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Farmers to Gather, Celebrate Resilience at 21st Annual PASA Conference

Gathering of Groundbreakers
PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference to Celebrate Resilience and Resourcefulness in Sustainable Agriculture Movement

MILLHEIM, PA October 17, 2011 – The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announces the 21st Annual Farming for the Future Conference to be held February 1-4, 2012 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA, around the theme, “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience.”

Over the past two decades, the Farming for the Future Conference has secured a reputation as a premiere gathering place for leaders in the global sustainable food movement.  The 2012 conference is expected to attract more than 2,000 farmers, chefs, students, business leaders and others from over 30 U.S. states and several foreign nations.  Conference programming is slated to highlight the resilience of the growing movement while taking stock of obstacles that threaten its progress.

“This year, sustainable farmers in Pennsylvania and beyond have endured historic flooding, changing government regulations, and extensive corporate spending aimed at marginalizing their way of producing food,” said Brian Snyder, PASA’s Executive Director.  “The 21st annual conference will be a celebration of the spirit of resilience and resourcefulness that permeates this growing movement and propels it through adversity into the future.”

The ethos of innovation that characterizes the sustainable food movement is expressively articulated in the work of the conference’s featured speakers.  Keynoter Brian Halweil is a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, editor of Edible East End magazine and co-publisher of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan magazines.  Halweil’s Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, named one of Audubon Magazine’s “Top 10 Sustainable Food Books,” pairs a frank critique of the modern-day food system with profiles of farmers and activists who are changing the way we produce and consume food.

Halweil recognizes that doom and gloom reporting often fails to bring about change.  “What does inspire people to change their behavior,” said Halweil in a presentation for TEDxManhattan, “are the glimmers of hope that often show up on the margins.”

Shannon Hayes, main speaker for the PASA-bilities Series Plenary, is also well versed in searching for inspiration at the margins of society.  In her most recent book, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, Hayes visits kitchens, root cellars and gardens around the country to interview families who are eschewing mainstream culture in order to pursue lifestyles that increase self-reliance and strengthen communities.

The conference will present numerous other leaders of sustainable agriculture, including holistic orchardist Michael Phillips, homesteading guru Harvey Ussery, bio-extensive market farmers Anne and Eric Nordell, permaculture expert Dave Jacke, organic grain pioneer Mary-Howell Martens, and third-generation farmer of Polyface Farm Daniel Salatin (son of celebrity farmer Joel Salatin).  In addition to more than a dozen full-day pre-conference tracks and over 100 conference workshops, Farming for the Future will host a full schedule of events and activities, including a seed swap, live music and a juried exhibition of art inspired by the conference theme.

“The sustainable food system revolution is just now reaching its stride,” said Snyder.  “We look forward to the 2012 Farming for the Future Conference as an opportunity for groundbreakers of all kinds to gather, celebrate, learn, and plan together for a sustainable future.”

To learn more about the Farming for the Future Conference, please visit www.pasafarming.org/conference.

Contacts:

Kristin Hoy, Conference Manager
kristin@pasafarming.org
(814) 349-9856, ext. 11

Zach Hawkins, Conference Program Assistant
zach@pasafarming.org
(814) 349-9856, ext. 27

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