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February 4, 2015
Nature as Mentor - PASA's 2015 Conference
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
The farmer travels this week to Penn State for his annual visit to the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture’s Farming for the Future conference. He will speak on a panel called “Size Matters.” Okay, he didn’t choose that name and he’s talking about the size of our farm size, really!
Traditionally this event is like a family vacation for us, although this year he goes solo. If you ever have a yearning to learn more about farming, local food production and all things green this is the place to go. Penn State main campus become a weekend oasis as farming families and like-minded friends gather in celebration of sustainable living. The Young Farmers of the Future program for kids provides a great learning environment full of projects, a live raptor show and swimming in the hotel pool.
A huge array of classes ranging from one about feral swine in Pennsylvania to organic bee keeping and artisan cheese making, keep the adults happily occupied.
A gastro-delightful highlight of the event is the Winter Picnic on Thursday night. This indoor event features locally grown and produced food for an evening meal of great social fun. Local farmers donate the best of what they have to offer, roast beef, salad greens, baby red potatoes, even homemade local ice cream. No one leaves that table hungry.
The most inspiring moments come when the huge crowd gathers and listens to the keynote speakers. Friday evening author Frances Moore Lappe will speak about her new book, World Hunger: Ten Myths. The Saturday keynoter, Ray Archuleta, “The Soil Guy,” will tell you more than you ever thought possible about how exciting dirt really is.
Vendors of all kinds peddle sustainable goods and line the halls as you walk to and from the cafeteria. Green Heron Tools designed especially for women, a bookstore with hundreds of titles on growing things naturally or eating them or making them, organic fertilizers, organic seeds, organic T-shirts, organic yogurt and organic-you-name-it. You can even buy dirt!