March 22 – Potluck (Next Friday)
The Spring (Spring Creek Homesteading) Potluck will be next Friday, March 22 – 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the State College Borough Building, 243 South Allen St. Featured Idea is “Downtown Public Community Kitchens & How to Make One Happen for State College.”
Kids & elders more than welcome; RSVPs helpful for planning purposes (237-0996 or by email.)
Reskilling Workshops Coming Up
- March 23 – Starting Your Summer Garden! Workshop – Heritage Seed Saving, Seed Starting & Seed Swap with Ingrid Fowles, Matt Sullenberger & Ian Gardner – Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon at State College Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect Ave. Potting soil, seeds & instruction will be provided. Please bring a cardboard box or 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 6 – From Science to Salsa: Tomatoes with Matt Sullenberger – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the State College Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect Ave. “…slice into the fascinating world of the tomato. Get practical tomato advice including home gardening instruction, storage and preservation, and even a few recipes while exploring the history, science, and modernization of the world’s most popular vegetable. You will never look at a tomato the same way again!”
- April 20 – Planting Backyard Fruit & Nut Trees & Shrubs with Scott Diloreto, Emily Zink and Jennie Diehl – Saturday, 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) OR two currant bushes ($18.60 per set). Pick them up at the workshop, take them home and plant them.
- June 1 – Planting a Pollinator Garden & Building a Native Bee Nesting Box with Justin Wheeler – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 301 South Garner Ave.
- July 6 – Building Rain Barrels with Justin Wheeler – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 301 South Garner Ave.
We recently got an update from Gary Fosmire at the State College Friends Meeting House, letting us know that the building & grounds committee has approved our offer to manage the community garden on Keller Street for public use during the 2013 growing season, from April 13 through Nov. 30, building on last year’s clean-up and sheet mulching renovation efforts.
Gary and I are meeting later this week to work out management/land use details and plan next steps like gardener recruitment, irrigation line installation, and tool box building.
Please email me if you are interested in cultivating a Keller Street plot. Each one is 100 square feet and there are 14 available at a non-refundable rental cost of $25 per season, plus a refundable $25 deposit. (See Keller Street Community Garden – Draft Rental Agreement for details.)
You can find photos, maps, documents and more information about last year’s renovations at the Keller Street Community Garden page.
News from Centre County Buy Fresh Buy Local
(From Kristin Hoy at PASA)
- Greenmoore Gardens
- Plowshare Produce
- Tait Farm
- Jade Family Farm
- Groundwork Farms CSA & Buying Club
- Village Acres Farm & FoodShed
- D&D Farms
- Eden View Organics
- Healthy Harvest Farm
USDA Farm-to-School Grantwriting Team Update
(From Carolyne Meehan)
Thank you for your interest in building a farm to school program in the State College Schools. After reviewing the grant information, investigating USDA grant award models currently in play, and in depth conversations with the school lunch program director, we have reassessed our plan to apply for a grant this year. There is simply not enough time to do the necessary research and partner building necessary to submit a feasible proposal for the late April deadline.
This gives us a full year of planning so that we can write a successful grant for next year. If you know someone who would be interested in joining the effort, please pass the word along. Let’s work on building a strong team and collecting resources. Thank you again and stay tuned for a meeting date in the coming months.
Producer’s & Buyer’s Handbook
As part of that year-long research and team-building process, I’m starting work on a producer’s & buyer’s handbook, collecting and organizing information about current food safety laws, regulations and codes, other school district models and their pros and cons, current farmer interest in growing the crops that the district’s kids eat, current price points the farmers need to add capacity in those crops, purchasing policies at SCASD & PSU, case studies from farmers and buyers who have tried to “buy local,” what’s worked, what hasn’t worked and why, and much more. Feel free to send along information and ideas for inclusion in the handbook.
…Given that there’s been so much mulling over the last few years about food hubs, food policy councils, food cooperatives, farmers associations, food processing facilities, and farmers markets, including online farmers markets, I’m very curious about farmer priorities. If you are a farmer and if you had, say, $5,000 – $10,000 to invest in a small local food project to expand your sales markets, how would you spend the money? If you’d like to share your thoughts, please post a comment on this post or at the Farm-to-Table page.
I have about 15-2o pounds of dried pinto beans, and another 15-20 pounds of dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, both purchased in Spring 2011 as part of an experiment in bulk purchasing and kept in dry, airtight storage ever since. Turns out, our family eats a lot of black beans, canned fruit (bulk sugar) and homemade bread (bulk bread flour) but not so much pinto and chickpea. So if anyone would like them, let me know.
March 15 – CSA Expert Exchange Webinar
(From Michele Gauger at PASA)
Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of the public radio show *The Splendid Table*, has been added to the agenda for the CSA Expert Exchange – An Online Conference coming up on Friday, March 15 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST. You can read more about her presentation and background here. Our friends at Small Farm Central are offering all PASA members a $10 discount off registration for the webinar. PASA members use code PASA2013 during registration. Other presenters include Elizabeth Henderson, Gary Brever, Jody Bolluyt & Jean-Paul Courtens.
March 19 – Sustainable Housing Series – Last Meeting
(From Scot Chambers)
Our last Sustainable Housing Series Roundtable will be held Tuesday March 19 at the State College Municipal Building in the Community Room from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The event will start with a presentation by Janet Swim on behavior change and what can be done to help more people make the change in their thinking to adopt the more beneficial sustainable approach to life. The focus here is not specifically on housing but on general behaviors and attitudes.
The presentation will be followed by small group discussions, and sharing with the entire group. Panel members from the previous events will help conduct the small group discussions. There will also be light food available (Webster’s) and a raffle for some door prizes.
News from PA-Interfaith Power & Light
(From Cricket Hunter & Sylvia Neely at PA-IPL)
March 17 – League of Women Voters Climate Forum – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Patton Township Meeting Room, 100 Patton Plaza. Speakers include:
March 20 – Solidarity Bike Ride – On April 5, Jon Brockopp is once again leading a team of cyclists 200 miles from State College to Washington, DC, stopping in local congregations, colleges, and CSAs along the way to spread the word about PA-IPL and emphasize our moral responsibility to act on the humanitarian, environmental, and spiritual challenges of climate change. On March 20, we’ll do a (much shorter!) solidarity ride around State College. Donate to support all the riders. More info. On April 5, there will be a 4 p.m. send-off blessing for cyclists at Grace Lutheran Church, State College, followed by a 6 p.m. potluck dinner at Plowshare Produce.
March 21 – GreenFaith Fellowship Webinar – Are you passionate about addressing the environment as a person of faith? If yes – the GreenFaith Fellowship Program may be for you. Friday, June 1 is the annual application deadline for the Program – our 18-month, interfaith education and training program for religious-environmental leaders. 115 leaders – from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Unitarian traditions – make up the Fellowship community. They’re from 35 states, 3 Canadian Provinces, and Europe. GreenFaith is offering a free webinar to introduce the GreenFaith Fellowship Program to potential applicants on Thursday, March 21 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET. Register for the webinar. Register even if you can’t attend – we’ll send you a link to the webinar recording. Learn about the Fellowship Program. Application materials are available by clicking here.
March 23 – Earth Hour is a symbolic, worldwide action to demonstrate concern for the planet — particularly as it relates to climate change and overconsumption — and to spread the word about work to change our path. You can watch the lights go out in major cities around the globe online from 8:30-9:30 local time on Saturday March 23. More than 6950 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories took part in 2012! For the last two years, several PA IPL leaders have hosted house parties inviting friends to come celebrate in the dark and asking for a donation to PA IPL instead of a bottle of wine. More info.
Starting Soon – New Sewing Classes at the Studio at Contempo
(From Amy Frank at the Studio at Contempo)
- Thursday, April 4 – Young Designer’s Club and Workshop + Wine classes BEGIN!
- Friday, April 5 – Friday Morning Series begins 9:30 am
- Saturday, April 6 – Youth Sewing 101, 9:30 – 11:30 am
- Saturday, May 18 – Adult Intro to Sewing, 9:30 – 11:30 am
- June 17 – 21 – FASHION CAMP! Spots still available for our afternoon camp!
April 6 – PVCA Renewable Energy Fair in Centre Hall
(From Lynne Heritage of Heritage Innovations)
A Renewable Energy Fair sponsored by the Penns Valley Conservation Association will be held on April 6 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the American Legion in Centre Hall. More info. Envinity is a sponsor and Heritage Innovations will be an exhibitor.
Urban & Peri-Urban Farming Study Underway
A national study (through survey) is being led by New York University, Pennsylvania State University, and NCAT-ATTRA project (The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service), as they are currently looking for farmers in or around urban areas to take part!The study seeks to examine the state of urban and peri-urban farming in the United States, including the:
- technical assistance and information needs on the part of urban farms that can be met through outreach programs;
- production, management, and marketing risks for urban farms and the development of programs to address those risks; and
- increased awareness on the part of policymakers and communities of the benefits of urban farming. A national outreach and technical assistance program will be developed based on the results of this research.
The online survey for farmers who are NOT in Philadelphia should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. For farmers in or around Philadelphia should complete the Philadelphia survey, which covers additional aspects of interest to Penn State Extension staff.
Because of the importance of this project, by completing the survey, farmers will qualify for a drawing to win one of 10 gift cards worth $75. If you would prefer to complete a paper version of the survey or have any questions, contact Lydia Oberholtzer, Penn State, (301-891-0470).
April 9 – From Seeds to Sales
(From Ann Stone at PA-WAgN)
Blackberry Meadows Farm is an 85-acre farm in Allegheny County on which Jen Montgomery and her husband, Greg Boulos, operate a diversified vegetable operation. Organically-certified vegetables are marketed through a 150-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program) and sold at two Pittsburgh farmers’ markets.
Jen will lead us on a tour of their fields and orchards and then focus the day’s activities on the production within their four high tunnels. Participants will learn how Jen and Greg plan their planting schedule, crop rotation, watering, pest management and harvesting. Mary Barbercheck, Soil Ecologist, Penn State University, will discuss increasing soil fertility and soil ecology within a high tunnel. In addition, Jen will also describe their recent initiative to start a heritage seed saving collective.
This will be an opportunity to network with other growers to discuss organic certification, seed sourcing and saving, direct marketing strategies and high tunnel opportunities and challenges. More info & registration.
April 11 – Bill McKibben Talk at Dickinson College
7 p.m. Bill McKibben “Front Line of the Climate Fight” at Dickinson College, Carlisle
(From Lynne Heritage & Jackie Bonomo, Sierra Club Moshannon Group)
From adrenaline-fueled action sports, to an exploration of wild landscapes and remote mountain cultures, films in this year’s tour are sure to captivate the explorer within you.
Join the Sierra Club Moshannon Group when the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour brings the spirit of outdoor adventure to State College at the State Theatre in downtown State College on Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th, with different film selections each night. More info.
All About PASA’s Classfied Advertisements
(From Michele Gauger at PASA)
If you haven’t visited the PASA website lately to peruse our Classified section, please do. We have new ads being posted daily, including some interesting job opportunities on regional farms and positions within organizations like OEFFA and the Stone Barns Center. There are also several breeds of livestock available, equipment and more that is for sale or desired under the wanted section. You can also post an ad for CSA shares you may have available, offer services or land/homes available. Ads can be posted using this form and are included in the website listing for one month.
The new 2nd edition of the Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management is
now available. This updated edition is authored by Brian Caldwell, Dr. Eric Sideman, Abby Seaman, Emily Brown Rosen, Dr. Tony Shelton, and Dr. Christine Smart. Hard copies are available for $20 or you can download the pdf for free.
Action Alert – No Immunity for Frackers
Tell our state senators to vote NO to letting gas drilling companies off the hook from their accidents and pollution in our communities. Click here to take action.