Wanted: Community Garden Mob for short notice project


Spring Creek Homesteading Fund is collaborating with Sharon Shafer to install a new community garden on a lot at 419 South Atherton St in State College.

Volunteers are needed for a work day on May 16th (tomorrow) from 9 am – 3 pm to clear brush and pine logs, remove weeds, and take out maple saplings. Bring your gardening gloves and wear your old clothes.

Click here to volunteer. For more information please email Sharon Shafer.

Resiliency Roundup


News about Threat to State College Drinking Water Supply

Upcoming Events

  • May 18 – CITIZEN SPEAK-OUT to Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors, 7:00 P.M., 3147 Research Drive
  • May 21 – CITIZEN SPEAK-OUT to State College Borough Water Authority Board, 4:00 P.M., SCBWA Headquarters, 1201 West Branch Road

Brief Background

(Detailed Background – 4pp PDF)

The Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors is in the process of permitting Penn State and Toll Brothers land developers to break ground on a new luxury student housing development that would – if built – sit atop undeveloped land that filters and recharges up to two-thirds of the State College area’s daily drinking water. Since at least 2004, regional planners and professional hydro-geologists have warned that the entire 500-acre recharge area needs strong wellhead protections to preserve the quality and supply of local drinking water.

There are two main risks: that the development and changes in water flow will cause sinkholes and other structural changes to the subsurface karst geology, potentially collapsing recharge channels, and that stormwater runoff will contaminate local drinking water.

Despite those warnings, in September 2004, the Ferguson Township Supervisors granted a Penn State request for a zoning change that stripped the main, 40-acre parcel of protections afforded by Rural Agricultural zoning, converting it to Multi-family Residential, and increasing the Penn State property value from roughly $99,000 – Penn State’s purchase price in 1999 – to $13.5 million – the current sale price.

But Toll Brothers is not yet in a legal position to begin bulldozing. The Penn State land sale is not complete. Ferguson Township can rezone the main parcel back to Rural Agricultural; deny Toll Brothers pending request for a subdivision of an adjoining 5.5-acre parcel; and deny any future request to rezone the 5.5-acre parcel from Rural Agricultural to Multi-Family Residential. The SCBWA and University Area Joint Authority can publicly denounce the project as a dangerous threat to regional drinking water security and sewage treatment capacity; SCBWA can deny Toll Brothers permission to build an access road on SCBWA property at the headwaters of the on-site intermittent stream; the Borough of State College can deny a pending Act 537 Sewage Facilities Planning Module submitted by Toll Brothers.

They’re all acting as if their respective roles in this potentially catastrophic water system failure are minor technicalities. COME OUT MAY 18 and MAY 21 TO LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT THEM TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, REFUSE PUBLIC COMPLICITY IN PUBLIC ENDANGERMENT, STOP THE PROJECT & PROTECT OUR WATER.

Saturday, May 16 – Centre County Master Gardener’s Plant Sale

News from Friends & Farmers Cooperative

working to open a member-owned, cooperative grocery store in State College that will specialize in local, sustainably produced products

olm photo

The new co-op website is well-organized and good-lookin’.

  • Friends & Farmers Cooperative April Newsletter.
  • Next Friends & Farmers Co-op Volunteer Meeting: Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, 243 South Allen St. Third Floor.

Friends & Farmers Online Market is doing GREAT! “Since opening in Winter 2014 the Online Market has put over $30,000 into the local farming and food production community.  Between 40-45 orders are placed each week, averaging $1,700.  The number of orders and the dollars spent has increased steadily each month…”

The market is now open for orders from Fridays at noon through Mondays at noon, with pickup at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Tuesdays starting at 4 p.m.

New vendors are being added every week, and now include: Ardry Farms, Beiler Family Farm, BelleNaturals, Byler Goat Dairy, Chase Farm, Clan Stewart Farm, Clover Creek Cheese Cellar, Dancing Creek Farm, Eden View, Egg Hill Gardens, Fasta & Ravioli Co., Gemelli Bakers, Good Seed Baking Co., Jade Family Farm, Mountain View Farm, Rising Spring Meat Co., Standing Stone Coffee Company, Sweet Heat Gourmet, Tait Farm, Village Acres Farm, Way Fruit Farm and Wild for Salmon.

The market recently started offering Home Delivery for customers in the following zip codes for a $5 per order delivery fee::

  • 16801, 16803 (State College)
  • 16851 (Lemont)
  • 16827 (Boalsburg)
  • 16868 (Pine Grove Mills)
  • NEW! 16823 (Bellefonte)

Home delivery customers must meet a minimum purchase of $20, and they must pay with a credit card.

Regional hub pick-up locations are in the works for Bellefonte, Penns Valley and downtown State College.  Stay tuned for more info.  We will need extra volunteers to make these regional pick-up locations work.  Please contact market@friendsandfarmers.coop to volunteer.

News from State College Crop Mobs

working to bring the community and farmers together and to introduce everyday people to sustainable agriculture

News from CITY-GREEN

Ziegler Home PV, State College

working to promote energy conservation and the integration of renewable energy 

4.18.15 CITY-GREEN April Newsletter

May 30 – Climate Solutions: How to Reduce Energy Consumption and Help Pollinators and Wildlife

(From Ed Perry, National Wildlife Federation Climate Change Campaign)

Join the National Wildlife Federation, Native Plant Society, Master Gardeners, and others on Saturday, May 30 to hear from experts and community members about how we can take action in our gardens and our communities to address climate change and protect wildlife. 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Patton Township Municipal Building, 100 Patton Plaza, across from Home Depot.

Despite inaction by Congress, individuals and communities recognize the growing threat climate change poses to our future and natural heritage.  Already, many are taking matters into their own hands by installing renewable energy, making their homes more energy efficient, or providing habitat for pollinators and wildlife.

Presentations will cover topics such as how planting native plants can help pollinators and wildlife, what plants to use, how to landscape with native plants, what plants are best for pollinators, what actions can you take to reduce the carbon footprint of your home and how to reduce your mowing footprint using native plants. Tours of homes that have installed renewable energy and energy efficiency, and homes that are converting lawns to pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat will follow the presentations, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.


  • Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, PSU. [Editor’s Note: Despite his high status, Dr. Alley has, to date, declined to take a public position on Penn State’s fossil fuel-dependent long-term institutional energy strategy.]
  • Pam Ford – Penn State Master Gardener and caretaker of the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden in State College
  • Brian Henderson – Manager of Residential Energy Services for Envinity Inc., a local construction company that focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Dr. Nancy Ostiguy, Center for Pollinator Studies, Department of Entomology, PSU
  • Greg Podniesinski, PhD., PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Bureau of Forestry

News from Penn State Student Farm Initiative

working to link classroom education with experiential education and research to provide transformative learning opportunities in sustainable agriculture and food systems

October 2014 Visioning Session – Executive Summary:

“…Immediate goals include establishing 2-3 acres of vegetables and cover crop, with eventual plans for orchards, livestock, experimental plots, alternative energy, comparison studies of conventional and organic agriculture, agricultural land stewardship practices, and an on-site structure or series of buildings that allow for packing produce, welcoming students and visitors, housing student and faculty offices, and hosting cooking demonstrations and on-farm courses, conferences, trainings, and events…”

Links to Student Projects, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

Please contact Leslie Pillen, Student Farm Design Coordinator with any questions, to request a presentation about the initiative to your class or other group, or to find out about other ways to get involved. More info at project website and Facebook page.

New Workshops About Peppers and Tomatoes (Mar 22 & Apr 11)


In the depths of this cold and snowy winter, it’s nice to think about fresh salsa in August….

Spring Creek Homesteading Fund will sponsor workshops on growing peppers (Mar 22) and tomatoes (Apr 11) just in time for you to get seeds into peat pots and under the grow lights.

Instructor Matt Sullenberger will share his passion and knowledge about growing, cooking, and preserving peppers and tomatoes.  He will has an extensive collection of seeds and will have some available to share or swap.

The workshops will take place at Goldenrod Alley Farm, 156 West Hamilton Ave, State College, PA.  All About Peppers will be held on March 22 and All About Tomatoes will be held on April 11.  Both workshops will run from 10:30 am until 12:00 pm.

There is a $12 sliding scale registration fee.  For questions or to register email Josh Lambert or call (814)237-0996.

Home Gardening School (March 28th)


From The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Centre County:

Does winter have you looking forward to to bountiful blooms and gorgeous greenery? Get inspired and learn how to grow your greatest garden yet! The Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Centre County are excited to announce our first ever Home Gardening School. This one-day event will arm you with all you need to get your garden into shape.

Two learning tracks offer classes and presentations on a variety of subjects covering everything from the nuts-and-bolts of managing your home landscape, how to get creative with container gardening, and how you can support and enhance nature by developing your backyard habitat.

Event Details:

When:  March 28th from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Where:  Penn State University, Forest Resources Building, Bigler Road & Park Avenue
University Park, PA 16802


If your interested, please Register on-line by March 21.


For more information visit the event website or contact Molly Sturniolo by email or telephone at (814)355-4897.

Local Foods Grant Writing Workshops (Mar – Apr)


From Penn State Cooperative Extension:

Penn State Extension is pleased to be working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural in offering workshops that will help potential grant applicants understand, develop, and submit their Federal grant applications for the $30 million Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

As you may know, the USDA views the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program as a key to revitalizing rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems… This grant writing workshop will walk participants through all you need to know to navigate and apply for the upcoming 2015 USDA Farm Bill grants which provide funding for food system projects including the Local Food Promotion Program and The Farmers Market Promotion Program.

PA Training Location and Dates:

  • March 16:  4184 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, PA 18104
  • March 17: Sustainable Business Accelerator, Slippery Rock University, 165 Elm Street Slippery Rock, PA 16057
  • March 24: 675 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106
  • April 17: 70 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, PA, 17325

Register on-line.  More information can be found on the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) project website or facebook page.

Farmers’ Market Conference


Penn State Agricultural Extension will be sponsoring a Farmers’ Market Conference on March 21 in Ebensburg, PA.

The conference will cover topics including:

  • Governance Basics
  • The role of the Market Manager
  • Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant Tips
  • Developin Market Bucks
  • Marketing Specialty Crops
  • Creating Profitible Displays

The event will be held at the Imperial Room Restaurant, 2443 New Germany Rd, Ebensburg, PA from 10 am to 3 pm.

There is a $15 registration fee (which includes lunch).  You can register on-line or by calling (717)334-6271.

Questions?  Email Brian Moyer or Carla Snyder or call (717)334-6271.

PSU Community Garden Intern Needed


From Katie Ayers, President, PSU Community Garden:

The PSU Community Garden is looking for an intern for the 2015 season!

This is a paid position. Generally the intern is expected to help answer gardener questions, perform general garden maintenance, organize garden events, and work on our recently established Pollinator Garden. With the help of the garden officer team and club members, there is also the opportunity to present and execute a project that contributes positively to the Garden and community. This project could involve designing a more efficient composting system and educational signage, improving our website and overall web presence, or any new idea or skill you have to offer.

The intern duties generally require about 10-15 hours of work per week, and we can be flexible with your schedule. 

If you have questions, please contact Katie Ayers at kma5209@psu.edu. If you would like to apply please send me a copy of resume and a paragraph explaining why you would like to be the 2015 PSU Community Garden intern.

Thank you,

Katie Ayers