PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) was founded in 1992 to help “promote profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment”. PASA connects farmers, businesses, and consumers to provide local healthy food, from farm to fork. Through education, support, and outreach programs, PASA has been meaningfully improving our food systems for over 25 years. PASA operates in four main geographical regions in Pennsylvania due to the state’s large size and diversity.
PASA ‘s SOIL Institute (Strategic Outreach for Innovation and Leadership) aims to regenerate our soil resources while building a community of agricultural leaders and innovators to face the challenges of the future. This program is comprised of three core components: Farmer Training and Development, Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange, and Farm-Based Research.
Farmer Training and Development
PASA works to train a new generation of farmers through apprenticeships and technical coursework. This program also benefits seasoned farmers, who are seeking skilled labor but may not have the time and resources to provide technical training to their employees.
The farmer-to-farmer exchange centers on the idea that sustainable farming requires hands-on-practice, mentoring, communication, and learning between farmers and supporters. PASA’s Farming for the Future Conference and year-round educational opportunities are integral to this core component.
In their own words, “PASA embraces an expansive concept of sustainable agriculture that focuses on measurable outcomes, rather than a prescriptive set of practices.” Through their farm-based research, they work to establish benchmarks for various aspects of sustainability. Through this research, they are able to gain public support for sustainable agriculture. Soil health and pastured livestock are some of topics that they are currently researching.
“I feel incredibly proud that KWF was the first founding sponsor of PASA’s Building the Soil Campaign,” says Terry Brett, KWF founder. The Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit and Lady Moon Farm are fellow founding sponsors.
PASA’s annual conference is held each winter, and is a place for community building. The event brings together farmers, producers, consumers, students, environmentalists, businesses, and community leaders. Learn more about their Farming for the Future Conference and consider attending this year! Kimberton Whole Foods is a permanent business partner of PASA and continues to be a leading sponsor of the conference each year.