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PASAbilities Award Winners Announced
January 20, 2014
Dear PASA Members & Friends,
We are proud to honor Victory Brewing Company and Kim and Ann Seeley of Milky Way Farms as the recipients of our 2014 Sustainable Ag Leadership Awards. These long-time PASA members have shown innovation and leadership within the agriculture community, and we are excited to showcase these experts during our upcoming Farming for the Future Conference!
Both of our award winners will be speaking as part of the PASAbilities Plenary, sponsored by Kimberton Whole Foods, and scheduled for 10:15 am on Saturday, February 8th. Full program details and conference registration are available here.
Pictured left to right:
Kim, Ann and Jessica Seeley of
Milky Way Farms in Bradford County; along
with Brian Snyder, PASA.
In 1996, Sustainable Ag Leadership Award winners Kim and Ann Seeley were raising dairy cattle using conventional confinement methods while watching their milk sales and herd health diminish. Then they attended PASA's annual conference.
"This was the beginning of many wonderful changes on our farm," says Ann. Since then they have implemented farming methods that resemble those once used by Kim's grandfather, halting the use of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones, and returning their cattle to a grass-based diet.
"Our organic matter levels have soared and our soils are biologically thriving. Our milk and meat flavors are greatly appreciated by our customers," says Kim. "Going back to our roots was worth it."
Ron Barchet & Bill Covaleski
of Victory Brewing Company
based in Chester County.
While the Seeleys were attending their first PASA conference, childhood friends Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski, winners of the Sustainable Ag Business Leadership Award, were opening Victory Brewing Company in an abandoned factory in Downington, PA. When their beers were met with enthusiastic local response, Covaleski says, they saw it as an opportunity "to demonstrate the positives of local production, energy conservation, watershed stewardship and a whole host of practices that better sustain our environment."
Victory Brewing Company brews in fermenters powered by photovoltaic panels, feeds spent grains to local farm animals, and donates a portion of all sales of Headwaters Pale Ale--named out of reverence for Brandywine Creek, a nearby stream which supplies the brewery with its water--to local environmental advocacy groups.
While their ideas for beers continue to be "boundless," says Barchet, so does their passion for sustainability. "We have done great things over the years to decrease our environmental footprint, but when I look around our plant, our restaurant, I see still more opportunities for improvement in sustainability. So, as honored as I am to receive this reward, I feel as much obligation to improve as ever."
While reflecting on the award, the Seeleys also look to the future. "We have seen so much change in the sustainable landscape over the past 25 years," they say. "We both look forward to witnessing even more. We look forward to producing food fit for our children."
The recipients will address the PASAbilities Plenary session in addition to keynoter Miguel Altieri, internationally acclaimed Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and author of numerous books, including Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture.
Farming for the Future Conference registration continues through Tuesday, January 28.
PASA thanks our Permanent Business Partner, Kimberton Whole Foods for their sponsorship of the PASAbilities Award Series. Their dedication to sustainability and community involvement has had a tremendous impact on the foodshed.