Friday, March 5, 2021

Poultry resources

From Deb Heleba, at SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education):

...Earlier this week, I received a request from a farmer for SARE-funded small-scale poultry resources and I thought you might appreciate them too.

·         Profitable Poultry: Raising Birds on Pasture Our national SARE bulletin that features farmer experiences plus the latest research in a guide to raising chickens and turkeys using pens, movable fencing and pastures. 2012.

·         21st Century Pastured Poultry Farmer Nickhi Carangelo of Letterbox Farm Collective designed this guide as a comprehensive resource for farmers seeking to develop, expand or improve a pastured poultry enterprise. 2019.

·         Pastured Poultry Nutrition and Forages This publication was prepared by NCAT with SARE funding to explore the important role that forages play in pasture poultry production for either meat or egg production. 2013.

·         Remedies for Health Problems of the Organic Laying Flock Farmer Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm published this guide as part of a Farmer Grant (organic farmers should work with their organic certification organization and/or veterinarian on organic health management practices). 2002.

·         Niche Poultry Enterprises in New England: A guide for farmers and farm service providers: This guide is the result of work with poultry producers around New England to document their biggest challenges, best practices, and their advice for new poultry farmers. 2014.

·         Mobile Poultry Processing Resources. A set of resources was developed as part of a Research and Education grant, “Outreach, training, and education for small-scale poultry producers using MPPUs in Massachusetts”:

o   Building an On-Farm Poultry Processing Facility Drawing on their own experiences and those of other poultry processing projects around the country, Sam Anderson* and Jennifer Hashley of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project put together this comprehensive guide to planning and constructing a mobile poultry processing unit (MPPU) or stationary facility for on-farm poultry processing. 2012.

o   Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processors: Jennifer Hashley and Judith Gillan produced this overview of Massachusetts regulations regarding the slaughter of poultry and how that applies to use of a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit. 2012.

o   Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Farm and Food Safety Management Guide: Jennifer Hashley and Judith Gillan also prepared this guide for small-scale poultry producers and processors using a Massachusetts-inspected mobile poultry processing unit or stationary on-farm facility. 2012.


Debra Heleba [she/her]

Communications Specialist

Northeast SARE | University of Vermont

140 Kennedy Drive, Suite 202 | South Burlington, VT 05403 | 802.651.8335 x 552



Friday, January 29, 2021

Report of the Elections Task Force




The Elections Task Force

January 24, 2021

While we respect the work of conducting the November election, we cannot declare an election a success simply because poll workers and voters overcame barriers put in their way. We should celebrate the perseverance of poll workers and voters with indignation at conditions that made perseverance necessary and with determination to redesign the systems that create these barriers.

These systems problems cost the County and the taxpayer. More than 29,000 incorrect ballots were sent to voters. Correcting this took money, time, and resources as did addressing problems created by poor poll worker training and inadequate staffing. This report covers management system problems and recommends improvements. Many of these systems problems are chronic. While the County is responsible for some and the State for others, all must be addressed.

The question is how to get the County to address these system problems in a transparent process that engages the public and incorporates feedback?

The full text of the report can be found here.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Reference Guide for New Zoomers

In order to continue our long tradition of community gatherings while practicing social distancing to help protect our community from the worst effects of the novel coronavirus, Sustainability Salons are being held via teleconference using the Zoom platform.  One silver lining to this pandemic situation is that we’re having participants who usually can’t attend in person because of distance or physical limitations (e.g., allergies).  Here are some tips that may help you navigate the process.

You’ll be able to connect from your computer, tablet, or smartphone (of course the larger the screen, the better your experience!).  If you have a problem getting connected, read the tips below and try again, or look on the  Zoom web site for answers — there’s a pretty comprehensive Help section (click on Support in the upper right).  

Some of you have used Zoom before, others have not.  If you haven’t, you’ll need to install Zoom on your computer, but it should be pretty easy (you may need your own password, for your system to allow the software installation; this doesn’t go anywhere else) — you’ll click on the link I give you in this email, and it’ll bring up a registration form, and then Zoom will send you another email with a signon link.  Click that a little while before the meeting is scheduled to start, and it’ll prompt you for each step (the link opens a web page, and from there it asks to download and run the application, or just open it if you already have it).  The whole process is pretty simple and automated, so you should find yourself with a Zoom window in the middle of your screen.  As with most windows, you can click on the boxy symbol to expand it to full-screen, as you prefer.  It may look plain at first, but it will soon have a number of little boxes with names and perhaps images of people.  And if you move the cursor a bit, a row of buttons will appear along the bottom of the window.  

Mute:  With so many participants, it won't be practical to have everyone talking.  You’ll start out muted (shown in the lower left of the Zoom window, as a picture of a microphone with a line through it), and likely remain muted for most of the time.  If you need to say something to everyone, there's a "Raise Hand" option in the Participant window, but please wait for a host to ask you to un-mute, then click that microphone icon — and then be sure to mute again afterward, or things will get pretty noisy.  

Chat:  There is, however, a chat facility — so if you have questions for a speaker or comments in between, you can type it in and we’ll figure out when best to present it.  We'll have one or more co-hosts moderating the chat window, keeping stack, prioritizing questions, and conveying them to the speaker (or whoever).  To see and use the Chat window, click on the Chat icon on the bottom of your Zoom window — it looks like a little word-bubble.  

Video:  I set it up so that everyone can use video, but you don’t need to — you can toggle on and off with a button (a video camera icon) on the bottom left of your Zoom window.  If your video is on, folks may see a little thumbnail of your image.  If it’s off, just a black rectangle with your name. With this many people either the thumbnails will be really tiny, or they won’t all be shown — we’ll probably have multiple screens worth.  It also may affect sound or video quality due to bandwidth limitations — again, I don’t know with this many people, so at some point we may just say “Hey everyone, turn your video off!”  Our priority is to provide a good view of the speakers and their slides, and perhaps occasionally someone else participating in the discussion.  

Sound:  You can listen to everything on your computer/tablet/phone speaker, or with headphones or earbuds, whatever is most comfortable for you.  If you need to speak, those devices probably have microphones as well, but if not, at the time you sign on you’ll have the opportunity to test it and the option to use a phone for sound instead — you’ll be able to see the presenters and their slides on the screen, and hear and speak through a phone call (it’ll give you a number to call.  You’ll need to have your phone on for the whole time, though, so be sure it’s plugged in and you don’t have limited minutes!).  You’ll probably want to put the phone on Speaker mode and set it beside you, or use earphones;  it’d be a long time to hold it to your ear!  

It is also possible to use a smartphone or tablet for the whole thing, if that’s more convenient for you.  The interface will be a little different — there’s less space on the screen, of course, and a somewhat different sign-on procedure.

In theory you could have several people at one location, but note that a laptop microphone might not be adequate for each of you to be heard by others if you're not close together right in front of the computer.  (If so, you can also use a phone for sound instead as just mentioned). 

It is even possible just to dial in on a regular phone, and you’ll be able to hear and be heard — but again, please mute your phone — with eighty people on the line with random background noises, it would get pretty hard to hear!  (we can also mute you, if you’re on a phone without that function).

Sign-on:  You should have a Zoom Invitation in your email.  As noted above, just click on the meeting link therein and it’ll take you to the registration page — provide your name and email, and you’ll receive the meeting link (and phone numbers in case you want to just dial in — but again, you’ll have a richer experience if you can use a computer, tablet, or even smartphone.  There will be multiple phone numbers because many people use Zoom to have meetings distributed around faraway places).   One last note — if something goes wrong, you can just go back to your confirmation email and click the link to start over. 

If you are using a phone, my test this morning showed that there are a couple of possible hitches, easy to circumvent once you know about them (so I’m telling you now to save you the frustration I had a couple of hours ago!):  If you have autocorrect, predictive text and/or automatic capitalization on your smartphone, it’s very hard to get past the CAPTCHA step (obscured text you have to type in manually to prove you’re a human being).  In my test, I kept failing because the phone tried to re-spell the nonsense word as a real word!  On my iPhone, I went into Settings, then to General, then to Keyboard, and scrolled down to un-set those options.  Then it worked fine!  I don’t know the Android equivalent, but it’s probably similar. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Alarming plan to gut the DEP: sign-on letter

Below is the text of a letter by attorneys at the Environmental Integrity Project, protesting a proposal to gut the regulatory powers of the PA DEP.  You can sign onto this letter here.  Please do!  DEADLINE TO ADD YOUR NAME:  Sept 22 at noon!

September 23, 2019 

Subject: Citizen Opposition to House Bills 1106 and 1107 
To the Honorable Thomas W. Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania Senate: 

How much faster does the petro-chemical buildout in Pennsylvania need to be? 
The General Assembly of Pennsylvania is poised to vote on a package of bills known as Energize PA. These bills are intended to pour fuel on the already growing wildfire of oil and gas expansion in the state. Two of these bills – HB 1106 and HB 1107, will be voted on this week. If passed, the General Assembly will be doing just what industry wants . . . turning the Commonwealth into a Welcome Wagon for all things oil and gas, at the reckless expense of public health, the environment, and quality of life. 

Hidden in these sweeping proposals, under the guise of economic growth and expansion, are measures that will do more than just line the pockets of oil and gas executives. HB 1106 and HB 1107 also seek to gut the permitting authority of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and transfer it to a newly created and politically appointed 5-person Permitting Commission whose sole task will be to rubber stamp all environmental permit applications. Strong and enforceable permits, with robust provisions for public participation, are what protect people against the health and environmental impacts of all kinds of industrial activities that threaten air and water quality, not just oil and gas. These bills take all of those protections away. 

This cannot be allowed to proceed, but if it does, Pennsylvania will forfeit its authority to implement any federal environmental program until the state seeks approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of these substantial changes. These bills gut a significant portion of DEP’s authority and such a move would require EPA approval. This is because federal laws such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act are administered in states through a process where EPA approves (“authorizes”) a state to implement the federal program. If Pennsylvania does submit requests for revisions to its federal authorizations, this process provides for public comment and judicial review of EPA’s final decision-making. And until necessary revision requests are submitted and approved, a process that could prove lengthy, EPA will likely take over permitting, enforcement, and all other responsibilities in

Pennsylvania regarding the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and more. 
This is reckless lawmaking, but not surprising. Together, these bills represent the culmination of a long-game playbook written by the oil and gas industry that has now been plopped into the lap of malleable state legislators. And here’s how it goes. 

Step 1: Starve DEP by slashing funding by 24 percent between fiscal year 2007 and fiscal year 2019 despite the exponential growth of shale gas production – from less than half a billion cubic feet per day in 2008 to more than 18.7 billion cubic feet per day as of June 2019. 
Staffing levels have decreased 23 percent since 2006. The Oil and Gas Program suffered some of the deepest cuts. As of early 2018, this program ran a $600,000 a month deficit, and staff was reduced from 226 to 190 employees compared to 2006, with a 43 percent staff reduction in the Southwest District Office, and 15 percent in the Northwest District Office, both of which assume a sizable portion of the Department’s oil and gas permitting. In 2018, despite these paralyzing cutbacks, DEP managed to issue 2,149 oil and gas permits even though only 917 wells were drilled. So is a faster permit track really needed? 

Step 2: After decimating the agency, complain about the permit “backlog” as the budget-starved DEP struggles to keep up with the avalanche of permit applications from companies who run over local communities in their rush to sink even more gas wells, install tank farms and compressors, build gas processors and petrochemical plants, and pummel the roads and highways with continuous, polluting truck traffic. 

Step 3: Purport to solve the “problem” created by the budget and staff cuts by taking permitting authority away from DEP and give it to a new political commission charged with ensuring that all shale gas projects (and any other activity that requires an environmental permit) never again have to sit down with regulators and work through real environmental problems. Permits will be approved in 30 days or they will be deemed approved – no matter how complex, no matter how technologically complicated the pollution control equipment, no matter how much threat the activity poses to the health of nearby communities. This is all so the shale gas industry, an industry that’s expanded by a factor of 37 since 2008, can overrun the state (in the name of progress) even faster than it has in oil patch states like Texas and Louisiana. 

Thanks to budget cuts, industry lobbyists, and their amen corner in the state legislature, the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania is already driving a hundred miles an hour, exposing communities to more air and water pollution and increasing the risk of deadly accidents. Now the legislature wants to double a speed limit that is already too dangerous. 
“Expediting” permitting in Pennsylvania is a solution in search of a problem in a state where gas production has increased by a factor of 37 since 2008, much faster than any other state. And the permit “backlog” is a “problem” the state legislature created by hacking away at the budget for environmental protection year after year. And again, because it does bear repeating, permits already are being approved by DEP permit staff at a rate more than three times faster than shale gas projects can be built. 
DEP needs to be supported, not dismantled. In addition to the 2,149 oil and gas permits issued in 2018, DEP also discovered 4,060 oil and gas violations, and collected $4,140,382 in fines and penalties. The Department is not perfect, but there are good people within DEP trying to do the right thing with one hand tied behind their backs due to impediments created by the same legislature that is proposing these reckless bills. 
These bills must be defeated and funding and appropriate staffing levels must be restored to DEP. If these bills are passed, Governor Wolf must veto them. 

Respectfully submitted, 
Lisa Hallowell, Senior Attorney 
The Environmental Integrity Project 
Philadelphia, PA 19106 
Lisa Graves Marcucci, 
Coordinator Community Outreach 
The Environmental Integrity Project 
Pittsburgh, PA 15236 

Additional signatories..

Friday, June 14, 2019

Jobs: Grow OV/Americorps

Grow Ohio Valley, the great food-policy organization just over in Wheeling, WV we heard from at the last Sustainability Salon, is doing some hiring (with the Americorps program)! Several positions are open:  

Communications & Marketing AmeriCorps VISTA - 1 Year - Manage social media, digital marketing, advertising, and other communications activities relating to all aspects of the organization. 
Education Programs Coordinator - 1 Year (Jan/Feb start) | 6 Month (Rolling start) - Plan and facilitate educational opportunities for the community. Currently seeking coordinators for Project Worm, School Gardens, and Sprout programming.
Key Organic Farm Hand - 6 Month | 3 Month (May/June start) - Be involved in all aspects of the annual agricultural cycle, from enhancing farming sites over the winter, to field preparation, as well as improving and documenting production processes and data collection 
Food Hub Coordinator - 6 Month | 4.5 Month (May/June start) - Play a key role in aggregating food and getting it into the hands of the people. Positions include Hub/warehouse lead, CSA lead, FARMacy lead, mobile market lead, and access coordinator.
Click here for detailed position descriptions.  More info and links are here:
Contact with questions or for more information.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Job: Pittsburgh Food Policy Council

Do you have what it takes to be the Operations and Communications Manager for the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council? View the job description below and send your resume and accompanying information to!
Reports to: Executive Director
Job Title: Operations & Communications Manager
Status: Full-time, exempt
Organizational Description
The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) convenes over 80 member entities and 130 individuals in a growing ‘ecosystem’ of expertise, information, relationships, and resources Our members include governmental, non-profit, business, educational, cooperative, and agricultural stakeholders within the food system. The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) works to build a food system that benefits our communities, our economy and our environment in ways that are just, equitable and sustainable for all. We coordinate programs and projects and catalyze change through holistic, systems-level transformation. Guided by the collective impact model, we research and promote food, agricultural, land use and public health policies that expand local sustainable agriculture, equitable development, and access to healthy food, particularly in low-income communities. Since 2019, the PFPC is fiscally sponsored by The Community Foundation of the Alleghenies and has a small staff that works out of our new office located in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood.
Job Summary
The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is pleased to announce our first full-time Operations & Communications Manager to join our team. This key position will be responsible for managing communications, outreach and day-to-day operations. Operations & Communications Manager will be a critical role for the Council as we publicly launch our countywide Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan this spring in coordination with our many partners.  
This role is both strategic and tactical, requiring the ability to think big while managing details, working collaboratively with the Council staff and network. The Operations & Communications Manager is a creative and energetic self-starter who is organized and proactively engages PFPC staff, leadership, and our network in communications, events, and community partnerships. The Operations & Communications Manager is someone who enjoys working independently and collaboratively as part of the team. This person will continuously explore ways to build the Council and share stories. A passion for food systems and food justice are important to the success of this role, though food systems experience is not required. This position will be responsible for managing members, interns, contractors, and vendors to support activities.
Reporting to the Executive Director, this position will include:
Outreach & Communications (60%)
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of a communications strategy and implementation plan in concert with PFPC team;
  • Manage all communications channels including staff and member contributions to the Council including our website and social media, proactively seeking content to share the work of the Council and its members and the food systems field in our region;
  • Write and develop engaging materials about the PFPC for a variety of audiences (elected officials, nonprofits, businesses, etc) through both social and traditional media in coordination with PFPC team; Manage all aspects of communications including copywriting, graphic design/layout, photography and relationships with vendors. Specific tasks include but are not limited to our e-newsletters, website content including news, blog, and events calendar; online photo collections, etc.
  • Assist Executive Director with development,  fundraising communications and events including writing of annual reports, funder updates and impact reporting, fundraising case for support boilerplates for grant-writing team, grant research and reports, pitch decks, and appeal letters and donor thank you letters;
  • Work with the PFPC team to help shape external materials (presentations, reports, case studies),  and visual elements for events leading the design of materials and supporting to illustrate concepts working with a graphic designer or in-house;
  • Work with the PFPC team and network to collect and share stories of the Council’s collective impact, projects, and events in a way that engages our varied stakeholders. Continually identify ways to enhance benefits for our membership and network and the PFPC through communications;
  • Work closely with the PFPC team to support the execution of public-facing training and education campaigns and events, public-facing fundraising campaigns and appeals;
  • Maintain and enhance branding standards to create a consistent and effective look in marketing materials; Make sure event concept and print materials are on message;
  • Develop and nurture relationships with local media. Strive to gain the PFPC coverage in the local media, maintain records of media contacts and community coverage, and regularly update the Council’s media list;
  • Improve and regularly update the PFPC and Food Action Plan websites, ensuring consistency with brand and messaging. Monitor and manage Council’s online presence and messaging;
  • Represent and present the work of the PFPC at meetings, events, and conferences, as well as ensure the Council has a presence in the community through tabling at events and other opportunities, coordinating with staff, interns, and volunteers as needed;
  • Keep up-to-date on emerging communications technologies that could help the Council promote its mission.
Operations (40%)
  • Manage day-to-day operations of the PFPC office, including maintaining meeting schedules and calendars, supplies, and general inquiries;
  • Improve processes and policies in support of organizational goals; Implement and manage operational plans; Coordinate, supervise and train event volunteers;
  • Work with PFPC team to develop regular internship opportunities and procedures; receive and manage queries from students, collaborators and community partners;
  • Manage planning of bimonthly full Council meetings and educational events; provide administrative support for the Steering Committee and Working Group meetings;
  • Assist the Executive Director with Human Resource management; manage/support volunteers, interns, and new staff onboarding;
  • Assist with financial management including expenses processing and serving as a liaison with our fiscal host and commercial landlord; Identify and manage event sponsors;
  • Oversee event management and planning from concept to execution including facilitating the creation of event concept to developing a project/ event plan all while ensuring the plan is implemented on time and within budget;
Education, Experience and Skills
Relevant skills and experience include creative and strategic thinking, research, website and social media management,  persuasive writing and speaking, event logistics and project management skills. A strong candidate will have familiarity with food justice, policy, collective impact, and the Pittsburgh area nonprofit landscape. Lived experience highly valued.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in marketing, communications, community relations/engagement, business administration, public policy or related field
  • Demonstrated success in communications and community engagements/organizing; experience with multi-stakeholder communications and working within a team; high level of comfort with social media and online community building; Experience managing public education campaigns, social media or marketing campaigns
  • Experience planning and implementing special events and working with volunteers is preferred
  • Excellent verbal and written communicator and presenter, creative thinker and team player; positive, enthusiastic presence with good public relations skills;
  • Passionate about storytelling and developing simple but compelling messaging
  • Demonstrated ability to provide strategic direction in organizational outreach and communications planning and implementation;
  • Excellent project and operational management and organizational skills;
  • Experience or knowledge of food systems a plus but not required; commitment to food justice a must;
  • The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative management style and be ready to jump in to assist with any task at hand and will be comfortable in a self-directed, dynamic work environment- the ability to multitask; Delegate responsibilities effectively;
  • High comfort level working in a diverse environment and strong community relationships a plus
  • Proficiency in one or more of the following social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc as well as proficiency in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and/or other web-based software; knowledge of task management web-based programs like Asana and graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign a plus; qualified person will exhibit a willingness to learn
Defining Success in the First Year:
Working closely with the staff and network, successfully improve brand awareness and reach for the Council, organize professional, engaging, inclusive and vibrant community events, and build on existing partnerships. Contribute to deepen sense of unity, solidarity and collective impact through communication of demonstrated outcomes and rigorous engagement. Expand on the recognition of the PFPC for food system actions and thought leadership in our state and region.
Statement of Values / Equal Opportunity Employer
The PFPC believes that our current food system disproportionately hurts the most marginalized people in society — including people of color, people from low wealth and working-class backgrounds, women and LGBTQ people. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do and therefore strongly encourage applications from people with these lived experiences or who are members of these and other marginalized communities to apply.”
The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability or belief.
Compensation & Work Environment
Pittsburgh Food Policy Council’s office is located in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood. Staff are employees of The Community Foundation of the Alleghenies, our fiscal host. We have a comfortable office space with frequent member activity and lots of sunlight.
Target full-time annual salary is between $40,000 and $46,000 commensurate with experience. Eligible benefits include health, vision and dental insurance, paid vacation and sick leave. Retirement benefits available after 6-month work-aversary. Support of staff development through training opportunities and professional development.  This position is grant funded.
Salary and benefits to be negotiated based on qualifications and experience. Primarily daytime work hours with occasional evening and weekend events.
How to Apply
Please submit a resume, cover letter, professional references, samples of past work (writing, collateral design, press coverage or any relevant work that demonstrates your qualifications) to with the email subject “Operations & Communications Manager.”
In your cover letter, please describe your past experiences and/or efforts to advance social justice, diversity, and inclusion. Applications lacking any of the aforementioned documents will not be considered. If your qualifications and experience are a good fit for the position, you will be contacted to participate in the review and interview process.
For more information on Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, visit

Saturday, February 2, 2019