You are here: Home Blog


PASA's blog.

PASA Business Member Historic Lewes Farmers Market Awards Scholarships

Posted by at Jan 16, 2014 10:25 AM |
Recipients to attend regional conferences in January and February Jan 15, 2014

The Historic Lewes Farmers Market announces that it has awarded eight scholarships to Delmarva farmers. This year, HLFM received more applications than ever before from farmers dedicated to sustainable farming methods hoping for these important scholarships. Each scholarship provides $500 to enable these farmers to attend conferences devoted to sustainable agriculture.

Read the full Cape Gazette article here.
Job Announcement - FoodRoutes Network Program Manager

Job Announcement - FoodRoutes Network Program Manager

Posted by at Jan 16, 2014 08:50 AM |

PASA's subsidiary - FoodRoutes Network LLC is hiring a new program manager!

This position offers tremendous opportunity to engage in leadership of a significant component of the national movement in support of locally-grown food, and can be a career-building step for the successful candidate.

Read & share the full job announcement here.

Major Opportunity for PASA & Future Harvest-CASA

Major Opportunity for PASA & Future Harvest-CASA

Posted by at Jan 15, 2014 05:44 AM |

January 14, 2014

Members of PASA and Future Harvest-CASA,

This letter is to inform you of an exciting new opportunity for both our organizations, and to ask you to share in the processes surrounding this opportunity that will unfold in the coming months.

Several years ago PASA and FH-CASA began the practice of swapping board members - one director from each board was selected to participate in meetings of the other.  Currently those positions are filled by Melanie Dietrich Cochran (PASA) and Greg Strella (FH-CASA). Rooted in a common understanding of the value of sharing good work, the potential of this collaboration had always been clear . . . that the two organizations might someday function as a permanent partnership, or even a single entity, connecting the entire Mid-Atlantic region. 

At the annual retreats for both organizations at the end of 2013, each board of directors passed a resolution calling on our two groups to work together in developing and implementing a plan of merger, sometime in 2014. It is important to note that, even though significant size differences exist between the two organizations - PASA has many more members - both boards are approaching this move at a time of relative stability, with an abundance of hopefulness for the future. 

In fact, a new permanent collaboration between PASA and FH-CASA has a very clear, strategic intent in mind, i.e. to launch a comprehensive educational initiative to address the needs of the sustainable farming community throughout the states we plan to serve together, namely Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, including the Metro Washington DC area. This comprehensive initiative is something that has been under development for some time, and you will be hearing much more about it in the coming year or two.

We believe that sustainability in the food system is no longer an option, but a necessity.  Separately we have provided successful leadership to our respective regions. But we do not have the luxury of spending decades working independently to make significant progress along these lines. Together we believe we can develop a much more consistent and effective approach to provide faster and more lasting results for a critical geographical region that serves some of our nation's most important - and delicate - watersheds, and most significant and influential metropolitan centers. In a word, we feel that this foodshed is of critical importance, not just to our own farmers and consumers, but to the future of our entire nation. 

We wanted to get this word out so that discussion of this union could ensue at the annual conferences for both organizations. There will be opportunities to hear about the merger in more detail at the annual conferences and beyond. We also welcome your most thoughtful questions and suggestions along the way, and will keep you informed of our mutual progress. We have much to learn as we engage in this visionary endeavor!

Sustainably yours,

Joan Norman, President
FH-CASA Board of Directors

Jennifer Halpin, Chair
PASA Board of Directors

Agricultural Innovation Prize - $200,000 Student Competition

Posted by at Jan 13, 2014 01:44 PM |

I'm a student at the UW - Madison working to develop a new national Agricultural Innovation Prize: Powered by 40 Chances.  The contest is awarding over $200,000 in cash prizes to students who develop innovative plans to address social, environmental and agronomic challenges within food systems, improving the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s population. The prize is supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and is hosted at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Teams must be composed of at least one student at a US university, and students must make up at least 50% of the team.  Submissions are due at the end of February.  Further information about the scope and restrictions of the prize can be found at

Please activate your networks to spread word of this opportunity to interested students and mentors.  I know there are many of you who are already working to better the food system, and could leverage your ideas and experiences towards a successful submission.

Don't hesitate to reach out to myself or with any questions you might have.

Kind regards,
Toby Lunt

Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems - Newsletter Subscription Invitation

Posted by at Jan 13, 2014 06:16 AM |

"Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast" -- An invitation to subscribe to the EFSNE newsletter

Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems (EFSNE) is a USDA-funded Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) project that seeks to determine whether greater reliance on regionally produced food could improve food access and affordability in disadvantaged communities, while also benefiting farmers, food supply chain firms and others in the food system. EFSNE brings together researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from a twelve-state region in the Northeast, engaging the entire food chain from production to consumption in a collaborative effort. The project has just released its latest newsletter. To receive a copy of this newsletter and quarterly news updates from the project, subscribe to the project's electronic newsletter here.

A Gathering of the Farmers - Invitation & Call for Presenters

A Gathering of the Farmers - Invitation & Call for Presenters

Posted by at Jan 13, 2014 05:47 AM |

The first-ever regional Gathering of Certified Naturally Grown will bring together farmers, beekeepers and other friends of the earth who seek good clean food. We will build community, share stories, learn, and be inspired together.

A Call For Presenters

At the heart of this Gathering will be "Short Takes on Real Farm Life".

We're looking for presenters who will share their story - in six minutes, with pictures. If you live or work on a farm, please tell us about your Short Take on Real Farm Life.

Download the Short Takes Presenter Proposal Form as a word document (or PDF).

If you'd like to present a workshop, send us a Workshop Proposal as a word doc (or PDF).

And That's Not All!

We have a rockin' keynote speaker, Brian Snyder, Executive Director of PASA, whose Write to Farm blog was a key voice in the #fixFSMA campaign.

The afternoon will feature a mind-blowing, spirit-raising, musical theater performance.

There will be informative workshops - to keep us sharp and growing strong.

We'll close the day around a bonfire with chili and cider.

More details & RSVP is available here.

Exhibitor Applications Being Accepted for 3rd Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest

Exhibitor Applications Being Accepted for 3rd Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest

Posted by at Jan 10, 2014 10:17 AM |
Sunday, April 13, 2014
11:00am - 4:00pm
Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex

Philly Farm & Food Fest is a unique opportunity for local farmers and producers to connect with thousands of visitors by offering samples and products for sale while enjoying a full schedule of informative presentations and workshops.

Completed applications & non-refundable $15 application fee must be submitted if you wish to be considered as an exhibitor. Details on exhibiting, including fees & inclusions, are listed on the application page. You will be notified of acceptance shortly once your application is submitted.

Check out last year's comprehensive list of exhibitors and testimonials from the event here.

Philly Farm & Food Fest is a joint project of Fair Food & PASA, presented by Whole Foods Market.

NRDC Growing Green Awards Requests Nominations

NRDC Growing Green Awards Requests Nominations

Posted by at Jan 10, 2014 10:14 AM |

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Berkeley Food Institute have announced the 2014 Growing Green Awards to recognize leadership in the field of sustainable food systems. The 2014 national award categories are Sustainable Food and Farm Educator, Sustainable Livestock Producer, Pollinator Protector, and Regional Food Leader. Online applications accepted until January 31.

The FruitGuys Community Fund - Applications Due February 15

The FruitGuys Community Fund - Applications Due February 15

Posted by at Jan 10, 2014 10:12 AM |

The FruitGuys Community Fund supports small, independent American farms with grants of $2,500 to $5,000. The fund has several preferences for the 2014 award cycle: farms located within 150 miles of San Francisco, Philadelphia, or Chicago; sustainability projects focused on pests, pollination, or soil health; and farms that participate in efforts to increase low-income consumers' access to food. Applications due by February 15.


FACT's Fund-a-Farmer Project - Call for Applications!

FACT's Fund-a-Farmer Project - Call for Applications!

Posted by at Jan 10, 2014 10:08 AM |

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is now accepting grant applications from livestock farmers for its Fund-a-Farmer Project!   The Fund-a-Farmer Project provides grants to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for projects that (1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems, (2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or (3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised. Working, independent family farmers that raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows and/or beef cattle are eligible to apply for any of the three types of grants.  Projects involving goats and sheep are only eligible for marketing grants.  Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by May 1, 2014 for awards made in August 2014. View guidelines and apply online at Contact Lisa at or 773-525-4952 with questions.

FACT will offer two online information sessions on the Fund-a-Farmer grant application process in February. Interested farmers can join us on February 11 @ 1pm CST/ 2pm EST or February 12 @ 6pm CST/ 7pm EST. Farmers can register online for either of these free sessions.

eOrganic Webinar: Late Blight of Tomato and Potato: Recent Occurrences and Management Experiences

Posted by at Dec 14, 2013 01:35 PM |

Join eOrganic for a webinar on late blight of tomato and potato on January 14, 2014 at 2PM Eastern Time (1PM Central, 12PM Mountain, 11AM Pacific Time). The webinar is free and open to the public, and advanced registration is required. A live chat session will follow.

Register now at

PASA Member J. Stephen Cleghorn: An Organic Farmer’s One-Man Fracking Ban

PASA Member J. Stephen Cleghorn: An Organic Farmer’s One-Man Fracking Ban

Posted by at Dec 13, 2013 06:28 PM |

by Caitlin Kawaguchi, reposted from Global Exchange

When J. Stephen Cleghorn realized that Paradise Gardens and Farm, his certified-organic farm in Pennsylvania that sits above the Marcellus Shale formation, was at risk of being “fracked” for shale gas extraction, he knew he had to act. But he did more than just act against fracking when he became the first private property owner in the United States to use a deed easement recognizing the Rights of Nature to ban all activities that would do systemic harm to the ecosystem both above and deep below the surface of his farm.

PASA Members & Chester County Farmers Named Farmers of the Year

Posted by at Dec 13, 2013 06:15 PM |

Congratulations to two PASA Member farmers - Barbara & Thomas Schaer of Meadowset Farm & Apiary, LLC & Pete Flynn of Pete's Produce Farm - for being named Farmers of the Year by the Chester County Agricultural Development Council.

Read more here.

Brian's Latest Blog Post - Letting Nature Lead

Posted by at Dec 04, 2013 08:59 AM |

The past year has been an extraordinary one in the world of sustainable agriculture for many reasons, some of which may not be fully understood for many years to come.  That year (November ’12 thru November ’13) included much attention across the country to labeling of genetically engineered foods, including two high-profile public referendums that went down to defeat in California and the state of Washington. For many, this effort, occurring state-by-state, has become the holy grail of the effort to promote local, sustainable and organic food and farming systems for the future.


PASA Wants to Hear From You! Consider Attending An Upcoming Focus Group

PASA Wants to Hear From You! Consider Attending An Upcoming Focus Group

Posted by at Dec 03, 2013 01:15 PM |

PASA is working to evaluate our communication strategies - our websites, newsletters, blogs, emails and social media - to understand how we can serve our members better and involve new people in our community. As part of this process, we are gathering in-depth input from members and non-members alike to get an accurate picture of our current efforts - what works, what doesn't and what is missing.

PASA would like to invite you (and a friend!) to join us for a focus group discussion!

Please click here to to learn more, select a focus group to attend & RSVP.

Each focus group will last between 90 minutes to a maximum of 2 hours. The discussion will be held in a small group, no more than 8 people, to encourage a lively and productive conversation. The entire process will be extremely informal, think of it as a talk with friends!

All focus group participants will be entered to win a PASA Gift Basket loaded with PASA-themed gear & some local food treats. Refreshments and a light snack will also be offered during the focus group.

Thanks for your interest & participation! If you have any questions, please contact Michele Spencer, PASA's Membership Director (814-349-9856)

Farm Food Donations: The Greenhouse Squash Hunger!

Posted by at Dec 03, 2013 06:45 AM |

A Message From The Greenhouse:

The Greenhouse is at it again!  We are currently planning an event for MLK Day of Service.  Our Second Annual Squash Hunger! event will start with gleaning and/or food pick ups on Saturday January 18, 2014.  We will then gather at the Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church on January 19 - 20 to turn the food donations into a healthy and delicious soup to donate to the community.

I am writing to find out if you have an interest in partnering with us on this event.

Last year we collected squash, onions, herbs, and carrots from Spiral Path, Joshua Farm and Village Acres Farm.  With that bounty (and a lot of volunteers) we made delicious soup that we donated to the St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen in Harrisburg. Here is a link to an article about last year's event.

We plan to do something similar this year and would love to put some of your overflow vegetables to use if that is a possibility. Thanks for your consideration! 

I can be reached via this email address or by calling 828-230-0451. Please feel free to distribute this request widely.  If you have any suggestions about other growers that might be interested in participating with this or future Greenhouse projects please extend an introduction or share this invitation.  We appreciate the opportunity to expand our reach as an organization and we are grateful for your time and energy!

I hope that you and your families enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving and I look forward to hearing from you.

Ashlee Shelton

The Greenhouse is a community organization dedicated to saving and sharing healthy food. We do this by recovering food that would have otherwise been wasted, preserving it in healthy and creative ways and then distributing it to the community.

NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due January 17

Posted by at Dec 02, 2013 12:34 PM |

Popular Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Starting today through Jan. 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.

“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”

The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.

Weller said today's announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.

The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.

Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:
• Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
• Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
• Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
• Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.
To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.

PASA Member Sunnyside Farm in the News

Posted by at Dec 02, 2013 11:04 AM |

A lot has changed in the last decade for Dru Peters and Homer Walden because of one simple question.

About 12 years ago, the couple was living in Maryland. Peters commuted to a job in New Jersey and Walden worked in the applied physics lab at Johns Hopkins University.

Then one day they paused to ask themselves why.

"Why are we doing this?" Peters said.



PASA Member Oyler Organic Farms in the News

Posted by at Dec 02, 2013 10:59 AM |

The Oyler family has been around Biglerville, PA., for a long time. The family’s fifth and sixth generations are now operating the 360-acre Oyler’s Organic Farms here in the rolling hills of Adams County’s fruit country, and the seventh generation has already made its presence known.


Country Folks Grower Coverage of Our Recent Grains Field Day

Country Folks Grower Coverage of Our Recent Grains Field Day

Posted by at Nov 22, 2013 10:03 AM |

Growing Ancient Grains: Value-Added Production

by Tamara Scully
The Organic Growers’ Research and Sharing Information Network (OGRIN), in conjunction with the Northeast Organic Farmers Association-NY, (NOFA-NY) and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), held a recent workshop on growing and processing grains. Farmer Elizabeth Dyck, founder and coordinator of OGRIN, addressed several dozen attendees interested in small scale grain production, and grain processing opportunities.


Document Actions
  • RSS feed

Tool Shed

Buy Fresh Buy Local SOIL toolshed image