Connecting Our Communities: Unveiling the 2024 Pennsylvania Farm Show Theme

Pennsylvania Farm ShowCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited the Eat Real Food Mobile Market at Paxinosa Elementary School in Easton on Wednesday to announce the theme for the 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show: Connecting Our Communities. The 2024 PA Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s State Fair™, will run from Saturday, January 6 through Saturday, January 13 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

“The Pennsylvania Farm Show is a living story of Pennsylvania agriculture, connecting those who are fed, nourished, and enriched by our industry to those whose lives and livelihoods depend on it,” Secretary Redding said. “Agriculture unites us. It is the food, fuel, and fiber we rely on for our quality of life and our economy. Food helps define our cultures and our identities.

“Eat Real Food Mobile Market is a perfect illustration of how agriculture connects communities and nourishes their futures. It’s a fitting backdrop to highlight how the 2024 Pennsylvania Farm Show will showcase the pride and hard work of farmers from across the state, connecting people from all walks of life to a celebration of the importance of agriculture in our communities.”

The Kellyn Foundation’s Eat Real Food Mobile Market visits multiple sites on a regular weekly schedule and includes sampling, nutritional education, and recipes. Eat Real Food provides healthy, local food access at an affordable price, providing opportunities for families to connect with nutritious foods, and bringing communities together around agriculture to provide better outcomes for all.

This market grew out of a multi-industry partnership of the Kellyn Foundation, the Bethlehem Area School District, the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Penn State Extension, Rodale Institute, the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, Meals on Wheels and Second Harvest Food Bank. These organizations joined forces to support a stronger local food system, ensuring locally grown food production can flourish through the development and expansion of local food infrastructure. This effort includes farmers, manufacturers, processors, distributors, institutional buyers, neighborhoods and individual consumers, along with the support of governmental, non-profit and for-profit entities. Together, they are creating jobs, supporting the environment, championing the health of their community, and reducing food insecurity.

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The 2023-24 budget Governor Shapiro signed into law includes critical agriculture investments, including:

  • $31 million to help poultry farmers impacted by the hi-path avian influenza crisis pay for testing and get reimbursed for losses to their flocks. The $34 million Agricultural Preparedness and Response line item includes $3 million to help control invasive spotted lanternflies and leverages $3 million in matching funds from the USDA.
  • $2 million to fund the Fresh Food Financing Initiative that will contribute to better health outcomes by improving access to PA-grown, processed, and produced foods.
  • $2 million increase to the State Food Purchase Program to provide state funds for emergency food assistance for low-income Pennsylvanians. The increase to the $26.28 million line item will connect surplus food donated by farmers through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System  to food banks and food pantries statewide, and will connect low-income seniors to Senior Food Boxes filled with nutritious dietary staples.
  • $1 million to create a new Organic Center of Excellence, one of the first-of-its kind, to empower and support organic farmers and businesses.
The budget invests $13.8 million in a fifth year of the PA Farm Bill, making critical investments in building the workforce, processing infrastructure, and marketing opportunities the industry needs, and in removing barriers standing between the industry and those who want to be part of its future.
The 2024 Farm Show will feature fan-favorites like the 1,000-pound butter sculpture, famous Farm Show Food Court, youth showmanship, and sheep shearing competitions (among hundreds of other competitive agricultural events), cooking demonstrations at the PA Preferred® Culinary Connection, and more than one million square-feet of hands-on agriculture education opportunities and chances to engage with the people who power Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.
“Visiting the PA Farm Show is like taking a journey through the heart of agriculture, where you’ll connect with the roots of our food, the spirit of our farming communities, and the boundless possibilities for finding your own path in this industry. Whether it is your first visit or you come every year, the PA Farm Show is the best place to cultivate connections with agriculture,” Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center Executive Director Sharon Myers said.

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