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Sustainable Growing Practices Impact Local Communities

Feb 28, 2021 08:34PM ● By Gisele M. Siebold
Two local farms in the South Central Pennsylvania region use sustainable growing practices to protect, enhance and replenish soil nutrients for current and future food production. Spiral Path Farm and Dickinson College Farm both grow food to feed their local communities.


The Brownback family owns and operates Spiral Path Farm, located in Loysville. Devoted to farming the land, keeping the soil rich in nutrients and sharing food that contributes to a healthy lifestyle, they personify the farm’s name by creating a path on the cutting edge of organic farming.


“We are committed to building the fertility of our soils and health of our farm and surrounding woodlands,” explains second-generation farmer Lucas Brownback. “We protect the soil with cover crops, erosion control and conservation measures such as contours on slopes, waterways of grass in steep areas and grassy roadways between fields. Our own vermicomposting system [worms] plays a major role in the farm’s fertility.”


The Dickinson College Farm, located in Boiling Springs, aspires to cultivate and implement holistic approaches to land management with care and respect for natural resources and processes. “I believe that the terms regenerative and sustainable reflect the intention of continual improvement and to conserve resources by working with, rather than against nature,” says Director Jenn Halpin.


“Agriculture is not necessarily a natural process,” she explains. “We manipulate the natural environment in order to grow non-native food crops. With this in mind, efforts to minimize ecological impacts at the College Farm include extensive crop rotations, cover cropping and no-till systems in our vegetable operation using tools and techniques developed by the Rodale Institute.”


According to Halpin, the certified organic designation provides the farm with a system of accountability and reflects a set of principles that seeks to provide customers with a level of confidence in the farming practices. “Regenerative and sustainable farming practices minimize food insecurity and maximize dietary diversity,” affirms Halpin.


Dickinson College Farm is located at 553 Park Dr., in Boiling Spring. For more information, visit


Spiral Path Farm is located at 538 Spiral Path Lane, in Loysville. For more information, visit

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