Message from Spring Creek Homesteading President Josh Lambert


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Katherine for her hard (and unpaid) work as the program coordinator and treasurer of Spring Creek Homesteading Fund.

It is a given that the organization would not exist if it hadn’t been for Katherine’s vision and efforts to establish it, push through the incorporation paperwork, and finally to obtain 501c3 status to provide some tax benefit to our supporters.  But, starting the organization was only the beginning, no pun intended.

Katherine worked many hours to develop first rate programming, recruit competent and friendly instructors, secure space for potlucks and other events, disseminate information about homesteading-related goings-on, and to provide support to others trying to make the Centre Region a more self-sufficient and community-minded place.  The result of her work is a first-rate organization that has given those involved a little more self-confidence to do something new and a chance to meet like-minded souls.

Her efforts on behalf of Spring Creek Homesteading Fund will be sorely missed.  Please join me in wishing her good luck in her future endeavors.

As we move forward, Spring Creek Homesteading Fund will go through a transition period.  We will need to find a new board member (or members) and some one to help coordinate events.  It is my hope that we can continue to offer programming related to homesteading skills, participate in local events related to agricultural sustainability and local resiliency, and promote a sense of community with potlucks and other events.  How this looks, and whether it continues to have the degree of professionalism that Katherine set as the standard, remains to be seen.

I have established a new contact email,, to coordinate events after Katherine’s final day on the job.

Thanks again to Katherine for all of her hard work.

Josh Lambert, President, Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

Personal Transitions – Note to Readers


I’m in the process of changing some time and energy priorities and wanted to give readers a heads-up.

Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

I’ll be resigning as treasurer and program director for Spring Creek Homesteading effective May 15, just after the May 10 Backyard Laying Hens workshop with Leslie Pillen.

We have a few small grants in the works, and Board President Joshua Lambert is coordinating the homesteading workshop series at the Third Annual PCO FarmFest August 2, to include Enjoying Backyard Honeybees with Sylvia Feldman, Fermentation for Food Preservation with Scott DiLoreto, Cold Frames to Extend Your Gardening Season with Josh Lambert, and Basic Composting with Alexa Schriempf. I’ll provide more information about the future direction of the organization when it becomes available.

Friends & Farmers Cooperative

Friends & Farmers Cooperative currently has about 125 member-owners signed up and they’ve collectively made a capital investment of just over $30,000 so far. When we reach 250 member-owners, new board elections are triggered by the by-laws, and I won’t be running for another term as board treasurer.

I’m currently working on insurance, online payment systems and other financial issues, and drafting a summary of the treasurer responsibilities as I’ve learned them since December via crash course in self-taught bookkeeping and financial reporting – to hopefully make it easier for the next treasurer to get up to speed.

Steady State College & Other Writing & Editing – Downshifting to Slow News

After the April 28 edition, Steady State College will no longer be published in an online version, but only in a print version – printed via computer printer for the next 6-12 months, and printed on the hand-powered printing press from then on.

The print version will be available at locations still to be determined – possibly farmers’ markets and local-focused businesses. It will also be available at a distribution box at my house (50 cents per copy), and by mail-order ($25 for an annual subscription of 24 to 26 issues each year mailed to subscribers’ home or business addresses).

Some of the content may be reformatted and published monthly in Voices of Central PA - still working out the details of that arrangement with Voices editor Sean Flynn. I’m also writing a book.

I plan to sharply curtail my Internet use, with a goal of only checking emails once a week on Monday mornings, and will primarily gather information through public and private meetings, in-person and phone conversations with friends and colleagues, and document collection. Social networking – my efforts to link cool people and their good projects to other cool people with similarly good projects – will also be going mostly off-line.

Paralegal Work

I haven’t had a paid job since 2005 – due to both the high cost of child care and my intense preoccupation with the urgency of post-carbon writing and community organizing. My children are now older and post-carbon/economic contraction planning seems to be on the verge of going mainstream, so I’d like to re-enter the paid workforce. I’m looking for 15 to 20 hours per week of paralegal work at $15 to $20 per hour. Primary litigation support skills include document analysis and legal research and writing; primary experience has been in environmental, civil rights, Constitutional, employment, ERISA and family law.

Wild Spring Greens, Mushrooms & Backyard Hens


Pick Your Wild Spring Greens Now!

(From Brian Burger)

Wild greens in 2014 are running a couple weeks behind recent years with our reluctant spring weather. Now is the time to go afield and “get your greens on!”

I enjoy feasting on a foursome of prevalent and plentiful wild greens. The menu? Hot, steamed Stinging Nettles with a drop of apple cider vinegar and dash of salt. Second is Wintercress, also steamed, with a touch of butter, salt and pepper. The entrée is Dandelion greens dressed with hot bacon gravy and ramps, with sides of small boiled potatoes from the winter larder and fresh hen’s eggs hard-boiled and quartered. This meal has me feeling as content as an arising bear having its fill of vernal vitamins!

More info about where to pick, and how to prepare wild spring greens, plus photos and Brian‘s contact info to schedule private foraging sessions: Springtime Smorgasbord.

April 26 – Shiitake Mushroom Workshop in State College

Jason Lilley will be holding a shiitake mushroom log cultivation workshop Saturday, April 26 at 711 Kennard Road in State College at 11:00 a.m.  (rain or shine), starting with a discussion about the basics of mushroom culture and mushroom log inoculation and moving on to actually inoculating logs. Jason has 15 spots available for people interested in inoculating a log to take home.

Cost is $25 per person if interested in logs, $10 if not. Please RSVP to Jason to sign up. 

May 10 – Backyard Laying Hens Workshop in State College

Come learn how you can keep a small flock of laying hens to provide you with delicious, fresh eggs in your own backyard! Saturday, May 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at 156 West Hamilton Ave.

Instructor Leslie Pillen will discuss breed selection, how to raise healthy hens from chicks on, and important design considerations for building or buying a backyard coop. Leslie is the Design Coordinator for the new sustainable student farm initiative at Penn State. She has raised chickens in both farm and backyard settings, and has taught several classes about keeping chickens.

Suggested donation is $12 per person, payable by cash or check on the day of the workshop. Proceeds go to the instructor. Space is limited to 15 participants; sign up by email to Katherine or by phone (237-0996).


Divestment Campaign at Harvard; Mini-Conference Reporting


From Democracy Now!

Momentum is growing in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. On Thursday, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the industry for its role in driving climate change. Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the faculty at Harvard University released an open letter calling on the Ivy League school to sell off its interests in oil, gas and coal companies. “If the Corporation regards divestment as ‘political,’ then its continued investment is a similarly political act, one that finances present corporate activities and calculates profit from them,” wrote the professors. 

April 9 “Onward on Climate” Followup

I had a good meeting on April 15 with Penn State senior political science major Scott Patterson, one of the student organizers of the April 9 Onward on Climate forum held at the Kern Building. The event was a joint project of Scott’s group – Organizing for America – and Fossil Free Penn State; it was the first public event for both groups, which each got official club status around January of this year.

Organizing for America works on a variety of issues; Scott is leading the climate efforts and his summer plans include working with Mike Rybacki on the Georgetown University Energy Prize project and on a crowd-sourced “solar raising” project to purchase and install solar panels at Greenmoore Gardens CSA farm while training students to install solar power systems – similar to the new crop mob program giving Penn State students hands-on training in sustainable agriculture skills.

Scott mentioned that Sam Richards, faculty advisor to World in Conversation, recently began climate change discussions around the question “Where does the average Penn State student stand on climate change issues?” I’ll be following up with Richards to gather more information about that.

Scott said Fossil Free Penn State is a new student group launched by a group of freshmen led by Nathan Larkin. Scott’s understanding is that many of the Fossil Free students knew each other in high school, worked on climate issues before arriving at Penn State last fall, and are focusing their efforts on Penn State divestment from fossil fuel corporations. I hope to connect with Nathan soon to gather more info about their background and plans.

April 11 “Getting to Zero” Followup

I’ve already reached out via email to a handful of participants in the faculty-organized mini-conference held last Friday, requesting written feedback about the event. I’m interested in publishing substantive feedback (not PR spin) from any participants: issues discussed; content of discussions; decisions made; next steps planned.

Following is a list of the people who took part in each workshop. If you are (or know) these people – and you support public accountability and transparent governance for Penn State faculty, students and administration – please write (or encourage them to write) a few paragraphs and send them along for publication.

I’ll collect and format all submissions received by April 27, and publish them in the April 28 issue of Steady State College.

Physical Plant Retrofitting:

  • ROB COOPER, Director, Energy and Engineering, Office of Physical Plant
  • JESSICA FATICA, Administrative Support Assistant, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts
  • KEVIN GOMBOTZ, PE CEM, Director of Commercial Services, Envinity, Inc.
  • MARK. D. HUNCIK, Air Quality and Meteorological Consultant
  • JASON MOORE, Operations Engineer, Office of Physical Plant
  • RAYMOND NAJJAR, Professor of Oceanography, Department of Meteorology
  • JAMIE QUAIL, Student, Psychology
  • ERICH SCHIENKE, Lecturer, Energy & Mineral Engineering
  • GORDON TUROW, Director, Campus Planning and Design, Office of Physical Plant

Investing in Existing Technologies for Alternative Energy Production:

  • JAMES BRASSEUR, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics and Founding Chair of the APS Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
  • JEFFREY R. S. BROWNSON, Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering, lead for the Solar Option within the RESS program.
  • MARY EASTERLING, Associate Director, Metrics and Assessment, Sustainability Institute
  • JASON GROTTINI, Director of Operations & Business Development, Envinity, Inc.
  • ANDY LAU, Associate Professor, Engineering Design
  • LAURA LITTLE MILLER, Senior Energy Engineer, OPP
  • NICK PRATT, Student, Energy Engineering

Promoting Emerging Technologies for Alternative Energy and Carbon Sequestration

  • DAVID W. JONES, Research Support Assistant, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • MIKE PRINKEY, Senior Energy Program Engineer, Office of Physical Plant
  • MOHAMMAD AL REBH, Student, Chemical Engineering
  • TOM RICHARD, Professor of Biological Engineering, Director of PPenn State’s Institutes for Energy and the Environment (PSIEE)
  • STEVE TREADO, Associate Professor, Architectural Engineering
  • JILL ZANKOWSKI, Student Intern, Sustainability Institute, Environmental Resource Management and Community, Environment and Development.

Assessing and Changing Carbon Intensive Practices and Cultures

  • LEE AHERN, Assistant Professor, Communications; President, International Environmental Communication Association.
  • HANNAH BRUKARDT, Administrative Support Assistant, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts
  • JOSEPH P. CUSUMANO, Professor of Engineering Science & Mechanics
  • KENNETH J. DAVIS, Professor of Meteorology
  • BILL SHARP, Director, Transition Centre
  • JANET K. SWIM, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology
  • BRENT YARNAL, Professor of Geography

Market Mechanisms for Encouraging Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • MELANIE BERNIER, Associate Director, Budget and Finance, Student Affairs
  • ERIK FOLEY-DeFIORE, Strategy & Planning Manager, Sustainability Institute
  • TERRY P. HARRISON, Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor of Business and
  • Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems
  • STEVE MARUSZEWSKI, Assistant Vice President, Office of Physical Plant, leading the University’s Environmental Stewardship Strategy, Co-chairing the University’s Sustainability Strategic Planning Process and leading the efforts associated with defining and managing the campus deferred maintenance and capital renewal needs.
  • MADISON MILLER, Student, Schreyer Honors College, Business Management and Community, Environment and Development
  • SHAUN PARDI, President, Envinity, Inc.
  • RICHARD READY, Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Economics
  • BRANDI J. ROBINSON, Lecturer, Dutton e-Education Insititute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, formerly worked OPP, maintaining emissions inventories for the PSU campuses. Her graduate research at Penn State focused on mitigation alternatives for University Park.

 Interfacing with Local and Regional Initiatives

  • PAMELA ADAMS, Refuse and Recycling Administrator, Centre Region Council of Governments
  • LARA FOWLER, Senior Lecturer, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Research Fellow, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment
  • HUGH A. MOSE, General Manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA)
  • PAUL MOSER, Superintendent, Steam Services, Office of the Physical Plant
  • SYLVIA NEELY, Associate Emeritus Professor, History; first president of PA Interfaith Power & Light,
  • ALAN SAM, Environmental Coordinator/Arborist, State College Borough, responsible for coordinating various Borough sustainability initiatives.
  • TERRY SHUPP, Sustainable Communities Collaborative Coordinator, Sustainability Institute

Coordination, Planning, Communication with Partners and Administration

  • JEREMY BEAN, Associate Director of Planning, Sustainability Institute
  • VIN CRESPI, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Science & Engineering
  • SARINA KATZ, Student President, Eco Action; member, Student Sustainability Advisory Council; International Relations and History major.
  • MARYBETH MCGINNIS, Student Intern, Sustainability Institute; Geography major
  • SHELLEY MCKEAGUE, Environmental Compliance Specialist, Office of Physical Plant
  • DANIEL TOMASO, Graduate Student in Meteorology
  • DENICE HELLER WARDROP, Director, Sustainability Institute; Executive Director, PSIEE

What does the failure to confront climate change tell us about ourselves?

  • PETER AESCHBACHER, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
  • SUSANNAH BARSOM, Sustainability Institute
  • MELISSA DiJULIO, Student
  • JACQUELINE EDMONDSON, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
  • ALEX LINEY, Student, English
  • IAN MARSHALL, Professor of English and Environmental Studies
  • DR. LAURIE MULVEY, Executive Director, World in Conversation Center
  • JENNY TATO, Student
  • CHRIS UHL, Professor, Biology
  • JENNIFER A. WAGNER-LAWLOR, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and English
  • GABY WINQVIST, Instructor, Department of Kinesiology


April 22 – “Growing Cities” Screening & Discussion


flierFrom Lydia Vandenbergh, Associate Director of Sustainable Practices at PSU Sustainability Institute

On April 22 at 6:30 p.m. in 121 Sparks Building, we’re holding a screening of Growing Cities, a documentary film about urban agriculture in the U.S., followed by a panel discussion with film director/producer Dan Susman and other agriculture experts. The conversation will highlight urban agriculture issues, but will also address the many complexities and controversies of today’s food systems. We believe it’s a great opportunity to model constructive dialogue and exemplify the importance of communicating across difference. The event is sponsored by the Sustainability Institute and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and Environment.

You can find more information on the Sustainability Institute website.