Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Newbies (Kari and Anna) Join Glenda at the PASA Conference!

Kari and I (the two newest Farm Aid staffers) attended our first ever farm conference last week at Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s 17th annual conference in State College, PA! I didn’t really know what to expect. I was surprised to see so many people knitting and quilting during the speakers and workshops!

The meal plan, made with local foods, was sold out by the time we registered for the conference. But we still managed to eat some great food! Friday we ate lunch in the Farmer’s Market CafĂ©. You can see Kari enjoying some focaccia and proudly wearing a Farm Aid Tee!

I was impressed by the variety of attendees and the variety of workshops! There were new and wannabe farmers, sustainable ag supporters who never farmed themselves, recreational gardeners, lots of babies and others of all ages and backgrounds! The PASA president reported that over 2,000 people from 39 states and 8 countries attended the conference.

I attended a range of workshops from Fair Trade to Cheesemaking. Here’s Jim Amory doing a demonstration in an overflowing conference room! I was very impressed to learn about Steps for a Healthier Cleveland, including their Market Garden Training Program and City Fresh www.cityfreshcleveland.org, a modified CSA. Their “Fresh Stops” are staffed by an educator with nutritional info and you can try “new” foods before you go buy the ingredients necessary to prepare them!

Minus the 10 hour snowy drive home,it was a good trip! I learned a lot, but I also learned I still have lots to learn!

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