Modern agriculture techniques have given us unprecedented amounts of food. However, critics note the large amounts of water, energy, and chemicals required for these yields have uncertain impacts on long-term soil fertility and the health of both humans and the environment. Some growers are working to address these issues by practicing cutting-edge techniques that incorporate ecological principles. Join us as local experts discuss organic and sustainable agriculture, the comprehensive technique known as permaculture, and growing trends in urban agriculture.
Featuring Mark Smallwood: Executive Director, Rodale Institute; Nic Esposito: Founder, Philly Rooted; Karen Lewotsky, PhD, JD: Certification Director, Food Alliance (Portland, Oregon); Melissa Miles: Manager, The Permanent Futures Institute; contributing author for The Permaculture Research Institute in Australia; and organizer for the Eastern Pennslylvania Permaculture Guild. This program is part of the Town Square series “Feeding the Future: Food, Agriculture, and Land Use in Uncertain Times,” co-sponsored by PASA.
April 30 – Spring Planting Workshop at Skoloff Valley Farm (Susquehanna) – 10 a.m. – noon, with potluck lunch & farm tour to follow.
This workshop will cover different ways to start seeds (soil blocks, plastic trays, temperature, etc.) as well as timing, spacing, and bed preparations. This is an open workshop so come willing to share your experiences as well! Contact Stephanie Roberts for more info and to RSVP by April 28th at 570-727-3046 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information.
April 30 – Creative Conservation: Funding Conservation Practices and Developing a Diversified Farm – 10 a.m.-noon at Red Barn Farm (New Freeport). Registration: $12 PASA Members; $15 Non-Members. Pre-Registration Required – Contact Alissa at 412-365-2987 or email Alissa@pasafarming.org
In this Master Class, tour Red Barn Farm and learn how Jeanne and Llew Williams steward the land through conservation practices including a 70 acre rotational grazing system, stream bank fencing, agricultural crossings, spring developments, and riparian buffers. Jeanne will share her success in working with the Greene County Conservation District, and state and federal programs to help fund her conservation practices. She has developed an Act 38 nutrient management plan for her farm and has taken advantage of the state’s REAP tax credit program, the Greene County Conservation District mini-grant program, Partners for Fish and Wildlife fencing program. Learn about the new USDA-NRCS EQIP high tunnel Jeanne received funding for this year and how you can take advantage of opportunities like this on your own farm. Bring a packed lunch and stay for a picnic and discussion following the workshop! More information.
May 9 – Transition to Organic – Healthy Soils & IPM in the Apple Orchard. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – O’Neill’s Orchard (Honesdale) $15 PASA & NOFA-NY members, $25 all others; lunch is included. Click here to register online.
Presented by Roger Hill of Treeline Farm. Come visit O’Neill’s Orchard while the apple trees are blooming!! Interested to find out what it really takes to wean an apple orchard completely off of synthetic inputs? Want to begin or heighten your mission to replace conventional orcharding practices with organic methods? Since Roger Hill moved to Northeastern PA in 2000, he has been restoring neglected apple trees and orchards in Wayne County and the Upper Delaware Valley. This year will be the fourth season he has been implementing an organic program at the O’Neill’s Orchard, including adopting a new pruning style, weaning the orchard off chemical pesticides and rising to the challenges of the wild Northeast PA weather…For more information, click here.
May 20 Application Deadline – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Organic Initiative – Second opportunity for FY2011.
To be considered, eligible certified organic growers or those producers who are transitioning to organic production must submit a complete application by Friday, May 20, 2011. Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. Through the EQIP Organic Initiative, NRCS provides assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or agricultural operations transitioning to organic production. According to statute, eligible producers include those who agree to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP), or develop and implement conservation practices for certified organic production that are consistent with an OSP. View the press release here.
Ongoing – Survey of Needs of Young and Beginning Farmers
National Young Farmers’ Coalition (NYFC) is a new organization created by and for young farmers in the United States. Their areas of focus are policy change, farmer-farmer learning and farmer network building. In partnership with BeginningFarmers.org and the Greenhorns, they have launched a national survey to better understand the needs of young and beginning farmers in the U.S. Their goal is 1,500 responses–and they need your help to meet it. Survey link. The survey takes about five minutes, and responses will be used in the development of a beginning farmer Farm Bill platform.
NSAC Survey – Conservation Stewardship Program.
NSAC is seeking current or past participants in the USDA Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). There is some work being done now to communicate with the USDA around the planning of this program, working to reform CSP practices and enhancements to ensure that they are appropriate for sustainable ag producers. NSAC is looking for feedback from farmers and landowners around their experience with, and participation in, this funding opportunity. Farmers interested in contributing to this project in a confidential interview, please contact Susan Beal, DVM, Agricultural Science Advisor, PASA email@example.com.
New Producers Market in Turbotville Seeking Vendors
There is a new producers’ market getting started in Turbotville on Saturdays. It will be located at the Turbotville Dollar Store. If you are interested in being a vendor, contact Becky at 570-649-6929.
Find a ride, share a ride! – This year, PASA is partnering with RIDEbuzz.org to help participants organize ride sharing to PASA events.