Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/20 at 09:58 AM
Article by PASA Staff
Back in the early ‘90s a small gathering of Centre County “kindred spirits” came together around the idea of founding an organization that focused on a variety of sustainable farming practices, addressed issues family farmers faced, and filled a need for those who wanted to support “alternative” agriculture, as some may have called it back then. Through the dedicated efforts of this group (many of whom still live, work, and farm in Centre County), the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) took root over 20 years ago and today continues to flourish throughout Pennsylvania.
PASA began and continues to grow to fill the need for an educational and support system for farmers—both experienced and beginning—interested in non-traditional agricultural practices, such as organic, biodynamic, and grass-based farming, as well as the desire to create local markets for sustainably produced food.
Based in Millheim, PASA has grown into the largest statewide, membership-based sustainable farming organization in the United States, with satellite offices in Allegheny and Chester counties. PASA’s mission is the underlying theme of all of their programs—promoting profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment. PASA’s members—farmers, educators, eaters, restaurateurs, brewers, and more—continue to come together to learn from each other and to enact meaningful change in the food system through production and marketing practices, while building relationships with consumers looking for fresh, wholesome, local and sustainably produced food.
PASA offers a variety of programs for both farmers and the community, including:
- Our Farm Lease Connection service, designed to build successful farm enterprises between farmers and landowners of all kinds;
- The Good Food Neighborhood™ community outreach program, established to serve both farmers and consumers by enhancing communication and strengthening businesses and organizations participating in local food systems; and
The national Buy Fresh Buy Local® (BFBL) campaign originated in Centre County, in the building that now houses the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. To establish BFBL as a nationally recognized brand name identity for locally grown food, as a way of differentiating such products from the mainstream, FoodRoutes has worked with community-based organizations across the country to design, launch, and implement successful “buy local” food campaigns and education programs. BFBL campaigns are currently underway in 20 states with over 75 local chapters including 14 active BFBL chapters in Pennsylvania. Each chapter creates local food guides and organizes events (such as farm tours or tastings), among other activities. To learn more about what’s going on in your region, visit buylocalpa.org/centre.
PASA and BFBL’s local Centre County chapter bring home the local food message through several annual events, including a CSA Fair and Local Foods Week. This year, Local Foods Week is August 3-10. The week kicks off with Farm Fest, a two-day farm and food celebration organized by Pennsylvania Certified Organic that features workshops, exhibits, and lots of good food and music housed on the grounds of the Grange Fair in Centre Hall.
On Sunday, August 4, PASA introduces its Bike Fresh Bike Local fundraising ride through Centre County that ends with a local foods lunch by event partner Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. Throughout the week, BFBL will be out at farmers markets celebrating the bounty they have to offer and sharing information on how and where to buy local. Local Foods Week culminates with the 8th Annual Farm Tour on Saturday, August 10, giving tour takers a chance to see the farms that produce their food up close and to interact with the farmer - a true “know your farmer, know your food” experience! Learn more at pasafarming.org/localfoodsweek.
You can show your support of PASA and their work by participating in Centre Gives on May 22 and 23. This 36-hour online fundraising event provides matching funds of up to $100,000 from the Centre Foundation to over 80 Centre County charitable organizations. With the match, donations to PASA during this event could count for more and help them reach their annual fundraising goals. You can also support them by becoming a member at pasafarming.org.
Author: Jamie Oberdick
Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA
Most recent entries
- Revisiting Republica’s March Release “Christiana Obey”
- Mack Wilds: Actor Turned Singer
- Iggy Azalea Releases New Club Banger “Leave It”
- 12 Songs for December
- Flashback to 1991: “How Can I Ease the Pain”
- Chris Brown Releases “X-Files” EP, Five New Songs Today
- Future’s New Music “Real and True” Video is Quite Odd
- Five Songs for November
- Langston’s Hughes’ Black Nativity Turned Film Set to Premiere Nov. 27th
- Blacklisted Me releases new ‘dark pop’ material
- Beiber’s New Single About Selena Gomez?
- My Top 10 Horror Film Themes
- On Repeat: 3 Songs I Can’t Stop Listening To
- Jhene Aiko to Release New EP & Album
- The Music of “Gravity”
- Stephen Smith
- Alexandra Voigt
- Chelsea Sweithelm
- Nathan Etter
- Charlee Redman
- Natalie Plumb
- John Hendrickson
- Michael Giannelli
- Carly Mallenbaum
- Ryan Chase
- Pat Baxter
- Marcus Correll
- Aaron Wynne
- Mike Hobson
- Samantha Hatfield
- Brian McFarland
- Lindsay Carolla
- Johnny Chadwick
- Devin Weakland
- Ryan Kappy
- Stephanie Williams
- Kayla Tooma
- Christopher Will
- David Porter Callanan
- Matt D'Ippolito
- Karen Marchuska
- Rachel Garman
- Brittany Barth
- Mike Moynahan
- Shamir Lee
- Brandon Vesely
- Jessica Gold