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Farmers learning

February 1, 2011

In January, we checked out the Pennsylvania Farm Show. If you are from around here, you probably heard all about it. Or at least you heard of the awesome milkshakes. It’s a huge display of farm animals, food and lots of things to buy. We had fun, but our entertainment was tempered by the celebration of industrial agriculture- an opposition to our efforts toward sustainable farming. When looking at the animals on display, we were disappointed, but not surprised, at the docked goat ears, docked pig tails and the immobilized sow surrounded by her piglets. Seeing these things reaffirmed for us that when we raise goats and pigs or any other animal, we will not do it that way.

We are not only making really good food, but also insuring the animals lead a healthy, happy life. We have tasted the difference and we’re hooked on the meat from pasture-raised animals.

However, we did learn a lot from a conversation with the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association, where I learned about the potential for certain cover crops to positively impact pollinator populations. We also watched the Sheep to Shawl competition, where competing groups race to sheer the wool off a sheep, card and clean the wool, spin it into yarn and weave it into a beautiful shawl. Here are some photos from the Farm Show:

A pretty huge contrast to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, we are about to attend PASA’s annual conference. (Despite the snowstorm!) We look forward to learning more about raising pigs on pasture, mob grazing and improving pasture for animals. We’ll also get to feel a little less crazy by meeting other farmers who are just as passionate about food and improving the soil as we are.

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