PASA Announces Adapting to Climate Change by Building Soil Health Field Day

October 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) will host a field day entitled Adapting to Climate Change by Building Soil Health on Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at Kretschmann Family Farms in Rochester, Beaver County, PA. Registration is required for this event and costs $30 for PASA members, $45 for non-members.

Attendees will be led on a guided tour of Kretschmann Family Farms by owners Becky and Don Kretschmann. The tour will cover the Kretschmann’s systems and strategies for crop rotation, cover cropping, and limiting cultivation, all with the intention of building organic matter, providing biological fertility and reducing erosion. There will also be a discussion on how these soil health principles have evolved over four decades of varying weather and how practices are adjusted among the range of soil types and conditions on this 80-acre operation.

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PASA and APPPA to Host Avian Influenza Management for Pastured Poultry Producers

October 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

HPAI Info Session

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) are working to together to host a free workshop on best practices for preventing and managing highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on pastured poultry farms.

Click here to register for free.

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PASA Hosting 3rd Annual Dairy Dash 5K & 1-Mile Memory Walk

August 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

Supports Shon Seeley Legacy Fund for Sustainable Farming Education

Dairy Dash LogoThe Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) will host it’s 3rd Annual Dairy Dash 5K & Memory Walk on September 5, 2015 at the Lambs Creek Recreation Area in Mansfield, PA from 9:00am-12:00pm. All proceeds will benefit the Shon Seeley Legacy Fund for Sustainable Farming Education.

This fund honors the life and memory of Shon Seeley, a PASA member who lost his life in 2012, through support of educational programming specific to the farming principles held dearly by him: livestock grazing, sustainable beef & dairy production, value-added dairy processing, livestock genetic preservation, and native pasture grass management & weed identification.

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Shedding Some Light on the DARK Act

July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

A Message from Brian Snyder, Executive Director of PASA

PASA Members & Friends,

Since 2008, at least five polls have shown 90% or more of Americans support labeling food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Last Tuesday, the House Agricultural Committee in Congress decided to go against the supermajority of their constituents, and voted the deceptively named Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 1599) through committee.

More appropriately labeled the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by its opponents, H.R. 1599 would continue the failed policy of “voluntary” labeling of GMO foods, while:

  • Stopping state and local governments from requiring labeling of foods that contain GMOs
  • Preventing regulation of genetically engineered crops through local control, which is used to protect organic and sustainable farms from contamination
  • Banning the Food and Drug Administration from requiring companies to label foods containing GMOs

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Memoir of a First Time Mushroom Grower

July 15, 2015 in Guest Bloggers, Uncategorized

Good Food Neighbors are Blogging! PASA thanks this volunteer corp of guest bloggers, who have stepped forward to share their experiences, points of view and the goings-on in their communities with the Good Food Neighborhood. We look forward to sharing their fresh perspectives in this blog.


 

Jen Hine

Part I: Inoculation

By Jennifer Hine

I’m not exactly sure how the obsession began, but in the past few years I have been on a mission to live more sustainably.  After completing a permaculture certificate program through the School of Living in Freeland, Maryland in 2012, I was sure I had been forever changed.  My fellow permie buddies and I, all strangers when the course began, bunked at a commune every weekend that we had class.  I met folks through this experience, some commune members and others just course takers like me, that are permanently ingrained in my memory, some in my heart.

When a desire for change strikes within you, try exploring how others go about everyday life.  It was incredibly eye opening to share close quarters with people who otherwise would’ve meant nothing more to me than a stranger passing by on the street.  I learned about passive design, what hugelkultur is and how to pronounce it, how to plant asparagus, and how to build with natural materials.  I got so much out of the experience by way of the relationships I made, but one of the initial things that attracted me to the course was that mushroom inoculation was on the syllabus.  I find fungus fascinating and oddly beautiful, and along with other things I consume, I’ve always wanted to know how to grow mushrooms myself.

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PASA’s Good Gifts Guide / Turn Holiday Shopping Green on Black Friday!

November 28, 2014 in Community Events, Community Resources, Community Support for PASA, Local Goods / Good Gifts, Uncategorized

PASA’s Good Gifts Guide

Support Local & Regional Businesses That Support Sustainable Agriculture

Are you looking for great holiday gifts that also support local farms &
businesses? Check out PASA’s Good Gifts Guide! GoodGiftsImage2

 

As always, many thanks to our Sustainability School partners around the state:

 Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Study,

 Country Barn Farm,

 Dickinson College Farm,

East End Food Co-op,

Eastern PA Permaculture Guild,

Fair Food,

Glade Run Adventures,

IMBY at Misty Hollow Farm 

Jennings Environmental Education Center,

 the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County,

Pennypack Farm & Education Center,

 Spring Creek Homesteading,

and Quiet Creek Herb Farm.

Visit our main Sustainability Schools page for more information or follow the links above to visit each partner’s page for workshops near you!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Good Food Neighborhood wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!

turkey_trot_750

When you are taking a break from your holiday table this weekend, visit the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture to learn more about sustainable agriculture and our local food future. 

Safe travels and happy feasting!

Good Food Neighbors are Blogging: Because there’s nothing like the bonds formed around a good meal!

November 11, 2014 in Author Series, Community Support for PASA, Guest Bloggers, Uncategorized

Good Food Neighbors are Blogging! PASA thanks this volunteer corp of guest bloggers, who have stepped forward to share their experiences, points of view and the goings-on in their communities with the Good Food Neighborhood. We look forward to sharing their fresh perspectives in this blog.


 

Brittany Colatrella / Pittsburgh, PA

Brittany Colatrella / Pittsburgh, PA

Because there’s nothing like the bonds formed around a good meal

A Quick Dig into GFN Blogger Brittany Colatrella’s roots

“The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” my grandmother would often say in imparting her romantic wisdom to me. In my experience, I’ve found this to be a universal truth: there’s nothing like the bonds formed around a good meal.

I am a Pittsburgh-native who is lucky to be raised by a family that nurtured a love of food. And while I have always lived to eat, my parents–both medical practitioners–also instilled in me the principles of eating to live. Good food nourishes the mind, body and soul; so I have always been an adventurous eater with a special appreciation for homegrown and homemade.

Although my career path has not led me to growing and making food for a living (at least not yet), the health and environmental benefits of organic and local are important to me. I am a conscientious consumer who reads labels, pays attention to the supply chain, and follows current issues; and I opt for sustainable produce and independent businesses as much as I can.

Like all PASA members, I am passionate about helping people lead healthier, happier lives. As a marketing professional focused on the health and wellness industry, I blend my creative zeal with my motivation to improve quality of life. Being a PASA volunteer affords me the opportunity to apply these skills to further support the entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who make it possible for consumers like me to enjoy a lifestyle of health and sustainability.

I hope the stories that I have the honor of sharing through GFN bring you moments of cheer, enlightenment, pride, incitement, and inspiration just as the PASA community does for me. What I love most about participating in PASA is getting to know members; so I’ll leave you with a “taste” of some of my favorite foodie delights:

  • Sunday evenings with the family around the dinner table, especially when Mom makes artichoke lasagna or stuffed peppers
  • Traveling to try regional cuisine
  • Learning about family recipes passed down generations
  • Indulging in my favorite treats like cheese, ice cream, dark chocolate and anything ginger
  • And shopping at markets, of course!

 

Is there a farm, supplier, restaurant, business, event or anything else noteworthy happening in the Southwestern PA region that we should highlight here? What topics on growing and making nutritious food deserve attention? Please stay in touch and keep us posted on what you like reading about on GFN!


 

As always, many thanks to our Sustainability School partners around the state:

 Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Study,

 Country Barn Farm,

 Dickinson College Farm,

East End Food Co-op,

Eastern PA Permaculture Guild,

Fair Food,

Glade Run Adventures,

IMBY at Misty Hollow Farm 

Jennings Environmental Education Center,

 the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County,

Pennypack Farm & Education Center,

 Spring Creek Homesteading,

and Quiet Creek Herb Farm.

Visit our main Sustainability Schools page for more information or follow the links above to visit each partner’s page for workshops near you!

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PASA Business Member Profile – Adam Seitz of Penns Mault / Spring Mills, PA

October 29, 2014 in Guest Bloggers, Uncategorized

Good Food Neighbors are Blogging! PASA thanks our volunteer corp of guest bloggers, who have stepped forward to share their experiences, points of view and the goings-on in their communities with the Good Food Neighborhood. We look forward to sharing their fresh perspectives in this blog.


 

Adam Sietz

Adam Sietz / Founder of Penns Mault Distillery in Spring Mills, PA

 

“If you malt it, they will come.” 

Adam Seitz of Penns Mault / Spring Mills, PA / Centre County

     By Carrie Neuhard Lyons of State College, PA / Centre County

“Pennsylvania grown, Pennsylvania malted, Pennsylvania brewed.” This is the motto at Penns Mault, a micro-malthouse established by Adam Seitz in Spring Mills, PA.  Their mission is to produce malt using barley and other specialty grains grown exclusively by PA farmers.  Malt is the primary ingredient used to make beer. Pennsylvania hosts a growing collection of breweries, but malt is currently a missing link in the production of a truly local beer.  Brewers currently use malt that is grown and processed in the Western US, Canada, or overseas.

Adam explains, “There is a perception that we can’t make malt using Pennsylvania grown grains because our climate is not as well suited for producing malting quality barley as it is out maultwest, and because PA farmers don’t currently grow malting barley varieties.”  Adam hopes to change this perception, and is currently working with five farmers in the state to grow malting barley to be harvested in 2015.  Once harvested, the grain will be tested for several factors such as germinative capacity and protein content.  Any of the barley not suitable for malting can still be used by farmers for feed.  The barley that does meet required specs will find its way into local pint glasses during the fall of 2015.

Adam’s experiences with PASA have been instrumental in shaping his business principles.  He says, “I didn’t always think much about who or where my food came from, or how far it travelled.”  After attending his first Farming for the Future conference in 2009 as a junior at Penns State, he began to think differently though. Inspired by the common energy and passion of presenters and others in attendance, as well as by some well-timed courses at Penn State, he began to focus his thinking about food and agriculture in a more sustainable way.  Adam is passionate in his commitment to sustainability, and his business model reflects this passion right down to the wood-fired kiln he’s designing to dry malt.

Penns Valley

View of Penns Valley

 

Penns Mault recently received a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant in order to help close the farmer to brewer and field to beer malt-processing gap that currently exists in Pennsylvania.  Doing so will help develop the malting industry in PA for other maltsters, and will create a new premium market opportunity for PA small grain farmers.  The grant will be used in part to conduct malting barley variety trials with Penns State, and will also support a PASA field day on malting to be hosted at Penns Mault’s Spring Mills location in 2016.

Let’s lift a glass to Adam and his vision of Pennsylvania grown, Pennsylvania malted, Pennsylvania brewed.  I’ll drink to that!

 

 

As always, many thanks to our Sustainability School partners around the state:

 Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Study,

 Country Barn Farm,

 Dickinson College Farm,

East End Food Co-op,

Eastern PA Permaculture Guild,

Fair Food,

Glade Run Adventures,

IMBY at Misty Hollow Farm 

Jennings Environmental Education Center,

 the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County,

Pennypack Farm & Education Center,

 Spring Creek Homesteading,

and Quiet Creek Herb Farm.

Visit our main Sustainability Schools page for more information or follow the links above to visit each partner’s page for workshops near you!

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Good Food Neighbors are Blogging: Local Growers Capture New Markets

October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Good Food Neighbors are Blogging! Over the next few months we will be introducing some guest bloggers to our Good Food Neighborhood. These PASA members are passionate about local foods and sustainable agriculture. They will be sharing their experiences, points of view, and the goings-on in their communities. We want to thank them for their contribution of time and  talent to our Good Food Neighborhood. We look forward to sharing their fresh perspectives in this blog.

If you would like to be a guest blogger in our Good Food Neighborhood, please contact Jean Najjar at jean@pasafarming.org.


Local Growers Capture New Markets

by Carla Snyder

Carla Snyder / Adams County

Carla Snyder / Adams County

Food-based tourism is more popular than ever. Exemplified by TV shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Parts Unknown, celebrity chefs are taking to the tourism circuit around the globe.  Great Britain’s Alan Coxon, a multi-award winning chef and TV show host, named the ambassador of food this month, means he will be promoting Great Britain’s food, beverage and tourism industry as a whole.

Known by many names, Gastronomic Tourism is a measured food trend across the globe.  Once focused solely on the wine industry, food-based tourism, that is travel planning focused on educational, cultural or experiential activities surrounding the local food of each visited region, is now a significant trend in the local food sector.  According to Quan and Wang, 2004, when data was just beginning to be gathered, over one-third of all travel dollars were devoted to food purchases. For many travelers culinary based tourism extends much further from the plate. It includes attendance at local food festivals, tours of local farms, a visit to the farmers’ market and private dining experiences at many of these locations.  According to 2012 Food Tourism Pic 1 (1)
data, eating-related activities are the second most favorite activity of all tourist visiting the U.S.  This translates into a substantial opportunity for agri-tourism farms as well as those selling directly to the public or local foods based restaurants.

Local farmers are cashing in on this trend in a big way, but with one-third of all tourism spending floating around waiting to be captured, the market hardly seems saturated.  If you happen to be located near an established tourism epicenter, like Gettysburg, PA, transitioning to this trend is easy. One small, diversified family farm offered their first on-farm supper in June.  Rettland Farms paired up local Chef Josh Fidler, his 154 Supper Club and Chef Sam Strock to offer a night under the stars.   Seats were opened first to their Community Supported Agriculture members, those who are already local supporters of the farm, and then to visitors at large.  Participants to this exclusive dinner were treated to a tasting menu of 6 local food dishes sure to fill their bellies and provide ample conversational topics for an educational and fun evening on the farm, the makings of a perfect tourism experience.

In New York, already a faFood Tourism Pic 3med destination for wine-focused tourism, growers are taking advantage of the new hard cider trend.  Cider Week, an event brand that has spread across the country celebrates what they deem “America’s oldest libation.”  With events from New York to Washington in the months of October and November 2014, this tourist-marketed experience offers full day celebrations gathering apple growers and hard cider makers from each region to celebrate this hip, ultra- local trend. Events offer demonstrations, tastings, local food pairings and socializing space for foodie tourists and locals a-like.

For agricultural producers, marketing to capture tourism dollars may be easier than you think. Simple changes such as telling your customers where you grow and how you sell your products may make all the difference. Producers have noticed an upswing in restaurant sales after talking to shoppers at their farmers’ market stands about which restaurants buy their products. This enables the foodie driven shopper to not only visit your stand while they take in the scene at the farmers’ market but suggests a restaurant for them to visit while in town. When it comes to tourism, word of mouth says it all.  Be sure to encourage customers that buy directly from you as well as businesses that purchase your product to promote their use of your local products on websites like tripadvisor.com and yelp.com.  One local food comment can go a long way to entice the right food-focused tourist.

 

 

 

 

“TV Celebrity Chef Becomes British Ambassador for Food Drink and Tourism”. Food and Beverage Magazine, May 2014. Fb101.com

Quan, Shuai and Wang. “Towards a structural model of the tourist experience: an illustration from food experiences in tourism.” Tourism Management Vol. 25, Issue 3 (June 2004): page 297-305. Web.

World Tourism Organization. “Global Report on Food Tourism.” AM Reports: Volume 4 (2012). Web.