News about Threat to State College Drinking Water Supply
- Teach-in held at Webster’s on May 3
- Link to online petition (1,718 signatures so far, with more than 500 comments)
- Save State College Water on Facebook
- Ongoing coverage at Steady State College.
- May 18 – CITIZEN SPEAK-OUT to Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors, 7:00 P.M., 3147 Research Drive
- May 21 – CITIZEN SPEAK-OUT to State College Borough Water Authority Board, 4:00 P.M., SCBWA Headquarters, 1201 West Branch Road
(Detailed Background – 4pp PDF)
The Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors is in the process of permitting Penn State and Toll Brothers land developers to break ground on a new luxury student housing development that would – if built – sit atop undeveloped land that filters and recharges up to two-thirds of the State College area’s daily drinking water. Since at least 2004, regional planners and professional hydro-geologists have warned that the entire 500-acre recharge area needs strong wellhead protections to preserve the quality and supply of local drinking water.
There are two main risks: that the development and changes in water flow will cause sinkholes and other structural changes to the subsurface karst geology, potentially collapsing recharge channels, and that stormwater runoff will contaminate local drinking water.
Despite those warnings, in September 2004, the Ferguson Township Supervisors granted a Penn State request for a zoning change that stripped the main, 40-acre parcel of protections afforded by Rural Agricultural zoning, converting it to Multi-family Residential, and increasing the Penn State property value from roughly $99,000 – Penn State’s purchase price in 1999 – to $13.5 million – the current sale price.
But Toll Brothers is not yet in a legal position to begin bulldozing. The Penn State land sale is not complete. Ferguson Township can rezone the main parcel back to Rural Agricultural; deny Toll Brothers pending request for a subdivision of an adjoining 5.5-acre parcel; and deny any future request to rezone the 5.5-acre parcel from Rural Agricultural to Multi-Family Residential. The SCBWA and University Area Joint Authority can publicly denounce the project as a dangerous threat to regional drinking water security and sewage treatment capacity; SCBWA can deny Toll Brothers permission to build an access road on SCBWA property at the headwaters of the on-site intermittent stream; the Borough of State College can deny a pending Act 537 Sewage Facilities Planning Module submitted by Toll Brothers.
They’re all acting as if their respective roles in this potentially catastrophic water system failure are minor technicalities. COME OUT MAY 18 and MAY 21 TO LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT THEM TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, REFUSE PUBLIC COMPLICITY IN PUBLIC ENDANGERMENT, STOP THE PROJECT & PROTECT OUR WATER.
Saturday, May 16 – Centre County Master Gardener’s Plant Sale
News from Friends & Farmers Cooperative
working to open a member-owned, cooperative grocery store in State College that will specialize in local, sustainably produced products
The new co-op website is well-organized and good-lookin’.
- Friends & Farmers Cooperative April Newsletter.
- Next Friends & Farmers Co-op Volunteer Meeting: Wednesday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, 243 South Allen St. Third Floor.
Friends & Farmers Online Market is doing GREAT! “Since opening in Winter 2014 the Online Market has put over $30,000 into the local farming and food production community. Between 40-45 orders are placed each week, averaging $1,700. The number of orders and the dollars spent has increased steadily each month…”
The market is now open for orders from Fridays at noon through Mondays at noon, with pickup at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Tuesdays starting at 4 p.m.
New vendors are being added every week, and now include: Ardry Farms, Beiler Family Farm, BelleNaturals, Byler Goat Dairy, Chase Farm, Clan Stewart Farm, Clover Creek Cheese Cellar, Dancing Creek Farm, Eden View, Egg Hill Gardens, Fasta & Ravioli Co., Gemelli Bakers, Good Seed Baking Co., Jade Family Farm, Mountain View Farm, Rising Spring Meat Co., Standing Stone Coffee Company, Sweet Heat Gourmet, Tait Farm, Village Acres Farm, Way Fruit Farm and Wild for Salmon.
The market recently started offering Home Delivery for customers in the following zip codes for a $5 per order delivery fee::
- 16801, 16803 (State College)
- 16851 (Lemont)
- 16827 (Boalsburg)
- 16868 (Pine Grove Mills)
- NEW! 16823 (Bellefonte)
Home delivery customers must meet a minimum purchase of $20, and they must pay with a credit card.
Regional hub pick-up locations are in the works for Bellefonte, Penns Valley and downtown State College. Stay tuned for more info. We will need extra volunteers to make these regional pick-up locations work. Please contact market@to volunteer.
News from State College Crop Mobs
working to bring the community and farmers together and to introduce everyday people to sustainable agriculture
- Saturday, May 16 – Crop Mob at Deb’s Flower Farm – Help in the vegetable garden. 2:00 pm-6:00 pm, light lunch to be shared at the farm. Tell all of your friends and sign up here.
- Saturday, May 23 – Crop Mob at Piper’s Peck – Help plant peppers. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Contact State College Crop Mobs to sign up.
working to promote energy conservation and the integration of renewable energy
May 30 – Climate Solutions: How to Reduce Energy Consumption and Help Pollinators and Wildlife
(From Ed Perry, National Wildlife Federation Climate Change Campaign)
Join the National Wildlife Federation, Native Plant Society, Master Gardeners, and others on Saturday, May 30 to hear from experts and community members about how we can take action in our gardens and our communities to address climate change and protect wildlife. 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Patton Township Municipal Building, 100 Patton Plaza, across from Home Depot.
Despite inaction by Congress, individuals and communities recognize the growing threat climate change poses to our future and natural heritage. Already, many are taking matters into their own hands by installing renewable energy, making their homes more energy efficient, or providing habitat for pollinators and wildlife.
Presentations will cover topics such as how planting native plants can help pollinators and wildlife, what plants to use, how to landscape with native plants, what plants are best for pollinators, what actions can you take to reduce the carbon footprint of your home and how to reduce your mowing footprint using native plants. Tours of homes that have installed renewable energy and energy efficiency, and homes that are converting lawns to pollinator gardens and wildlife habitat will follow the presentations, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
- Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, PSU. [Editor’s Note: Despite his high status, Dr. Alley has, to date, declined to take a public position on Penn State’s fossil fuel-dependent long-term institutional energy strategy.]
- Pam Ford – Penn State Master Gardener and caretaker of the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden in State College
- Brian Henderson – Manager of Residential Energy Services for Envinity Inc., a local construction company that focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- Dr. Nancy Ostiguy, Center for Pollinator Studies, Department of Entomology, PSU
- Greg Podniesinski, PhD., PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Bureau of Forestry
News from Penn State Student Farm Initiative
working to link classroom education with experiential education and research to provide transformative learning opportunities in sustainable agriculture and food systems
October 2014 Visioning Session – Executive Summary:
“…Immediate goals include establishing 2-3 acres of vegetables and cover crop, with eventual plans for orchards, livestock, experimental plots, alternative energy, comparison studies of conventional and organic agriculture, agricultural land stewardship practices, and an on-site structure or series of buildings that allow for packing produce, welcoming students and visitors, housing student and faculty offices, and hosting cooking demonstrations and on-farm courses, conferences, trainings, and events…”
Links to Student Projects, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Please contact Leslie Pillen, Student Farm Design Coordinator with any questions, to request a presentation about the initiative to your class or other group, or to find out about other ways to get involved. More info at project website and Facebook page.