The Backyard

The Backyard

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, a.k.a. PASA, is the Pennsylvania source to promote and find local food. Not only do they promote Pennsylvania products (and Pennsylvania is blessed with sustainable food production), but they promote the importance of eating local, and supporting sustainability with their Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign. In short, these are the go-to guys for Pennsylvanians to learn about local eating. Their mission statement is:
"Promoting profitable farms which produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural enviornment."
PASA is for both the farmer, and the consumer. Their website has a nice map whereby you can enter your zip code and find local food. They are hooked up with Local Harvest, which is how I found the local organic spelt flour. "Local" I think should be more defined. Most locavores term local within 100 or 150 miles. Some go as far as 250 miles, others, myself included, term local within 30-50 miles. I live in a very rural area of Pennsylvania about 35 miles from any real "cities." When I'm not at work, I view "local" as within my valley -- about a 30 mile radius. So that's what I'd like to focus on as local. I can't see spending money and precious fuel on driving more than 30 or 40 miles just to get something local. Now if I'm in the City, and its on my way home (I work in the Capitol, Harrisburg), I'll certainly stop. But I won't leave the valley just to drive for food, thusl; I'm guilty of buying tofu and soymilk at the grocery story or other staples I can't get locally.


Anonymous said...

Great organizations. Here in CT, we have our farmland trusts, extensions, and the CT Grown program, with resources, links, and an amazing website and funding/support of farmers' markets and farmers.

You know, though, I have a bit of a different view regarding defining local as a fixed radius. Different people have different capabilities, practically speakings as well as desire-speaking. I don't think that they should be labeled "fake local" because they pick a different zone than some others. I don't think it is a competition, making it within the closest area or telling people with a definition as to what "counts". Rather, I think that there should simply be labels that objectively describe the distance or name the place of growth (i.e. ThatTown, or 30 miles from BigCity, or LocalSamFarm). This way there is an informed purchase. Plus, people might be willing to stay in a X radius for most things, but have some necessities in *their* lives that require branching out to Y. When you say you will only eat food 30-40 miles away, would you fault someone who eats food from further away?
If I've misunderstood, I apologize, but I really feel that local living is something that is a constant striving within one's present capabilites, and more so the awareness of where and how food comes from, not a competition to be the "most green" or "most local"

Chili said...

You are SO correct... awareness is very much the most important part. I term "local" only because I'd sorta like to attemtp to really focus on my small valley -- but obviously there are many products I will have to go outside the are -- soy milk being the first item on the list. (And, its processed to boot! geez...). Thanks for your comment.