I took advantage of the opportunity to attend the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (“PASA”) 16th annual conference a couple weekends ago.
The Farming for the Future Conference’s theme was “Cultivating Excellence – Farming to Serve the Common Good.”
16th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference
This educational event is organized by PASA and is geared towards farmers and commercial growers that are interested in organic, natural, and sustainable agricultural methods and techniques. The lectures and workshops were also of interest to the backyard vegetable, herb, or fruit grower, market gardeners, and individuals looking to begin farming or desiring to switch from commercial to organic and sustainable growing methods.
The annual conference was held in State College, Pennsylvania at the Penn Stater Conference Center from February 1 – 3, 2007. There were close to 2,000 conference attendees, over 80 exhibitors, and about 60 speakers and workshops related to organic farming and sustainable agriculture.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event and was very impressed with the wealth of knowledge and ideas that were presented at this farming/gardening conference. I walked away with lots of new gardening tips and information, not to mention several organic gardening books to add to my collection.
Sorry that I didn’t offer any advance notice to those of you in the area that would have been interested in attending, but this is a new one for me and I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never even heard of PASA until just recently. The organization has about 4,000 members… make that over 4,000 members as I couldn’t resist joining their ranks a few weeks ago.
PASA’s Goals and Objectives for Food and Farming
PASA’s primary goal is in “Promoting profitable farms which produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment.”
Following is the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s mission statement as it appears on their website at http://www.pasafarming.org/:
“PASA works to increase the number of farms and the economic viability of existing farms in Pennsylvania through farm-based educational programs, organizing an annual conference, publishing a quarterly newsletter, networking to build markets for local and sustainably produced food, providing educational programs and opportunities for new farmers, and providing information and education on farmer-developed value-added products.”
“PASA works to provide healthy food for people in both rural and urban locations. PASA increases consumer awareness about health and safe food through advocating, educating, and networking with hunger and food advocacy groups throughout the state.”
“PASA creates a thriving natural environment by promoting and providing educational programs about sustainable agricultural practices, building coalitions with environmental and statewide organizations, and promoting policies that support a positive relationship between agriculture and the natural environment.”
Getting Involved with PASA
During these days of nation-wide food scares, concern over food safety and quality, and a struggling farm industry, I think it’s very important to become aware of and support organizations such as PASA that are addressing the sustainability of the food that we eat.
If you farm, raise a vegetable garden, or are concerned about the health and vitality of our food supply you may be interested in what’s going on over at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. So check out PASA’s website and consider joining the organization or take time out to participate in one of their educational programs.
In the next entry I’ll share some of the highlights from this year’s PASA conference including information on the speakers, exhibits, and the sustainable agriculture workshops that were presented.
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