Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest puts the focus on fresh

Dozens of people stopped by Trickling Springs’ tent Saturday at the Grange fairgrounds for a helping of homemade organic ice cream.

Owner Gerald Byers said the farm and creamery went public with its organic ice cream in June and was invited to the second annual Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest, which aimed to spread awareness and education on organic food, farms and lifestyles.

Like all the farmers there, Byers said going organic was something that was important for his creamery.

“There’s lot of stuff in food that just shouldn’t be in there,” he said.

Pennsylvania Certified Organic, based in Spring Mills, hosted the festival.

Executive Director Leslie Zuck, said last year, the fest attracted about 2,000 people. This year, despite the gloomy weather, she said the outcome has been “remarkable,” and included at least 50 tents this year of those who camped at the grounds during the event.

“It’s our goal to promote organic Pennsylvania,” Zuck said. “We set this up as a way to bring farmers and organic customers together.”

Money raised helps fund the PCO and its initiatives.

The event this weekend featured speakers, organic workshops, a 5K race, a “book nook” and children’s activities.

Jerry Brunetti, the keynote speaker and owner of Agri Dynamics, spoke to a crowd of people about the connectedness among the natural system, communities and the economy.

“Biodiversity is disappearing and there are less pollinators,” he said. “The organic system and local farms who produce organic goods are the focal point of everything.”

He explained that people need to be healthier, before they end up with an illness and are hospitalized.

“This starts with eating right, and that healthy food comes from organic farms,” Brunetti added. “When this happens, not only are people healthier, but money is being put back into the economy. No farms, no food.”