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Interesting Reads

Penns Valley Elementary School All Local Lunch Served Sept. 17

(From Jim Eisenstein)

Central Pennsylvania is an agricultural paradise, growing practically everything that our local schools serve for lunch with the exception of tropical fruits. Yet most of the food served in school lunchrooms comes from afar.

That changedWednesday, Sept. 17th, at Penn’s Valley Elementary School, at least for that day’s lunch. Children there were served a meal with ingredients exclusively sourced from local farms. The menu included chicken from Lyn Garling of Over the Moon Farm and Bill Callahan of Cow-a-Hen Farm, beef from Brian Futhey’s Stone Meadow Farm, whole grain biscuits from Tony Sapia’s Gemelli Bakers, apple cabbage slaw featuring apples from Macneal’s orchard, red cabbage from Mike Arthur’s Tamarack Farm, green cabbage from Mark Ardry’s Ardry Farm, peppers from John Eisenstein’s Jade Family Farm, peppers from Eric Stewart’s Clan Stewart Farm and creamy stewed greens from Eric Noel’s Eden View Foods. There was also an autumn harvest salad featuring beets from Jake and SarahAnn Stoltzfus’ Woodside Acres, cheesy corn risotto using corn from Way Fruit Farm and pasta from Fasta Pasta. Also on the menu was a warm desert of apple maple granola crisp from local producers.

The event was proposed in June by Ben Macneil of Macneil Orchards & Sugerbush and Tony Sapia, manager of the Boalsburg Farmers Market and a vendor at the Millheim market, to Jef Wall, Penns Valley School District business manager, Penn’s Valley Elementary Principal Kurt Nyquist, and Penns Valley School District food service director Donna Greenland. Mary Kay Bukeavich, regional manager of the nutrition group which provides the food service for 12 school districts in the state, including Penns Valley, stated that “We are delighted to be able to be the first in Centre County to offer local, fresh, nutritious food to our students.”

Farmers markets play a central role in providing local farms with an outlet for their products and developing relationships with consumers. The lunch at Penns Valley Elementary was a history making event that began to extend these relationships to local schools. This was the first time a Centre County public school has served a subsidized lunch made exclusively from local farm fresh ingredients. The hope is that the event will serve as a prototype and inspire other school districts in Centre County to include more fresh, locally produced ingredients in school lunches.

For questions or more information, please contact Nate Althouse, Public Relations Communications Director for the Penns Valley School District,  814 441-3282 (cell).

Butchering Workshops in Dover

(From Jen Briggs, Loaves and Fishes Farms)

Join us on Saturday, September 20 for an interactive workshop on poultry butchering (not slaughtering).

Learn the theoretical and practical skills needed to carve meat from a whole animal or primal parts down to serving sizes, then produce value-added products.  The first class will focus on poultry.  No prior experience needed. Instructor: Steven Bookbinder, Chef and Penn State Food Service Student

Each participant will take home everything you butcher, so bring an apron and a cooler. 

  • Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 – Poultry
  • Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 – Pork
  • Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 – Sausage

Times:  10 AM – 3 PM.  Lunch will be provided

Cost:  $130 per student per session; $15 discount for members of Slow Food, PASA, the PA Women in Ag Network, and Loaves and Fishes Facebook Friends.

Contact Jen Briggs (717-221-1125). Loaves and Fishes Farms located at 1810 York Road, Dover, PA 17315

SCASD Community Ed Cooking Classes with LaCreta Holland

  • Sept. 23 – In Hearty Italian Cooking, you’ll make pasta with sausage and ricotta cheese, Italian-style roasted vegetables, and more!
  • Cooking for One (or Two!) helps you downsize your favorite recipes and learn how to store leftovers.
  • Your tailgate will never be the same after learning how to make crowd-pleasing appetizers in Game Day Apps!

Apples Galore at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda

Each day’s harvest brings more apple varieties into our store for sale.  Right now at our farm you can find:  Honey Crisp, Gala, Ozark Gold, McIntosh, Cortland, Crimson Crisp and Ida Red.  You can choose to purchase them pre-sorted in various basket sizes, or choose your own from our large selection in our Apple Bin Sale.  We have all the apple varieties you need for fresh eating, baking, applesauce and more.  Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  So, here’s to a healthy Fall!

PA-WAgN Central Region Potluck October 4

Discussion Topic: On-Farm Commercial Kitchen Opportunities. 2:00-4:00 p.m., Potluck Dinner Following. This is a no-cost event but Pre-registration is required REGISTRATION (early registration encouraged as participation limited to 25)

Location: Clan Stewart Farm, 5662 Wesley Chapel Road, Huntingdon, PA

Learn from women farmers about the opportunities a commercial kitchen adds to a farm enterprise.

  • Gay Rodgers, owner of Hameau Farm, a farm camp for girls in Belleville, will explain how adding a commercial kitchen to her farm was a necessity with unexpected benefits, including  monthly themed meals, farm-to-table menus, and production of value-added products.
  • Chris Wise, owner of Friends Farm in Williamsburg, which offers a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, will explain how she added farm dinners for her community, and continually adds new products to her on-farm market.
  • Linda Stewart and Noemi Franks of Clan Stewart Farm will talk about how adding first a home-kitchen license and then a commercial kitchen and farm market to the farm provided opportunity for the next generation of farmers.

The afternoon event will include a farm tour and a Q&A discussion about farm kitchens. There is no charge  for the event but pre-registration is required and participants are limited to 25. Please bring a salad or dessert to share and  join the fun!

College Township Backyard Chicken Ordinance Shot Down Again

(From Scott Stilson)

To my surprise and disappointment, Council voted 3-2 to *reject* the ordinance as written. That settles the matter until at least after the next election; to insist Council take the matter up again any earlier would be inconsiderate and likely rejected.

How they can go from a consensus agreement at the previous public hearing to keep the chicken ordinance alive, directing staff to make specific modifications, to a 3-2 vote at this public hearing to completely reject the ordinance, staff having made the very modifications they specified, baffles me.

PA Women’s Agriculture Network Annual Meeting Dec. 8 – “Heroes of Our Communities

(From Ann Stone)

Join PA-WAgN as we celebrate the contributions of women farmers through a full day of workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities, peer-to-peer sharing and special features including a screening of Terra Firma – a documentary that follows three women military veterans that discover healing through farming.


(From Mike Rybacki)

USDA Invests $68 Million in 540 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Nationwide‏

(From Laura Cusumano)


During Secretary Vilsack’s trip to North Carolina, he visited Progress Solar in Bunn, N.C., which received a $3.4 million REAP loan guarantee in 2012 for installation of a solar array. Progress Solar now produces enough solar energy to power 540 average-sized homes each year. The 4.5 megawatt array was developed by North Carolina-based O2 Energies, Inc.

The Progress Solar site is a dual-use solar power plant and a working farm where a 10th generation farming family raises free range sheep and lambs. The project serves as a test site for herd management best practices on a solar farm, and the goal is to model future collaborative efforts that marry solar-energy production with agriculture production. This is the seventh solar farm venture that O2 Energies has developed in North Carolina.

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen, and geothermal.

In total, Vilsack announced $68 million in REAP loan guarantees and grants today. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

Big News for Happy Valley Timebank

We will shortly begin the transition from Timebanks USA to hOurworld. We feel that this transition will be beneficial to our members as (unlike Timebanks USA) hOurworld is both web and app based. This means you can use hOurworld on both your computer with a browser and on your smart phone with an app, developed by local resident and Penn State professor Jack Carroll. Jack will be encouraging his students to use the timebank so we hope to see a surge in town and gown exchanges as well!

During the transition Stephen Beckett, hOurworld administrator, will be given access to your profile (NOT YOUR PASSWORD) information, as if he were one of your local coordinators. If you prefer, you can delete your current profile and create a new one in hOurworld in a few weeks. If you do nothing, your profile will be automatically migrated into hOurworld and you will be notified via email when this is complete. In that email there will be a link, with a temporary password, asking you to login and make a new password.  Please put all exchange recording on hold until we complete the transition. See you in hOurworld!

Looking forward to exchanging with you!

Your coordinators: Anne, Bill, Karen and Laura

Job Opening at Pennsylvania Certified Organic

Pennsylvania Certified Organic announces a job opening for Certification Specialist. The ideal candidate will have education and / or experience in the following areas: familiarity with regulatory compliance and organic certification, knowledge of organic standards and food science/processing. We are looking for a well-organized and self-motivated person to join our team-oriented environment in Spring Mills, Pennsylvania.

PCO is a growing non-profit organization that works with organic farmers and food producers in the Mid-Atlantic region. PCO provides organic certification services to more than 750 operations and employs 20 office staff and 15 field inspectors.  Our staff is dedicated to our mission: to ensure the integrity of organic products and provide education, inspection, and certification services that meet the needs of our members.

This is a full-time, exempt position. Salary range: $38,000 to $48,000, depending on experience. Benefits: health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance; Simple IRA, generous holiday, vacation and paid time off. Position will remain open until filled. A full job description and requirements are located on our website. Contact: Lia.

Penn State Extension – Land Use Webinars

  • Aug. 20, 2014 – Designing Entrepreneur-friendly Communities (12:00 – 1:15 p.m.)
  • Aug. 27, 2014 – How Can You Make Your Comprehensive Plan Better Support Economic Development? (12:00 – 1:15 p.m.)
  • Sept. 17, 2014 – How Can Planners Work to Enhance Community Food Systems? (12:00 – 1:15 p.m.)
  • Oct. 15, 2014 – Planning for Healthy Communities: Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice (12:00 – 1:15 p.m.)
  • Nov. 19, 2014 – Engaging Your Community’s Generations in Planning (12:00 – 1:15 p.m.)

Penn State Graduates of Earth & Mineral Sciences Forum

  • Sept. 19 – “Natural Disasters: The Power of Nature and its Challenge to Energy Security”

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