That was a great meeting. Being new to the area it is great to meet some people and get a feel for the activity and progress that is being made around State College.
Unfortunately there always seems to be hurdles to jump before we see results. John Mondock and I were about to finalize our agreement (just in time – our first small harvest is tomorrow, July 19), when we decided to contact PSU’s risk management department.
According to the University Risk Officer: “the University has a long-standing policy that we will not use crops raised for research purposes of any kind in the human food supply chain.”
I don’t know how long-standing this actually is. In 2010, the Cellar Market was selling produce advertised as “raised at the PSU Rock Springs Research Farm.”
So I am very frustrated right now. I have explained our production practices and offered up as many safety records as anyone would care to want to look through and I don’t think they are going to budge. I have asked to be directed towards the group who may have some influence over the policy, but we will have to wait and see.
As for my two acres of produce, I don’t think we will be distributing it through any traditional methods. Depending on how things pan out I may be able to get produce to interested parties, just not through any formal markets.
[Contact Jason if you have a way to use the summer squash and cantaloupe crops so they don’t just get thrown away.]
As for the high tunnels, Dr. Mike Orzolek has told me that due to the cost of upkeep it would be between $500 and $1,000 per growing season to rent the tunnels to a school, or other organized group. I will have to double check on prices and if the farm is interested in selling tunnels at this time.
On a lighter note we are having a season extension workshop at the PSU Community Garden off Porter Road, this Saturday July 20 from 10:00 am. – 12:00 p.m. I hope everyone hasn’t been overly wilted by this weather. Keep those watering cans flowing.