Four plots still available at Keller Street Community Garden

Keller Street Community Garden, circa 2016.

Four plots are still available for the 2020 growing season at the Keller Street Community Garden, which is a joint project of the State College Friends Meeting and Spring Creek Homesteading Fund.

Plots are 20 feet by 5 feet. Cost is $25 per season plot rental fee (non-refundable) plus $25 refundable security deposit (returned to you when you leave the garden, if your plot is left in good condition.) If you are in financial difficulty due to the lockdown/crisis and ensuing unemployment, the fees will be waived. Also, if you would like to garden a plot to raise crops for donation of fresh produce to area food banks, the fees will be waived.

For more information, or if you would like to garden at Keller Street, please contact Katherine Watt at katherine_watt@hotmail.com.

Any plots not rented by June 1 will be planted in black turtle beans, to be dried and stored in the fall and donated to area food pantries that will accept homegrown produce.

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Bailiwick News has moved to SubStack

As of May 2020, Bailiwick News has moved to SubStack!

Click on over there to read new posts, sign up for free subscriptions to the SubStack email newsletter list, and/or sign up for paid subscriptions to financially support independent local reporting and commentary on Centre County public affairs and get paid-subscriber-only access to additional writing about localism in Centre County.

Letterpress notecards are available for purchase at Etsy, along with bound volumes of artisanal journalism produced between 2011 and 2019.

Thanks for reading!

-Katherine Watt

Bound volumes are available for borrowing/review at the Penn State Special Collections Library at the University Park campus, and at the Centre County Library & Historical Museum in Bellefonte.

Bound volumes are also available for purchase at Etsy.

Bailiwick News Volume 1 – Sept. 2016 – June 2017. CONTENTS include coverage of Friends and Farmers Cooperative; Penn State/Toll Brothers student housing development on Slab Cabin Run watershed/farmland in Ferguson Township; Centre Region COG park development on Slab Cabin Run watershed/farmland in Ferguson Township; emerging contaminants in the State College Borough Water Authority system; State College Borough municipal finance; 2017 Centre County District Attorney race and prosecutorial/judicial corruption; Death of Timothy Piazza, investigating grand juries in Pennsylvania, and prosecution of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State.

Bailiwick News Volume 2 – Oct. 2017 – Dec. 2018. CONTENTS include coverage of Penn State corporate governance and finance; Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition in the aftermath of the Slab Cabin Run watershed/farmland protection campaign; Penn State’s environmental record; cumulative regional impacts of rapid land development in the Centre Region; citizen campaign to block new Nestle water bottling plant in Spring Township; disciplinary proceedings against former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller; sewage planning for Penn State/Toll Brothers student housing development in Slab Cabin Run watershed/farmland; investigating grand juries in Pennsylvania, Greek Life reform, and prosecution of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State; Sept. 2005 Penn State quid pro quo letter gifting or selling acreage to SCBWA, COG and other public entities in exchange for rezoning and incorporation of Penn State’s planned student housing land within the Regional Growth Boundary/Sewer Service Area.

Bailiwick News Volume 3 – Jan. – Dec. 2019. CONTENTS include coverage of Penn State corporate governance history; Spring Creek Water Resource Management Plan; UAJA sewage EDU policy; Half-moon Township Development of Regional Impact/Regional Growth Boundary expansion proposal; disciplinary proceedings against former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller; Spring Creek Canyon overlay zoning changes in Benner Township; Pennsylvania’s Constitution of 1776; chilling of public dissent through COG’s new public comment guidelines; Penn State/ClearWater Conservancy Musser Gap to Valleylands project; COG special rules for unit votes (first version in 50 years of operation); Katherine Watt’s independent campaign for State College Borough Council; legal doctrine of federal and state ceiling preemption of municipal legal authority; Penn State expansion plans for West Campus Steam Plant and related hazmat emissions/public health impacts; Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition campaign to protect Pine Hall Forest in Ferguson Township; UAJA sewage treatment plant hazmat emissions and upgrade construction delays; civics database (land area, population, municipal governance); digested State College Borough Council minutes from 2016; public health impacts of 5G and other wireless microwave signals.

Energy Sovereignty: 2011-2013 – Information originally published at Spring Creek Homesteading Fund’s website, about the 2011 State College Community Environmental Bill of Rights campaign, and information published at the Energy Sovereignty website regarding the 2013 citizen campaign to stop the Penn State/Columbia Gas high-pressure natural gas transmission line through the Highlands neighborhood of State College Pennsylvania.

Steady State College & Voices: 2013-2015 – Steady State College was a print and online newspaper published from September 2013 to September 2014, focused primarily on Penn State’s energy strategic planning in the aftermath of the 2013 Columbia Gas pipeline fight, and initial coverage of Friends & Farmers Cooperative. Voices of Central Pennsylvania was an independent newspaper founded in 1993. This volume includes essays by Katherine Watt published in Voices between December 2013 and September 2015.

Watershed Protection: Citizen Campaigns 2015-2018 – Compilation of independent citizen journalism related to watershed and farmland protection campaigns that took place between 2015 and 2018 in Centre County, Pennsylvania, primarily to block watershed and farmland destruction along Whitehall Road in Ferguson Township, upgradient from the State College area’s two main public water supply wellfields. Most of the content was originally distributed via a Change.org petition to the 2015 Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors, as email updates to the petition’s 2,479 signatories.

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Recruiting New 2020 Gardeners for Keller Street Community Garden

There are several plots available for the 2020 growing season at the Keller Street Community Garden, which is a joint project of the State College Friends Meeting and Spring Creek Homesteading Fund.

Plots are 20 feet by 5 feet. Cost is $25 per season plot rental fee (non-refundable) plus $25 refundable security deposit (returned to you when you leave the garden, if your plot is left in good condition.)

If you are in financial difficulty due to the lockdown/crisis and ensuing unemployment, the fees will be waived.

Also, if you would like to garden a plot to raise crops for donation of fresh produce to area food banks, the fees will be waived.

For more information, or if you would like to garden at Keller Street, please contact Katherine Watt at katherine_watt@hotmail.com.

If you are interested in starting your own community garden, on some land you own or otherwise influence, and want more information about what’s involved in managing a small community garden, feel free to reach out. The more food we can produce for ourselves, the more food secure we’ll all be. Even if you just have a big back yard and a hose hookup, with room for one or two plots in addition to your own garden, it can help.

Other updates:

Spring Creek Homesteading board of directors voted on March 29 to take the steps needed to dissolve the nonprofit corporation, due to a lack of leadership time and energy to devote to programs and fundraising. So, that legal process will be happening over the next few months.

The Keller Street Community Garden is not affected by this change. State College Friends Meeting will take on legal liability insurance for the garden; liability insurance was the main financial outlay Spring Creek Homesteading was making each year.

Also, this will be Katherine’s last year as Keller Garden manager, but it’s likely a new manager will take on the tasks for the 2021 growing season so that the garden can carry on.

Keller Street Community Garden, circa 2016.

 

 

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Changes underway at Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

Changes underway at SCHF and Keller Street Community Garden

I’ve been trying for a couple of years to find a new garden manager to take over the Keller Street Community Garden, which I’ve supervised since 2012. Josh Lambert (SCHF president) has reached out to Bob Lumley-Sapanski at the Friends Meeting Facilities Committee, to see if they are willing to take over management of the garden. No word back yet.

If any blog readers are interested in taking on the job, please let me know by emailing katherine_watt@hotmail.com or calling 237-0996.

Also, Spring Creek Homesteading Fund has been mostly dormant, except for the Keller Street Community Garden, for several years, because no one on the board has the time or energy to develop and implement programs like workshops, potlucks, cooking/canning events or fundraising.

We currently have a five-member board, per the bylaws, including Josh Lambert (president), Laura Zaino Valchar (treasurer), me [Katherine Watt] as secretary, and Dana Stuchul and Smita Bharti as at-large members.

By the end of March, Josh and I are interested in either recruiting 2-5 new board members (depending on the interest of Laura, Dana and Smita in staying on) or having the current board authorize formal dissolution of the nonprofit corporation.

Spring Creek Homesteading Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit in good standing with the state, and it costs about $1,500 to start a new nonprofit corporation.

So, if there are 2-5 people in the community – especially the State College Homesteaders Facebook community – interested in taking responsibility for carrying the organization forward, it could be a very valuable tool for those people, especially if they’re interested in applying for grants to do some more projects around the Centre Region, like community garden establishment and operation, cooking and canning training programs and the like.

Please consider either joining the board or talking to your homesteading/gardening friends and acquaintances to see if there are enough new people to take Spring Creek Homesteading onward.  

Please get back to me – or have your friends get back to me – by February 28, by email at katherine_watt@hotmail.com or phone at 237-0996.

Depending on how interest levels are looking at that point, hopefully the current board can meet in early March to make a transition plan, either turning the organization over to a new group of leaders, or taking steps to dissolve the corporation.

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Katherine Watt Write-In Campaign for State College Borough Council

Spring Creek Homesteading Fund co-founder Katherine Watt is running a write-in campaign for State College Borough Council.

She is not affiliated with any political party, but primary voters who are registered with a party can write her name on the ballot on May 21, and any voter can write her name on the November 5 ballot.

If elected, her goals include the following: promote the economic interests and small town/rural community values of families who actually live and work on their property; demote the economic interests and profiteering/sprawl/urbanization values of land speculators and general contractors; promote urban farms, orchards and in-home food processing businesses; promote population-neutral zoning; impose a State College Right to Know Law and a State College Ethics Act on Penn State, which is almost entirely exempt from the state versions of both laws; negotiate a fair PILOT agreement between Penn State and the Borough as the 2004 agreement expires in 2024; update the regional Act 537 Plan governing sewage management; withdraw State College from the Centre Region Council of Governments; and merge the private Penn State police force with the public State College police department to create a single jurisdiction for law enforcement.

For more information, please see Katherine Watt Write-In Campaign Page at the Bailiwick News website.

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