The sustainable agriculture community will be gathering for the 23rd annual Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture(PASA) “Farming for the Future Conference” February 5-8 in State College, PA. This year’s theme focuses on “Letting Nature Lead.”
The primary focus of the event is farming education. Workshops cover topics such as: raising various livestock, bee health, successful cheese making, running a farm business, effective land management, and produce cultivation, among many more. Intensive pre-conference tracks on topics ranging from food safety to raising poultry will be offered in the days preceding the main conference.
Several speakers and honorees are slated for the event. Daphne Miller, MD, a holistic doctor practicing in California, will perform keynote speaking duties. Miguel A. Altieri, an expert in the field of Latin American agroecology, will give the PASAbilities main speech. Additionally, a couple of local Chester County businesses will be receiving the 2014 Sustainability in Ag Leadership Award. The recipients are Victory Brewing Company, for their continued efforts to reduce energy and waste in the brewery and conserve the Brandywine Watershed, and Milky Way Farm, for switching from traditional agriculture to an organic system on their dairy farm.
Other highlights of the conference include: free legal advice for farmers, seed swaps, programs for kids, and an auction to benefit the organization. There are also social opportunities such as: yoga and knitting groups, a social hour, and a young farmer’s mixer with live music. Considering the main employ of PASA members is food production, food will play a major role in the event. On the menu are a cheese tasting, a winter picnic, a Farmer’s Market Café, and a Banquet Dinner, all sourced from local farmers adhering to sustainable practices.
The many facets of the “Farming for the Future Conference” serve to bring like-minded farmers together to learn, find solidarity, and inspire them to innovate and meet the demands of a sustainably-focused agriculture system.