Nuggets – November 13, 2012

Action Alert – Letter to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

(From Cricket Hunter at PA-IPL)

The elections are finally over, and our legislators are heading back to Washington to face some serious budgetary work.  The National Council of Churches (and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches) has authored this letter calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies – an idea that has traction on both sides of the political aisle.  It will be delivered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, November 14. We encourage our members to read the letter and consider signing it.  The letter is open for signatures until 3:00 PM on Tuesday, November 13.  (While the petition is from the (Christian) National Council of Churches, the faith language is broad enough to include other Abrahamic traditions. Please let Cricket know if you are aware of similar efforts from other faith traditions.)

News from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

November 15 – Penns Valley Conservation Association Annual Meeting

Please join us for our annual meeting this Thursday Nov 15th, 7 p.m. @the New Hope Lutheran Church (located on Route 45 just outside of Spring Mills). Details in the newsletter.  Let’s shoot for good turnout.  Please come.  Bring a friend.

November 17 – Apple Butter Boil and Tractor Driving at Way Fruit Farm

Come join us at the farm for an old-fashioned apple butter boil this Saturday, Nov. 17  from 8 a.m. – 3-ish.  We will have the fire burning and the apple mixture bubbling and you can watch or join in the constant stirring that must occur for a batch of the perfect applebutter to be made.

While you’re waiting to see the final, delicious result, why not come inside and try out our new Build-Your-Own Caramel Apple Bar.  Back by popular demand, this fun setup is sure to please kids of all ages and be a delicious treat for the whole family.

We will also be offering tractor driving lessons this Saturday, Nov. 17  from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

We thought it might be fun to let any aspiring drivers and tractor enthusiasts enjoy a day of tractor driving on the big green monsters that live on our fruit farm. All ages are welcome and no matter how young or senior, you will be accompanied by a Way Fruit Farm owner or senior employee at all times during the driving lesson. This event will take place rain or shine, as most of our tractors have cabs. The charge for each “drive” will be $5.00.  We hope this will be a fun learning experience for adults and a priceless memory for some tots!

Come on into the farm store and enjoy breakfast and lunch in our cafe, or some coffee and a sweet treat from our bakery while you browse our craft area! For holiday gift ideas, check out our displays of Polish pottery, local pottery, soy candles and hand-made soaps. Our Way Bakery is still taking Thanksgiving orders too!  Look for more information when you come out to the store this weekend.

For the third year now, Way Fruit Farm and The Music Field Piano Studio present the Share the Harvest Recital on Monday, Nov. 19 starting at 5:30pm. in the Way Cafe.  Enjoy music from Music Field Piano Studio  and Dr. Be, as well as dancing from Tir Na Nog Irish Dance Studio.

The cost of admission is an item of food for the food bank per individual or a grocery gift card for a family admission.  You will be able to come early to buy dinner from our normal Way Cafe menu or try a delicious turkey sandwich special and Soup du jour.  We hope this will help families come out and parents not to feel so rushed after work. Beverages and baked goods will be available for purchase throughout the evening’s performances.  The store will also be open for you to browse too. Due to limited chairs, families are encouraged to bring along folding chairs.  Last year, this event helped to collect over 100 pounds of food that was then delivered to the food bank in time for Thanksgiving.

November 18 – “Do the Math” 350.rg Rally in Washington DC 

(From Ed Perry)

So far, 5 of us are headed to Washington DC on November 18 to participate in the protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. The tar sands rally is in conjunction with 350.org’s “Do The Math” tour which is a lecture series by their founder, noted author, and friend Bill McKibben.  The Do The Math tour will start at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 18  at the Warner Theatre. You can purchase your tickets for $12 here.

If enough people want to go, I’ll rent a van and we can split the cost.  I’ll leave my house at 7:00 a.m. to make sure we have plenty of time to get there.  The rally after the 1:00 p.m. lecture starts at 3:00 p.m. in front of the White House.  We’ll head for home after the rally, stopping to eat somewhere on the way home.

Please don’t email me if you are just considering going.  Only let me know if you are sure you are going because I need a firm number to know what size van to rent.  If we split the cost for van rental and gas, the cost per person (assuming we get 9 people), would be around $20 per person. Email Ed Perry.

December 22 – Global Celebration at Webster’s Cafe(From Cole Hons)

This is a heartfelt invitation to a GLOBAL CELEBRATION on Dec. 22, 2012. This is about everyday people all over Earth kicking off a whole new era for humanity. At the local scale, it’s happening from 6-10 pm at Webster’s. Details at my blog.

Farmers: Help Capital RC&D Create a Guide-to-Farm-Interns

Heidi Witmer is working on a grant-funded project through Capital RC&D to develop an information and resource guide for PA farmers who have or are considering having farm apprentices/interns.

This resource will include a brief overview of legal considerations/labor regulations, best practices, etc. Toward that end, she is seeking feedback from the farming community regarding any of the following points.

What topics/issues would you like to see covered in this resource? For example:

  • legal definitions relevant to farm labor;
  • labor laws in PA as they relate to farm labor;
  • overview of best management practices;
  • overview of curriculum resources available;
  •  overview of other resources available to farm mentors

If you currently have or have had interns/apprentices on your farm:

  • what challenges/frustrations did you encounter?
  • what was the most rewarding part of the experience?
  • any specific advice to farms designing and internship program?

Please contact Heidi Witmer directly by email  or by phone at 717.275.2330.

New Homesteading Book 

(Recommended by Brian Burger of New Harmony Farmstead)

Letter from PASA Board Chair Jenn Halpin (Director of Dickinson College Farm)

Dear PASA Members & Friends,

This year has been a challenging one for many within the PASA family. From a myriad of weather-related events, to personal losses within our extended membership family, it seems few have been untouched by an obstacle to overcome.

One thing that we know PASA members do very well, is come together as a family to support each other in times of need and rebuilding, and to also share resources, as we are all in the quest for a sustainable foodshed together.

Your organization hasn’t been immune to difficulties. PASA has experienced its own financial challenges this year. While membership numbers continue to grow every year, and we’ve hit all of our Annual Fund goals internally, the situation involving external funding sources has become much more competitive and unpredictable. Over the years we have built an organization that is much less dependent on grants, but we remain vulnerable to big fluctuations and right now are experiencing a significant downturn in that area.

PASA’s Staff & Board of Directors have worked together to identify various cost-cutting plans and have already implemented some measures that cut pretty close to the bone. We have instituted a wage freeze and put a hold on hiring staff, including seasonal conference staff. We have also been able to negotiate better deals involving some of our other fixed costs. But now we have to look for additional revenue in order to avoid curtailing on-the-ground programs.

Our goal for the future is to determine our minimal cost of operation, and then to cover this entirely with unrestricted, or minimally restricted sources of revenue. Ultimately, this means that we very much need the support of our membership for our most basic costs, which also keeps the influence of PASA’s policies and priorities where it should be, with you!

To that end, here are 5 Things YOU Can Do to Make a Difference Right Now:

  1. Existing members can renew their annual PASA membership and consider giving a gift membership to someone this holiday season. If you are not a current member, please join!
  2. Contribute to our Annual Fund, which fuels programming rooted in education and support for farmers. Or, consider joining the Perennial Club, which is an easy monthly donor program – giving you the satisfaction of helping PASA throughout the year.
  3. Help promote PASA to your friends, neighbors and colleagues. We have various email templates, social media posts & general talking points available if you need help with creating messages.
  4. Registration for the 22nd Annual Farming for the Future Conference will open in late November. Please register early for this event while making a donation to the scholarship fund or becoming a Friend of the Conference to help offset costs.
  5. Volunteer to host a PASA event or participate in our Ways to Give program. Local networking opportunities like farm tours, potlucks or other social gatherings are also a great way for current members to introduce new faces to our work . . . please invite us and we will come!

As PASA has grown over the years, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to you and the need for all members to thrive as we all work to sustain our wonderful organization. We need all members to lend a hand as you are able.

Thanks, and many blessings to all of you this holiday season!
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