Motley – April 10, 2013

College Township Backyard Chickens Update

(From Scott Stilson)

On April 2, the College Township Planning Commission voted to recommend that Council adopt an ordinance allowing backyard hens! It’s a small victory — and we’re far from done — but that’s some good momentum as the matter heads back to Council within the next month or so. Stay tuned for news of the next chickens-related Council meeting, which will be one of the two most important meetings in the whole process.

For eggs, liberty, teaching kids responsibility, more ties between neighbors, etc!

P.S. You can read the first draft of the ordinance online here. The version the Planning Commission recommended to Council differs in that the minimum lot size requirement has been removed, and the adjacent dwelling setback has been increased from 30 feet to 40 feet.

News from Centre County Buy Fresh Buy Local

(From Kristin Hoy)

  • CCBFBL E-Newsletter – April 5 Edition, including farmers market updates, local food features at area restaurants and wineries, workshop opportunities and more

News from Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

  • March 29 Edition
  • Upcoming Workshop – 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). Call 237-0996 or email.

News from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

  • April 4 Edition – Upcoming farming workshops and networking events, including the April 27 Pastured Pork Day at Owens Farm in Sunbury and the April 28 North Central Region  Spring Potluck at Jeremiah’s in Williamsport.
  • Food Safety Regulatory Update from PASA’s Brian Snyder: “The big news this week is the launch of the FSMA Action Center on the website of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). The information found there is the result of dozens of organizations working together, and it will continue to evolve over the next couple of weeks to include summaries of the primary issues now before us.” Brian’s update also includes dates & locations for upcoming information sessions in and around Pennsylvania.

April 12 & 13 – Banff Mountain Film Festival at the State Theater

  • Many local sustainability groups will be tabling at this event.

April 13 – Webster’s First Year Anniversary Celebration!

(From Elaine Meder-Wilgus)

It’s hard to believe a year went by so fast, but the time has come to celebrate Webster’s first anniversary on Beaver Avenue.  We’re having a great big party and you’re invited.  We’ll have music and dance performances all day, free samples, a prize drawing and more.  Be the first to sample new menu items and get your entry in to win an original drawing by Elli Groninger of Crash and Burn Metal Works.  And most of all, come celebrate with us, we owe our success to our wonderful customers!

Performances by:

  • Jim Colbert – 3 p.m.
  • Andy Tollins – 4 p.m.
  • Cole Hons – 5:30 p.m.
  • Richard Sleigh – 7 p.m.
  • Erin Condo and Wiggus – 8 p.m.,with a special appearance by Shannon Bishop from Black Cat Belly Dance

Information tables:

  • Pennsylvania Certified Organic/FarmFest
  • Friends and Farmers Cooperative
  • Groundwork Farms CSA & Buying Club
  • Contempo Studios
  • Hughes Pottery
  • Lotus Center Yoga
  • The Small Business Development Center

April 13 – Appalachian Outdoors Spring Exp0

  • Spring Creek Homesteading will be tabling with Centre County Buy Fresh Buy Local/PASA, offering information about sustainable local agriculture and  a seed-starting activity.

April 13 – Tait Farm Spring Gardening Classes Start

Saturdays 10 to 11am at the farm, $5 per class. Register at or 814-466-3411

  • April 13 –Butterfly Gardens – Rose Franklin – Do you wish you could attract more beautiful butterflies to your yard? You can! Easily and quickly, you can transform a small portion of your yard into a butterfly paradise. Rose Franklin is a local butterfly and gardening expert and has been at her passion for 20+ years. She has just released her new book, Fast Track Butterfly Gardening.
  • April 20 – Grow Great Greens – Kim Tait – Grow greens everywhere – and all season long! Whether it be in pots on your deck, a raised bed, or a huge backyard garden, we will cover all the basics, including soil preparation, fertilizing, direct seeding, putting in transplants, harvesting, as well as a seeding schedule.
  • Full Spring Schedule

April 14 – Community Conversation about the Community Bill of Rights

(From Javan Briggs)

On Sunday, April 14 at 2:30 pm at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe, get to know your neighbors and your rights! Join State College residents in a community conversation about our Bill of Rights. We will be joined by guest speaker, Chad Nicholson of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) which assisted residents in writing our Bill of Rights that passed in 2011 with a 72% supermajority of voters.

Together, we will explore how our community rights provide the groundwork for addressing a current threat to our safety and sustainable future: a plan by Penn State and Columbia Gas to install a large, high-pressure pipeline through our borough. Everyone is welcome.

April 16 – Friends & Farmers Co-op Potluck

(From Elizabeth Crisfield)

Next Tuesday, April 16, we will gather for a celebration of progress toward OUR STORE! We’ll be opening online bidding for our silent auction very soon. In the meantime please remind friends who intend to come that they need to RSVP. We have just 35 slots left! – Thanks from your Friends and Farmers!

News from Clearwater Conservancy

  • Clearwater Conservancy E-Newsletter, April 3 Edition, including details for the April 20 Watershed Cleanup Day, upcoming workshops for forest landowners and more.

April 16 – The Weight of the Nation – Film Screening  at State Theater

Brought to you by Mount Nittany Health and The State Theatre. Join us Tuesdays in April for a special screening of the acclaimed 4-part HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation, which discusses the health, economic and societal impact of obesity in our country. Upcoming screening nights include April 16 and April 23, both at 6:30 p.m.. Free to the Community. For Tickets, please contact The State Theatre box office at 814-272-0606 or stop by in person at 130 west College Ave.

April 19 – Growing Health:  A Vision for US Food & Agriculture Policy – Lecture at Penn State

David Wallinga, Senior Advisor in Science, Food, and Health Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy will speak Friday, April 19 at 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., followed by informal discussion from 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. in 101 Agricultural Science & Industry Building.

“The U.S. faces daunting systemic challenges, to say the least. Food and agriculture are no exception. Neither is the health care system, which suffers from an epidemic of food and diet-related chronic diseases that threatens to bankrupt both private and public budgets. The food system, along with the agricultural ecosystem on which it depends, faces increasing challenges from a changing and uncertain climate, fossil fuel reliance and uneven economic development. Emerging, however, is a new science-based vision of ecological public health, with support from nutritionists, nurses, hospital systems and physician groups. This vision is based on the premise of a“triple bottom line”, of not only improved public health, but also ecosystem resilience and rosier long-term economic health. As a physician who has worked on food and agricultural policy issues for 16 years, David Wallinga talks about this emerging vision —its promises and its challenges to the modern-day land grant university.”

April 19 – Marcellus Shale Documentary Project at the Moose Exchange Stairwell Gallery in Bloomsburg

The Moose Exchange Stairwell Gallery is proud to announce an upcoming exhibition entitled Marcellus Shale Documentary Project from April 19, 2013 – June 8, 2013 at 203 West Main St., Bloomsburg. The exhibition includes the work of six professional photographers that share in the telling of the complex story of Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. This traveling exhibition opens with a reception on Friday, April 19 at 6pm and will remain on view through June 8, 2013. For additional information please visit Moose Exchange or contact Sue O’Donnell.

April 20 – Steam Valley Fiber Farm Spring Tour near Williamsport

Our Annual Spring Farm Tour is Saturday, April 20, from 10 am – 3 pm. at 2304 Steam Valley Road in Trout Run, PA. The free event is open to the public and children are welcome when supervised by an adult. We will give guided tours of the barns and watch the goat kids at play in the pasture. The friendliest critters will delight our guests and provide the opportunity to pet the adorable Angora and Nubian kids.

Our spring is starting late up here on the mountain, so wear your rubber boots if the weather is rainy and keep a jacket nearby, but hopefully we will have a sunny day. Dianna Smith of Heirloom Crochet will be demonstrating spinning and have her beautiful hats and shawls for sale. Steam Valley’s shop will be open with fiber, yarn, socks, sheepskins and spinning equipment for sale.

April 21 – Brantley Gilbert Concert & Food Bank Service Day in Lock Haven

(From Megan Epler of PASA)

Join Brantley Gilbert, PASA, the Central PA Food Bank, Lock Haven University and REVERB for a service event before the Brantley Gilbert concert at Lock Haven on Sunday, 4/21. Gilbert is playing at Lock Haven’s Thomas Field House as part of REVERB’s Campus Consciousness Tour. Volunteers get complimentary access to the concert, and will also meet and volunteer with Gilbert during the service event! Sunday, April 21 from 11:00 am – 2:15 pm  at the Central PA Food Bank in Williamsport, sorting produce, packing bags, backpacks & boxes for distribution
and spring cleaning. The “power pack” program targets low-income, high risk children. Guidance counselors, daycare providers, etc., help identify the children and the Food Bank provides the bagged food weekly to its partner agencies for distribution. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact Megan Epler.

April 23 or 24 – Local Foods Dinner at Redifer Commons – Mini-Grants Available to Interested Farmers

Penn State students are continuing to plan the menu and coordinate scheduling and logistics for the first Local Foods Dinner, to be held at Redifer Commons at the University Park campus on either Tuesday, April 23 or Wednesday, April 24.

One of the hurdles they’ve encountered is how few local farmers are approved vendors authorized to sell produce and meats to Penn State’s Residential Dining Services and that there’s a nontrivial financial cost – estimated at between $400 and $1000 to add Penn State as an insured party on the farm insurance policy and $100 to get a delivery permit for the farm vehicle.

That cost is high enough to deter many small farmers who have very small profit margins and are lucky to break even some years. If you’re a farmer interested in applying to become an approved vendor and the cost is a significant reason for your hesitation, Spring Creek Homesteading is currently offering three mini-grants, up to $500 each. Contact me for more information.

If you decide to apply to be a Penn State vendor, here’s the basic information you’ll need for the application:

  • Farm name
  • Farmer contact information – address & phone number
  • How your farm business is organized (sole proprietor, corporation, partnership)
  • Whether you consider yourself a producer, distributor or some combination
  • Years in business
  • Estimated gross sales in previous year
  • What kind of products you want to bid on (food, proteins, perishables, dried staples, frozen foods)
  • Whether you’re a federally designated type of business (small business, women-owned, minority owned)
  • Potential conflicts of interest (if any farm owners also work for Penn State)
  • Copies of PA Department of Agriculture food safety inspection results, licenses, etc.
  • A delivery parking permit issued by the University (Costs about $100.)
  • For “Cold Chain Management,” larger, more distant vendors providing perishable or frozen foods currently have to have an “electronically-downloadable temperature data logger” to ensure that the products stayed at the appropriate cool temprerature during transportation; smaller local vendors are currently exempt from that requirement but will need to have that in a year or so.

Insurance Requirements:

  • Commercial General Liability with at least $1,000,000, listing the University as an “additional insured,”
  • Automobile liability coverage of at least $500,000 per accident and
  • Statutory Workers Compensation (or qualify as a self-insurer) and $500,000 per occurrence Employer’s Liability Insurance.

Contact John Mondock to start the paperwork.

April 25 – Pasture Walk with the Northeast Grazing Initiative

(From Endless Mountains RC&D)

GOT MUD?  – Spring is finally here, but along with warmer weather and green grass, comes rain and mud. As a follow up to February’s ‘Cow Pie Kickoff’, the first Northeast Grazing Initiative Pasture Walk will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2013, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Brian Moyer’s farm on James Street in Sheshequin (Bradford County). This walk is open to anyone interested in learning more about grazing practices.

Topics will include: Early Grazing Season Considerations and Management; Laneways, Storm Water Management and Other Best Management Practices; Renovating Sacrifice Areas; and Evaluating Early Pastures. Don’t forget your boots, as we can guarantee there will be mud!

Lunch will be provided; please RSVP by April 20 to help us plan by calling the Endless Mountains RC&D office at (570) 265-2717 or sending an email.

Future “Walks” are already scheduled: June 26 – Soil Building, Sub-soiling and Tillage; August 6 – Small Farm Pasture Management; and September 10 – Improving Profitability with Low Inputs.

April 26 & 27 – Household Hazardous Waste Collection at the Centre Recycling Center by Nittany Mall

Accepting: Insecticides, weed killers, pool chemicals, cleaners, poisons, corrosives, fl ammables, oil based paints, CFL bulbs and most other hazardous chemicals from households only.

Job Opening at Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative

Production Coordinator – Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative is seeking an energetic and highly organized individual to coordinate the production of certified organic fruits and vegetables among our member growers. A working knowledge of commercial organic vegetable production is a plus. This position requires superior computer and communications skills. Responsibilities include working directly with TOG’s farmer-members to coordinate production, supply, and delivery to the Coop, and help manage quality control. This full time position offers an attractive compensation package commensurate with the candidate’s experience.

Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative is one of the nation’s largest and oldest organic growers cooperatives. Located in the southern Allegheny Mountains of rural south central Pennsylvania, TOG markets and distributes
its 44 members’ produce to restaurants, retailers and CSA’s in the DC/ Baltimore region.

For further information submit a letter of inquiry and resume to Jeff Taylor – General Manager.

Job Openings at Fertile Grounds CSA in Wyoming County

Fertile Grounds, an organic vegetable farm in Noxen, PA (Wyoming County), is hiring!

  • Position 1: Post-Harvest Assistant Manager – Wash, weigh, and package organic vegetables for our CSA members and customers. Flexibility required in doing additional related tasks as needed. Requirements: The ideal candidate is a perfectionist, who will take great pride in making sure all produce looks and tastes fantastic. You must work well alone and as part of a team. You must be physically strong and love the outdoors. Hours: M-F 6am – 2pm in Noxen. You must be able to commit for the entire season, which lasts until November.
  • Position 2: Produce Distribution Coordinator – Help us keep the community involved in our CSA! Drive our big yellow truck from the farm to distribution sites in the valley; manage CSA pickup and personally interact with CSA members on topics ranging from cooking tips to outstanding payments; make additional deliveries to local restaurants and soup kitchens. Flexibility required in doing additional related tasks as needed.  Requirements: This position is all about personality! You will often be the face of the farm, the weekly liaison between our farm and our CSA members. You must be an extremely responsible “people person” with a passion for organic, healthy eating. Excellent driving skills and physical strength required. You need to love the outdoors and be willing to do physically demanding work in all weather conditions. Hours: 20 hours/week. Could potentially be combined with other tasks to create a full-time position. You must be able to commit for the entire season, which lasts until November.
  • Position 3: Organic Gardener – We’re seeking a skilled, experienced organic gardener to plant and maintain our one acre pick-your-own field of cut flowers, herbs, and vegetables located at The Lands at Hillside Farms in Shavertown. You will be independently responsible for all aspects, including soil prep, cover crops, mowing surrounding grass, planting, weeding, organic pest control, labeling etc. You must also be a great people person, regularly hosting & educating CSA members and volunteers during regular visits to the garden. Hours: Roughly 20 hours/week. Could potentially be combined with other tasks to create a full-time position. You must be able to commit for the entire season, which lasts until November. We are also open to the possibility of hiring an independent contractor.

Pay for all positions is commensurate with experience. To apply for any of these positions, please visit our website to get to know a bit about Fertile Grounds and then email with the following: a resume or list of relevant work experience, 2 references, and a brief letter letting us know which position you are applying for and why you are the right person for the job.

Action Alerts

Homesteading Movement Growing in PA

(Press Release from Hannah Smith)

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), already at the forefront of farm-based education in Pennsylvania, recently announced an expanded list of partners offering courses for consumers interested in living more sustainably. Through its Good Food Neighborhood program, PASA partners with organizations, groups and individuals to provide “Sustainability Schools” throughout the Commonwealth. PASA is now partnering with nine organizations across the state, listed below.    

“Living more sustainably is something we can all do to contribute not only to the viability of our own families, but increasingly of our local communities,” says Hannah Smith who heads up PASA’s community outreach efforts. Smith designed the program which parallels PASA’s very popular peer-to-peer farmer education program.

“PASA is well-known for its farm-based education programs which highlight the skills and experience of our farmers to farm sustainably. Likewise, our local communities are gaining strength by the networking of folks who have much to offer in the way of living sustainably. Our Sustainability Schools draw on these community resources.” Smith points to a wide range of courses available from composting to backyard poultry and beekeeping, from home energy efficiency to food preservation, and even home brewing and fermentation.

Katherine Watt, an organizer with Spring Creek Homesteading, offers, “These courses are about learning how to do more things for ourselves. In this time when families are feeling so stretched from a contracting economy, rising energy prices and the impacts of extreme weather conditions, building a safety net using local resources of time, skill and land can make all the difference.”

Upcoming courses: visit for more information.

  • PASA is the only statewide, member-based, sustainable farming organization in Pennsylvania and is one of the largest in the nation at about 5,400 members. Consistently, about two-thirds of PASA members are farmers. Additionally, PASA reaches over 30,000 people nationally through its Good Food Neighborhood program. Its mission is “to promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.”  PASA’s Annual Farming for the Future Conference takes place in State College, PA and, this year, offered a Traditional Food Series track. These workshops helped attendees gain skill and confidence in preparing wholesome and pure foods for their families. The series was made possible by the underwriting support of the Weston A. Price Foundation & the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
  • Chatham University’s Food, Farm & Field program is a dynamic and immersive two-week program (July 28 – August 10, 2013) investigating the relationship between food, farming, and the environment. Run through the School of Sustainability and the Environment, the program is held at Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus, placing students in a rural and idyllic setting that encourages a connection with nature and countless opportunities for hands-on work. Undergraduates, Graduates, and continuing learners are welcome to join the program with course credit satisfying each student’s current level of study. Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment also offers a Master of Arts in Food Studies, a Master of Sustainability and an Executive Master in Sustainability Leadership.
  • The Dickinson College Farm is a 180-acre working farm and educational resource that provides Certified Organic and Food Alliance Certified produce to Dickinson College’s dining hall and the local community through Community Supported Agriculture programs and food bank donations. Located six miles from the Carlisle, PA campus, the farm uses state-of-the-art sustainable operations, such as solar-electric and solar-hot-water systems. Workshops are held at Dickinson College Farm in Boiling Springs, PA.
  • Greener Partners offers programs and projects aimed at increasing public access to local foods, training new farmers in resilient farming techniques, and educating people about the origins of their foods and empowering them to create healthy communities. Workshops are held at the Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville, PA.
  • Spring Creek Homesteading Fund is organized to support local self-sufficiency within the Spring Creek Watershed of Central Pennsylvania by supporting food gardens and orchards, urban farms, community greenhouses, kitchens, bakeries, farmers markets, and workshop programs in the homesteading arts. Workshops are held primarily at the Friends Meetinghouse in State College, PA.
  • Eastern PA Permaculture Guild serves to network people who support Permaculture design for creating more sustainable human environments. Workshops offer practical solutions to many of the problems facing the world by using ecology as the basis of organizing systems of food production, housing, technology, economics and community. Workshops are primarily held at the Kimberton Waldorf School Garden Building (Phoenixville, PA).
  • The mission of Pennypack Farm & Education Center is to make local sustainable agriculture an important part of our community through farming, education and community events. Pennypack values their work with families, community groups and educational institutions to encourage awareness and the creation of sustainable food systems by offering educational program and agricultural demonstration projects.
  • Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living is a non-profit, charitable, educational organization dedicated to increasing the public awareness of conservation, ecological thinking and healthful sustainable living. Quiet Creek intensives focus on ownership, collaboration, support and inquiry in gaining sustainable living knowledge, skills and experience. For sixteen years, Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living has built their learning center upon this model. Workshops are held at Quiet Creek Farm in Brookville, PA.
  • Jennings Environmental Education Center is one of several of Pennsylvania’s state parks specifically dedicated to providing environmental education and interpretation to the community.  The park features a unique combination of prairie and forest ecosystems, which offers a wide array of resource and educational opportunities. Jennings and other state parks are administered by the Bureau of State Parks, of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).  Workshops are held at the Jennings Environmental Education Center in Slippery Rock, PA.

For more information about PASA’s Good Food Neighborhood and the Sustainability Schools program or to schedule an interview, please contact Hannah Smith by email or phone 717-512-5461.

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