Comment Period for FSMA — Extended Until November 22nd.

November 20, 2013 in Community Support for PASA, Take Action, Uncategorized

Comment Period Extended to November 22nd!

farm safety

Whether you missed the deadline last Friday or have just thought of something else to say, now is the time to say it!

In a Nutshell

The FDA needs to hear three things:

  • Get the definitions of farm and facility right.
  • Pay attention to the comments from PASA and NSAC
  • Submit newly proposed rules for public comment as a result of this process

Make your comments HERE

Want More Details? PASA on FSMA

Want Inspiration?  Write to Farm

Take Note of November!

November 6, 2013 in Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

A shot of pumpkins on the farmSustainability Schools Continue: From First Year Beekeeping and Backyard Chickens to the Love of Fungi there are great opportunities for do-it-yourself learning this month! And as the holiday season approaches, consider taking part in a sustainable alternative to “black Friday” at the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (TLC). If you can’t make it to the Bucktoe Creek Preserve on November 29th, maybe you’ll be inspired to come up with a “green Friday” activity of your own. 

Check out these opportunities and more as PASA’s Sustainability School programs continue through 2013.

Our Sustainability School partners include: Chatham University’s Food, Farm, and Field Program, Country Barn Farm, Dickinson College Farm, East End Food Co-op, Eastern PA Permaculture Guild, Greener Partners, Home Grown Institute, 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 below to visit each partner’s page for workshops near you!

    • April 25, 2014
      • A Week of Vegetables -- Friday Night Out @ IMBY
        Location: In My Back Yard at Misty Hollow Farm -- 1020 East Street Road, West Chester, PA
    • April 26, 2014
      • Wildflower Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp RD, Avondale, PA).
      • Successful Organic Fruit In Your Own Backyard @IMBY Misty Hollow
        Location: IMBYat Misty Hollow Farm 1020 East Street Rd. West Chester, Pa.
      • Shiitake Workshop @ Master of Arts in Food Studies / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham University’s Eden Hall Farm, 6035 Ridge Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044
      • SOLD OUT -- Gnocchi 101 @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
      • Living History Hike @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Starting location: Chandler Mill Bridge (Kennett Square, PA).
    • April 27, 2014
      • Swarm Prevention and Capture Techniques @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • April 30, 2014
      • Small Space Gardening @ East End Food Co-op
        Location: East End Food Co-Op, Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
    • May 3, 2014
      • Creatures of the Farm @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA, United States
      • Parasite Control in Sheep and Goats @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • May 4, 2014
    • May 5, 2014
    • May 7, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 12, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 14, 2014
    • May 17, 2014
      • Open Hive Day @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Rd, Kennett Square, PA).
    • May 18, 2014
    • May 21, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 23, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 24, 2014
      • Cool Season Grass Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve: 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311
    • May 31, 2014
      • Medinal Plant Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA)
      • Stalking Wild Edibles @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 1, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
      • Queen Honey Bee Rearing Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • June 8, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • June 21, 2014
      • Ladybugs and Toads and Bees, Oh My! Cultivating Biodiversity and Crop Health @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 22, 2014
      • Honey Harvesting Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • July 6, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • July 20, 2014
      • Varroa Mite Treatments @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • August 3, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • August 9, 2014
      • Simple Salsa in a Jar @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007.
    • September 6, 2014
      • First Year Beekeeping Class @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • September 7, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • September 13, 2014
      • The Skinny on Sauerkraut @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • October 11, 2014
      • Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 1, 2014
      • Thanksgiving Centerpieces from your Garden @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 8, 2014
      • Backyard Chickens Workshop @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Partner sites:

Chatham University Food Farm Field Program

Country Barn Farm

Dickinson College Farm

East End Food COOP

Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild

Greener Partners

Home Grown Institute

Jennings Environmental Education Center

Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County

Pennypack Farm & Education Center

Spring Creek Homesteading

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Sustainability Schools — October and November Update!

October 2, 2013 in Community Events, Community Resources, Sustainability Schools

Fall into learning!

fall foliage

Our Sustainability School Partners are offering all sorts of fun learning experiences for kids and adults this Autumn. From Origami Dragonflies with the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County to lessons on Backyard Chickens from Dickinson College Farm  and  the Country Barn Farm, there is something for everyone. Scroll down for a complete listing.

Thanks is due to all our partners: The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, Country Barn FarmGreener PartnersDickinson College FarmQuiet Creek Herb FarmSpring Creek HomesteadingEastern PA Permaculture GuildHome Grown InstituteJennings Environmental Education Center and Pennypack Farm & Education Center.

 

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

    • April 25, 2014
      • A Week of Vegetables -- Friday Night Out @ IMBY
        Location: In My Back Yard at Misty Hollow Farm -- 1020 East Street Road, West Chester, PA
    • April 26, 2014
      • Wildflower Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp RD, Avondale, PA).
      • Successful Organic Fruit In Your Own Backyard @IMBY Misty Hollow
        Location: IMBYat Misty Hollow Farm 1020 East Street Rd. West Chester, Pa.
      • Shiitake Workshop @ Master of Arts in Food Studies / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham University’s Eden Hall Farm, 6035 Ridge Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044
      • SOLD OUT -- Gnocchi 101 @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
      • Living History Hike @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Starting location: Chandler Mill Bridge (Kennett Square, PA).
    • April 27, 2014
      • Swarm Prevention and Capture Techniques @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • April 30, 2014
      • Small Space Gardening @ East End Food Co-op
        Location: East End Food Co-Op, Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
    • May 3, 2014
      • Creatures of the Farm @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA, United States
      • Parasite Control in Sheep and Goats @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • May 4, 2014
    • May 5, 2014
    • May 7, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 12, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 14, 2014
    • May 17, 2014
      • Open Hive Day @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Rd, Kennett Square, PA).
    • May 18, 2014
    • May 21, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 23, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 24, 2014
      • Cool Season Grass Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve: 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311
    • May 31, 2014
      • Medinal Plant Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA)
      • Stalking Wild Edibles @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 1, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
      • Queen Honey Bee Rearing Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • June 8, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • June 21, 2014
      • Ladybugs and Toads and Bees, Oh My! Cultivating Biodiversity and Crop Health @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 22, 2014
      • Honey Harvesting Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • July 6, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • July 20, 2014
      • Varroa Mite Treatments @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • August 3, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • August 9, 2014
      • Simple Salsa in a Jar @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007.
    • September 6, 2014
      • First Year Beekeeping Class @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • September 7, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • September 13, 2014
      • The Skinny on Sauerkraut @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • October 11, 2014
      • Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 1, 2014
      • Thanksgiving Centerpieces from your Garden @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 8, 2014
      • Backyard Chickens Workshop @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Partner sites:

Chatham University Food Farm Field Program

Country Barn Farm

Jennings Environmental Education Center

Pennypack Farm & Education Center

Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County

Greener Partners

Dickinson College Farm

Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild

Spring Creek Homesteading

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Wrap up your summer with learning!

August 13, 2013 in Community Events, Community Resources, Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

Sustainability Schools continue to offer great opportunities through August and into the Fall!

Learn about “cooking the bone” with Carrie Hahn at East End Food Co-op, medicinal plants and earthen building at Quiet Creek Herb Farm, food preservation at Dickinson College Farm and so much more. Check out all the cool opportunities in our calendar.

Thanks is due to all our partners: Greener PartnersDickinson College FarmQuiet Creek Herb FarmSpring Creek HomesteadingEastern PA Permaculture GuildHome Grown InstituteJennings Environmental Education Center, Country Barn Farm, East End Food Co-op , Pennypack Farm & Education Center, Chatham University Food, Farm, and Field, and the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County

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

    • April 25, 2014
      • A Week of Vegetables -- Friday Night Out @ IMBY
        Location: In My Back Yard at Misty Hollow Farm -- 1020 East Street Road, West Chester, PA
    • April 26, 2014
      • Wildflower Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp RD, Avondale, PA).
      • Successful Organic Fruit In Your Own Backyard @IMBY Misty Hollow
        Location: IMBYat Misty Hollow Farm 1020 East Street Rd. West Chester, Pa.
      • Shiitake Workshop @ Master of Arts in Food Studies / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham University’s Eden Hall Farm, 6035 Ridge Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044
      • SOLD OUT -- Gnocchi 101 @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
      • Living History Hike @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Starting location: Chandler Mill Bridge (Kennett Square, PA).
    • April 27, 2014
      • Swarm Prevention and Capture Techniques @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • April 30, 2014
      • Small Space Gardening @ East End Food Co-op
        Location: East End Food Co-Op, Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
    • May 3, 2014
      • Creatures of the Farm @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA, United States
      • Parasite Control in Sheep and Goats @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • May 4, 2014
    • May 5, 2014
    • May 7, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 12, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 14, 2014
    • May 17, 2014
      • Open Hive Day @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Rd, Kennett Square, PA).
    • May 18, 2014
    • May 21, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 23, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 24, 2014
      • Cool Season Grass Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve: 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311
    • May 31, 2014
      • Medinal Plant Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA)
      • Stalking Wild Edibles @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 1, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
      • Queen Honey Bee Rearing Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • June 8, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • June 21, 2014
      • Ladybugs and Toads and Bees, Oh My! Cultivating Biodiversity and Crop Health @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 22, 2014
      • Honey Harvesting Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • July 6, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • July 20, 2014
      • Varroa Mite Treatments @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • August 3, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • August 9, 2014
      • Simple Salsa in a Jar @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007.
    • September 6, 2014
      • First Year Beekeeping Class @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • September 7, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • September 13, 2014
      • The Skinny on Sauerkraut @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • October 11, 2014
      • Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 1, 2014
      • Thanksgiving Centerpieces from your Garden @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 8, 2014
      • Backyard Chickens Workshop @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

 

Welcome Country Barn Farm!

July 31, 2013 in Community Resources, Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

CBF_sqare_logo100PASA’s Good Food Neighborhood welcomes our latest Sustainability Schools partner, the Country Barn Farm just north of  Pittsburgh.

The Country Barn Farm is a family farm,  tended by the Zgurzynski family with a keen focus on beekeeping, organic gardening, and sustainable agriculture. Joseph Zgurzynski  is a second generation beekeeper with a lifelong interest in beekeeping and entomology.  He manages beehives on the farm to  produce raw honey that is lightly filtered and never heated, so we are able to offer the sweetest natural food in the world at peak flavor and nutritional benefit.

Joe is certified as a Master Beekeeper, with the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America and a member of Burgh Bees, Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers Association and the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association.  Joe offers beekeeping classes and equipment throughout the year.

 

Quiet Creek’s Intensive Sustainability Seminars: Medicinal Herbs

June 13, 2013 in Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

image002Preparing your herbal medicine chest 

Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living will present a workshop on the key concepts of growing, harvesting, preserving, and making medicinal herb preparations.  The theory of using herbs medicinally will be applied in hands-on classes which will stimulate your intellect, fill your medicine chest, and empower your do-it-yourself know-how.  For seventeen years, Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living has been offering workshops on sustainable living.

Medicinal herbs have been used in making age-old remedies for indigestion, colds, inflammation, sore muscles, and many others.  Learn to grow, harvest, and preserve medicinal herbs.  Learn to make your own soap, herbal infusions, tinctures, syrups, poultices, oils, capsules, salves, and essential oils. You will go home with new skills, knowledge, and an overflowing herbal first-aid kit.

Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living located at 93 Quiet Creek Lane, Brookville, PA 15825.  The workshop is July 26th through 28th and the cost is $275 ($20 Discount for PASA members).  Participants will receive three relaxing days and two nights with practical experience and knowledge to put medicinal herbs to in full gear at their location, take home goodies, 6 whole food meals, and creative lodging.  Register by Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 by contacting Claire Orner at quietcreek@windstream.net or by phone at 814-849-9662.  Workshop is limited to 20 participants.  Schedule of events and more available at http://www.quietcreekherbfarm.org/medicinal-herbs-intensive-workshop.html

Summer Homesteading Workshops

June 4, 2013 in Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

Seedling_Cyanotype_1-150x150

Seedling from Dickinson College Farm

Check out this latest update of the 2013 Sustainability Schools Calendar.

The yearlong “Fearless Homesteading” course continues, Beekeeping, Backyard Fruit Trees, Medicinal Herbs and SO MUCH MORE!!!

Thanks is due to all our partners: The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester CountyGreener PartnersDickinson College FarmQuiet Creek Herb FarmSpring Creek HomesteadingEastern PA Permaculture GuildHome Grown InstituteJennings Environmental Education Center and Pennypack Farm & Education Center.

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

    • April 25, 2014
      • A Week of Vegetables -- Friday Night Out @ IMBY
        Location: In My Back Yard at Misty Hollow Farm -- 1020 East Street Road, West Chester, PA
    • April 26, 2014
      • Wildflower Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp RD, Avondale, PA).
      • Successful Organic Fruit In Your Own Backyard @IMBY Misty Hollow
        Location: IMBYat Misty Hollow Farm 1020 East Street Rd. West Chester, Pa.
      • Shiitake Workshop @ Master of Arts in Food Studies / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham University’s Eden Hall Farm, 6035 Ridge Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044
      • SOLD OUT -- Gnocchi 101 @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
      • Living History Hike @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Starting location: Chandler Mill Bridge (Kennett Square, PA).
    • April 27, 2014
      • Swarm Prevention and Capture Techniques @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • April 30, 2014
      • Small Space Gardening @ East End Food Co-op
        Location: East End Food Co-Op, Meade Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
    • May 3, 2014
      • Creatures of the Farm @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA, United States
      • Parasite Control in Sheep and Goats @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • May 4, 2014
    • May 5, 2014
    • May 7, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 12, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 14, 2014
    • May 17, 2014
      • Open Hive Day @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: New Leaf Eco Center (776 Rosedale Rd, Kennett Square, PA).
    • May 18, 2014
    • May 21, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 23, 2014
      • Continuing... Tree Care Series @ Master of Art in Food Science / Chatham University
        Location: Chatham’s Eden hall Campus
    • May 24, 2014
      • Cool Season Grass Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve: 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311
    • May 31, 2014
      • Medinal Plant Walk @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA)
      • Stalking Wild Edibles @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 1, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
      • Queen Honey Bee Rearing Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • June 8, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • June 21, 2014
      • Ladybugs and Toads and Bees, Oh My! Cultivating Biodiversity and Crop Health @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • June 22, 2014
      • Honey Harvesting Methods @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • July 6, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • July 20, 2014
      • Varroa Mite Treatments @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • August 3, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • August 9, 2014
      • Simple Salsa in a Jar @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007.
    • September 6, 2014
      • First Year Beekeeping Class @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel, PA
    • September 7, 2014
      • Sharing Nature With Children @ the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
        Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311)
    • September 13, 2014
      • The Skinny on Sauerkraut @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • October 11, 2014
      • Gluten-Free Baking for Beginners @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 1, 2014
      • Thanksgiving Centerpieces from your Garden @ Dickinson College Farm
        Location: Dickinson College Farm, located at 553 Park Drive, Boiling Springs, PA 17007
    • November 8, 2014
      • Backyard Chickens Workshop @ Country Barn Farm
        Location: Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Partner sites:

Chatham University Food Farm Field Program

Jennings Environmental Education Center

Pennypack Farm & Education Center

Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County

Greener Partners

Dickinson College Farm

Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild

Spring Creek Homesteading

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Sandor Katz on Fermentation, Health and Community

September 16, 2012 in Author Series, Community Resources, Uncategorized

Sandor Katz has inspired countless a person to stretch beyond any self-imposed “I can’t do that” attitude toward fermentation. Wild Fermentation and, just published, The Art of Fermentation offer us an accessible and engaging invitation to be kind to our guts, to rejuvenate our palettes, and, ultimately, to reclaim food. As Sandor notes on his website, “Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious. Microscopic organisms – our ancestors and allies – transform food and extend its usefulness…Fermented foods help people stay healthy.”

Sandor is not only an author and teacher on fermentation technique, but, in his The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, offers an intelligent and compelling argument for weighing the true costs of food systems that extol convenience, industry profit, and a pseudo-nutritional framework.  As you will see in this interview, Sandor challenges us to consider this small act, the act of fermentation, as an opportunity for self-knowledge, community building, and pure enjoyment!

For information on Sandor’s upcoming workshops, visit www.wildfermentation.org. Join the Good Food Neighborhood™ next weekend at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, where Sandor Katz is a keynoter on the topic of Fermentation, Culture and Coevolution.

 

Sandor, for folks who might not be as familiar with how you became so passionate about fermentation, could you provide some insight into your journey?
Okay, sure. I would say my path to fermentation started as a kid growing up in New York City. I just loved sour pickles. I can’t say why. Nobody in my family was making them. It was just a food I really liked. Then, I started to tune in to the digestive benefits of fermented vegetables, even though I wasn’t making them myself. That didn’t happen until I moved from New York to a community in rural Tennessee and got involved in keeping a garden. I was such a naive city kid that it didn’t even occur to me that all the cabbages would be ready at the same time, that all the radishes would be ready at the same time. So, basically, faced with that practical challenge -that all people who have gardens are faced with- I decided that it was time for me to learn how to make sauerkraut. I just looked in some cookbooks, figured out how to do it (it’s pretty simple), loved it, and, pretty much since that first batch, I’ve always had sauerkraut going. That led me into a broader obsession of wanting to learn to make all sorts of things fermented, but it definitely started with sauerkraut…prompted by what was coming out of my garden.

You were a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air this summer. Terry Gross asked you how people can get started and you recommended they start the same way: sauerkraut.  Are there other ‘newbie’ options that you recommend for people who are just getting started?
Well, what I think is so perfect about fermenting vegetables is that it is intrinsically safe, you don’t need any special equipment, you can just do it in a jar that you have sitting in your pantry somewhere. You don’t need a special starter culture and you get relatively quick results. So, that’s why I think it’s a great way to start. But I mean really, my primary message with fermentation is that this is not rocket science. Anybody with a kitchen can do any of this. So I would say that beyond sauerkraut, it just depends on what foods people like to eat. Making yogurt is really easy; making alcoholic beverages is really easy.


So, on the opposite of that, are there some things that you only get to ferment a couple of times a year that you really look forward to?
Sure, I think of a lot of these ferments as annual rituals: I make wine out of certain fruits and berries based on when those things are ready, and I make those things just once a year. I’ve got a lot of pears, and I’m looking forward to them ripening, and getting to squeeze them into juice and making perry (fermented pear juice). Every winter for maybe the last nineteen years, I’ve made miso. Usually the first weekend in November I go to my friend’s farm where he plants acres of daikon radishes as a cover crop and he lets me fill up a pickup truck full, I then transfer them to a 55 gallon oak barrel and make radish-kraut. This summer, I made a quick vegetable ferment of corn relish where I cut kernels of corn off the cob, salt and squeeze them, and mix them with onions and herbs. I ferment the whole thing. So, yes, I do a lot of my fermentation as a seasonal activity during the appropriate harvest time of the year.

That sounds delicious. Beyond just being tasty, fermented foods have so many health benefits. I have been reading about, and hearing various programs about, the role everything from viruses to bacteria to parasites can have on our health and how our obsession as a culture with hygiene can lead to a gut that is vacant of what we need to digest food and ward off disease.

Yeah, for all of us in the United States anyway, we live in the context of what I call the war on bacteria. We have all received this thorough indoctrination into this misguided notion that bacteria are dangerous to us. That’s not to deny that there exist bacteria that can be dangerous, but the vast majority of bacteria we can coexist with. And human beings could not possibly function in the world without the bacteria that are part of us. But all of the anti-bacteria ideology, compounded by the chemical exposure we all receive every day through antibiotics, through the water that we drink, and through cleansing products that are marketed on the basis of their antibacterial chemicals, all of this chemical exposure has the effect of killing off bacteria that we desperately need. And at the same time, research is demonstrating, more and more compellingly, how vitally important bacteria are to our functioning. The report last month from the Human Microbiome Project really laid out how much we are ultimately dependent on the genetics of the bacteria we are hosts to and to our own limited range of genetics. Without bacteria, human beings could not reproduce. Human beings could not digest food and assimilate nutrients. Bacteria are responsible for most of the immune responses that allow us to live in this world, and also for our brain chemistry. Every aspect of physiological functioning involves bacteria that are part of us. We need to abandon this misguided ideology that bacteria are our enemies and start recognizing that bacteria are our ancestors, that bacteria are integral parts of our bodies and we need to coexist with them and not try to just kill them.

You’ve traveled extensively, offering an abundance of workshops. You obviously love to connect with people and love the act of collective learning. What was your motivation behind writing, now, your third book?
The publication of Wild Fermentation got me invited to lots of different venues to teach fermentation, brought traffic to my website from people with all sorts of questions trying to troubleshoot, trying to figure out what was going wrong, or to brainstorm when things weren’t going as expected. That process has expanded my education in a huge way. So I’ve gotten to hear thousands of people’s stories about things that they’ve tried, or things that their grandparents used to do, or ferments that they used from the old country. All that troubleshooting has really forced me to research a lot of it and understand better what is going on and what makes things sometimes go awry so that I can give people some idea about how to do it better. Really my new book [The Art of Fermentation] is a book I couldn’t have written at the time when I wrote Wild Fermentation. And I felt that I had expanded my repertoire and had enough new information and new insights into giving people suggestions for troubleshooting that it was time for me to write a new book on this topic. You know the topic of fermentation is so vast and infinite that no one book can say everything there is to be said.

Sally Fallon‘s forward in Wild Fermentation refers to your book as “a road map to a better world” and that got me wondering, do you feel a certain responsibility for sharing the information you have gathered, for what you can offer the world?
The biggest thing that I have learned in my now decade of teaching fermentation workshops is that there is a huge hunger for this information. I accept my limitations, I can’t necessarily satisfy everybody’s appetites for this information but I’m really thrilled to see that there are a lot more people all around the country who are stepping up in their communities and offering workshops and sharing this information on their own. So, yes, I love to share this information, I always encourage my students to not be end-users of this information, to go head and share these foods and share the information on how they made them with people.

I’m going to just say a few phrases and you tell me what comes to mind with regard to fermentation’s role.
Okay, this is like a Rorschach!

Fermentation as a food safety strategy…
According to the USDA, there has never been a single case of food poisoning reported in the United States from fermented vegetables. And we all know that every year we hear of outbreaks with raw vegetables traced to some kind of ground contamination of vegetables. We’ve seen it with lettuce, we’ve seen it with spinach, we’ve seen it with tomatoes. All kinds of vegetables and produce. Fermentation is a safety strategy. Even if you take vegetables that have been exposed to some sort of incidental contamination, when you ferment them, when you allow the indigenous dominant population of lactic acid bacteria to develop, the fermentation overwhelms any incidental contaminants. Through fermentation, we create an environment to destroy them. So, fermentation really is a strategy for safety as much as it is anything else.

Fermentation’s role in pre-digestion…
Well, fermentation IS pre-digestion. As foods are fermenting, the microorganisms that are transforming the foods are transforming the foods precisely by digesting the compound nutrients into suitably more elemental forms. So all fermented foods have some degree of pre-digestion, especially if you look at fermented foods based upon the raw foods that are sometimes difficult for people to digest (or always difficult for people to digest, as in the case of soybeans). You can see that fermentation pre-digests food and typically makes the nutrients in them more bioavailable and makes them easier for people to digest.

Fermentation’s role in detoxification…
Well, fermentation has been used in many cases specifically in order to detoxify different kinds of foods. Sometimes some of the toxins are quite dramatic, as in cassava which is a tropical tuber which about a billion people on this earth are dependent upon for their daily calories. Cassava grown in certain soils has really high concentrations of cyanide. If people ate unprocessed roots it could literally kill them. But the way that cyanide is removed, or rather digested into benign forms, is simply by cutting the roots up into chunks and soaking in water and initiating a fermentation. Other toxins are not quite so dramatic: phytic acid -the outer layer of greens- in legumes and seeds can be digested by fermentation. Oxalic acid…there are lots of examples of various nuts and seeds from around the world that people regard as toxic unless they are fermented before they are eaten. In the Asian cultures that pioneered soy agriculture, none of them eats bowls of soybeans. They all process them primarily through fermentation, also through making tofu which is a very involved, many-step process. But soybeans are never eaten without some sort of pre-digestion.

In your book The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, Jeff Poppen (The Barefoot Farmer) offers: “CSAs offer hope for rural America, not only in a practical financial way, but on a deeper level too”. And I’m wondering…in what ways are you hopeful for rural America?
Well, I mean really, the local food revival is great news for rural America because people living on small plots of land have the potential to produce things that are of real value to themselves and their neighbors and the people in near-by cities. I’m seeing, in my own community, that the revival of local food and local food systems is leading to some small scale specialization at a local scale and is really a positive force in giving people more options. Giving the people who grow food more options to support themselves; giving other people more options in terms of healthy food to eat.

Seems the most we can do is change our one little bit of the world.
You know, I agree. Sometimes things happen in the world that you feel like you need to respond to, but really for the most part we just have our small little realm of influence.

Sandor, thank you!
Thank YOU, Hannah.

 

More about Sandor Katz:

Author Sandor Ellix Katz

My name is Sandor Ellix Katz, and I am a fermentation revivalist. My interest in fermentation grew out of my overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition and gardening. It started with sauerkraut. I found an old crock buried in our barn, harvested cabbage from our garden, chopped it up, salted it, and waited. That first kraut tasted so alive and powerfully nutritious! Its sharp flavor sent my salivary glands into a frenzy and got me hooked on fermentation. I have made sauerkraut ever since, earning the nickname Sandorkraut, even as my repertoire has expanded. I have explored and experimented widely in the realm of fermentation, and my mission…is to share information and resources, in order to encourage home fermentation experimentalists and propel more live-culture foods out into our culture.

I am a native of New York City, a graduate of Brown University, and a retired policy wonk. In 1993, I moved from New York City to Cannon County, Tennessee, where I am part of a vibrant extended community of queer folks (and many other friends and allies). I have AIDS and consider fermented foods to be an important part of my healing.

Since 2003 when my book Wild Fermentation was published, I have taught hundreds of workshops demystifying fermentation and empowering people to reclaim this important transformational process in their kitchens.

Transcription service provided by Chip Mefford.

PA in September: PASA Blankets the Commonwealth in Support of Local Farms & Food

September 16, 2012 in Community Events, Community Resources, Community Support for PASA, Uncategorized

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) announces an exciting array of events and opportunities to support your local farmer while enjoying the lovely fall weather in Pennsylvania. To celebrate the harvest season, PASA is hosting and attending farmer-focused and family-friendly events throughout the Commonwealth. Read on to find an event near you or mark your calendars for a PA road trip!

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South Central PA:

Join PASA at Farm Aid 2012 on Saturday, September 22, at Hersheypark Stadium. The concert will feature Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, ALO, Pegi Young & The Survivors and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Farm Aid is much more than a concert – there are plenty of events leading up to the concert, including the following:

  • Farm Aid’s 2nd National Gathering of Farm Advocates on Thursday, September 20, is a working meeting that will bring together new and established farm advocates and financial, legal and farm policy experts for a day of training and skills development. Register at farmaid.org/advocates.
  • The Farm Aid Forum – Shale Gas Extraction & the Family Farm is an educational session provided to discuss the range of impacts, resources and protections for those facing unconventional natural gas extraction on their land or in their community. This open meeting will be held Friday, September 21st from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East (4752 Lindle Road, Harrisburg PA 17111). RSVPs are required – please email alicia@farmaid.org to RSVP.
  • Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village is open from noon to 5:30pm on Saturday, September 22, and is a lively space where concert goers enjoy interactive and experiential exhibits about soil, water, family farmers and good food! Stop by and visit PASA’s three exhibits in the HOMEGROWN Village. Play ag trivia, help recreate a mural of the Buy Fresh Buy Local® logo, learn about backyard conservation and homesteading in the Skills Tent, try out our bicycle powered generator at our Good Food Neighborhood™ booth and enter to win amazing raffle prizes donated by PASA member farms and businesses.

For more information about these and other Farm Aid events surrounding the concert, visit farmaid.org/events.

ART on the FARM at Dickinson College Farm in Boiling Springs on Sunday, September 23, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm is a collaborative fundraiser to benefit PASA & the Carlisle Arts & Learning Center (CALC). Art on the Farm provides a unique opportunity for the Cumberland Valley to experience local flare through art, education and agriculture.

Area painters, ceramicists, fiber artists and performance artists will be engaged “en plein air” work from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Guests will be given a map of the Dickinson College Farm for an opportunity to interact with artists in action. Educational programs will run concurrently with the “en plein air” sessions, allowing visitors to gain a deeper perspective and appreciation for key topics relating to sustainable land management and food production.

Hors d’oeuvres made by local restaurants will be provided along with samplings of craft beer and wines. This will be followed by a light dinner made with fresh, local ingredients. The night will culminate with a live and silent auction. The cost is $40 per Individual or $75 per couple. To purchase tickets visit carlislearts.org or call (717) 249-6973.

 

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Eastern PA:
PASA’s 5th Annual Bike Fresh Bike Local ride offers 25, 50 or 75 mile route options to make this the perfect ride for those who haven’t been on their bike in a while to cyclists looking for a challenge. Get your family, friends and co-workers out to appreciate the beautiful rolling hills of Chester County and see where our food comes from! The ride starts & finishes at event partner and Chester County’s famous beer destination, Victory Brewing Company. All participants receive a delicious locally sourced lunch and an award winning Victory draft beer (for riders 21+ years of age) after the ride!
Walk-in registration ($45) is available at the event. PASA also gratefully welcomes additional donations, which you can add at the time of registration. Register at pasafarming.org/bikefresh.

Join PASA from 11:00am – 3:00pm on Saturday, September 22, for an amazing event celebrating the official Grand Re-Opening of Kimberton Whole Foods’ Downingtown store in its new location! Come for the expanded organic produce section, the larger selection of great healthy groceries, the green building features throughout the store and the free samples, bike raffle, kids activities and food demos! The new Downingtown store is 2 doors down from the previous Downingtown location in the Milltown Square Shopping Center.  Directions to Kimberton’s store in Downingtown can be found by visiting kimbertonwholefoods.com/stores/downingtown.

 

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Western PA:
September is Local Foods Month in Western PA, and to add to the fun and celebration, PASA is hosting a Farmer Olympics at the Mother Earth News Fair! The Farmer Olympics brings local farmers and their supporters together for some friendly competition in fun, farming-inspired challenges. Teams of farmers and community members will test their skill, agility, teamwork and knowledge in competitions like the potato harvest scramble, tomato-trellising relay, box building, fence moving and farm trivia. Teams receive free admission to the Mother Earth News Fair on Sunday, September 23. Fun for all, and prizes to the winners!

The Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort is a fun-filled, family-oriented sustainable lifestyle event. The Fair features practical, hands-on demos and workshops on topics like renewable energy, small-scale agriculture, livestock, gardening, green building, and natural health in addition to vendors of organic food and drink, books and magazines, tools, seeds, clothing and more. In 2011, over 9,000 people attended the Fair, and this year the event has been extended from two days to three. Look for today’s interview with Mother Earth News Fair keynoter and author of The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz on the Good Food Neighborhood blog!

 

Also, don’t forget about these upcoming Sustainability Schools workshops:

Potluck & Recipe Swap
Saturday, September 22
Longview Center for Agriculture
Collegeville, Montgomery County
In partnership with Greener Partners

Saving Tradition by Saving Seed
Saturday, September 29
Dickinson College Farm
Boiling Springs, Cumberland County
In partnership with Dickinson College Farm

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About PASA:

With over 5,000 members, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is one of the largest and most active sustainable agriculture organizations in the U.S. Through educational programs and regional marketing assistance for farmers, advocacy, and public outreach, PASA seeks to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment. PASA’s hallmark event, the Farming for the Future Conference, draws thousands of participants from more than 30 states and six countries each February. For more information, visit pasafarming.org.

 

Megan Epler
(814) 349.9856 x15
megan@pasafarming.org

“Promoting profitable farms that provide healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.”

An Interview with Shannon Hayes – Radical!

August 9, 2012 in Author Series, Sustainability Schools, Uncategorized

Author Shannon Hayes writes and farms with her family on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in upstate New York. The family raises grassfed lamb, beef, pork, and poultry. She blogs for Yes! Magazine and is the author of Radical Homemakers, Grassfed Gourmet, Farmer and the Grill, and (upcoming) Long Way on a Little.

Earlier this year, Shannon delivered the PASAbilities plenary address at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA’s) Farming for the Future Conference. She wowed us with her thought-provoking message on the concept of radical homemaking. There was such an overwhelmingly positive response to her address, I thought it essential to follow up with Shannon who graciously agreed to be interviewed and offers this additional insight into her life’s work:

Shannon, my first introduction to your work was through friends Jonas and Judy Stoltzfus, farmers who pasture beef cattle in Pennsylvania (JuJo Acres). I remember how excited they were to offer your Grassfed Gourmet cookbook to their customers. With your cookbook as a reference, I learned a great deal about how to prepare grassfed meat in order to end up with something very tender and delicious. One of my favorite things about that book doesn’t actually have to do with the recipes. It’s the “View from the Farm” snippets that appear throughout. It’s unusual for a cookbook to include such treasures. What went into the thinking about including them?
I’m so pleased you thought to ask this question!  I think that now, with the local food movement in full force, such a perspective in a cookbook is not all that unusual.  But back then, it was actually controversial, because there was a clear interest in the publishing world to make sure that Americans didn’t have to draw any connections between the food on their plates and the big brown eyes of the gentle creature that provided it, or the farmer that led that animal to slaughter.  Glossy magazines could snap romantic images of veggie growers and artisan cheesemakers, but livestock folks were just too close for comfort for mainstream press.  Back then, mainstream culture preferred to think of burgers without the beef – or the chicken breasts without the bird.  But I felt that telling the stories of the farmers was essential for people to gain an understanding of what went into good food.  Flavor, nutrition, and healing our land all begins with the farm.  I didn’t feel I could get that message across without first telling the farmers’ stories, and the stories of their animals.

Do you have a favorite recipe or two from your cookbooks that you like to prepare?
My weekly menus all come from my cookbooks.  All the recipes I’ve written were done in the context of a moderately chaotic, home-centered, farm-centered lifestyle.  My family has had to make some dietary adjustments over the years to accommodate for grain/gluten free living, and I’ve had to get more savvy about being less wasteful with my food.  Thus, a lot of what I cook lately comes from “Long Way on a Little” (due out October 12 and available for pre-order) as it contains accommodations for these needs, but there are still fundamental techniques from “Grassfed Gourmet” and “Farmer and the Grill” that will never die.

In Grassfed Gourmet, you also talk about the social benefits of the grassfed meat movement. For our readers who not familiar with your cookbook, what are some of those benefits? Why should we care about these benefits?
There are so many benefits; it is hard to list them …without writing an entire book on the subject!  Grassfed meats, raised by local farmers, help to protect our landscapes and watershed, they increase the organic matter in our soils, keeping our regions more resilient in times of drought and flood.  The working conditions are better for farmers (and the livestock) because they are out in the open air (rather than in confined settings, as in factory farming).  In these hard economic times, the local grassfed meat movement becomes even more crucial.  We are creating a sustainable economy that is able to function locally outside the whims of the larger global economy.  We are able to be more responsive to people’s needs.  I know a lot of grass farmers who ask for a fair wage for their efforts, but also find ways to share their abundance with those in need – by donating meat to homeless shelters, quietly slipping extra food into the bags of customers who are facing hard times, raising animals and giving them away to good causes.  Local grass farms are fully invested in their communities, making them better environmentally and socially.

One last question on cooking: is there a “cardinal rule” for cooking grassfed meats? If so, what is it?
Don’t over-cook it.  The temperature guidelines I recommend for reliably-sourced grassfed meat are significantly different from the USDA recommended temperatures.  It makes all the difference to have meat cooked to the correct internal temperature!

In your last book, Radical Homemakers, you present a well-argued point that men traditionally played as much of a role in “homemaking” as women. Do you see many young families embracing this approach these days?
Absolutely.  In nearly all the households I visited, if a man was part of the family dynamic, he was doing as much to keep up the home as the woman was.  I don’t think it is even so much a matter of “embracing” it any longer.  I think many young families simply understand this as a given.  If there wasn’t a balance of labor in the household, the marriage wouldn’t still be going on!

Is there a story you’ve heard of homemakers since your book came out that is particularly inspiring or heartening?
That book came out 2 years ago, and I still receive more and more stories every week.  If there is a heartening tale to tell, it is in their growing numbers.  It thrills me to flip on my computer and receive messages from new people every week who are finding ways to make their lives more meaningful, joyful and ecologically sound.

Radical Homemakers also played a prominent role in your talks at the PASA Farming for the Future Conference this year. So many people, particularly male farmers, who weren’t sure what you had to deliver would resonate with them have commented on what an inspiring talk it was. What do you hope farming families take away from your message? What do you hope the non-farming community takes away?
We are facing times of incredible change.  Each of us has come to the earth at this point in time to play a part in this transition; to help the human race become a beneficent species on the planet.  That means we have to adapt to a redefined resource base, to climate change, to limited fossil fuels.  All these things are possible.  And I truly believe that life as human beings can be better than it ever was as a result.  But we will have to endure some pain and make full use of our minds, bodies and spirits to enable this adaptation.  Sometimes we can get swallowed by that pain, and our cynicism and fear can override our hope, paralyzing us from making the progress that is necessary.  We have to keep our attention on the good life that can result from going through this great turning.  That is what will give us the strength to move forward.  If there is something I hope people take away from my talks, whether they are farming or not, it is this.

Something you mentioned in a workshop you led at the Conference had to do with the radical act of hanging a clothesline. Can you talk more about that?
Ah!  For some it is more radical than others!  Out here in the country, you’re thought a fool if you toss your skivvies in the dryer.  But in many parts of this country, clotheslines are considered unsightly and hanging out laundry is against local codes.  Thoreau wrote, “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?”  Obliging citizens to engage in the act of putting their clothes into an electric dryer requires that we harm the earth in order to adhere to the law.  In my estimation, transgression is imperative (as well as endeavoring to make change) – for the folks who face these laws directly, that’s pretty radical and scary.

David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning, reviewed Radical Homemakers as “Brilliant, visionary, and practical. This is a mind-bending book that will forever change your view of human possibility and compel you to rethink your life…” At the end of the day, a day that probably involves any number of responsibilities on your farm that surely stretch you, yourself, in innumerable ways, what are your reflections on the impact you have had on other people’s lives?
Golly.  I guess I don’t think about the impact I’ve had on other people’s lives that much.  I tend to ask myself if I’ve lived each day in accordance with my heart and conscience.  I feel that part of my “life’s calling,” if you will, is to be a storyteller and a communicator, but in that sense, I am merely a conduit for allowing others to think through their own lives.  My raspberry patch, my lamb chops, my life with my parents, my husband and my kids are just a daily life that is uniquely mine.  No one needs to do what I do in the exact way that I do it.  I just hope that my willingness to reflect on it in my writing and my talks inspires people to think about their own daily world, and to make the changes they feel in their hearts are most important.

In 2010, you published an online article titled, “The Work Ahead.” My favorite line from that article is, “It is the physical work that puts us in tune with the rhythms of nature and sharpens our powers of observation to detect problems.” In many ways, for me, this observation speaks to exactly what is necessary to keep us from going awry as humans. Do you feel hopeful or fearful about the direction we are taking as a planet?
I have to feel hopeful.  Hope is a renewable resource, and if we don’t spend it, we will be frozen in place by despair.  And that will only guarantee failure as the human race adapts to these changing times.

 Reaching an online audience clearly has it benefits and limitations. What are your thoughts on the role your blog at shannonhayes.info plays in your ability to connect with the broader community with regard to moving forward and deepening understanding? What are the differences from connecting through other avenues?
I was extremely reluctant to become a blogger.  I didn’t feel I had something to say each week, and I felt that it was better to connect personally with folks.  But I cannot connect personally with folks on any kind of predictable basis and take care of the home/farm/family life I advocate for so strongly.  I’ve learned that if I make the time to blog, my readers fuel my writing, giving me ideas on subjects to tackle and ways that I can expand my thinking.  It also becomes a weekly connection for people, who then use the posts as a platform for engaging in dialog with people who may not have considered some of these ideas yet.  That’s pretty powerful.  At the same time, I am able to keep my attention focused on my roots here.  I guess the blog enables me to team up with readers, and gives us a tool to work together for bringing about greater change and touching more people.

That said, there is nothing that can compare with going out in public and meeting people, getting hugs, hearing their beautiful stories and seeing the light in their eyes as they go after the life they want.  It reminds me that I’m not alone in this work.  Better still, I tend to get a lot of good information from the folks I meet – suggestions on books to read, techniques to try with my kids, in my garden, or on the farm, ideas for doing this differently.  That’s all terrific stuff.  But if I do too much of that, then I am not keeping my own home fires alive.  Thus, the blog has been tremendously helpful to me in maintaining a healthy balance.

 In addition to writing and speaking publicly, farming with your family clearly plays a major role in your life. What does it mean to you to be part of a three-generation farm? What stage is being set for your daughters’ futures with sustaining this commitment?
If we didn’t have multiple generations on this farm, I wouldn’t be sitting here answering interview questions or writing books.  From the time I was very young, my parents recognized that I was a rather communicative artsy-creative type.  I married a communicative artsy-creative type.  Most folks like that don’t find their way to a farm.  But by being part of multiple generations, Bob and I were able to bring our creativity to the enterprise.  We are able to help with the chicken processing, sell the pork chops, and still do creative work like writing and publishing books, weaving baskets, and playing music.  At the same time, if Bob and I weren’t with the farm, my parents wouldn’t be selling meat at the local farmers’ market, they wouldn’t have their vacations, and they’d probably have collapsed from the exhaustion by now.

Three generations on the land gives everyone time to rest and play, and gives everyone an opportunity to take nourishment from the deeply pleasurable work that is involved.  It enables us to have our own creative and intellectual outlets without being swallowed up by a family business.

As for my girls, of course I cannot control their future choices.  But I see a wonderful future for them here.  My oldest is an artist to her core.  I see the farm as a way to support that lifestyle, and we’ve come to see how valuable it is to the land and business to have an artist involved.  She does our wool displays, works with her dad in setting up the retail space so that it is visually appealing, helps with signs, and readily takes any young children who come with customers out to play safely so that their parents can enjoy their visit.  My youngest (who is 5) is already a hard-core salesperson.  She moves so many of my candles, soaps, salves and books that I pay her a commission.  I think she’d sell the meat, too, but she is too short to reach the product display.  It thrills her to engage with people, talk to them about their needs and interests, and to help them find what they are looking for.  She’s also amazingly strong and can carry water buckets like nobody’s business.

That’s a long way of saying that they are already incredibly valuable to us.  So while I cannot control what they will choose to do in the future, I can make sure that they understand the importance of their contributions, and I can take advantage of the three generations we have on this land to take them away on fantastic adventures (we went to Europe for 7 weeks this past winter), so that they fully see and enjoy this world.  My theory on that is that if they see it and know it, and understand that the rest of the world is not denied to them, then the farm becomes the path toward greater enjoyment of their lives…not a prison.

What inspires you?
Ahhh…so much.  Where would I start?  My morning walk with my dog, picking berries, stacking firewood, a phone call from a friend, lunch on the back porch with my parents,  laying my head in my husband’s lap at the end of the day, watching my daughters teach themselves something new…I find inspiration in every little mundane thing. Except traffic.  I don’t find traffic congestion particularly inspiring.  So I try to avoid traffic congestion.

Perhaps mundane, perhaps profound, what is something that would surprise us about your day-to-day life?
If it would be a surprise, then it means I didn’t want you to know about it, right? (she smiles)

Point taken! So, what’s on the horizon for you?
I’m very excited to be bringing out “Long Way on a Little” this fall.  The book has taken me four years to write, and has been the most transformative cookbook in my career.   I’ve had to learn how to eliminate my own kitchen waste by challenging myself to figure out how to use my leftovers. I’ve had to figure out how to make prudent use of the bones and fat on the animals and how to do it all with the myriad dietary restrictions so many Americans are confronting (my family included).  I’ve fallen in love with this book!

How can people find your work and keep an eye out for what you are up to?
People can read my articles and buy books at grassfedcooking.com and shannonhayes.info.  They are also available through Chelsea Green Publishing and they can buy electronic copies of my works through any of the major online venues.

Thanks, Shannon, for giving us some insight into your life and your work.
Thank you so much for taking the time to explore these questions with me.

 

A few notes from Shannon’s website…

Shannon’s essays and articles have appeared in myriad regional and national publications, including The New York Times, The Boston Review, and Northeast Public Radio. Hayes’ quirky lifestyle, her attempts to live a life of personal accountability and sustainability, and her current research and writings about homemaking as an ecological movement have landed her and her family on the pages of the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine, Lancaster Farming, Small Farm Quarterly, Hobby Farm Home Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, Grit, Yes! Magazine, Elle Magazine, the national newspapers of Germany, Turkey and Canada, Arab News and the Pakistan Observer.

Shannon’s newest book, Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously, is due out from Left to Write Press on October 12. Left to Write Press, a company that Shannon and her husband Bob started as a way to enable them to live in Schoharie County without having to sell-out to corporate media, is distributed by Chelsea Green.

 

Books

Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meats, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously
Whole animal cooking for grassfed lamb, beef, pork and poultry….plus the leftovers.  Includes carbohydrate profiles, guides to grain-, legume-, and dairy-free recipes, color photography and  great information for stretching your food dollars.

Radical Homemakers
Shannon’s controversial best-seller that explores how social revolution and ecological reform begin at home.

The Farmer and the Grill
A guide to grilling, barbecuing and spit-roasting grassfed meat…and for saving the planet, one bite at a time. 

The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook
Finding, selecting, preparing and enjoying the most delicious and healthful meats for your body and the planet.

Essays

Homespun Mom Comes Unraveled
A little reality check about the glories of the good life…

The Smell of Mud Season
Featured on Northeast Public Radio

The West Fulton Turkey Supper
Featured on Northeast Public Radio

Emboucher
Featured on Northeast Public Radio

Peaches
Featured on Northeast Public Radio