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Farm committee slates forum on sustainable communities


lture and the role farms play in local hunger relief efforts will be the topic of a Solebury Farm Committee forum “Cultivating a Sustainable Community: Agriculture’s Role in Achieving Solebury Township’s Community Goals.”

The free forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Municipal Building, 3092 Sugan Road.

Committee Chair Kaitlin Farbotnik of Shady Fox Farm said future forums are being planned, including one focusing on landowners and how they can make land available to farmers.

Among those addressing the Oct. 3 event will be Jackie Ricotta, a professor in plant sciences at Delaware Valley University, who teaches courses in sustainable agriculture, organic crop science, integrated pest management, commercial vegetable production, and marketing of horticultural products.

Dr. Ricotta’s topic will be “Ecosystem Services Provided by Agricultural Lands and Practices, and Educating the Next Generation of Farmers.”

Cathy Snyder, founder and executive director of Rolling Harvest, will discuss “Food Insecurity in Our Community.”

Rolling Harvest partners with local farmers who share their produce with food-insecure communities in Bucks and Montgomery counties and with Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey. Their volunteers help with pickup and delivery from 38 farms and producers and distribute to more than 60 hunger relief sites.

Solebury farmers also will discuss their experiences with farming in the township.

Amy and Gary Manoff, of Manoff Market Gardens and Cidery, will talk about their Comfort Road farm, preserved by the Heritage Conservancy. They grow fruits and berries in their fields and orchards and have a retail store on site where they also sell fresh apple cider and estate bottled hard cider.

Also speaking will be Farbotnik and Ryan Burton of Shady Fox Farm. They raise pastured pork, 100 percent grass-fed beef and free range poultry and sell meat at local farm markets and through member subscriptions.

Farbotnik is the fourth generation to grow up on the preserved farm.

“The Solebury Farm Committee was established to protect agricultural land in the township,” she said.