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.
April 25, 2012 Exploring the Small Farm Dream - Lehigh County [6:15 - 9:15 pm]

April 26, 2012 Living on a Few Acres - Bucks County [7 - 9:30 pm]

April 27, 2012 Ottsville Farmers' Market opens for the season [4 - 8 pm weekly]

April 28, 2012 Doylestown Farmers' Market [7 am - 12 noon]

April 28, 2012 Earth Day, Every Day! - Snipes Farm & Education Center [9 am - 12 noon]

May 2, 2012 "Food Fight" Screening and Discussion [6:30 - 8:30 pm]

May 5, 2012 Wrightstown Farmers' Market opens for the season [9 am - 1 pm weekly]

May 6, 2012 Seed Exchange [2 - 3 pm]
May 8, 2012 Technology Tuesdays: Cow-Centered Housing Series [8:30 - 10 am]

May 10, 2012 Jam Making 101 [7 - 8:30 pm]

May 17, 2012 Herb Infused Jams [7 - 8:30 pm]

May 21, 2012 Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production [9 am - 4 pm]

For more details, see the BCFA full calendar here.


Giving to food pantries

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.

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.
Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement
Book tells stories of new farmers
, a community of more than 5,000 young farmers and activists, is celebrated in a new book of essays: Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement (Storey), edited by three of the group's leading members. Funny, sad, serious, and light-hearted, these essays touch on everything from financing and machinery to family, community building, and social change. Buy the book here.

The season begins!

We've all noticed how our temperate winter and early spring have plants and trees budding weeks earlier than usual. Local farmers have been able to plant sooner than normal and are even harvesting some spring greens. Local farmers' markets are starting too. The Doylestown Farmers' Market opened for the season on April 21, the Ottsville Farmers' Market opens on April 27 and the Wrightstown Farmers' Market opens Saturday, May 5.

In cooperation with filmmaker Chris Taylor and the Doylestown Food Co-op, the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance is showing the 2008 award-winning documentary Food Fight: Revolution Never Tasted So Good on Wednesday, May 2, at the Yardley Makefield Library, 1080 Edgewood Road, Yardley, PA. The event is free by special arrangement with the filmmakers. For more information, see the film's website. Doors open at 6:30 pm; screening of the 73-minute film begins at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a discussion.

BCFA recently received a significant donation by the University of Phoenix, one of three Bucks County nonprofits so honored. This came to us by way of our nonprofit status and our active engagement with the health and welfare of the community. Other such opportunities to “win” funds come our way periodically – in fact, we recently heard of another one that you may wish to help us receive. The First National Bank of Newtown is sponsoring a community outreach program donating a prize of $500 dollars to a local non-profit in a drawing at the end of April. If enough people nominate the BCFA maybe we can win the $500 dollar prize!  You do not have to be a customer. Just bring a can of food, stop by any branch of the First National Bank listed here, and fill out the form to nominate BCFA. Here's the information you'll need for the nomination form. Address: P.O. Box 354, Wycombe, Pa 18980. Phone: 215-598-3979. Contact name: Lynne Goldman, Administrator. Hurry!  The deadline is April 30th....

Enjoy Spring!
School lunches
Federal grants aim to bring local food to school tables
The United States Department of Agriculture today announced new funding that aims to provide fresh, healthy food for children in schools across America, and to bolster and sustain local farmers and ranchers.The agency said today that $3.5 million in new funding will be available to help local school districts organize and implement new Farm to School programs. Those critical initiatives seek to educate children about where their food comes from and improve the quality of school meals. At the same time, they also improve local and regional food systems and create new markets for local food producers. Read more here, including grant program details.

Pigs; Brian C. Frank for The New York Times
U.S. tightens rules on antibiotics use for livestock
Farmers and ranchers will for the first time need a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in farm animals, in hopes that more judicious use of the drugs will reduce the tens of thousands of human deaths that result each year from the drugs’ overuse. The Food and Drug Administration announced the new rule April 11 after trying for more than 35 years to stop farmers and ranchers from feeding antibiotics to cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals simply to help the animals grow larger. Using small amounts of antibiotics over long periods of time leads to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to the drugs’ effects, endangering humans who become infected but cannot be treated with routine antibiotic therapy. Read more here.
'Ag-Gag' laws in five states
Criminal codes in Iowa and Utah were used this year to keep secrets on factory farms by threatening jail time for anyone working undercover and taking pictures or video of animals without permission. But Iowa and Utah were not the first to adopt what we now call "ag-gag" laws. About 20 years ago, there was a similar push for these laws in farm states with very similar language adopted in North Dakota, Montana and Kansas.This means there are at least five states that now make illegal the sort of undercover work conducted by several major animal welfare groups, which involves sending someone in as an employee to record what is actually going on. Read more here.

Questionable beef
'Pink slime' distracts from food safety fight
After the product formerly known as "lean finely textured beef" came to be known as "pink slime," it quickly became unwelcome in many grocery stores, school cafeterias and fast-food chains, says Robyn Beck in an editorial in USA Today. What's frustrating, she says, is that many other aspects of food production are crying out for change too (and don't have a catchy name!), including "rampant overuse of antibiotics in animal feed," failure to meet a deadline for new rules to implement the food safety law signed in January 2011 and the failure to require a label on pork and beef that has been mechanically tenderized by poking hundreds of thin needles into a large piece of meat. The method can push bacteria from the surface to the interior. Read more here.
Big corn's big PR problem
It’s been a bad week for corn, say
s Sam Ross-Brown in the Utne Reader. Less than a month after the Midwest heat wave threw a wrench into this year’s growing season, high-fructose corn syrup has been the subject of several scathing studies on its damage to the environment and human health. Researchers at Harvard sought to find out why beehives were disappearing, says the Christian Science Monitor. Since 2006, honeybees have been abandoning otherwise perfectly healthy hives in record numbers across North America and Europe. The culprit? Of all things, high-fructose corn syrup. After harvesting a hive’s honey, many beekeepers augment the hive’s supply with a sugary sweetener (HFCS, being cheaper than real sugar, is a common go-to). The problem is that corn farmers typically treat their crop with a powerful insecticide called neonicotinoids, and trace amounts end up in the corn sweetener, which then infects the hive. The upshot, the Harvard studies found, is Colony Collapse Disorder, in which the hive’s countless worker bees fail to return after foraging for pollen. Another study has linked autism with high fructose corn syrup. "Most corn goes into things like animal feed and biofuel, but of course that doesn’t mean it has no effect on humans," concludes Ross-Brown. The Harvard study illustrates how potent this dependence can be, even when humans aren’t consuming anything. The bottom line is that, with the farm bill up for renewal in September, 2012 is a very good year to begin rethinking what we grow and why. Read more here.
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