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John Eisenstein

PASA Member since 2003
Jade Family Farm
Port Royal, PA
Juniata County

John Eisenstein has been a member of PASA for going on 10 years. He seems to recall that he first heard of PASA from Lifetime Member, Terra Brownback of Spiral Path Farm. John reminisces that the reason he joined PASA and the reason he remains a member is quite different. “I originally joined PASA to take advantage of the Field Day and Conference discount opportunities. Now, though, it’s what PASA offers in the way of a network for growers to give each other advice and support that draws me to the community. PASA gives a voice to family farms, particularly with legislative issues that come up. No other organization speaks for family farms the way PASA does.” John continues, “On our farm, we now have three generations directly involved. My father, Jim Eisenstein (see photo above, John & Jim Eisenstein), retired from Penn State to be Director of Fruit Operations (do you like that title? we made it up), my children are a great help in the packing room, and my mom is our crack saleslady - she can sell a parsnip to anyone! Of course, PASA’s Good Food Neighborhood™ has gone a long way in supporting the connection between PASA farmers and our customer base as well.”

When we asked John what "sustainability" means to him, he responded, “Great question! Everyone thinks they are sustainable, even farmers that are ardent chemical users. For me, sustainability has to include thriving in the joy of farming, not just in the ability to endure. I don’t see that with a lot of conventional farmers. The only farmer I know, also a PASA farmer and who I’d say is the most sustainable farmer around, says he is not sustainable and his  ability to always be striving to be more sustainable is inspiring. Seeing your farm through the eyes of the, particularly non-farming, public helps you to see where you can be more sustainable, too. Is your farm story a story the public could love?”

Asked what he would say to someone who isn’t a PASA member yet, about why  they might consider becoming a member, John responded, “Farming is  tough. It’s really tough. Everyone needs to know they are not alone. So, for farmers, membership in PASA cannot be underestimated for its  importance in a sense of community. For non-farming supporters: if you like what we are doing, please support us. There are forces at work that could end this whole thing [sustainable farming] and we need your support to not let that happen!”

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