Opportunities to Invest in Sustainable Farmers, Build Farm-to-Table Links & More

Kickstarter Campaign for On-Farm Meat Processing Facility

Hello Friends and Local Food Supporters! Many of you know us as Brooks and Anna, or North Mountain Pastures…We are a young family from central Pennsylvania that runs a pastured livestock business. We’re both engineering graduates from Penn State, but turned to farming as a more fulfilling and challenging life. We’ve been farming together now for over six years….

There is a growing number of farmers out there like us, who raise animals on pasture, providing permanent access to sunshine, woods, and grass. There are not, however, a suitable number of small processors – butchers – who can handle the number of animals we are raising. The butchers we do have are generally a considerable distance from the farm, and are overbooked.

We want to be able to raise as many animals as our farm can sustainably handle, and enough to support what our customers want, and produce the value-added meats our customers want, on our farm. This will mean taking more responsibility for the final product, having more control over the entire process from pasture to plate, and adding value to the meat we raise to be able to make a living off the land.

We’ve already begun construction on our shop, but to complete the facilities we need for dry-curing meats like prosciutto and salami, we need to invest in an aging room. The link below will direct you to our kickstarter.com project page with a video and description of the farm and the project we’re trying to complete.When you and your friends give support and investment in local, sustainable food systems through our Kickstarter project, we’ll send you our thanks in meat! Please pass on this link to as many interested people as you can! If you know any farmers who are interested in our construction plans, food safety plans, or any other resources we’re developing throughout the duration of this project, please pass along our contact information! We want to share our experiences so others can learn from them and adapt them to their local food climates.

Thanks for your time, and please check out the video.

Yours in natural farming and high quality food, Brooks Miller and Anna Santini

PASA Conference Highlights:

PASA to Connect Food Industry Professionals and Producers

PASA and Food Alliance have put together two opportunities for food service industry professionals to connect with sustainable food producers during PASA’s 21st Annual Farming for the Future Conference. These two events will be held February 1, 2012 as part of a two-day pre-conference track titled, “Sustainability in the Food Service Industry,” covering a wide variety of topics related to food service and sustainability, from kitchen composting to on-site gardening at restaurants.

  1. The FoodSource Connection – A small-scale food exhibition during which producers and purveyors of Pennsylvania food products will showcase their wares. They will be joined by a selection of farmers, growers and producers from the mid-Atlantic who are certified by Food Alliance, an organization providing comprehensive third-party certification for social and environmental responsibility in agriculture and the food industry.
  2. Food Alliance: Advocating for Sustainability in the Food and Agricultural Industries – Food Alliance Executive Director Scott Exo and PASA Executive Director Brian Snyder will host an interactive session titled, “Food Alliance: Advocating for Sustainability in the Food and Agricultural Industries.” The session will include a brief overview of Food Alliance, as well as a moderated panel discussion featuring Food Alliance Certified producers from in and around Pennsylvania.

Free Legal Consultations with Penn State Law Rural Economic Development Clinic

  • Are you confused about farmland leases? Are you creating a CSA membership agreement? Have you run into other legal questions regarding your farm? The Rural Economic Development Clinic is offering free legal consultations to attendees during the upcoming Farming for the Future Conference. During these consultations, student attorneys and supervising faculty will meet with individual clients to discuss specific legal issues. Where appropriate, the student attorneys will perform additional legal work following this initial consultation.
  • To take advantage of this opportunity, send an email to Ross Pifer at rpifer@psu.edu, providing a detailed explanation of the specific legal services you desire, along with appropriate background information. Following January 23, Clinic staff will be in touch with those who have requested legal consultations to set up a meeting time and discuss further arrangements.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Farming for the Future Conference, and to register online.

Feb. 5 Evensong at St. Andrew’s in State College is at 3:30 p.m.

  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church invites you to a special Evensong dedicated to the healing of the earth on Sunday Feb. 5 at 3:30 pm.  The famine, drought, flooding and shifting of growing seasons caused by climate change hits the world’s poor first and worst. Using our traditional form of evening prayer we will turn prayerful attention to their need and our response. Evensong is a beautiful service of prayers and singing by the congregation and the choir.  A reception sponsored by the Environmental Concerns Committee of St. Andrew’s will follow.

News from Clearwater Conservancy

  • Click here for the full newsletter, with contact info, details, etc.
  • Jan. 22 – The League of Women Voters of Centre County’s Environmental Committee will host “How Green is Happy Valley? Saving the Planet Begins at Home” at the College Township Municipal Building, 1481 E. College Ave, State College Jan. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
  • Jan. 23 – 2012 Watershed Cleanup Day planning meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the Clearwater offices -Watershed Clean-Up Day is April 21.
  • Jan. 27 – Those with a sweet tooth and an eye for art are invited to the 13thAnnual For the Love of Art and Chocolate from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College. All proceeds go to further ClearWater’s land and water conservation efforts in central Pennsylvania. Tickets are $30 per person and are available by calling Sarah at (814) 237-0400.
  • Feb. 21 – Join the Spring Creek Watershed Association at its next monthly meeting Feb. 21 at 7:30 am at the Patton Township Municipal Building, 100 Patton Plaza, State College, 16803. For more information about the watershed association.
  • The Centre County Natural Gas Task Force has released a brochure for landowners with private water wells who are thinking about leasing their land for natural gas development.
  • Private drinking water testing  – $150,000 has been secured by the Headwaters Quality Drinking Water project through the Colcom Foundation’s grant program “Marcellus Environmental Fund” to provide families in Cameron, Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties with funding to secure chain of custody water sample analyses of their private water supplies prior to Marcellus Shale Gas Well Drilling activities….

Grazers’ Group Starting in Northeast PA

… a few of us in Northeast PA are starting a grazers group, open to all, hoping to meet once a month or so in the general Towanda area to share information, possibly do field walks on one another properties etc. Our interest is leaning toward a “holistic approach” to our entire properties, but would love to connect with organic, conventional, undecided, experienced and brand new grazers in the area. We plan to be open to anyone, regardless of method or group association with the focus on learning from one another. Please contact me at julie@thesundancelife.com if you would like to participate in our group.

May 19 – Jumpstart into Raising Sheep in Sunbury

New to sheep? Thinking about adding sheep to your operation? Jump-start the learning curve and avoid common mistakes by spending a day with experienced shepherds and a large, mischievous flock of sheep. Safe handling techniques, health concerns, basic veterinary skills, smart sheep buying, facilities set-up, and more will be covered. This is a very hands-on workshop: you will leave with skills and techniques to make things go smoother for you with your sheep. 8:00 to 4:00 with shared Covered Dish lunch. $45 for first person in family, $40 for second. Full agenda and registration info at our website. Or email us at info@owensfarm.com or call (570) 286-5309.

Draft Horse Team For Sale in Schickshinny (Luzerne County)

Team of gray Percheron mares, ages 14 and 20. Both have worked in our vegetable operation in the past, mainly doing cultivation. Both are in good health, with regular vet and farrier visits. Included with the horses is their gear, including nylon harnesses and leather lines, and a John Deere horse drawn cultivator. $1,000 for all.

We also have their supply of hay for the winter, if interested.  Nice quality 1st and 2nd cutting timothy grass mix, at our paid price of $3/bale. Amanda Birk-Lent/ amandabirk@yahoo.com/  (570) 706-6887

Mobile Cheesemaking Unit for Sale

The County of Sullivan in New York is soliciting expressions of interest from prospective purchasers of the Mobile Cheesemaking Unit (MCU)…Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and various local agencies…worked with local farmers to design and build an affordable, functional, inspected, modular cheese plant that could be moved among several farms to enable those farmers to learn the art of cheesemaking. The MCU is a dairy plant built inside a 12’ x 36’ trailer. It includes the following items: 12’ x 36’ two axle heavy duty trailer; combination cheese vat/ pasteurizer; stainless steel work table; stainless steel sink, drain table, work table, and cart; compressor; evaporator; HEPA filtering unit and controls; oil boiler and tank; ultraviolet water purifier; water heater; roll-in stainless steel refrigerator; and related appurtenances…

Expressions of interest are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 27 and must clearly state a single proposed purchase price for the MCU. The original cost to plan, develop and construct the MCU was $67,813.29. The minimum offer that the County will accept is $12,000… Interested parties should apply to: Kathy Jones, Director Sullivan County Office of Purchasing and Central Services/ 100 North Street/ PO Box 5012/ Monticello, NY 12701/ Telephone: 845-807-0515.

In the News

Link to New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal about trends in organic production at odds with small, local, sustainable production (thanks to Tim Robinson for sending the link):

…But even as more Americans buy foods with the organic label, the products are increasingly removed from the traditional organic ideal: produce that is not only free of chemicals and pesticides but also grown locally on small farms in a way that protects the environment…

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