October 2013 Spring Creek Homesteading News; Root Cellar Workshop Saturday

LOCATION CHANGE!

October 19 – Build-a-Root-Cellar Workshop in Bellefonte State College

(Just in from Jason Lilley)

It’s that time of year again! Time to clean the garden up, pull all of those root crops, and get some food put up for the winter. A ROOT CELLAR is a great place for storing those crops. Because of their temperature, humidity level, and layer of protection from rodents, a properly built root cellar can store your delicious, nutritious, and local veggies into the spring.

We will discuss some methods for building large scale root cellars, as well as some small scale models which will probably be more appropriate for the scale that most of us work at. We will then construct one of these relatively quick, easy, and cheap models.

We will meet Saturday October 19 at 11:00 A.M. at 425 Moose Run Rd. in Bellefonte. 711 Kennard Road in State College.

Contact Jason for more info.

October 2013 Spring Creek Homesteading News (PDF & Text Excerpts)

LOCAL ENERGY

There has been a lot of community-side work around local energy issues over the last month – for more detail check out the Steady State College links above.

Three key bits of info –

1. Penn State Office of Physical Plant Director Rob Cooper lied at the September 12 Energy Forum held at the HUB, when he said members of the public could review the PSU Energy Strategic Master Plan documents by appointment. Matt Dahlhausen and I scheduled a review session and the appointment was cancelled a few days before the meeting was to take place.

2. Mike Rybacki has prepared an alternative energy plan; in the absence of any reasonable transparency from Penn State, it’s the best available report on how the campus can cut carbon emissions and save money over the next three decades. Full report online: Rybacki Plan.

3. The PA-Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a public hearing about Penn State’s West Campus Steam Plant conversion project (TVOP 14-00003F) for 6:30 p.m. on October 30 at the State College Area High School South Building Auditorium.

LOCAL SKILL-BUILDING

October 16 – Making Wine from Concentrate Kits. 6 – 9 p.m. at Nittany Valley True Value in Bellefonte. Same class offered Nov. 12. Make a quality wine ready to bottle in six to ten weeks. $35.00. Call Darrell Furfaro at 383-2809 for reservations.

October 18 – 21 – Powershift 2013 – Powershift is a large (10,000+) youth climate conference – in Pittsburgh this year – bringing in activists from around the country.

October 19 – Weatherization First Fundraiser at ACE Hardware – 9 am to 6 pm., at 150 Rolling Ridge Dr., sponsored by PA – Interfaith Power & Light. Congregational and community teams are weatherizing homes of low-income families in Centre County.  The labor is voluntary, but they need supplies.  Stop by the store in Hills Plaza off South Atherton to buy materials to weatherize your own home and, while you are there, buy something to help the Weatherization First program. Donate directly by sending a check to PA-IPL (memo Weatherization First), 2100C South Atherton St, State College, PA 16801.

October 19 – Apple Festival at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

October 22 – The Best of Fall Fruits: Apples and Pears! Prepare Mixed Greens Salad with Roasted Apples and Maple Cider Dressing, Pear Carpaccio, Apple Stuffed Pork Chops, Pear Salad with Asiago Chips, and a Simple Apple Cake. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Room 357 at Park Forest Middle School. Instructor: LaCreta Holland. Fee: $25/session. Register online.

October 26 – Pumpkin Festival at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

November 2 – Oyler’s Organic Farms Workshop Series (Biglerville) – Nov. 2 – Fermented Foods; Nov. 21 – Savory Winter Soups; Dec. 7 – Christmas Cookies for Kids

November 10 – Potluck – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Katherine & Josh’s house – 156 West Hamilton Ave. Max. 20 guests. RSVP at 237-0996 or SignUpGenius. Kids & elders welcome: big table, lots of toys.

November 12 – You Can Make a Homemade Pie! Learn how to make an apple pie which you will take home to bake and eat or freeze for the holidays. BYO pie plate. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Room 357 at Park Forest Middle School. Instructor: LaCreta Holland. Fee: $25/session. Register online.

November 12 – PSU Environmental Forum on Food

Lydia Vandenberg at the PSU Sustainability Institute is currently organizing the Environmental Forum on Food, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the HUB in Alumni Hall. Presentations may include Green Catering at Penn State, Buying Local; Food Labeling: Fish Oil or Snake Oil?;  Experiential Learning with Food; Eating for Nutrition on Campus Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session, breakout sessions and a panel discussion. [The September 17 Local Foods Dinner #2 in Redifer Commons went well. Organizers are planning another one for spring 2014.]

November 19 – The Oberlin Project: A Real Energy Action Plan – 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. University Mennonite Church, 1606 Norma St. State College. Bill Sharp will review the recently published “Oberlin Climate Action Plan” and explore its applicability to State College.

FRIENDS & FARMERS COOPERATIVE & COMMUNITY KITCHEN UPDATE

Friends & Farmers Press Release 

We hope you’re enjoying the end of the summer and beginning of fall: that wonderful, fleeting period when raspberries and tomatoes appear alongside butternut, delicata and acorn squash. Over the summer our board met over several potluck style dinners and enjoyed cooking for each other and sharing the bounty.

We get these questions all the time: When and where will Friends & Farmers open? While we’re not ready to sign a lease and open a store, we can tell you what that store will look like. It will be transformational, offering a full selection of locally produced items seven days a week. We’ll support healthy food choices. And by working closely with farmers and charging fair prices, we’ll also support a healthy local food system. A high priority is including a kitchen where farmers can process excess crops, community members can learn how to make the most of the region’s bounty, and consumers can buy the co-op’s stuffed peppers for dinner.

Thanks to our 600 community members who took the time to take the survey that informed our feasibility study. The results of that study show a feasible operation, and have helped guide our next steps. What’s clear is that we need more people to sign on as potential members by signing up for our e-mail list through our website www.friendsandfarmers.coop. We have just scratched the surface of visibility, and need you to help spread the word. Building our member e-mail list is a critical step to ensuring a successful membership drive.

In addition to further raising awareness, we’ll be taking this winter to talk to farmers and figure out how to best serve them. In a region that grows and produces so much food, we’re committed to finding ways to make an uber-local store possible. If you’d like to contribute to these focus groups or simply help facilitate them, we need you.

Our community survey asked if you’d like to become involved in the organization and start-up of the cooperative. Nearly 100 respondents answered yes. We’re now calling on these people for help in the following areas: researching local food systems, preparing education materials, planning events for potential members, helping with social media or writing material for our upcoming blog, and manning tables at community outreach events. Please e-mail us. We need the community to make the cooperative a success!

Community Kitchen Campaign

A recent edition of the PSU Sustainability Institute’s Mainstream e-newsletter highlighted the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, noting that organizers are seeking additional PSU faculty to participate in the program. I followed up last week by email:

“There’s a strong core group of community members interested in establishing a community kitchen in State College, including the board of directors for the Friends & Farmers Cooperative. My understanding is that the co-op’s leaders would like to continue building their customer base through sales of prepared meals that use locally-produced ingredients as they work toward opening a full-service local foods grocery store in the State College area. Several other local cooks, cooking instructors, farmers and bakers are also interested in the possibilities for a community kitchen for catering, cooking classes, and preservation of excess produce during harvest peaks.

The specific initial questions are:1) Is there funding available for community initiatives through the SCC program? 2) Is there a requirement that faculty participants design and teach a course to go with the other aspects of the selected community projects? 3) Is there an application process and deadline?”

Nancy Franklin of the Sustainability Institute reported back that there is no funding available, projects are generated solely through faculty connections with Borough of State College staff, and there is no application process.

After watching the new Sustainability Institute unfold over the last few months, I’ve concluded that it’s solely an institutional greenwashing campaign preoccupied by idle conversations about sustainability in the fuzziest sense of the term, and serves no useful function for community members interested in practical hands-on community resilience-building and measurable energy conservation.

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