Mash – April 17, 2013

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Friends & Farmers Cooperative News

Friends & Farmers Co-op E-Newsletter – April 16 Edition, including the feasibility survey link, a PayPal donation button to keep the momentum building and an online auction offering great local food packages from:

  • Tait Farm Foods
  • Jade Family Farm
  • Greemoore Gardens
  • Village Acres
  • Clan Stewart Farm
  • Plowshare Produce
  • Eden View Organics
  • Deb’s Flower Farm
  • Byler Goat Dairy

PSU College Farm Update

Rachel Hoh recently finished her honors thesis - Toward a Cultivated Classroom - investigating the history of student-run farms at Penn State and successful current models in operation at other Big 10 universities. Excerpt:

1980s – The Circleville Farm

The early 1980s marked the establishment of the Circleville Farm, a 176-acre student-run farm located in Ferguson Township. The property, located at the intersection of Circleville and Science Park Roads (several miles outside of the University Park Campus) was under the jurisdiction of the College of Agricultural Sciences. A full-time staff of 15 to 20 students managed, maintained, and organized the nearly 29 year-round courses offered at the site. Between 1985 and 1989, an average yearly profit in sales of between $10,000 and $20,000 effectively underwrote the student salaries. At its prime, it was reported that nearly 75 of the College’s 300 faculty members from 16 different departments utilized the farm for teaching purposes.

In July of 1989, responsibility for the Circleville Student Farm shifted from the students to the University’s Manager of Farm Operations. As described in a 1989 New York Times article, the transition occurred in part because the “administration felt that too few students and faculty members were involved with the farm”. Resources formerly committed to the farm were to be utilized for the acquisition of grants which in turn would be channeled into supervised, faculty lead programs as opposes to daily farm operations. In addition, sustainable agricultural practices previously employed at the Farm were abandoned and replaced with more chemical-intensive techniques. Livestock and heavy machinery formerly maintained by the students were also redistributed amongst neighboring universities.

This transition was met with significant opposition. In 1989, students and faculty members within the College of Agriculture along with community members mounted a letter writing campaign to oppose the Circleville Farm reorganization. Between the late 1980s and today, the Circleville Farm property has continued to generate conflict amongst the divergent interests of the community. Since 2003, Penn State and Ferguson Township have been accepting proposals for both the purchasing and residential redevelopment of the property…

Central PA Energy Sovereignty & Food Sovereignty

Pipeline developments are covered in more detail at the  new Energy Sovereignty website. Recently posted items include Matt Dahlhausen’s initial feasibility study of pipeline alternatives and a draft summary document chronologically listing key events in the development of the Columbia Gas pipeline plan and available public records. The timeline will be updated as additional documents are released to the public.

  • April 17 – The Highland’s Civic Association Executive Committee will meet at  7:00 p.m. tonight (April 17) in room 242 of the Borough Building. Meetings are informal and everyone is welcome to attend. The gas pipeline is one agenda item: “Gas pipeline – follow up, including October 2012 communications and continued pressure to protect the Highlands.”
  • Linking the pipeline issue to the national food sovereignty movement that also draws strength from rights-based organizing strategies, Brian Burger sent in a link to a Countryfolks.com article about efforts in Brooksville Maine. In 2011, the town joined many other Maine communities supporting their local food producers by adopting a ‘Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance,’ legislating that “producers and/or processors of local foods are exempt from licensure and inspection as long as the food is sold directly by the producer to the customer, or patron.”

April 17 – Orchard Park Playground Design Meeting

State College Borough, with the help of community volunteers, will be building a playground in Orchard Park this June. Now is your chance to provide input on the playground equipment that will be installed. Join the Borough and KaBOOM!, our play consultants, in planning for what will be a fun filled day on June 25, when our community comes together to build the playground from the ground up. The project kickoff event will be Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Details: KaBoom!

April 18 – Earth Day Lecture at PSU

  • Tom Szaky speaking at 6 p.m. at 105 Forum Building

April 20 – Backyard Fruits & Nuts Workshop in State College

There are still a few spots open in this weekend’s workshop on Planting Backyard Fruit & Nut Trees & Shrubs with Scott Diloreto, Emily Zink and Jennie Diehl – Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at 156 West Hamilton Ave. When signing up, please choose a shrub package to purchase: two raspberry bushes ($8.60 per set, two sets still available) OR two currant bushes ($18.60 per set, three sets still available). Call 237-0996 or email to sign up.

April 20 & 21 – Penns Valley Stream Bank Cleanup and Riversongs Celebration in Millheim

Penns Valley Conservation Association’s annual Stream Cleanup starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday April 20 at Coburn Park. Stream Bank Cleanup.

The Third Annual Riversongs Celebration is Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Raffle prizes and event details.

April 21 - Earth Day Work Day at Shaver’s Creek

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Bring your skills and talents to Shaver’s Creek! Celebrate Earth Day this year at your local nature center. We need your help to upgrade the trails, paint the buildings, and tackle invasive species. You can volunteer for a full day or a half day of stewardship projects. Bring closed-toed shoes, work clothes, and bring a friend. We have projects for all ability levels and the work party will be on, rain or shine. We’ll provide pizza and a special bird of prey show, brought to you by the generous support of our members. If you have a special skill in carpentry or painting, let us know, and we will put your talents to use. Email Johanna to register.

April 22 – PSU Earth Day Lecture

April 22 – Screening of Documentary Tapped

HealthWorks, a peer education and outreach program within University Health Services, is proud to present a free screening of Tapped on Monday, April 22 at 7:00 pm in the HUB Auditorium. Tapped is a documentary that highlights the environmental and health consequences of producing and consuming bottled water.

April 22 – Downtown Master Plan Open House Meeting

7:00-9:00 PM in the Borough Municipal Building, the consulting team for the State College Downtown Master Plan will be hosting a presentation and open house.  The public is invited to attend to review recommendations for the Downtown Master Plan themes: Marketing the District, Navigating the District, Connecting the District, Living in the District, Managing the District.

April 24 – PSU Local Foods Student Dinner at Redifer Commons

Penn State students led by Alyssa Kalter and Grace Emmerling are continuing to plan the menu and coordinate scheduling and logistics for the first Local Foods Dinner, to be held at Redifer Commons at the University Park campus on Wednesday, April 24. More details coming soon.

April 24 – New Leaf Initiative Open House at Borough Building

April 26 – Renewable Energy on the Farm Workshop in Mifflintown, Plus PASA News

April 27 – Farm Tool Basics – Workshop in Rebersburg

(From PA-WAgN)

Many women farmers did not grow up learning about hand tools, power tools, how to use them effectively and safely, nor the specific jobs each are best used for. In addition, women could benefit from understanding routine maintenance, simple repairs and proper sequence of simple operations of common equipment on the farm from tillers to tractors with attachments.

Over the Moon Farm female farmers have developed a friendship with all-around mechanic extraordinaire, Duane Lowe of Mountainview Farm Supply in Rebersburg, Centre Co.  At Over the Moon, Duane will go over the basic hand and power tools you should have in your shop and how to use them. He will introduce participants to the basic maintenance needs of common equipment, demonstrating examples on the farm’s Ford 3000 Tractor, Gravely & Cub Cadet lawn tractors, rototiller and chain saw. He will also go over proper PTO hook-up procedures and safety with the brush hog.

Participants will learn about various issues that can arise with equipment maintenance and repair. Duane will explain what you need to say when dealing with your own repair person. He encourages and will answer questions throughout the day, as well as about other pieces of equipment not available at this workshop. Dress warmly as we will be out in the open Hoop barn. Details and registration.

April 27 – Soiree in the Swamp at Muddy Paws in Spring Mills

Please join us at the restored wetlands of Muddy Paws Marsh in Spring Mills for an evening with the frogs and other creatures. Free event, Saturday April 27, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Muddy Paws Marsh4158 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills, PA 16875.

We will start the night with a short presentation on the state of amphibian health both locally and globally, followed by games and activities for children with prizes. As it gets dark, waterfowl will descend on the marsh for the night and frogs will start to sing. Hear and search for green frogs, bullfrogs, spring peepers, pickerel frogs and toads on your own throughout the marsh and along Penn’s Creek. Come dressed to get muddy! This is an all-ages, rain or shine event. Please bring: lawn chairs, food and drink, flashlights, binoculars (for bird sightings), boots for wading and nets for catching frogs.

May 2 – College Township Backyard Chickens Ordinance at Council Meeting

(From Scott Stilson of the College Township Backyard Hens Initiative)

We’re on the agenda at the Council meeting on May 2 at 7 p.m.! This meeting and the one after it are the one to attend. Please come if you want the ordinance to pass. And if you can’t make it…

  1. If you know someone who legally keeps chickens in another local municipality, please invite them and their neighbors to come.
  2. If you haven’t written Council yet on the subject of backyard hens, please do! Just send an email to ctcouncil@collegetownship.org.
  3. If you’ve already written Council on the subject but can think of another angle, write them again (briefly)!
PASA Seeking Communications Proposals

PASA is seeking assistance in formulating a comprehensive communications program for the organization. The attached RFP provides a detailed outline of communications goals and responsibilities. Deadline is 5 p.m. May 10.

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