Would you like fresh local produce delivered to your workplace? How about a mid-winter dose of fresh tomatoes or homemade peach jam right from your own shelves?
The annual Farm to Table Conference
March 22-23 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, with this year's theme of “Do It Yourself,” features demonstrations, speakers, samples and more than 65 exhibitors offering hands-on cooking demos, gardening tips and nutrition, health and wellness information.
The event is all about "treading more lightly on the earth and being more self-sufficient," says Erin Hart, director of health benefit services for American HealthCare Group
, which runs the event. Local farms, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and personal chefs are attending the food-tasting event, while speakers will take on such topics as "Herbal Soap Making," "Fermentation 101," "Fresh Eggs Daily from your Backyard Chicken Flock," "Mycelium Mayhem: Mushrooms for Hobby, Income and Companion Planting," "Applying Farm to Table to Your Health," and "Food as Medicine: The Power of Food to Heal."
"It seems like people are getting more and more interested in canning and preserving" and other ways of providing themselves with food that's fresh and local instead of picked in Peru six months ago, says Hart. And Pittsburgh is getting more programs such as community gardens, schools bringing farm-to-table principles into their cafes and workplaces that are implementing Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) drop sites. CSAs are farms to which you can buy a kind of subscription for a certain amount and variety of produce when it is harvested. Having drop sites in industrial parks and office complexes is "making it easier for community members to buy local and source local," Hart notes. For instance, the Penn Corner Farm Alliance goes to Westinghouse's Cranberry office lobby once a week to sell CSA subscriptions and make deliveries to employees.
"Seven years ago, when we started doing this, people had never heard of CSAs," she adds. Now Farm to Table "is a way to get to the masses of people, where public health might be impacted. Every year it grows pretty significantly," from 3,000 people last year to -- she expects -- 3,500 this year.
Teachers can get complementary registration and Act 48 credits, and those using the state's WIC benefit can get free admission as well. For tickets, visit Showclix.com and search “Farm to Table."
Want to know more and connect with CSAs? Come to the CSA Fair at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on March 16. Get more information here
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Erin Hart, American HealthCare Group