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7th annual Organic FarmFest celebrates family farms

by on July 26, 2018 10:28 AM

CENTRE HALL — Phenomenal growth in organic farming over the past few years has launched Pennsylvania into the No. 2 ranking in organic sales, second only to California.

Pennsylvania Certified Organic will celebrate this achievement by presenting the seventh annual PA Organic FarmFest July 28 at Grange Park. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Growth often brings with it challenges. Pennsylvania Food & Farm Policy Forum, presented at FarmFest, will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about, share and discuss regional issues and engage with public officials on important topics affecting Pennsylvania’s agricultural community.

“This year has been politically tumultuous with many new issues affecting farmers in addition to the controversies surrounding passage of the Farm Bill,” Leslie Zuck, executive director of PCO, said in a press release. “No one knows what lies ahead, but what we do know is that farmers, as well as the general public, want to be better informed and want their voices to be heard.”

To address this need, PCO has partnered with Pennsylvania Farmers Union, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rodale Institute to present speakers, panels and discussion circles on the Farm Bill, dairy economic issues, grassroots advocacy, women in politics, transitioning to organic, animal welfare standards and more. 

 Featured speakers and panelists include:

* Rob Larew, senior policy adviser, National Farmers Union

* Russell Redding, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

* Hannah Smith-Brubaker, executive director, PASA

* Glenn “GT” Thompson, U.S. representative

* Kristina Watson, director, Federal Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

Workshops include:
* For the Love of Pollinators

* Holistic Animal Care for Pets and Livestock

* Unusual Edible Perennials: How to Grow and Use Them

* Healthy Soil, Healthy Humans

* Let Them Eat Sewage Sludge: What Goes in Your Food and Water

Ongoing demonstrations and activities include blacksmithing, wild mustangs, rescued farm animals, wildlife, falconry, reptiles, fish printing, wagon rides, bike taxis, camping demos and an organic pavilion.

With 100 exhibitors, barns full of animals, health and environment workshops, craft demonstrations, organic food and live entertainment, FarmFest visitors will find activities for all ages. Camping is available onsite and dogs and bicycles are welcome.

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