PASA announces opening of its new Delaware Valley Sustainability Hub

PASA’s 5-Year Plan to Advance
Sustainable Agriculture Education

Our region faces major challenges in food and farming, including insufficient access to healthy food, soil degradation, and an ongoing loss of farmers and farmland.

To bring real change, we need to train a new generation of farmers, advance innovative practices for better farmland stewardship, and effectively communicate our achievements to our customers, neighbors and policymakers.

While there is much work to be done, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) has led the way in organizing efforts to meaningfully improve our food systems for nearly 25 years. Now, PASA is taking the next step to increase its impact with the creation of the SOIL Institute (Strategic Outreach for Innovation and Leadership ) and a robust sustainable agriculture educational program for a better and healthier future.

The SOIL Institute is aptly named, reflecting our dual intention to improve agricultural soils while also growing a community of innovators and leaders for a sustainable future.

The plan has three core elements:

Farmer Training and Development

Named in Honor of Jerry Brunetti
PASA will offer credentialed training programs for aspiring farmers, beginning with the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, the only formal, registered federally-approved apprenticeship for farming in the United States. These apprenticeship programs will integrate intensive on-the-job training under the guidance of a master farmer with a curriculum of academic courses in agroecology and farm-business planning. PASA will also provide assistance to apprentices transitioning into management positions on existing farms or starting their own farm businesses. Learn More

Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange

Named in Honor of Shon Seeley
PASA will expand educational events and online resources to help our farmers connect and explore new strategies to improve their sustainability performance. PASA’s most experienced and accomplished farmers will shape our educational agenda, and use their insights to guide concrete demonstrations of innovative farm management practices. Topics, speakers and activities will reflect local context and help address the specific challenges that our farmers face today. Learn More

Farm-Based Research

PASA will develop pragmatic tools to help our farmers monitor and improve their performance in Economic, Environmental, Energetic, and social Engagement aspects of sustainability. PASA’s Four E system will be built with the guidance of our farmers, to ensure that we capture meaningful and measureable aspects of a holistic farming system. We will also develop platforms and graphics for farmers to add value to their businesses and communicate their achievements in the Four Es to their customers, peers, and broader agricultural community. Learn More

Sustainability Hubs: an Institute Without Walls

The program elements of the SOIL Institute will be delivered through a network of Sustainability Hubs that are designed to maintain consistent quality of programs while adapting them to the bioregions and communities they serve. Each Hub has a central office with PASA staff, but no discrete geographical boundaries. Instead, PASA members in Pennsylvania and bordering states can engage with the Sustainability Hub, or multiple Hubs, that are delivering programming that reflects their needs and interests.

Interested in taking part in the SOIL program?
Please complete this form.

PASA Members can connect to a Hub by:

  • Serving as a mentor for our Farmer Training and Development programs.
  • Enrolling in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship and other programs for aspiring farmers.
  • Sharing data from your farm for our Farm-Based Research projects.
  • Hosting, attending, or speaking at field days and events.
  • Participating in meetings and discussions to shape our programming.
  • Accessing webinars, research results, and other resources through our website.
  • Engaging with other PASA members and helping to grow our community.

Fully funded, we plan for up to six Sustainability Hubs, but we are currently on track to launch our first three Hubs!

For more information visit pasafarming.org

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