late,'" said PASA Executive Director Brian Snyder. "But we really wanted to get this right, considering the needs and interests of our members on all sides of this critical issue, while also firmly adhering to our mission," he added.

The PASA board is hopeful that the statement can serve to rally interest in examining the natural gas extraction industry more closely at a time when lower prices have also raised question about its economic feasibility.

Read the Board's full statement and press release here.

Vendors Needed for the Fresh Beets Music & Food Festival

Posted by at Jun 01, 2012 09:24 AM |

PASA and our business member partner, Whole Foods Market - Jenkintown (Montgomery County) are teaming up again for the Fresh Beets Music & Food Festival on Sunday, August 5th.

We are currently looking for vendors to participate in the farmers market as part of the festival - so be sure to sign up to reserve your spot today! Deadline for applications is Friday, July 6th.

Application to be a Farmers Market Vendor
Montgomery Co Health Dept Vendor Application

Fresh Beets is this summer's hottest festival celebrating the best Pennsylvania has to offer. The day will be filled with live music, a local farmers market, farm animals, mouth-watering food and a children's sidewalk chalk project.

Proceeds from this event will benefit PASA.

For more information, contact Dana Sommers at Whole Foods Jenkintown, 215-481-0080.

Cooperative Webinar Recording Available

Posted by at May 21, 2012 01:05 PM |

Recently PASA, in partnership with the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, hosted a webinar on marketing through cooperatives.

A recording of the webinar is now available
, which features the following presenters:


Neil Stauffer, Manager, Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, Western Pennsylvania
Founded in 1999, Penn's Corner Farm Alliance is a farmer cooperative in Southwestern Pennsylvania with the mission to provide high quality, farm-fresh products directly to customers while providing a sustainable rate of return to the farmer.  As a group of more than 30 members, Penn's Corner delivers fruits, vegetables, and other farm food products directly to customers in the Pittsburgh area through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. In addition to the CSA, they market to fine restaurants in the Pittsburgh vicinity, and host an online, Farm Stand Buying Club. Farmers use sustainable farming practices and many of them grow organically.

Jim Crawford, President, Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, SouthCentral Pennsylvania
Tuscarora Organic Growers (TOG) took root in 1988 when a group of neighboring organic fruit and vegetable farmers discussed the possibility of joining forces in the marketing of their products. By working together, they could coordinate crop production to complement one another rather than compete. And they could enjoy economies of scale in shipping and selling. The cooperative form of business fit the farmers' needs, allowing ownership and market access to be divided fairly and decisions to be made jointly. Through cooperation, the growers were able to serve their customers better, by providing a diversity of crops and a level of service that no one grower could provide on his own. In TOG's first season, seven growers moved about 1,500 cases of produce to Washington DC retailers over a five-month period. Since then, each successive season has brought steady growth in sales as well as diversity, season length and professionalism. In the coming season, TOG will work with over 28 member producers and 17 non-member producers to bring a projected 100,000 cases of produce from farm to city, offering locally grown, certified organic produce all 12 months of the year.

Tootie Jones
, President, Monroe Farm Market, Southeastern West Virginia
Monroe Farm Market Online is comprised of over 25 small and diverse farmers located in Monroe and surrounding counties who produce seasonal fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, trout, eggs, baked goods and other value-added items. After starting as a traditional farmers market in 2005, in April 2008 MFM formed the Monroe Farm Market Online Farmers Market to deliver to buyers in the Charleston, Beckley and the Monroe County areas. MFM has a customer base of 80 online members and various restaurants dedicated to locally grown food. Participating farms are family owned and operated, ranging from from small 2 acre farms to several hundred acres. Customers pay an annual membership fee and then can order what they want, in the quantities they want, from the farms they want.

Place your order today! Tait Farm Foods fundraiser for PASA ends today at midnight!

Place your order today! Tait Farm Foods fundraiser for PASA ends today at midnight!

Posted by at May 15, 2012 05:15 AM |

Just in time to find creative gifts for graduations, weddings, birthdays and more...PASA Business Member, Tait Farm Foods is generously donating 30% of every online order when our GROUP CODE: PASA0512 is used at checkout (enter PASA0512 in the Group Code box right before placing your order).

The offer ends tonight - May 15th at midnight - so place your order soon!

PASA's Spring Campaign 2012 - taking our message to the streets!

PASA's Spring Campaign 2012 - taking our message to the streets!

Posted by at May 03, 2012 06:20 AM |

PASA launched our Spring Campaign 2012 on April 1st and it will run through June 30th. This multi-dimensional effort led by PASA staff and board will showcase the organization, our variety of farmer-driven programs, and provide ways for members and the public to engage.

Be sure to check out our Spring Campaign 2012 web page. We will be updating this page with new resources & features each week.

Featured Section This Week - Meet Our Members! We have wonderful member stories in the queue – a new one to be posted every week! Check out this week's PASA member story.

2012 Farm Bill Update - let your voice be heard for sensible farm policy

Posted by at Apr 25, 2012 04:30 AM |

PASA is following Farm Bill developments along with our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and we are passing along their call to action.

NSAC is focused on these amendments and strategies:
•    Help more schools serve fresh, healthy, local food (the Casey farm to school amendment)
•    Provide critical support for beginning farmers and ranchers (the Leahy agricultural land easements amendment)
•    Use a “sodsaver” provision to protect ranchlands and native prairie (the Thune sodsaver amendment)
•    Ensure farm support goes towards working farmers by closing loopholes that allow corporate mega-farms to collect nearly unlimited payments (the Grassley payment limitations amendment)
•    Restore greater fiscal responsibility in farm policy by tightening income eligibility caps on commodity payments – and investing some of the savings into beginning farmer and rural entrepreneurship programs (the Brown-Nelson AGI amendment)

Please focus your efforts on the above points by contacting these Northeast Senators:

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand - 202-224-4451
– remind her of the Thune sodsaver amendment (she’s already leading on a “seeds and breeds” amendment)
Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey - 202-224-6324
– remind him of the Grassley payment limitations amendment (he’s already leading on farm to school)
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy - 202-224-4242
– remind him of the Brown-Nelson AGI amendment (he’s already leading on another beginning farmer initiative)

When you call, simply ask for the staffer who works on agriculture, and deliver this message:  "I support sensible farm policy – it’s time for a better food and farm bill!  Please support the [issue-specific amendment names/sponsors here] and the Brown-Nelson AGI amendment!"

Have a business idea you would like to develop? Wondering what resources may be out there?

Have a business idea you would like to develop? Wondering what resources may be out there?

Posted by at Apr 20, 2012 07:25 AM |

Local Food Systems Website Provides Tools for Businesses to Develop and Collaborate

Do you have a new business idea that you’d like to develop?  Are you wondering what other businesses and resources are out there in the region to help your business idea grow?  

The Ohio State University has launched a new and improved Local Food Systems website to provide entrepreneurs with tools and resources to explore business ideas and build business ecosystems rooted in agriculture.  

The new site,, provides tools for entrepreneurs to explore their business ideas and the regional resources available to support them, map their ideas, and connect and collaborate with others to develop their business concepts into reality.

Local Food Systems helps entrepreneurs to connect to other entrepreneurs and to build networks between your outputs that might be useful as inputs for another business and vice versa. The website helps to foster cooperative relationships that strengthen the success of all the businesses in a network.

The business and entrepreneurial users of the site is diverse and growing. The more existing businesses and business ideas that are placed on the map, the more dynamic the site becomes. Take a few minutes to explore and share your business concept.

You may already see a few connections identified, and as the community of users grows, these networks should develop and expand into real-world opportunities for entrepreneurs to collaborate with one another and work together to grow the local food system in the region.

Considering becoming a PASA member? Longtime member, Barbara Gerlach shares her story.

Considering becoming a PASA member? Longtime member, Barbara Gerlach shares her story.

Posted by at Apr 13, 2012 04:50 AM |

"It all started with a desire to eat healthy food," according to Barbara Gerlach of Berry Fields Farm located in New Albany, Pennsylvania (Bradford County). Barbara and her husband Charlie had relatively no farming experience, except for a few raised beds in their garden at their previous home in the York area.

"We became increasingly aware of how the quality of food we were eating may affect our long-term health," Barbara continued.

Hear their story first-hand from Barbara during a recent TEDx event in Williamsport, you can also read their PASA Farm Profile that originally appeared in our Passages newsletter - here.

Learn more about their farm at And don't forget to consider joining PASA today!

PASA supporter Eastern Mountain Sports (Exton location) is offering PASA members a discount

PASA supporter Eastern Mountain Sports (Exton location) is offering PASA members a discount

Posted by at Apr 12, 2012 02:18 PM |

Ready for summer and need some new gear?

Eastern Mountain Sports in Exton, Chester County, is generously offering a "club day" 25% discount to all PASA members and past volunteers April 13-14 for purchases in their Exton location.

The coupon is good for 25% off of all EMS-brand items and 20% off of everything else (a few exclusions apply).

The Exton store is located at 298 Main Street - download your coupon now!

PASA Business member MicroDairy Designs featured in AP article.

PASA Business member MicroDairy Designs featured in AP article.

Posted by at Apr 10, 2012 01:50 PM |

A PASA business member since 2009, MicroDairy Designs, in Smithsburg, Maryland fulfills the needs of small dairy processors.

An excerpt from the recent AP news article: "With small dairies popping up nationwide to meet the growing demand for locally produced food, the market for equipment for five-cow, 10-sheep and 20-goat operations has grown, too. Major manufacturers long ago gave up producing equipment for small dairies, which seemed to be a thing of the past, leaving the field open for entrepreneurs like Kipe."

Read the full article here.

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