Nooks & Crannies – March 18, 2013

 News from Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

  • SCHF E-Newsletter – March 15 Edition

News from PASA

  • PASA E-Newsletter, March 14 Edition – networking, on-farm education and more

March 19 – Boalsburg Farmers Market Preview

(From Jim Eisenstein)

Here is something special at the Boalsburg Indoor Farmers Market for Tuesday, March 19, open 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Boalsburg Fire Hall.

If you mention that you read this, Bee Kind Winery will give you a 10% discount on their wines.  They are bringing a new semi-sweet white wine, Seyval Blanc, this week, plus a new supply of Rails to Trails along with a number of other wines.

Ardry Farm still has potatoes and Way Fruit Farm apples and cider;  Beiler Family Farm and Clover Creek raw cow milk; Tamarack Farms lamb for Easter;  Byler Goad Dairy a new Italian and Hot Italian goat cheese, plus its blue cheese and more; Eden View take- home homemade entrees plus beets; Stone Meadow a variety of raw milk cheeses and pastured raised meats; Cow-a-Hen featuring fresh cut pork (cut to order if you wish) plus other meat products; Wild for Salmon’s wild caught Alaska  salmon; Clan Stewart with granola and spinach,; and Fasta Pasta’s fresh made pasta.  Lots to choose from, plus Moondog and the Shooting Stars playing and singing from 4:00 to 5:30.  We hope to see you there.

March 23 – Regional Potluck in Mifflintown: “How to Communicate With Policy-Makers”

(From Patty Neiner at PA-WAgN)

You are all invited to an afternoon of lively discussion, networking and fun. Come and mingle with fellow women farmers, gardeners, consumers etc. to discuss the issues we want our policy-makers to address, and how to make our voices heard! The event will start at 2:30 in the FoodShed at Village Acres, 229 Cuba Mills Rd, Mifflintown with a discussion about how to communicate with your local policy-makers, led by Catherine Smith, followed by a potluck meal.

Please bring a concern or interest or problem that you want government to address.  We will go over basics:

  • how to think in public policy terms;
  • how to get legislators’ and regulators’ attention
  • how to communicate in a public process to achieve the change you want.

Catherine F. Smith, Professor Emerita of English/Professional Communication, East Carolina University and Adjunct Professor, Public Policy, UNC-Chapel Hill, is author ofWriting Public Policy:  A Practical Guide to Communicating in the Policymaking Process,3d edition (Oxford UP 2012).   She lives near Spring Mills PA on an old farm where she is learning to do conservation and wildlife habitat preservation. Please contact Catherine with the policy issues or topics so she can prepare some examples for you. Call Patty Neiner at 814-441-2953 for more info.

This event is organized by the PA-WAgN Regional Steering Committee and the PA Farmers Union. 

March 23 – Breath of Spring at Celebration at Tait Farm, Plus Gardening Workshop Schedule

Tait Farm E-Newsletter – Mid-March Edition

  • March 23 – Breath of Spring Celebration, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “After the grey and the gloom of winter, we will be welcoming the new season with a festive and celebratory afternoon at the farm.”

Spring Gardening Classes. Saturdays, 10 to 11 a.m. $5 per class. Flier with full details.

  • April 13 – Butterfly Gardens with Rose Franklin
  • April 20 – Grow Great Greens – Kim Tait – “…all the basics, including soil preparation, fertilizing, direct seeding, putting in transplants, harvesting, as well as a seeding schedule.”
  • April 27 – Backyard Strawberries – Jackie Bonomo
  • May 4 – Totally Tomatoes – Pat Winterrowd
  • May 11 – Container Gardening – Cindy Law and Kim Tait
  • May 18 – Stunning Window Boxes – Gretchen Staff
  • May 25 – Creating Fabulous Floral Bouquets – Gretchen Staff

March 23 – Spring Tours & Workshops Start at Steam Valley Fiber Farm in Trout Run

  • March 23 – Fleece Processing & Dyeing – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Workshop Fee: $70.00. Lunch Included.
  • March 30 – Spinning Wheel Workshop – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Workshop Fee: $75.00. Lunch included
  • April 20 – Spring Farm Tour – 10 AM – 3 PM Watch the goat kids playing in the field and the spinners turning fiber into yarn. Free. Children welcome with adult supervision, as this is a working farm. No dogs allowed.

To register for workshops, send $10 deposit to Steam Valley Fiber Farm, 2304 Steam Valley Road, Trout Run, PA 17771. See also: Video of the Angora kids on the playground and Event Calendar.

March 24 – PSU Community Garden Plot Application Day

(From Scott Salesky, PSU Community Garden President)

If you are interested in local food, sustainable agriculture, or you just want to grow your own food, you may be interested in applying for a plot at the Penn State Community Garden!

The PSU Community Garden will begin accepting online plot applications on Sunday, March 24 beginning at 2:00 pm. Benefits of garden membership include the use of a 10’x15′ plot, access to tools and compost, free educational workshops offered throughout the summer, and opportunities for community outreach. More information can be found on the garden website. You may also subscribe to the garden listserv using the link found on our homepage. The Community Garden is located south of Medlar Field on Porter Road, behind the Center for Sustainability (Map).

To apply, visit the garden website after registration opens and click on the ‘Join’ tab at the top of the page. To apply for a plot, you will have to read and agree to our Gardener Agreement, which requires gardeners to use only organic growing methods, and to attend two or more of our monthly community workdays. The yearly membership fee is $25. Penn State students, faculty and staff, and members of the State College community are all welcome to apply.

This year we will have approximately 50 plots available for new garden members. Last year, the available plots sold out in about 5 minutes, so be sure to mark the date and time on your calendar if you are interested! Email Scott Salesky for more info.

April 23 – Safety and Health Management Workshop for Farm Operators in Hustontown

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 (rain or shine), from 1:00-4:00 PM at New Morning Farm, 22263 Anderson Hollow Road, Hustontown, PA 17229 (southern Huntingdon County)

This workshop is designed for farm owners, operators, and managers who supervise farm employees, including apprentices, interns and seasonal workers. It will provide safety and health guidelines for management personnel on identifying hazards on farm worksites that may result in costly accidents; resources for correcting the hazards; and safety training materials for quick and effective delivery to farm employees. The workshop will consist of hands-on exercises as well as discussions.

Each registered attendee will receive a copy of a recently developed safety and health best practices manual for use at their farming operation. The manual includes information on developing safety policies, identifying potentially costly injury and property damage risks, tools and resources for mitigating the risks, safety training materials and methods, and procedures for measuring the effectiveness of your employee training.

Cost: A minimal registration fee of $15 will include a printed copy of the best safety practices manual and will cover costs associated with afternoon refreshments. The workshop is limited to only 15 participants, so register early. Please contact Patty Neiner at Penn State University with questions (814-865-7031). Registration.

Sponsored by Penn State Agricultural Safety and Health and the Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network with support from USDA-NIFA New and Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program.

May 11 – Women in the Wilds; June 15 – PA Wilds Child

Workshops in outdoor skills and hobbies – canning and freezing food, candle-dipping, campfire cooking and more – at Black Moshannon State Park. Registration deadline for Women in the Wilds is April 16. Contact Michelle McClosky for more information (814-342-5960)

May 18 – PSU Master Gardeners Plant Sale

This year’s 3rd Annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale will be the premier home gardening event in Centre County and the surrounding region featuring over 7,000 varieties of plants and vegetables, 30 invited vendors, talks on topical gardening related subjects, demonstrations and exhibits, compost workshop, good food and a special exhibit on gardening history and free tours at the Pasto Ag Museum.

The Plant Sale will feature thousands of potted plants including perennials, annuals, herbs, houseplants, vegetables, noteworthy plants, pollinator and native plants, and others.  There will also be a silent auction, garden-related resale items, and food and beverages for sale.  Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions and help you with your shopping too.

Action Alerts

Tell the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that the spraying of antibiotics on apple and pear trees goes against the principles of organic, and it’s high time this loophole was closed.

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – Agribusiness Doesn’t Speak for Me

Call on your Senators to support the Tester Amendments to the meat industry’s hijacking of the Continuing Resolution and “put the livelihoods of independent producers and the health of our communities first – NOT the profits of large corporations.”

  • Sen. Bob Casey – (202) 224-6324
  • Sen. Pat Toomey – (202) 224-4254

Please tell the Senators to vote for two amendments to the Continuing Resolution introduced by Senator Jon Tester of Montana that protect family farmers from abuses by the meat industry and support review of
biotechnology products. These two amendments will stand up for family farmers, ensure that independent producers have a fair chance in the livestock market, and ensure that courts can review biotechnology
products. After you call, tell us how it went. And help us spread the word by sharing this message!

Itinerant Farmhands Inc. – Update

A graduating Penn State senior replied to Saturday’s post to say she’s interested in pursuing the business idea. We’re meeting later this week to discuss possibilities further.

It also occurred to me that, once there’s a small trained crew available for farmers to hire to improve farm profitability, nonprofit organizations could also hire the farmhands for gleaning projects at the PSU Rock Springs research fields, where many of the crops are plowed under at the end of each season for lack of harvest and packing workers. With a trained, accessible farmhand team, that fresh local produce could go to the food banks or be sold to restaurants and other bulk buyers.

Producer’s Handbook – Update

Sarah Edge at Clearwater Conservancy emailed about the farm-to-table update, to say her friend Mark Ott, Food Service Director at Bald Eagle Valley School District, has been developing a farm-t0-table program for several years (overview). Carolyne Meehan and I are hoping to schedule a time to talk with him about how it’s been going and get advice about how to expand the program in the State College Area School District. I also found a link to a conference held two weeks ago in Cranberry Township, about Farm-t0-Community projects in Pennsylvania. Mark presented a workshop on food preparation and  menu planning.

Digging into this project, I started reading some reports about farm-to-table programs last week. Which made me think that a handbook may be overkill. Farmers might get more practical use out of a single page chart, laminated and hand-delivered to their farms so they can staple it to the wall next to the phone for easy reference. Each line of the table would probably include (at minimum):

  • Institutional Buyer
  • Point of Contact Name & Phone Number
  • Insurance requirements for producers, if any
  • Food Safety standards for producers, if any
  • Crops purchased – current quantities, suppliers and prices
  • Bidding process, frequency, etc.
  • Budget limitations – per meal cost, per item cost, etc.
  • Delivery site(s)
  • Interest in purchasing local non-organic crops (Scale of 1-5)
  • Interest in purchasing local organic crops (Scale of 1-5)
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