Spring Creek Homesteading Fund was officially registered as a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation on August 26. We are not yet an IRS 501(c)3 organization, so donations are not currently tax-deductable. We plan to apply for 501(c)3 status in six months, when our programs are more firmly rooted, and will open a bank account next week. Wei Yee Lu – the artist who created the Farmers Market drawing in December 2010 and the Transition Town State College logo last spring – is working on a Spring Creek Homesteading logo.
Spring Creek Homesteading Fund supports local self-sufficiency within the Spring Creek Watershed of Central Pennsylvania, by accepting donations and offering grants for the purchase of seeds, plants, tools and building materials for new, renovated or expanded food gardens and orchards, greenhouses, community kitchens, farmers markets, and by coordinating public workshop programs in the homesteading arts.
- Fundraising – Accept Donations and Supply Seed Money for Public and Private Food Security Projects
- Building – Coordinate volunteer and paid labor to renovate, expand and establish gardens, urban farms, community kitchens and bakeries, farmers markets and other relocalized food infrastructure.
- Reskilling – Organize & Offer Reskilling Workshops
- Mapping – Gather, Collate and Upload web-based maps presenting information on community assets and needs (Next Mapping Team Meeting is Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.)
On September 9, I closed the Transition Centre County blog (all content is archived and remains available) and created Spring Creek Homesteading– a new blog dedicated to supporting the fund’s work on local food system development & reskilling.
Setting up the first Reskilling Workshop Series for October and November.
If you’re interested in sharing your skill, please send me the following information:
- What skill do you want to teach? What specific project will you use to teach the skill?
- What tools and supplies are needed?
- What’s the estimated tools/supplies cost per person?
- How much space do you need for up to 20 students? Indoor or outdoor?
- How long (length of time) do you estimate it will take to set up, teach & clean up after the proposed workshop? (So we know how long to rent the facility).
- Please provide five time slots on weekdays (evenings only) or weekends (all day) that you are available to teach in October and November.
- Does your skill set pose any special liability concerns and if so, what are they?
- Are you interested in co-teaching the workshop with another instructor?
- For the online course catalog and instructor directory, please provide a short description of the proposed course, a short bio statement, your contact information and a headshot.
Setting up the Board of Directors.
We need a few directors for the board of the Spring Creek Homesteading Fund. If you’re interested, please let me know. Directors will help the fund stay true to its mission and achieve its goal, expected to participate in brief board meetings every other month, beginning with an initial organizational meeting in mid-to-late September 2011. You may have additional responsibilities if you join committees or volunteer for projects. Terms are for one-year. Under state law, you will not be held personally liable for your work on the board, unless you act fraudulently or with gross negligence.
Scheduling and Organizing a Regional Coordinating Meeting for local food system-builders in mid-November.
On Sept. 16, I met with Alan Sam, sustainability coordinator for the Borough of State College, Courtney Hayden, former Environmental AmeriCorps member and current Communications and Grants Coordinator for the Borough, and Joyce Eveleth, the new Environmental AmeriCorps member.
In keeping with its commitment to sustainability through Resolution 944, the Borough is interested in collaborating with the local food system-building network and plans to host a coordination meeting in mid-November. Resolution 944 doesn’t currently have a Sustainable Food Policy provision, but could add one.
The broad goal of the meeting would be to have everyone involved in building and strengthening our local food system get together and confirm for each other that we’re all headed in the same direction, nobody wants to duplicate anyone else’s efforts, and we want to collaborate effectively.
The Borough has several existing local food initiatives, including bearing fruit trees at Orchard Park, a small food garden across the street from Borough building on Allen St., food plots in front of the Post Office on Fraser St., a registry of gardens planted in the sidewalk-street right-of-way, and a zoning provision allowing residents to keep up to four chickens in the backyard. A wetlands center is under development at Westerly Parkway, including tentative plans to plant native species of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
The Borough needs help in several areas: better signage to inform the public about existing projects; an organized, steady pool of volunteers maintaining landscaping by incorporating food crops into flower beds or converting flower beds to food beds (connecting gardeners to public pocket gardens for planting, tending and harvesting produce for personal use and/or donation to Food Bank); and establishing partnerships with local private orchards to expand and maintain public orchards. A model program we might adapt for local use is Philadelphia Green.
Farmers, farmers market managers, community garden managers, food bank coordinators, church feeding program coordinators, garden-starting and garden-consulting organizations, PASA, and many more local food & water people will be included in the mid-November coordination meeting.
My job over the next week or so is to build the list and coordinate scheduling with Courtney. Here’s the preliminary list (additions welcome):
- State College Borough Public Works Department
- Area Farms
- North Atherton Farmers Market
- Downtown Farmers Market (Tuesdays)
- Downtown Farmers Market (Fridays)
- Cellar Market
- Boalsburg Farmers Market
- Shuey’s Farm Market (Bellefonte)
- Harner Farm (State College)
- The Garden (778 Old Fort Road, Centre Hall)
- Way Fruit Farm
- Tait Farm
- Tudek Park Community Gardens
- Center for Sustainablity Community Gardens
- Harvest Fields Community Garden (Boalsburg)
- Arboretum at Penn State
- GardenStarters/Clearwater Conservancy
- Food Bank of the State College Area, Inc.
- Penn State Master Gardeners of Centre County
- Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
- Centre County Beekeepers
- Churches with feeding programs, community gardens (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Friends Meeting,
- PSU Center for Sustainability
- PSU Campus Sustainability Office
- PSU scholars studying food security issues
- Future Farmers of America,
- Grange – Centre County Chapters
- PSU Cooperative Extension – Sustainable Ag Working Group
- Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network
- Centre Region Council of Governments Environmental Committeee
- Community Food Security Club at Penn State
- The Granary
- Nature’s Pantry
- Grocery stores – especially produce department managers
- Downtown State College Improvement District
- Transition Town State College
- Penns Valley Conservation Association
- PSU Rock Ethics Institute
- Continue coordinating efforts & educational programs to reinforce and expand but not duplicate existing pieces of the local food infrastructure
- Continue identifying community assets, including volunteer pools and potential properties for garden development
At this point, I think the Spring Creek Homesteading Fund is poised to fill an ecological niche in the living local economy by providing coordination and communication services: linking people and funding to local food system-building projects.
Please forward this message to others you know who may be interested.