Omnium-Gatherum – September 20, 2012

Action Alert – Protect Community Parks from Sale by County & Local Governments

From the PA Land Trust Association – “The Pennsylvania Senate is poised to vote on a bill that will allow county and local governments to sell our local parks for easy cash.A vote on the bill could take place the week of September 24. If the bill passes, it goes to Governor Corbett for his signature. House Bill 2224 puts public land, including much-loved parks, at risk of being sold for short-term gain or on a political whim. It repeals longstanding rules that ensure government cannot sell parks and other greenspaces if the lands benefit the public.” Take Action.

Tonight – Spring Creek Homesteading Autumn Potluck – 6 p.m. at State College Borough Building

Friends & Farmers Cooperative members will be joining us to co-host the fall local foodie potluck – informal, family-friendly get-togethers, sponsored by Spring Creek Homesteading and the Borough of State College Public Works Department – on Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m. at the State College Borough Building, 243 S. Allen St. Come on out to share some great food and learn more about the co-op, and how you can get involved in creating a new, local, member-owned grocery store! For more info or RSVP, Email  or call 237-0996.

Also – just a heads up – tonight is the homecoming parade, so road closures might make it tricky getting into downtown.

Current Workshops Open for Registration (Phone 237-0996 or Email)

  • Home Cheesemaking with Adam Seitz – October 13 in Spring Mills, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Beginner Quilting with Mary Ellen McMahon – November 10 at Friends Meeting House in State College, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – (Project: Make two quilted place-mats.)
  • Beginner Meditation – December 1 at Friends Meeting House, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Making Decorative Apple Elves with Ingrid Fowles – December 8 at Friends Meeting House, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Doodle Poll for the first Homesteaders Hang-Out
  • Doodle Poll for the first Community Cookalong

Friends and Farmers Co-op September Update

(From Elizabeth Crisfield)

More than 150 people have already joined the prospective members list or liked us on Facebook. But we’ve just scratched the surface, and our main focus this fall is to build this community.

There are some tough questions we’ll have to answer before opening day, so we’ve enlisted the help of the Rural Economic Development Clinic (REDC) at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law to research our options for incorporation and financial arrangements.

We need your help, too! The partnership with REDC frees us up to build our membership base and to raise funds for a feasibility study to determine how the cooperative can be most successful here in State College. There are many ways you can help our way forward.

We are forming a “Street Team.” We need to demonstrate that this community can support a co-op grocery store that supports local farmers and producers. The Friends & Farmers Street Team will help with outreach and education at local festivals, manage the website and social media content, develop merchandise and member incentives, and organize community events like house parties to share our vision, raise money, and build our prospective membership base.

  • What you can do now: We need people to put their names behind this effort and say they would join and shop at a locally owned and supplied market in State College. Ask your friends to e-mail our Membership address.  if they support the idea of the co-op. If you want to join the Street Team and help with this outreach, please e-mail our Info address or contact us at our Facebook page.

We are building a network of suppliers. For a successful cooperative, we will need to establish a network of local farmers and secondary producers of products like soap, canned and frozen produce, and baked goods. For now, we are defining “local” as produced or grown in Pennsylvania, but will work to find quality suppliers as close as possible.

  • What you can do now: Ask your favorite local producers to e-mail info@friendsandfarmers.coop if they would be interested in stocking the market with produce, meat, dairy, baked goods, refrigerated or unrefrigerated prepared foods, or health, beauty or medicinal products.

We are designing our website. While we are not ready to accept paid memberships, we are accepting donations for promotional initiatives to get the word out. In particular, we have been working with a local designer to develop a professional website to showcase our vision, accept online donations, manage our e-mail lists more effectively, and eventually process memberships. 

  • What you can do now: If you or someone you know would like to make a tax-deductible donation to help this effort, please make your check payable to “Spring Creek Homesteading” with “Friends & Farmers” in the memo line, and mail it to Friends and Farmers Coop, c/o Lynda Crow, 214 Westerly Pkwy, State College, PA 16801.

Finally – we are cohosting the Spring Creek Homesteading Potluck on September 20th. Please join us there for a lively and productive conversation about the process of building a cooperative market and the vision for how the store will serve this community. The potluck starts at 6 PM and is held at the State College Borough Building, 243 S. Allen St.

  • What you can do now: Spread the word and RSVP if you plan to attend – by email or phone (237-0996).

Thank you for jumping in early with your support of this cooperative market in State College. The strongest argument for another grocery store in town will come from the enthusiasm and commitment of its members—which in turn will show funding agencies and banks that we have a strong community backing this store. That’s our goal this fall—please let us know if you can help in any way!

Tonight – Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, 7 p.m. at State Theater

September 22 – Millheim Farmers Market Preview

(From Betsy Green)

The Millhem Market is open Saturdays  from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the American Legion Pavilion.

  • Common Ground (Leslie Zook) and Egg Hill Gardens (Betsy Green) will be absent this week.
  • Tamarack Farm will be featuring chorizo lamb sausage.
  • MacNeal Orchards will have Cortland Apples
  • Stone Meadow Farm will have Taleggio cheese….yum!

COMING SOON – Keep October 6 open, as we will be having an Octoberfest at the Millheim Market featuring pork sandwiches, apple slaw, live music, large Bavarian pretzels with mustard made using Elk Creek Brooke Brown Ale.  Mark it on your calendar!

September 22 – FarmAid in Harrisburg – Tickets Available for Veterans

(From Michele Gauger at PASA)

Our friends at The Farmer Veteran Coalition have a limited number of Farm Aid <>concert tickets (the show is Saturday, September 22nd) still available. If you are a veteran and are interested in attending the concert, please contact Sasha Klein for more information.

October 2 – Small Farm Rising – Screening in Lewisburg

“Small Farm Rising” is a new film by Ben Stechschulte that documents the workings of three small farms in upstate New York. These farms illustrate the reinvention of small-scale agriculture in the United States, specifically in the Adirondack region. The film is revolutionary in the skill with which it portrays the beauty of the daily work of these farmers. While the topic is serious and may be familiar to some audiences, this is a fresh and breath-taking portrait of the future of farming.

The film is low on polemics and high on eye-candy. It will be complemented by an in-depth audience workshop to follow with the filmmaker, (possibly one of the farmers featured in the film), a local farmer and a local foodie.

The screening will be Tuesday, October 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg, as part of the Film/Media Series at Bucknell University and the Green Screens Documentary Series. It is cosponsored by the Bucknell University Environmental Center and Film/Media Studies with additional community support.

October 13 – Appalachian Outdoors Fall Outdoor Expo

Appalachian Outdoors is having their biannual Outdoor Expo on Saturday, October 13th, 2012. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the 100 block of South Allen Street. Stay tuned for more information about activities, vendors, etc.

News from PA-Interfaith Power & Light

  • October 14 – PA IPL 2012 Annual Meeting and Conference. Register here, and check our website to learn more about this terrific event. We have two outstanding keynote speakers (Prof. Richard Alley and Rev. Fletcher Harper); four workshops; and more than a dozen organizations at our Green Fair. Register by this Friday, September 21 for door prize eligibility. September 21 is also the deadline to place a display ad in the program book. The conference is free and open to the public. To reserve a space at the concurrent Green Fair, Contact Rachel Mark by email or phone (717-566-6055). A publicity flyer is available on the website; please spread the word.
  • October 18 – Cool Congregations Deadline – Download IPL’s Cool Congregations Challenge Guide and plan to enter the national contest. What’s a cool congregation? Any house of worship that has taken steps to address climate change since October 2011. If you’ve started a Green Team, did any preaching / teaching on climate, or put solar panels on your roof, you might win $1,000 in cash. Even better, we’ll use all the PA entries for our own Pennsylvania contest – two congregations will be recognized at this year’s annual meeting. Got an idea but no cash? PA IPL can help with our zero-interest loan program (see below).
  • PA IPL is looking for a good volunteer -Once again, we have received funding for a half-time Americorps volunteer. Click here to learn more about this position. We are looking for committed, energetic individuals to help us reach out to the faith community – college grads, retirees: all are welcome to apply. This past year, Americorps volunteer Kris Klotz has helped us expand our programs in many ways. From getting Penn State students into the community to establishing our new program with Interfaith Human Services, he has made a real difference in raising awareness about the ethical dimensions of climate change. Kris’ commitment to a car-free lifestyle was also part of the inspiration for our bike trip to DC– thanks, Kris, for all you’ve done!

Cluster activity:

  • Stone United Methodist Church in Meadville is the first recipient of a PA IPL zero-interest loan. Following up on the recommendations of their energy audit, the church is replacing old-style fluorescent lights with far more efficient fixtures – saving carbon and money! They will pay back their $2,000 loan over the next four years as they realize these savings.
  • All PA IPL member congregations are eligible for zero-interest loans. And thanks to our generous donors, we have money available now. Application is easy – contact us now to get started.
  • The State College cluster has also been active, holding an ice cream social and work party at Houserville United Methodist Church and hosting Rev. Fletcher Harper for a two-day visit. In addition to a workshop and lecture, Rev. Harper preached at member congregation Faith United Church of Christ and led a special panel discussion with local clergy and lay leaders.

News from the Executive Committee:

  • PA IPL board member Bill Sharp will give a workshop on networking at member congregation University Mennonite Church in State College. The workshop is on October 9 from 7-9 p.m. For information and to register, write to Bill.
  • The “Light Step, Right Step” Sustainability fair in State College featured over two dozen local organizations, including PA IPL. Pennsylvania is becoming a leader in green energy and sustainable living.
  • We are continuing our successful partnership with Interfaith Human Services in Centre County, reaching out to lower income families to assist them in making their homes more energy efficient. Contact Cricket if you would like to help bring this model to your community.

Upcoming PA-IPL events:

Other Events:

  • September 21 – 23 – Mother Earth News is holding a Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort; more information.
  • October 13 – 2012 Pittsburgh Solar Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.More than 30 solar locations; here’s a sneak preview of the map of this year’s solar sites.
  • October 29-30 – Two-day conservation landscape summit in Harrisburg.For more information, including an outline of the sessions and online registration, visit here.

Sharon Astyk writing at Casaubon’s Book

But the economy is getting better and better – “…The dramatic rise (up over 3% from last year and more than doubled since 2003) in food stamp use to one in seven households (and one in four households with children in it) means a lot of things. First, that in an era of increasingly volatile household costs, food is the thing that goes by the wayside. It also means, though, that quietly, covertly, subtly, America has become a nation that MUST subsidize food for its people, because otherwise, the consequences are real hunger…”

Herbert Girardet writing at Solutions

Regenerative Adelaide – “…Over the last decade, both the government of South Australia and the City of Adelaide have shown remarkable foresight. They have taken many new initiatives on renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport, waste recycling, peri-urban agriculture, and tree planting. (Peri-urban refers to the hinterland of cities.) Adelaide is well on its way to becoming not just a sustainable city but also a regenerative city: it has been working to build a new green economy while also actively contributing to the well-being and restoration of ecosystems in South Australia…The primary concept of relevance here is the metabolism of cities: cities need to move from using an inefficient linear metabolism to using a resource-efficient circular metabolism, modeling themselves on processes found in natural ecosystems…”

Rob Hopkins writing at Transition Culture

2012 Transition Network Conference – “…over the space of 4 hours we built (literally) a high street and local economy for Transition Town Anywhere. We began with the neighbourhoods, identified the key elements of the economy we needed, identified the businesses that we wanted to run, and then built, from cardboard, sticky tape, laughter, newspaper, sticks, determination and string, a local economy. We explored the relationships between the different businesses, what was missing, how it might all work…People met each other in this world we had created, got lost in it, danced in it, brewed imaginary beer and baked imaginary bread in it, generated energy from their cardboard solar panels.  It was utterly magical, a firsthand taste of a new economy, a new way of doing things…”

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