2012 Sustainability Schools

January 3, 2012 in Sustainability Schools


Look for homesteading, homemaking, and backyard conservation courses
to come to your local community soon.

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), already at the forefront of farm-based education in Pennsylvania, today launches a new effort aimed at providing courses for consumers interested in living more sustainably. Through its Good Food Neighborhood program, PASA is partnering with organizations, groups and individuals to provide “Sustainability Schools” throughout the Commonwealth and bordering states.

“Living more sustainably is something we can all do to contribute not only to the viability of our own families, but increasingly of our local communities,” says Hannah Smith who heads up PASA’s community outreach efforts. Smith designed the program which parallels PASA’s very popular peer-to-peer farmer education program. “PASA is well-known for its farm-based education programs which highlight the skills and experience of our farmers to farm sustainably. Likewise, our local communities are gaining strength by the networking of folks who have much to offer in the way of living sustainably. Our Sustainability Schools draw on these community resources.” Smith points to a wide range of courses available from composting to backyard poultry and beekeeping, from home energy efficiency to food preservation, and even home brewing and fermentation. She also notes that a taste of Sustainability School subject matter will be available during the Good Food Neighborhood (GFN) workshops at PASA’s 21st Annual Farming for the Future Conference in State College, PA, February 1-4, 2012 (see registration information below).

PASA is currently partnering with Dickinson College Farm (Carlisle, PA), Greener Partners (Collegeville, PA), the Spring Creek Homesteading Fund (State College, PA), and The Home Grown Institute (Philadelphia, PA), and is in negotiations with other potential partners to bring Sustainability Schools to every region of the Commonwealth and surrounding states (contact Hannah Smith if you or your organization might be a good fit for the program).

Katherine Watt, an organizer with Spring Creek Homesteading, offers, “These courses are about learning how to do more things for ourselves. In this time when families are feeling so stretched from a contracting economy, rising energy prices and the impacts of extreme weather conditions, building a safety net using local resources of time, skill and land can make all the difference.”

More information about PASA’s Sustainability Schools program is available on the Good Food Neighborhood website at www.goodfoodneighborhood.org/sustainabilityschools.

About the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture:
PASA is the only statewide, member-based, sustainable farming organization in Pennsylvania and is one of the largest in the nation at over 6,000 members. Consistently, about two-thirds of PASA members are farmers. Additionally, PASA reaches over 25,000 people nationally through its Good Food Neighborhood program. Its mission is “to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.” Look for the Good Food Neighborhood (GFN) thread in this year’s conference programming, available at http://www.pasafarming.org/conference2012/workshop.htm

About Dickinson College Farm:
The Dickinson College Farm is a 180-acre working farm and educational resource that provides Certified Organic and Food Alliance Certified produce to Dickinson College’s dining hall and the local community through Community Supported Agriculture programs and food bank donations. Located six miles from the Carlisle, PA campus, the farm uses state-of-the-art sustainable operations, such as solar-electric and solar-hot-water systems. The current partnership with PASA is running under the “Sustainability Series” title and will be held at Dickinson College Farm in Boiling Springs, PA.

About Greener Partners:
Greener Partners offers programs and projects aimed at increasing public access to local foods, training new farmers in resilient farming techniques, and educating people about the origins of their foods and empowering them to create healthy communities. The current partnership with PASA is running under the “Farmer Mark Series” title and will be held at the Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville, PA.

About Spring Creek Homesteading Fund:
Spring Creek Homesteading Fund is organized to support local self-sufficiency within the Spring Creek Watershed of Central Pennsylvania by supporting food gardens and orchards, urban farms, community greenhouses, kitchens, bakeries, farmers markets, and workshop programs in the homesteading arts. The current partnership with PASA is running under the “Reskilling Workshops” title and will be held primarily at the Friends Meetinghouse in State College, PA.

About The Home Grown Institute:
The Home Grown Institute has as its mission to energize the community – through skill building and community connection – to move forward, each on our own personal path of sustainable practice. The Institute is Community-Centered, Skills-Focused, and Action-Driven. The current partnership with PASA is running under the “Springing Good Intention Into Action” title and primarily serves residents of the Wissahickon Watershed and Metropolitan Philadelphia, PA.

For more information about PASA’s Good Food Neighborhood and our Sustainability Schools program or to schedule an interview, please contact Hannah Smith at hannah@pasafarming.org, @goodfoodhood, or 717-250-0725.