Digging for the Keystone: Permaculture + Pennsylvania (video)

Alumni Profiles: Sarajane Snyder

Last year, Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute alum Sarajane Snyder returned home to Susquehanna River Valley of central Pennsylvania. After five years in Marin County, California where she had been serving as farm manager at a 7-acre organic vegetable farm within a Zen Buddhist community, life in California felt too disconnected for her. Although she really hadn’t lived in Keystone State since she graduated from high school, Sarajane missed the rolling mountains and back roads of Union County and wanted to contribute to the community she grew up in.

Since returning, Ms. Snyder has dedicated herself to studying the land by getting reacquainted with the plants and climate, studying maps and history, and trying to learn how water flows through the Susquehanna River Valley. Central Pennsylvania still has a foundation in old families, old stories, farming, fishing, and hunting. It is also the kind of place that she says,

…has a sense of its own culture and environment deteriorating–even without being able to articulate it. I moved back here because I love this land and these people and I had the strong sense that I was being called to act… I think I can be of great service to this community on the edge of a real resurrection. Permaculture has a vibrant role to play here and people are ready to receive it.

Sarajane has volunteered on the Northcentral Regional Action Committee for PASA (PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture) and the Merrill Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy. While working for these two organizations she has learned about Pennsylvania’s legacy of sustainable farming & gardening.

She signed up for our 2013 Permaculture Design Certificate course hoping to connect with other regional permaculture-loving folks. Her main motivation, however, was to learn how to build permaculture knowledge in the central Susquehanna Valley. Not long after she moved to a 20-acre forested plot, a former Unitarian Fellowship summer camp purchased by her friends, became the site’s “grounds manager” and began her practice of permaculture there while also working for the Bucknell University Environmental Center. After completing the FLPCI PDC, she hatched the Central Susquehanna Land & People project.