Farming support helps spread the word
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Many farmers are so busy planning, planting, growing and selling their produce that they don't have time to meet other farmers, learn more about improving their farms and profits, and promote their business to new customers.
Two groups aim to help farmers learn more about new growing trends and ways to make their operation less dependent on chemicals, connect with other farmers and spread the word to area consumers about buying locally.
One, the Farmers Market Alliance of Western Pennsylvania, recently launched a Web site at www.farmersmarketalliance.com that offers customers up-to-date information about products and events at the alliance's 18 markets. It also offers information about markets outside the alliance, and tips for groups thinking about starting farmers markets. Call Rita Pollock at 412-818-1949 or e-mail Rita@RLPollock.com.
Another, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (www.pasafarming.org), promoting local farmers and produce with its "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign, with labels for locally grown food to appear at farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores in 19 Western Pennsylvania counties.
The group also sponsors farmer dinners at local restaurants, organizes agricultural training, matches farmers who need help with interns who want to work on a farm, and provides an online searchable database at www.buylocalpa.org of local farms, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture farms, u-pick farms, restaurants, grocers, caterers and bakers, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses selling locally grown farm products. A free print consumer's guide is available through the Web site or by calling 412-697-0411.
The group is also planning Local Foods Week in Pittsburgh for Sept. 10-16, with discussions of sustainable agriculture, events at farms and farm markets, hikes featuring local food, dinners at restaurants that feature local produce and other activities.
Correction/Clarification: (Published July 6, 2006) The correct e-mail address for Rita Pollock of the Farmers' Market Alliance is Rita@RLPollock.com. This article as originally published June 29, 2006 editions misspelled Ms. Pollock's name and e-mail address.
First Published June 29, 2006 12:00 am