How involved are you with agriculture? Most people will say not much, unless they’ve planted a seed or milked a cow or raised a chicken. Truth is that we’re involved with agriculture every day of our lives. We all eat food, right? Which means we should all be concerned with where it comes from.
This was the premise of PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference, The Sustainable Challenge: Providing for a Livable Tomorrow. I attended the 19th annual conference on Friday with 2,000 other folks who are passionate about food and concerned with its origin and quality.
The mission of PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) is to “transform agriculture and food systems in Pennsylvania and beyond in a way that makes farmers more viable, improves the land, and restores the health and wellbeing of all citizens.”
I bumped elbows (literally, the hall was packed) with traditional Amish farmers and progressive farmers and environmental activists. Some were dressed in flannel and suspenders, others in slacks and cowboy belts, and a few in suits and ties.
My mission was to find out how public media can be used to help promote PASA’s pursuits. I’m fortunate to have spoken to some really influential individuals and look forward to our collaborations.
This was a conference about food, so of course there were some excellent options. All of the meals were provided by local vendors. (I wish such wholesome food was so easily accessible every day — maybe some day.) For lunch I enjoyed a hummus wrap and pasta salad from Gaffron’s Sunrise Bakery in Centre Hall. And I purchased potato salad and applesauce from Eden View Organics to share with Nick later that night.
I also spent a few minutes between workshops sampling treats from Tait Farms (which is where we found our tannenbaum in December). The herbal balsamic vinaigrette was especially tasty and found its way into my brown grocery bag. The next night we drizzled it over organic greens. It can also be used in grilled vegetable and bean salad or warm mushroom and spinach salad. I tasted other items at Tait’s table that I plan to bring home soon, such as sour cherry dark chocolate sauce, ginger peach chutney, and apricot butter.
My final treat of the day was Alaskan sockeye salmon from Wild for Salmon. I purchased the fillet from the young couple who caught it. It’s sustainably harvested, fresh frozen, and vacuum packed. And it was delicious. On Saturday — our final Saturday on Locust Lane — we seasoned it simply with salt and pepper and pan fried it in olive oil. Before serving we squeezed a lemon over top and sprinkled it with parsley. Oh, yum.
I leave you with some food for thought (and encourage you to support local farmers in your community!):
- Eat food produced as close to home as possible.
- Feed thy neighbor as thyself.
- Simplicity is beautiful.
- Feed the world with local food. It may not be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.
- Fair prices will keep nutritious food on our tables.
- Who’s your farmer?