Monthly Archives: February 2016

Join RenewLV at “Save It or Pave It” Lunch Discussion on 2/26

saveitorpaveit

“Save It or Pave It” Lunch/Discussion on 2/26 at NCC’s Fowler Center on Bethlehem’s Southside

Is the loss of farmland in the Lehigh Valley and the development and the traffic it brings of deep concern to you?
If you answer, “yes!” then we hope that you’ll attend RenewLV’s “Save It or Pave It,” Lunch/Discussion on Friday, 2/26 from noon to 2:30 p.m. on the 6th floor of NCC’s Fowler Center on Bethlehem’s Southside.

What will happen there?

1. We will review the regional goal for farmland preservation:
The 2005 Lehigh Valley Comprehensive Plan states the regional goal for farmland preservation as “To preserve approximately 25 percent of the land in Lehigh and Northampton counties for agriculture.”
2. We will ask: “Are we on track to meet this goal?”
3. We will explore strategies to preserve farmland, asking: “What are the steps that citizens, local municipalities and county leadership can take to preserve the agricultural character and economy of our region before it is lost to development?”

With the arrival of the LVPC’s projected 146,000 more people to the Lehigh Valley over the next 20 years, it is RenewLV’s position that we must do more to be proactive in preserving our farmland. As we see development outpacing farmland preservation, we believe that efforts to preserve farmland at all levels of government need to be supported and increased.

According to Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Assessment Report: Lehigh Valley Local Food Economy, “the biggest challenge facing the Lehigh Valley local food economy is the loss of farmland (page 1).” Furthermore, “The local food economy generates $17 million in economic activity for the Lehigh Valley annually and has the potential to contribute much more.”

Crosswods

Participants of the 3rd Annual Summit for Smart Growth discuss farmland preservation with Jeff Zehr, Maria Bentzoni, Percy Dougherty, Forest Wessner Jr, and Julie Thomases

There are many benefits to farmland preservation:

• Farmland is the foundation of our local food and agricultural economy, preserving farmland is economic development
• The Lehigh Valley’s farms and farmland provide much of the beauty, character and identity of our region
• Protecting farmland helps to keep our property taxes down. Cows don’t go to school.
• Protected farmland and open space increases property values. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s report, Return on the Environment came to that conclusion.
• Protected farmland has numerous environmental benefits. Water filtration, ground water recharge, air purification, flood control, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration.
• There is strong landowner interest in farmland preservation.

Polls repeatedly show that the people of the Lehigh Valley overwhelmingly want their farmland and open space protected, yet why isn’t more being done?

Come to our event and find out.

There is no cost to attend this event, but seating is limited, so it is necessary that you register. The lunch will be locally sourced.

We especially hope to see elected and appointed officials from the region’s rural municipalities…and farmers. Register now and reserve your seat.

Questions? Email us at smartgrowth@renewlv.org or call 484-893-1060.

An Historic Idea with a New Twist to Improve Food Security in the Lehigh Valley

An Historic Idea with a New Twist to Improve Food Security in the Lehigh Valley 

Friends,

Did you know that 40% of the food grown in America is wasted from field to plate.  This food waste can be captured to distribute local, fresher foods to the Lehigh Valley agencies that serve the hungry.

What’s old is new again.  Have you heard about “gleaning” and the impact it can have on reducing food insecurity in the Lehigh Valley?

In 1857, Jean-Francois Millet painted a scene of women “gleaning” or harvesting leftover grain.

Jean-François_Millet

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gleaning as the act of gathering grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered.  Applied regionally, gleaning would involve a network of volunteers to collect excess fresh food from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers and restaurants to provide it to those in need.

This old world concept has the potential to end food insecurity in the Lehigh Valley!

Why is this important?  Monthly, almost 70,000 people are relying on Second Harvest Food Bank for food, and surplus produce can help feed our region’s hungry.

In order to make gleaning work in the Lehigh Valley, we need you.   Are you a citizen who wants to do your part to make sure that your neighbors have enough nutritious food to eat? Regular people can make a huge impact, but they must first understand the existing food pantry system and be sensitive to the needs of the farmers and food producers.

The Food Recovery and Respect working group of the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council is hosting a freeGleaning Workshop to inspire, inform and mobilize volunteers.  They will meet on Feb. 17th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Northampton County Human Services Building, 2801 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem, PA 18020.

This informative workshop will feature Cathy Snyder, from Bucks County Rolling Harvest, a successful gleaning program since 2009 that connects farmers to neighbors in need.  It grew from one person’s effort to a successful not-for-profit organization.  Reservations are necessary to attend, as seating is limited.

Nancy Walters, Co-Chair of the Food Recovery and Respect working group, wants to increase the amount of fresh, nutritious food that the food pantries in the Lehigh Valley distribute to people who need it by recovering food that would otherwise be wasted.  She already began gleaning efforts on a smaller scale through an all volunteer effort at the Easton Hunger Coalition, that has already been mentored by Rolling Harvest.  Nancy’s hope is that the work in Easton will inspire an expanded volunteer network throughout the entire Lehigh Valley.  These efforts can start as simply as a citizen asking a farmers market vendor “What are you going to do with that extra stuff?” and then delivering it to a nearby pantry.

But, to work well at a regional level  volunteers must understand the logistics and respect the farmers’ properties.   Please come to this workshop to learn what you need to know in order to have an impact.

Event seating is limited.  Please reserve your place at this important workshop by emailing an RSVP to Brooke Kohler (bkohler@nurturenaturecenter.org) or contact Nancy Walters (nancywalters@rcn.com or 610-217-6262 cell) with questions.

 Hope to see you there!