Major Opportunity for PASA & Future Harvest-CASA

January 15, 2014

January 14, 2014

Members of PASA and Future Harvest-CASA,

This letter is to inform you of an exciting new opportunity for both our organizations, and to ask you to share in the processes surrounding this opportunity that will unfold in the coming months.

Several years ago PASA and FH-CASA began the practice of swapping board members - one director from each board was selected to participate in meetings of the other.  Currently those positions are filled by Melanie Dietrich Cochran (PASA) and Greg Strella (FH-CASA). Rooted in a common understanding of the value of sharing good work, the potential of this collaboration had always been clear . . . that the two organizations might someday function as a permanent partnership, or even a single entity, connecting the entire Mid-Atlantic region. 

At the annual retreats for both organizations at the end of 2013, each board of directors passed a resolution calling on our two groups to work together in developing and implementing a plan of merger, sometime in 2014. It is important to note that, even though significant size differences exist between the two organizations - PASA has many more members - both boards are approaching this move at a time of relative stability, with an abundance of hopefulness for the future. 

In fact, a new permanent collaboration between PASA and FH-CASA has a very clear, strategic intent in mind, i.e. to launch a comprehensive educational initiative to address the needs of the sustainable farming community throughout the states we plan to serve together, namely Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, including the Metro Washington DC area. This comprehensive initiative is something that has been under development for some time, and you will be hearing much more about it in the coming year or two.

We believe that sustainability in the food system is no longer an option, but a necessity.  Separately we have provided successful leadership to our respective regions. But we do not have the luxury of spending decades working independently to make significant progress along these lines. Together we believe we can develop a much more consistent and effective approach to provide faster and more lasting results for a critical geographical region that serves some of our nation's most important - and delicate - watersheds, and most significant and influential metropolitan centers. In a word, we feel that this foodshed is of critical importance, not just to our own farmers and consumers, but to the future of our entire nation. 

We wanted to get this word out so that discussion of this union could ensue at the annual conferences for both organizations. There will be opportunities to hear about the merger in more detail at the annual conferences and beyond. We also welcome your most thoughtful questions and suggestions along the way, and will keep you informed of our mutual progress. We have much to learn as we engage in this visionary endeavor!

Sustainably yours,

Joan Norman, President
FH-CASA Board of Directors

Jennifer Halpin, Chair
PASA Board of Directors

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