Local, regional and national food news from the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance
Bucks County Foodshed Alliance

Mark your calendar

For more details, see the BCFA full calendar here.
Wed Oct 17, 2012 Sheep Management - Penn State Extension-Bucks County, 1282 Almshouse Rd, Doylestown, PA [7:30 - 9 pm][through Nov 14]

Thu Oct 18, 2012 Fruit Short Course for Beginning Farmers - Penn State Extension-Bucks County, 1282 Almshouse Rd, Doylestown, PA [9 am - 3 pm][through Nov 8]

Thu Oct 18, 2012 Food for Profit - Overbrook Environmental Education Center 6134 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA [9 am - 4 pm]

Thu Oct 18, 2012 Health Movie Night: Food Matters - Wellness Works, 500 Horizon Drive Suite 503, Chalfont, PA [6:30 - 9 pm]

Sun Oct 21, 2012  The Doylestown Food Co-op's LocalFest - Community Education Center, 5151 Cold Spring Creamery Rd, Doylestown, PA [3 - 7 pm]
Wed Nov 7, 2012  Eating Animals: Book & Panel Discussion - Delaware Valley College, Feldman 114, 700 East Butler Ave, Doylestown, PA [7 - 8:30 pm]

Wed Nov 14, 2012 BCFA Board Meeting [7 - 9 pm] Location TBD

Thu Nov 15, 2012 Health Movie Night: Hungry for Change - Wellness Works, 500 Horizon Drive Suite 503, Chalfont, PA [6:30 - 9 pm]

Wed Dec 5, 2012 BCFA's Annual Holiday Gifts From the Farm - Northampton Public Library, 25 Upper Holland Rd, Richboro, PA [2 - 8 pm]
For more details, see the BCFA full calendar here.

Help us help you

Consider making a donation to the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance. Our mission is to foster and expand a local, sustainable food supply in Bucks County, and to connect producers and consumers. Right now we are also working on establishing a Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter in Bucks County. Our goals are:
- Improve the variety, amount and availability of fresh, healthy and delicious locally grown food.
- Support local farmers’ ability to grow and market food.
- Be the “go-to” place for trusted information about locally produced food in Bucks County.
- Increase demand for local, sustainably grown food.
Click here to make an online donation. Thanks for your support.
Dr. Jackie Ricotta
Bucks County Farmers' Markets

Here are the local farmers' markets in Bucks County, in order of the day of the week on which they take place:

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 pm, Langhorne Farmers' Market, Jesse Soby American Legion Post, 115 W. Richardson Ave., Langhorne, PA 19047 (until the end of October)

Wednesdays, 3:00 - 6:00 pm, The Farmers' Market @ Playwicki Farm, 2350 Bridgetown Pike, Feasterville, PA
(until the end of October)

Thursdays, 3:30 - 6:30 pm, BCFA's Lower Makefield Farmers' Market, Veterans Square Park, Edgewood and Heacock Rds, Lower Makefield, PA 19067 (until the end of October)

Saturdays, 7:00 am - 12:00 pm, Doylestown Farmers' Market, W. State & Hamilton St., Doylestown, PA 18901 (until Thanksgiving)

Saturdays, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Plumsteadville Grange Farmers' Market, Plumsteadville Grange, Route 611 North, opposite Keller's Church Rd., Plumsteadville, PA (until the end of October)

Saturdays, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, BCFA's Wrightstown Farmers' Market, Wrightstown Twp. Municipal Bldg (parking lot), 2203 2nd Street Pike, Wrightstown, PA (until Thanksgiving)

Saturdays, 9:00 - 1:00 pm, Perkasie Farmers' Market, 7th and Market Sts, Perkasie, PA
  (until the end of October)
Hardcore pumpkin: Should I buy an organic jack-o-lantern?

Blogger Twilight Greenaway muses on how to celebrate the fall holiday - organic or not?

I have a confession to make: I can go a little crazy for pumpkins. As fall sets in and I start seeing those huge boxes outside grocery stores piled high with cheap pumpkins, I often feel the need to take home five. Can you blame me? Who doesn’t like the messy scooping, drawing, cutting, and candle-lighting involved in making a porch-load of grimacing jack-o-lanterns? Of course, for me and other consumption-conscious, otherwise-organic-buying pumpkinphiles out there (ahem, raise your hands), this mires us in an ethical dilemma. Read more here.

Harvest is in full swing

I was recently speaking with local farmer, Brenda Slack, and she explained that this time of year is her second busiest season, after spring. So much is coming in at area farms and farmers' markets. The last of the summer vegetables - tomatoes, zucchini, corn - and the cool weather crops, like greens, squashes, radishes, and more. And you can't drive more than a mile, it seems, in Bucks County without seeing a pumpkin patch!

The Bucks County Foodshed Alliance has had a busy and productive summer and fall too. Our potluck suppers, hosted at area farms and a grain mill, were well attended. We visited the Gemmill Farm in Warwick, the Lower Makefield Community Gardens, the Myerov Farm and CSA in Perkasie, and Castle Valley Mill in Doylestown. Hortulus Farm was the site of our Fall Benefit on September 30 and 180 people came out to show their support of the Foodshed Alliance (thank you!). It was a beautiful evening with some great local food and wine. We even had a double rainbow!

GMOs and Prop 37. As you may know, in California there is a ballot initiative that the whole country and the food movement is closely watching. Proposition 37 would require
food companies to label product that was made with genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). Many believe that as California goes, so will (eventually) the rest of the country go. It should be interesting. There are two articles below about GMOs, one reporting recent scientific studies that have shown negative health effects of GMOs, and the other about a "traditional" farmer in favor of GMO labeling.

On the farm. In today's issue, you'll find a story about David Rowley, a farmer who moved from large scale farming to organic, small farming, and is enjoying meeting his customers face-to-face at farmers' markets. Small farms could suffer if the Farm Bill is not passed or extended this year. Read about the stalemate in Congress and what programs it will impact. Another article focuses on how pigs are being raised - many in gestation crates - and how food corporations are starting to put pressure on farmers to raise pigs differently.

Hunger in Bucks County. The BBC has been visiting Levittown, PA this election year and reporting on issues affecting this 60 year old community. Their short video exposes the food insecurity happening right here in Bucks County. Interviews with food pantry clients and staff from the Bucks County Housing Group highlight the difficulties many people are experiencing just to get food on the table.

Save the dates. Mark your calendar for these upcoming events.
  • Health Movie Night. Join the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance and other sponsors for a showing of Food Matters, a film which discusses the importance of nutrition and natural therapies for helping with chronic illness. The showing will be on Thursday, October 18th at 6:30 pm in Chalfont. To get more information and to register for the event, please go to: Look too for the November Health Movie Night - Hungry for Change - happening on November 15th.
  • Eating Animals. Delaware Valley College will host this panel discussion about the book, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. Area farmers and animal science professors will be present to speak on the topic. The event takes place on Wednesday, November 7 at 7 pm in the Feldman Building, Room 114. Copies of the book can be found in local libraries or bookstores.
  • Holidays from the Farm. Want to give delicious and local gifts this holiday season? Go no further than BCFA's annual holiday market, taking place at the Free Library of Northampton Township's community room at 25 Upper Holland Road in Richboro, 18954. Come and buy gifts from some of your favorite farmers' market vendors on Wednesday, December 5, from 2 - 8 pm.
  • Winter Mini-Markets. Many area farmers will have product to sell through the winter and you'll be able to buy it twice a month at the Wrightstown Farmers' Market Mini-Markets on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays, from December 8th until April 28th. Come buy produce, meat, dairy, coffee, soap, gluten free products and more
    from your favorite farmers and producers.
Here in Bucks County, take a look at our monthly calendar of events and the list of all Bucks County farmers' markets.
Farmers' Market
Putting Culture Back Into Agriculture

“I used to be a faceless producer,” David Rowley said of his last job in conventional agriculture.  “We grew two to three tons of tomatoes a week, starting in February. There were six people, no weeds, and no pests.” At the end of 2000, three things happened that led this farmer from old school ag back to the older school of ag, and into organics and direct marketing. Fuel prices went through the roof, pushing energy costs for the Pennsylvania greenhouses from $15,000 a month to $45,000 a month. A change of management occurred, and most significantly, Rowley got ill and attributed it to pesticides. Read more here.

GMO corn
News about GMOs

Russia suspends import and use of American GM corn

Russia has suspended the import and use of an American genetically modified corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage. Separately, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has ordered its own review in to the research, which was conducted at a French university. The decision by Russia could be followed by other nations in what would be a severe blow to the take-up of the controversial technology. Historically, biotech companies have proved the safety of GM crops based on trials involving feeding rats for a period of 90 days. However, experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats - two years.The findings, which were peer reviewed by independent experts before being published in a respected scientific journal, found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage. Read more here.

Food, Inc. Conventional Farmer: “Labeling is a Win for Farmers and a Win for Consumers.”

A new and unexpected voice has come out in support of Proposition 37, the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Troy Roush, an Indiana farmer featured in the 2009 documentary Food, Inc., grows GMO corn and soybeans.Troy’s message from Food, Inc. in 2009 remains true today: Let the market decide. If consumers demand healthy food, farmers will grow more of it. Supply and demand, pretty simple. Read more here.
Shannon Hayes, author
A ‘radical homemaker’ shares her secret to greener, more affordable meat eating

With her 2010 book Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, author Shannon Hayes put forth a manifesto for a feminist, ecologically conscious way of living that rejected the dichotomy between home and work. Now, in her new book Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously, readers will be let in on Hayes’ approach to cooking, eating, and raising meat on her New York state-based Sap Bush Hollow Farm. spoke with Hayes recently about food waste, her old-fashioned approach to eating all parts of the animals, and how she believes it can solve a core dilemma for locavores. Read more here.

Bag of food
To the heart of the matter from BBC America- hunger in Bucks County

A couple of months ago a reporter from BBC America contacted the Bucks County Housing Group. David Botti is doing an election year piece on Levittown- the story of the American dream shaped sixty years ago by William Levitt. Over the course of weeks we had conversations about the poor and working poor in Levittown and David visited the Penndel food pantry site. This short film stated the truth of hunger in Bucks County: the people who are food insecure, the organizations that are struggling to keep the pantry shelves filled and community members who give what they can to make sure their neighbors do not go hungry.  Please watch it here and pass it on…

Interested in giving food to local pantries but not sure where to go? Click on this link to for a full listing of area pantries.

Want to volunteer your time? Consider joining with Rolling Harvest, a local organization that gleans and transports produce from area farms to local pantries and other sites. Learn more here.
Farm Bill
Due to Congressional inaction, we have no Farm Bill

With no new Farm Bill or extension, several programs are in big trouble

As of today, our nation’s food and farm policy in the form of the 2008 Farm Bill will officially expire, with no workable replacement. There are many who see this as a better course of events than the passage of one of the new, admittedly imperfect bills passed by the Senate in June and proposed in the House in July. Others view Congressional inaction as no big deal. The 2008 Farm Bill expiration is unprecedented in over 50 years of farm bills. Congress can and should pass a full farm bill in 2012 – one that includes robust funding for critical programs, meaningful long-overdue reforms, and continues to protect and invest in conservation. And if they must instead pass an extension, they must protect and fund critical programs that lose baseline funding, and make a down payment on meaningful reform. To learn more, including what you can do, read here.
Farmers face pressure on the size of pig sties

Sow 44733 had broken the shoulder of one of her pen mates, rousted another who was huddled in the corner and was chewing on the ear of a third. Other sows in the pen sported abrasions, torn ears and bloody tail stumps -- all souvenirs of her attentions. It was that kind of behavior that led hog farmers like Tom Dittmer to isolate sows in individual stalls called gestation crates that are barely bigger than the pigs themselves.

This year, however, Mr. Dittmer and fellow hog farmers are under increasing pressure from corporate pork buyers and animal rights groups to return to the old way of doing things: putting sows in group housing. In the last week of September alone, three companies — Dunkin’ Donuts, ConAgra Foods and Brinker International, which operates Chili’s — announced that over the next decade, they would no longer buy pork derived from pigs housed in gestation crates. Read more from the New York Times article here.

Copyright © 2012 Bucks County Foodshed Alliance, All rights reserved.
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