From the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture:
The awards will be presented as part of the PASA-bilities Leadership Award Series, sponsored by Kimberton Whole Foods, at PASA’s 21st Annual Farming for the Future Conference. The event will be held February 1-4, 2012 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA around the theme “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience.”
“PASA is proud to present these awards to a farm manager and a business proprietor who exemplify the spirit of sustainability in agriculture and food systems,” says Brian Snyder, PASA’s Executive Director. “This year’s honorees embody the versatility and resilience required of those leading the way to a sustainable food future.”
Mary Seton Corboy of Greensgrow Farms in Philadelphia, PA, winner of the Sustainable Ag Leadership Award, started growing small plantings of gourmet lettuce in 1997. Today, Greensgrow Farms is made up of a nursery, a farm stand and a 600-member Community Supported Agriculture program, all housed on one acre in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, the former site of a galvanized steel plant.
Corboy is quick to point out that Greensgrow is not the result of “big thinking.”
“When you’re really small, you can change,” she says. “So, we’ve been able to re-organize ourselves and rewrite ourselves along the way, with the same idea in mind: we’re still interested in great food and local food; we’re still interested in this idea of how you can take this land in the city…and make it viable again.”
T. Lyle Ferderber will accept the Sustainable Ag Business Leader Award on behalf of his company, Frankferd Farms Foods. Ferderber and his wife, Betty, left college to return to the family farm in Saxonburg, PA, where they began grinding flour in the farmhouse with a small gristmill.
“We bought small lots of grain from other people, and started grinding them,” says Ferderber. “All of the sudden, we went from having one flour to three or four flours to pancake mixes to having a bit of a fledgling business.”
Thirty years later, the Ferderbers head a thriving farm, flour mill and natural foods warehouse.
“When we were young, holding a kid in our arms, we made deliveries to people with kids in their arms,” says Ferderber. “Now twenty-five or thirty years have passed, and we’re selling to the children. That’s rewarding. It gives us pause to reflect.”
The award winners will have the opportunity for further reflection as they address a plenary session at 10:15 AM on Saturday, February 4 during the PASA-bilities Leadership Award Series. They will be joined by main plenary speaker, Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture.
“We were the recipient of the award several years ago,” says Terry Brett, owner of Kimberton Whole Foods. “That’s the greatest honor that I’ve had in my professional career.”
Kimberton Whole Foods now makes the Sustainable Ag Leadership Award Series possible through its role as PASA-bilities Sponsor.
“Other than buying from local producers–which we’re really dedicated to–supporting PASA is probably the number one way we can support organic and biodynamic farmers and sustainable agriculture,” says Brett.
Attendance of the Farming for the Future Conference is expected to once again exceed 2,000 farmers, chefs, students, business leaders and others from over 30 U.S. states and several foreign nations.
“We are excited to provide a platform for these leaders to share their stories,” says Snyder. “There’s a good chance that future award winners will be sitting in the audience. We hope the PASA-bilities series will send them back to their farms and businesses with a renewed sense of inspiration.”
To learn more about the Farming for the Future Conference, and to register online, click here.