Winter is far from over here in Central PA but it’s been a very mild season so far and January’s coming to a close with temperatures near sixty degrees! So it’s becoming a lot easier to think about springtime and getting back out into the vegetable garden again.
I realize that these freak days of warm temps will be followed by more cold and possibly snow, but the other thing that has me thinking green is the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) Conference that takes place this week.
Breaking Ground for a New and Sustainable Agriculture
This will mark the 21st meeting of the annual event and the theme this year is “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture: Cultivating Versatility and Resilience.” Pre-Conference Tracks begin on Wednesday, February 1st and run through Thursday, February 2nd. The main conference workshops occur on Friday, February 3rd and Saturday, February 4th.
One of PASA’s goals is in “Promoting profitable farms which produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.” The PASA Conference has become a favorite sustainable agriculture gathering of interest to farmers, gardeners, and anyone concerned about the quality of our food supply.
Pre-Conference Educational Tracks Kick Things Off Early
The pre-conference tracks feature all-day sessions focusing on specific topics that include:
- Introduction to Permaculture Principles & Concepts
- Advanced Orchard Health for Sustainable Fruit Production
- Hands-On Poultry Processing & Marketing
- Cheesemaking for Beginning & Advanced Producers
- Maximizing Food Production on the Integrated Homestead
- Building & Managing Soil Fertility on the Farm
- Applying Permaculture Design to Urban & Rural Landscapes
There are 12 tracks in total and you can get details on each of them over at the PASA website. The big dilemma is picking just one track from the line-up of great topics!
Interesting and Informative Sustainable Agriculture Workshops
Speakers delivering presentations during the main conference sessions include; Harvey Ussery (the Modern Homestead), Sam Comfort (Anarchy Apiaries), Dave Jacke (Dynamics Ecological Design), Jenn Halpin (Dickinson College Farm), Michael Phillips (Lost Nation Orchard), Kathy Demchak (Penn State University), Daniel Salatin (Polyface Farms), and Jerry Brunetti (Agri-Dynamics Inc).
Here is a partial list of breakout workshops that will be offered:
- Harvesting, Preparing & Preserving Wild Edibles & Medicinals
- Managing Fertility: Ways to Build & Maintain Soil Health
- Creating an Urban Food Forest
- Small-Scale Seed Saving for the Home & Farm
- Gardening Like the Forest, Home-Scale Ecological Food Production
- Grow Food Where You Live: Micro-Farms & How They Work
- The Marvelous Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania
- Treatment-Free Honey Bee Stewardship
- Diagnosing Pest & Disease Problems in Crops & Vegetables
- The Art of Grafting Fruit Trees
Looks like more tough choices in deciding which of the concurrent sessions to take in! Well the good news is that all of the sessions are professionally recorded and available for sale even if you can’t make it to the conference. I’ll also provide future coverage right here of the gardening tips and info that I pick up at the 2012 PASA Conference.
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