FarmFest to promote organic growing at Grange Fairgrounds

The second annual Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest will make its way to Grange Fairgrounds the first weekend in August with family-friendly events that promote an organic and sustainable lifestyle.

The event is organized by Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a nonprofit organization in Spring Mills.

Kathryn Tokarz, PCO managing assistant and coordinator, said the FarmFest is a fun, free, community-building event that “fosters knowledge of organic agriculture and sustainable living.”

“It stresses the importance of organic sustainability that benefits land as well as people consuming the food,” Tokarz said.

Tokarz said live music, vendors and speakers are mainly Pennsylvania-based.

She said the idea of hosting an organic farm festival was sparked a couple years ago, when PCO Executive Director Leslie Zuck came up with the idea to get the community involved in organic education.

“We really wanted to find a way to educate the public and become interactive with them,” Tokarz said.

Activities this year includes a 5K run and 1-mile walk, live entertainment, agricultural movies, a “book nook,” children’s activities and educational workshops.

Speakers will include Jerry Brunetti, of Agri-Dynamics, and Gary Zimmer, of Organic Valley. Auctions and other fundraising events will benefit both the farmers union and PCO.

Last year, Tokarz said, about 2,000 people attended. This year she said PCO is expecting more, as new activities including the walk and run were established.

Race registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 3. The walk will start at 8:30 a.m. and the run will begin by 9 a.m. This run is hosted by the PCO and the Nittany Valley Running Club, and will take place at the Grange Fairgrounds.

Live entertainment will include Junior and J Mac and Friends, Vinegar Creek Constituency, Ted McCloskey & The Hi-Fis, Mountain Minstrelsy, Hot Mamas, The Rounders, Harold Taddy, Robot Mouth, Gary Gyekis & The Three Kitties, and others.

The PCO will make the FarmFest an annual event on the first weekend of August.

A five-member FarmFest committee works through PCO to organize the event.

“We really wanted to improve it this year — see what worked and what didn’t last year, and be an educational resource for locals,” Tokarz said.