Persiflage – August 1, 2012

News from Centre County Buy Fresh Buy Local

  • CCBFBL E-Newsletter – July 26 Edition – Local Food Week Preview, What’s Fresh at the Markets, etc.
  • CCBFBL E-Newsletter – July 31 Edition – All about Local Food Week & Farm Tour 2012! Schedules, details, etc.

News from Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

August 2 – Home Energy Workshop in State College

News from PA-Interfaith Power & Light – PA-IPL Summer Newsletter includes annual meeting information, details about how to host a screening of  EARTH: The Operators’ Manualfeaturing keynote speaker Dr. Richard Alley, ideas for ways your faith community can act now to address climate change, and upcoming events, including:

  • Thursday, August 2  – PA IPL and Interfaith Human Services present Home Energy Efficiency Workshop, hosted by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in State College. Dinner at the Community Café begins at 5, and dessert, coffee, and the (less than) 1-hour program will start at 6:30.  Many thanks to new member Trinity Lutheran Church for hosting our first workshop in style! (Pictures of the kitchen team and the tempting desserts table on Facebook here).
  • Sunday, August 19 – Creation Care Coalition of Centre County work party and annual ice cream social at Houserville United Methodist Church.
  • Saturday, September 8 –  PA IPL and several local sponsors will welcome Rev. Fletcher Harper to State College for Caring For Creation: an Introduction for Members of All Faith Communities.
  • Friday, October 12 – entries to IPL’s Cool Congregations Challenge are due.

August 11 – A Few More Volunteers Needed for Centre County Farm Tour

(From Kristin Hoy of PASA – Email Kristin)

It’s that time of year! I hope you will consider volunteering for PASA’s Farm Tour on August 11 from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Each farm needs at least one person who knows how to answer basic questions and collect the ticket money. Our goal is to have 1 to 2 people at each farm. We have 21 farms this year, so we need all the help we can get! Please feel free to share this with your friends and we may be able to place people together if that is your preference.

Volunteers are asked to be at the farms by noon at the latest, and some of you may want to visit the farm ahead of time. I will do my best to connect the farms with the volunteers well ahead of Saturday. We ask that you take some time on Saturday or earlier to acquaint yourself with your farm – where to park, is there a restroom, is there water for drinking, how the tour works, etc. The farm will provide you with a table and chair(s) in the shade. You will also need to arrange to pick up your volunteer supply bag – ideally this will be done either Thursday Aug 9th at the PASA office or Friday Aug 10th at the State College Downtown Farmers Market. Saturday morning may be an option as well.List of farms is available here (let me know your top 2 choices, and if you can do all or part of a day).

There are also a few tasks that need to be done before and after the farm tour (assembling volunteer packets, entering contact information, etc), so if you aren’t available during the farm tour itself but would still like to help, let me know! (Email Kristin) Thanks!

Sept. 22 – Reskilling Instructors: Teaching Opportunity at FarmAid in Harrisburg

Farm Aid is very excited to announce that Farm Aid 2012 will be held at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, September 22, 2012! As part of the Farm Aid concert experience, we will be setting up the HOMEGROWN Village again at this year’s show. The HOMEGROWN Village is a place for food and farm organizations to exhibit the good work that they are doing to assist farmers, inform eaters, restore the land, clean the waterways and build a sustainable food system.

Within the Village, The HOMEGROWN Skills Tent is where concert-goers have the opportunity to learn specific agrarian skills like cooking, food preservation, composting, chicken-keeping and more! That’s where YOU come in.

What would you like to teach?

We at Farm Aid and HOMEGROWN.org would be honored to receive proposals from PASA Sustainability Schools educators, and excited that your passion, skills and expertise can be shared with concert-goers. We see it every year: People come for the music, and leave with a bit of inspiration and equipped to change their lives!

It is a concert after all

Chosen presenters will receive two tickets for the show. Plan to enjoy performances from Willie, Neil, John, Dave, Jack Johnson and more. Eat the many options of family farmer food (we call it HOMEGROWN (Concessions™) Food). And mix and mingle with other passionate good food advocates in The HOMEGROWN Village. It will be quite a day!

Your “classroom” for the day

The HOMEGROWN Village and Skills Tent will be up and running when venue doors open (noon). You should plan to be at the venue and parked at least one hour before your scheduled presentation time. If you are bringing more than you can carry in your hands, we suggest you arrive before doors open so that you can unload closer to the entrance. A logistics memo will be sent to chosen presenters closer to the date. The HOMEGROWN Skills Tent is equipped with a low stage, presenter’s table, headset microphone and electricity. Due to the fact that we’re, essentially, outside, there will not be video or slideshow capabilities.

SPRING CREEK HOMESTEADING INSTRUCTORS: If you’re interested in teaching at the Skills Tent on September 22, please contact Hannah Smith at PASA (717-250-0725) as soon as possible with the following information:

  • The title of your proposed presentation:
  • Presenter name:
  • A brief summary of your proposed presentation: [Final presentation summaries will be used in concert promotional materials]:
  • Whether you will be bringing any special equipment that requires electricity? Water? Heavy lifting? (Note: open flame is not permitted per venue rules)

Friends & Farmers Cooperative Market – Midsummer Update

(From Sarah Potter of Friends & Farmers C0-0p)

The summer always seems to promise long days, but then the days fly by amid the countless adventures that the season brings. Regardless of full schedules, the Food Co-op Steering Committee has been hard at work. We decided to maintain our twice-monthly meetings so that our progress would continue, and hope to reach some very exciting goals by the end of the year.

Recently Accomplished

  • Created a logo with artwork by local talent, Elody Gyekis, and design by Joshua Potter
  • Printed a brochure and other promotional material to attract our first members and garner more community support
  • Met with Ross Pifer, director of the Rural Economic Development Law Clinic at PSU. (Mr. Pifer attended our July 11 meeting. He was very informative and we hope to partner with a couple of law students through the clinic this fall as we undertake some of the more daunting legal work of officially incorporating the Cooperative.

What’s Happening Now

  • Preparing for a feasibility study. (We are weighing cost and consultant options.)
  • Drafting our business plan with help from SCORE
  • Developing a membership program including share pricing and shareholder benefits
  • Discussing levels of incorporation, timeline for the creation of a board of directors and the creation of bylaws
  • Producing a website under our url: www.friendsandfarmers.coop

Coming Up Next

  • By this fall we hope to start the feasibility study, incorporate, and begin applying for grants. If all goes well, we expect to accept our first Cooperative Members in 2013!

Find Out More

Carolyne Meehan wrote a piece on the co-op which appeared in the July 2012 issue of Voices of Central PA. The co-op has received a number of inquiries about prospective membership and offers to help from Voices readers.

If you or someone you know is passionate about local food and wants to contribute their time and talents to this effort, please write to us. In particular the steering committee will need people to assist with grant-writing.

We will be attending Pennsylvania Certified Organic’s Farm Fest on August 3 and 4. Please stop by and visit! You will find us right next to PASA’s Good Food Neighborhood and Spring Creek Homesteading!

Job Opening at Tait Farm in Centre Hall – Assistant Farmer

(From Michele Gauger of PASA)

Immediate Organic Farming Position Available:  – Tait Farm Foods is looking for a full-time assistant farmer to finish out the 2012 growing season. Their farm serves a 140-member CSA, a farmers market and small wholesale produce business. Some agricultural experience required and hard work expected. Please call 814-466-2386 or email.

News from Way Fruit Farm

Red Haven peaches are here in abundance!  They are a freestone, yellow peach and are good for all things peachy. They are about 2-3 weeks early this year, which means we can enjoy them sooner, but will be done with peach season earlier this year.  We encourage you to come out and get your fill of our sweet, ripe, juicy peaches now and don’t procrastinate your canning, & baking because they won’t last as long as usual this year!

Thanks to the continued rain, our corn fields are producing really well.  We’re happy to again offer sweet corn at $13/bushel for [last] weekend only. We make no guarantees about availability this upcoming week; so get it now! [Call for details: 692-5211]

Local cantaloupe, green peppers, and zucchini are also plentiful right now.  We hope you’ll enjoy some of these fresh goods at your next meal.  Southern watermelon are also available at the farm store right now and have been everything a good watermelon should be: pretty pink, sweet & juicy.

Bellefonte Food Bank Transitioning to Healthier Food

(From Nicole Summers of FaithCentre)

Bellefonte FaithCentre Food Bank is looking for healthy food! We are asking the agricultural community to consider donating surplus produce, helping us partner with local food distributors, or simply offering suggestions on how we might secure bulk quantities of healthy, whole foods. Any thoughts or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Please email Nicole Summers with ideas, for more information or to help out with this project.

We are attempting to restructure our food distribution to focus on providing healthy dietary staples, such as:

  • brown rice
  • lean meats
  • fresh produce

This plan, however, requires substantial expenditures (providing each family with one pound of brown rice would cost $640/month) and the items listed above are not available for purchase from the State. While the State operates warehouses that offer food banks very low-cost canned vegetables and dried pasta, low sodium or fresh produce alternatives are simply not available. The FaithCentre, therefore, is searching for ways to improve the quality of food we can offer while managing expenses. Our food bank clients are challenged by food insecurity and poor nutrition; and the FaithCentre believes we have a moral responsibility to help address these issues.

In 2007, the monthly average number of people receiving help from the FaithCentre Food Bank was 214. Today, that number is 779.

Healthy food is essential. Food bank clients face both food insecurity and the health risks associated with the consumption of low-cost, mass produced food. Although canned and pre-packaged food may be purchased cheaply, it is generally high in fat and sodium. Boxed macaroni and cheese, for example, is frequently on sale for $1 a box. When prepared as directed, however, one cup contains 720 mg of sodium and 380 calories. Even canned vegetables, which are also inexpensive, are relatively low in vitamins and high in sodium. A cup of canned peas contains 12% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A but 760 mg of sodium. In comparison, a cup of boiled fresh peas contain 26% of the recommended allowance of vitamin A and 5 mg of sodium.

In part, because of the reliance on inexpensive foods to fill the dinner plate, low-income populations are most susceptible to obesity and diabetes. More than one out of three Pennsylvanians living at or below the poverty rate are obese. For those earning wages at 400% or more of the poverty level, the percentage that is obese drops to one out of four. Additionally, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 14% of individuals with incomes between $15,000 and $24,999 are diagnosed with diabetes compared to 4% of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher.

To get involved in this initiative, please email Nicole Summers.

August 14 – Space Still Available in “Building Farmer-to Chef Relationships” Workshop in Pittsburgh

(From Ann Stone at PA-Women’s Agricultural Network)

Finding outlets for your produce and still making enough money to support production can be a challenge. During this workshop, Tara Rockacy and Kate Romane will describe both sides of the business relationship between farmer and chef…The $15.00 registration fee includes lunch and materials. Registration cancellations must be received one week prior to the event to receive a refund.  All refunds are subject to a $5.00 administrative fee. RegistrationDirectionsPrintable PDF Flyer & Agenda

Wanted – Space for Farming Equipment Trailer

(From Woody Wilson of Wilson’s Homegrown Farms, via Jackie Bonomo of Healing Ground Permaculture)

I was wondering if you knew anyone who would be willing to rent me some barn or garage space to park my portable farm trailer and store my tools and materials? If you do please let me know. I am living along the 322 East corridor so most places are convenient. Happy farming! – Woody Wilson, 610-322-1990

Wanted (To Borrow) – Weed-Whacker

I’m looking for a weed-whacker to borrow for a couple of hours to knock down tall grasses in the upper section footpaths at the Friends Meeting House Community Garden. Email me if you have one I can borrow. – Katherine

August 25 – Start of Six-Week PSU “Start Farming” Workshop Series for New Farmers in Pittsburgh

Penn State Extension educators in Allegheny and Washington county will host a 6-session “Start Farming: Beginning Vegetable Production” workshop series for new and aspiring vegetable producers at multiple farms locations on from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the following Saturdays: August 25, September 8, September 22, September 29, October 20, and October 27, 2012.

This hands-on, on-farm, practical program provides new vegetable produces with the basic knowledge and skills needed for producing organic and conventional vegetables and for effective production planning. Participants that attend all six sessions will receive a noncredit Certificate of Completion. Workshop topics include: Soils, Plant Propagation, Weed Control, Insect and Disease Control, Business Considerations I & II.

Experienced Penn State Educators will teach the workshops and hosting farm owners will talk about how each day’s topic relates to their own operation. Each course will include a morning presentation followed by interactive demonstrations in the afternoon. Shenot’s Farm & Market, Cherry Valley Organics, and Soergel Orchards are hosting the various sessions.

Workshop series costs $250 and includes 6 Saturday sessions, hands-on experience with new techniques and tools, a detailed production notebook, and a CD of supplemental materials.

Registration and more info. For questions or more information, contact Lee Stivers by email or phone: (724) 228-6881

About Start Farming: In 2009 Penn State Extension launched the Start Farming program in response to increased interest in farm start-up from community members. The program’s goal is to enhance the success of beginning farmers by providing information and hands-on training in production, marketing, financial management, as well as land and other resource acquisition.

September 21 & 22 – Farm Advocates Meeting

The 2nd National Meeting of Farm Advocates is on! We will meet in (or very near) Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Thursday 9/20 (all day) and Friday (morning) 9/21, immediately prior to Farm Aid 2012 at Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday 9/22. Come for the meeting and stay for the concert!
Experienced, new and aspiring farm advocates, lay and legal, are urged to attend. Building on last year’s unprecedented gathering, this year’s focus is on training new advocates, sharpening and sharing skills of experienced advocates, and developing the Farm Advocate Link, the new national farm advocates network taking shape since last year’s meeting. The Farm Advocate Link is a project of Farm Aid and RAFI-USA, and a wonderful group of the most experienced and the newest advocates from over 20 farm support organizations around the country currently compose its Advisory Board and New Farm Advocate Committee.

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) will join us in co-hosting this year’s meeting. The meeting will also include a special session on hydrofracking and farm advocacy.

Please watch your email for updates, including an online link to register. Just like last year, there is no charge for attending the meeting, but we will need to register attendees beforehand. REGISTRATION LINK AND MORE INFO COMING SOON!

Meanwhile, for more info contact:

October 11 & 12 – Southwest Project Grass Conference 

Southwest Pennsylvania Project Grass is hosting a grazing conference in Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 11 and 12, 2012. The first day of the event will be held at the Kovalchick Complexon the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and will feature speakers that will share their expertise on a variety of subjects relating to grazing. The second day of the event includes a combination of demonstrations held at the Indiana Fair Grounds and tours of local grazing operations and other agricultural interests.

Speakers for day one of this conference are Temple Grandin (Keynote Speaker), Dr. Ben Bartlett (World-Wide Grazing), Jon Hopkins (Diversifying the Grazing Operation), Susan Duckett (Grass Finishing, Meat Palatability), Dr. Robert Van Suan (Parasite Control in Livestock), Lee Rinehart (Transitioning to Organic Farming), Peter Burns (Integrating Poultry in Grazing Operations), Dr. William Wise (Pasture Management for Horses), and Tammy Colt (Wildlife and Grazing).

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor at Colorado State University who has worked extensively with animal handling and livestock equipment design. On top of her extensive work with livestock, Grandin has also published many books and articles. Temple’s  achievements are remarkable because she was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of two and she has become very successful while dealing with autism.

Day two of the conference offers a more interactive experience for those in attendance. There will be three demonstrations at the Indiana Fairgrounds. Dr. Ben Bartlett will present a demonstration on cattle handling. Henry Kuykendall will give a presentation on using working dogs to handle livestock. Kevin Ogles of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service will explore how grazing methods affect soil moisture content by using a rainfall simulator.

The second day of the conference will also include field tours. Each person in attendance will choose one of the four tours being offered. The first tour will visit two local farms that use rotational grazing systems; Overdorff Angus Operation and Hollow Dairy Farm. The second tour will feature ‘farm energy’ at Brookside Dairy’s manure digester and Fabin Brothers Farms’ soybean processing plant. The third tour will explore Wingate Vineyards and Winery. The forth tour will be at the GenOn Seward Generating Station and will focus on the reclamation of abandoned mine tailings to create an ash byproduct that has been used by farms.

Register on-line for the conference. A $95 early registration fee covers all events and meals for both days. After September 8 the registration fee will be $130. The deadline to register is October 4th.

For Additional information regarding the conference or to sponsor the event, please contact Jim Resh at the Indiana County Conservation District at 724-471-4751 (ext 5)  There will be 4 Grazing CEC’s for PA NRCS Certified Conservation Planners and 4 Pennsylvania Nutrient Management re-certification training credits available for attending the event.

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