Historic Lewes Farmers Market awards scholarships to local farmers

January 14, 2013

The Historic Lewes Farmers Market has awarded scholarships to six Delmarva farmers. The scholarships of $500 will enable these farmers to attend sustainable agriculture conferences. Five recipients will attend the Pennsylvania Farming for the Future Conference Feb. 6-9 in State College, Pa. Bennett Orchards will attend the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, Pa. Jan. 29-31.

The HLFM provides these scholarships, as it has for the past six years, to further its mission of promoting and strengthening sustainable farming through education and public outreach, including the Historic Lewes Farmers Market every summer. Recognizing the importance of sustainable agriculture to the community, individual donors have again generously stepped forward to contribute to the scholarship fund.

PASA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the economic viability and environmental soundness of the local food and agricultural systems. PASA assists working farmers who not only grow food but also are concerned with the ecological well-being of the environment and natural resources. PASA is the only statewide, member-based sustainable farming organization in the Northeast U.S. and is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the nation.

The Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention has been jointly sponsored by the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, the Maryland State Horticultural Society, and the New Jersey State Horticultural Society for the past 35 years. The National Peach Council, of special relevance to scholarship recipient Bennett Orchards, will meet at the convention for their annual meeting as well. The Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, and Rutgers University Cooperative Extensions all assist in organizing the convention’s three days of educational sessions. The convention has become one of the premier grower meetings in the Northeast.

The 2013 recipients of the HLFM scholarships include:

Helen Waite, Black Hog Farmstead. Black Hog is interested in expanding its network of experts and learning a great deal more about the holistic management movement.

Carrie Bennett, Bennett Orchards. Bennett Orchards has employed and continues to adopt sustainable practices, including biological pest control methods such as disrupted mating techniques and integrated pest management practices. Bennett also is interested in the use of nematodes for borer control, a session offered at the conference, along with an important presentation on maintaining a healthy bee habitat for blue orchards bees so pollination of blueberry crops may be fostered.

Lisa Garfield, Calliope Farms. Calliope is certified naturally grown, uses organic principles and focuses on building the soil through cover crops, compost and mineral amendments. Calliope notes that the PASA conference offers a yearly opportunity to learn from experienced agriculturists. Calliope believes that farmers need to possess a wide and varied set of skills from animal care and husbandry to caring for vegetable and fruits, machine maintenance and building, and troubleshooting and marketing. Attending the PASA conference will give Calliope the opportunity to learn new skills and new ways to become more efficient.

Ted Wycall, Greenbranch Farms. Greenbranch is most interested in the opportunities at the PASA conference to learn more about soil management and animal husbandry, with the goal of producing the healthiest food possible while maintaining the health of the land.

Chris Bohinski, Pure Harvest Farm. Pure Harvest is interested in learning about new methods of feeding its chickens, how to raise some of its own feed, and how to make its egg and meat production more efficient, so a PASA workshop on becoming a USDA-certified poultry processing facility is on Pure Harvest’s list of sessions to attend.

Susan Ryan, Good Earth Market. Good Earth Organic Farm is one of the oldest certified USDA organic farm in Delaware, 100 percent committed to sustainable agriculture practices for 10 years. Good Earth plans to learn more about crop rotation and pest management as well as marketing and egg production.

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