Canapes – February 19, 2013

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Spring Creek Homesteading News

Thank you to Justin Wheeler, Justin Wagner and all the folks who came out for this past weekend’s workshops on Milk Jug Greenhouse Sowing and Basic Bicycle Maintanance.

Other upcoming Spring Creek Homesteading workshops below – call 237-0996 or email to sign up.

  • March 3 – Felted Wool Toddler Jumpers with Cindy Grosso – Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 156 West Hamilton Ave. Bring two felted wool sweaters (felting instructions – p. 1 only), plus a jumper or a turtleneck/t-shirt/onesy for sizing purposes. Instructions, wool scraps for decoration, cutting tools & wool yarn for seam stitching provided.sample jumper pic
  • March 16 – Mithai: Making Indian Sweets with Lata Anantheswaran –  9 a.m. to noon at State College Friends Meeting House. Mithai refers to Indian sweets and confectionery made with sugar, milk and/or condensed milk. Come, explore, make, and taste delicious Indian sweets!
  • March 23 – Heritage Seed Saving, Seed Starting & Seed Swap with Ingrid Fowles, Matt Sullenberger & Ian Gardner – 10 a.m. to noon at State College Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect Ave.  Bring a cardboard box/tray of 12-36 seedling containers (paper cups, paperboard egg cartons, 3/4 egg shells, yogurt containers, etc) and saved seeds from your 2012 garden (if you’d like to swap).
  • April 20 – Planting Backyard Fruit & Nut Trees & Shrubs with Scott Diloreto, Emily Zink and Jennie Diehl – 10 a.m. to noon at 156 West Hamilton Ave. When signing up, please choose a shrub package to purchase: two raspberry bushes ($8.60 per set, six sets available) OR two currant bushes ($18.60 per set, four sets available). We’re pre-ordering the plants for delivery,  so you can pick them up at the workshop, take them home and plant them.

Also, Homesteader’s Handbooks will soon be available for sale for $15 each at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe.

Action Alerts

2014 USDA Farm to Table Grants – Time to Get Organized

(From Carolyne Meehan)

The USDA has just announced the request for applications for 2014 Farm to School Grants. Last year we fell short of submitting an application for a planning grant. Let’s not let that happen again this year!

In order to make this happen, we will need to tap into our local resources, drum up some leadership and develop a plan on how to best proceed. Please read through the grant info and respond if you would like to be part of the team moving forward. Feel free to forward this information along to other interested parties as well.  We should look to hold an initial planning meeting in the next month as proposals for an application are due on April 24.

February 19 – Boalsburg Winter Farmers Market Preview

(From Jim Eisenstein)

Clan Stewart will be back Tuesday with fresh greens from its high tunnel.  Look for very early season spinach, kale, leeks, and lettuce mix.  Eden View will have beets and Ardry Farms cabbage.  Beiler Family Farm is bringing raw milk.  You can get meat and cheese from Stone Meadow Farm, “take home” prepared foods from Eden View, lots of wine from Bee Kind Winery, a variety of apples from Way Fruit Farm, breads from Gemelli’s, wool products from Tamarack, salmon products from Wild for Salmon, fresh pasta from Fasta Pasta, and turkeys (and other meats) from Bill Callahan.

This week, Steve Crawford will be playing and singing from 4:00 to 5:30.   We are open from 2:00 until 6:00 at the Boalsburg Fire Hall.

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 10.06.07 PMNEW! – Millheim Winter Farmers Market – Saturdays

(From Erin Condo McCracken and Brian Burger)

The Millheim Winter Farmers Market opened last Saturday (February 16) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bremen Town Ballroom, 105 E. Main St. Vendors will be selling meats, cheeses, winter produce and crafts every Saturday from now until May 5. Details at their Facebook page.

February 19 – Bellefonte Garden Club Potluck

“Winter Dreaming Potluck,” gathering with garden friends and Bill Lemont, professor of vegetable crops at PSU. Those attending are urged to bring garden plans, questions, and a potluck dish. Beverage and table service will be provided. 6:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 203 N. Spring St. in Bellefonte.

February 23- Reskilling AND Community Service Opportunity!

(From Cricket Hunter at PA-IPL)

On February 23 Penn State students hold the third annual Positively Green day of service.  Last year, 30 students, faculty and staff undertook a two-hour training session, and then went out into the community, helping State College neighbors make their houses more energy efficient. With financial support from the Rock Ethics Institute and generous donations from our corporate sponsors (Lowe’s and Wal-Mart), our students changed light bulbs, installed weather-stripping, and upgraded homes with low-flow shower heads and hot water pipe insulation (see the story in the local paper here and more pictures here). Students also learned how to discuss energy usage and encourage folks to make lifestyle choices that save energy and protect our planet.

This year, we’ll begin at 10:30 am, with a full day of activities that will probably look like this:

  • 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Weatherization Training
  • 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. – LUNCH!
  • 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Perform weatherization services on low-income homes.
  • 3 p.m. – Regroup at Interfaith Human Services

Sign up at the Positively Green Registration page at PA-IPL.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is proud to sponsor the first student IPL in the nation—thanks, Penn State students, for being part of the climate change solution!

It’s CSA Sign-Up Season!

It’s the time of year to sign up for CSA shares – many of the local CSA farmers will be at PASA’s March 6 CSA Fair, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the State College Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect Ave., to answer your questions about CSA programs and help you sign up.

February 25 – Advertising Deadline Available for Philly Farm & Food Fest in April

This year Grid magazine is producing a 15-page color program for PF3. The program will be in all 30,000 issues of Grid, distributed March 7th, and 5,000 more programs to be handed to attendees of PF3 on April 14th. If you have ANYTHING to do with the food scene (or if you have customers who eat) you should be in this issue. Details.

February 28 – Transition Town State College Energy Discussion Group Meeting

February 28 – Organic Cereal Grains Seed Production Workshop

A full day short course on producing and processing organic seed grade grain will be conducted at Cornell University on February 28, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in Ithaca, New York.

This program will feature Mark Sorrells, David Benscher and Julie Dawson from the Cornell Small Grains breeding program, New York Seed Improvement Project Director Alan Westra, NYS Seed Testing Laboratory Director Michael Loos, Elizabeth Dyck from OGRIN, Robert Perry from NOFA-NY and grain farmers Thor Oechsner, Rodney Graham and Craig Phelps to detail the process of growing, selecting, and grading seed varieties for possible foundation seed certification. The unique challenges organic seed production creates for certifying and labeling as certified foundation seed in New York State will be addressed. Pre-registration is preferred. To register, please visit the NOFA-NY website and click “register” on the left sidebar, call 585-271-1979 or email. Cost is $35 per person. Lunch is included for pre-registrants only, but walk-in participants are welcome to bring bag lunches. For more information, contact Julie Dawson.

February 28 – Northeast Grazing Initiative Networking Meeting 

(From PASA Member Laura Hewitt & Endless Mountains RC&D Council) 

Grazing season is going to be here soon! The Northeast Grazing Initiative will be holding their kickoff Cow Pie at the Stoll Building in Wysox (Bradford County) on Thursday, February 28 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Come join us to discuss the challenges of the 2012 season and gain support from fellow grazers for the 2013 season. This informal meeting offers networking opportunities as we focus on planning of our 2013 pasture walk and workshop topics and locations. Beef, dairy, sheep, goat, poultry, and swine grazers, both large and small, are more than welcome. Pie and refreshments will be provided. Please register for this free event by February 26 by contacting Laura Hewitt, Endless Mountains RC&D Council, (570) 265-2717 or. You can also follow us at on Facebook.

February 28 – Deadline for Feedback about Summer Adventure Camps for Kids 13-15

(From Carey W. Huber, PA-DCNR Environmental Education Specialist)

Greetings!  I am hoping that some of you may be able to assist with the recruitment of youth for a FREE PA Wilds DCNR Adventure Camp.  DCNR Adventure Camp has been held over the past several years in each of the four regions of the state, focusing on introducing youth to the many outdoor recreations that are available in state parks and other public lands.  This year in the north central region, we are hoping to register 12-15 youth, age 13-15, for this day-camp, which will possibly be held at Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County the week of July 15, 2013.  Activities, led by DCNR staff during the 4-day week, include kayaking, fishing, biking, geocaching, hiking, and more.  Participants from past camps have had many, many great comments about their experience.

At this stage though, we need to find out if there is local interest.  So, any youth age 13-15 who are interested in attending the Adventure Camp should have a parent or guardian contact me by February 28, 2013 (814-765-0630; if leaving a message, I will return calls as soon as I am able).  They will be asked several questions, which will enable the staff planning the camp to make necessary decisions:

  1. Is transportation an issue?  Can someone drop off and pick up the youth each day?  Would the youth and their family want to camp in the campground that week to be closer to the camp?
  2. Would the youth be able to bring their own lunch each day?  Would they eat a lunch (sandwich, chips, etc.) provided by the camp?
  3. Would they be able to attend if the camp were held at a different local state park (Black Moshannon, Bald Eagle) within 1 hour of Parker Dam?

I know that folks’ summers get planned up quickly with all of the activities youth can be involved with.  However, there is a lot still up in the air regarding this year’s Adventure Camp in this region.  I would like to be able to give more definite details regarding the camp, but until those overseeing the camp are comfortable that there will be the necessary number of youth to participate, no solid plans are being put into place.  When this phase of the recruitment period ends, anyone who has made contact with me will be notified of the registration process, or that the camp will not take place.

March 1 & 2 – Marketing Strategy Workshops Utilizing Specialty Crops 

(From Darlene Livingston at PA Farm Link)

Learn creative marketing strategies from producer presenters allowing them to increase farm income in rural locations as well as market extra product.  The program will run from 9:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and allow you to tap into the knowledge of experienced farmers and professionals to answer your questions about diversifying your production with specialty crops.

This innovative workshop is will cover evaluation of your local market area, calculating potential profits of new crops, and other helpful tools for a successful farming operation. Risk management will be discussed as well. Experienced farmers will share their knowledge and experiences and answer your questions about successes and challenges that they have encountered. They will share both the pros and cons of their marketing and farming experiences which will enable you to make informed decisions as you move forward. Throughout the day you will gain a wealth of knowledge you may use to either start your own specialty crop farm or diversify your current operation utilizing specialty crops.

Market Strategies Workshops will be held at the following locations:

  • Friday, March 1, 2013—Exton, PA—CCEDC (I-76 at Rt. 100 exit)
  • Saturday, March 2, 2013—Drums, PA, I-80 exit 256 —The Lookout House Restaurant (I-80 exit 256—1 mile north on Rt. 93)

For more information about the program or to register please call Darlene Livingston at Pennsylvania Farm Link at 717-705-2121. Registrations are required.

March 5 – Backyard Hens on the Agenda:  College Township Planning Commission Meeting

(From Scott Stilson)

The College Township Backyard Hens Campaign is on the Planning Commission agenda at 7:30 p.m. on March 5 at the College Township Building. This meeting is crucial to our cause. If you can make it, do.

I’ll be traveling for work, so Jackie Bonomo, who helped coordinate the writing of our draft ordinance, and Jennifer Landry, who created the online petition, are going to lead the way.

The Commission will have in their hands the materials we presented to Council at the January 24 meeting, some regulatory alternatives produced by College Township staff during their research, and a report/memo produced by staff providing a discussion on the alternatives. Here are some notes on meeting format for Mark Holdren, the College Township Senior Planner: “Generally speaking, the format for Planning Commission will be as follows: Staff makes presentation, the Commission comments on presentation and items in agenda packet, and then the floor is open to comments from the public.”

So please, come be a part of “comments from the public” part! What’ll be important to bring with you is as much expertise on backyard hens as you can gather along with a calm, cooperative, confident, and problem-solving tone.

Also, it’s not too late to write a letter to Council on the subject. If you haven’t already, would you write a letter to the College Township Council Members at 1481 E College Avenue, State College, PA 16801 to calmly and respectfully state your support for the legalization of backyard hens in College Township?

Spring Events – PA Women’s Agricultural Network

PA-WAgN calendar of events (through December 2013)

  • March 26 – Value-Added Goat Dairying – 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at Wayside Acres Goat Dairy, 1570 Keystone Way, Newport, PA 17074. At Wayside Acres Goat Dairy & Creamery, mother and daughter team Cathy and Gwen Soult will lead us on a tour of their registered raw milk goat dairy in Perry County.
  • March 27 – Twilight Meeting: Pest Management in the High Tunnel – 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Stoney Creek Valley Farm, 1170 Stoney Creek Road, Dauphin, PA 17018. At Stoney Creek Valley Farm, Katie College uses a Rimol Nor’easter hoophouse for in-ground growing to support a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program), sales of greens at a farmers’ market, and sales to a local chef.
  • April 9 – Organic Vegetable Production: From Seeds to Sales – 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM at Blackberry Meadows Farm, 7155 Ridge Road, Natrona Heights, PA 15065. Learn how Jen Montgomery and Greg Boulos of Blackberry Meadows Farm (Allegheny County) plan, market, and manage a 150-member CSA and discuss soil fertility and ecology with Soil Ecologist Mary Barbercheck.
  • April 27 – Farm Tool Basics: Equipment Selection, Safety, and Care – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at Over the Moon Farm, 190 View Drive, Rebersburg, PA 16872. Learn the basics – equipment selection, maintenance, and safety – at Over the Moon Farm in Rebersburg, PA (Centre County) and tour the women-owned and operated farm to learn how farmers Lyn Garling and Patty Neiner choose and maintain their tools and equipment.
  • May 20 – Breaking Barriers: We Can Do It! 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at The Sundance Life Farm, 4563 Lake Road, Towanda, PA 18848. Were you ever told or thought, “That’s a man’s job” or “You might break it” or “You’ll take too long, let me/him do it”? These are common comments that women can hear from the men in their lives, as well as in their own heads. Julie Perry of The Sundance Life Farm in Bradford County heard statements like this all her life until one day when her husband died suddenly, she and her sons had to break through those mental barriers.

Health Care for Farmers

There was an interesting discussion on a PASA list-serve recently, asking for recommendations for health insurance for farmers. Many farm families have one member work off-farm, for both income and benefits, which complicates things when they want to devote more time to on-farm work. Several farmers on the list-serve recommended Geisinger.

“…affordable and great care. It’s non-profit, so not out to grab your money. Covers most of PA. Good to work with, and local. If you are a member of the PA Grange or other organization you get a group rate. Much lower premium than going it alone.”

Watershed Photo Contest

(From Michael Wright)

Just a quick line to let you know of a photo contest I have organized to help me gather inspiring photographs throughout our beautiful watersheds. The “Heirs of our Watersheds” contest is designed to gather photos from Pennsylvania watersheds and include them in an upcoming book highlighting why we all work so hard chasing board meetings, securing funds, lobbying, and rolling up our sleeves to improve and protect our valuable watershed ecosystems. Simply follow this link for rules and info. This is simply a one time outreach to help me gather photos for a very important project, and to help us take a moment to reflect why we REALLY do what we do.

Here is to a short “mud” season and abundant green grass and sunshine!

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