This year is the last that the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture – or PASA – will hold its annual conference in State College.
PASA has hosted its winter conference at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel for most of the event’s 27 years. Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker said PASA was happy with the Penn Stater, but after a recent review the hotel more than doubled the cost to host the event.
“When we really sat down and looked at the cost that we’d have to pass on to our attendees, especially considering most of our attendees are small family farmers, we really didn't feel that we could more than double the cost of the event,” Smith-Brubaker said.
Judy Karaky is general manager of the Penn Stater. She said they put off PASA’s evaluation longer than most because of their history together and its off-season timing.
“It wasn’t something that we really wanted to lose,” Karaky said, “because it was one we had enjoyed and supported for so long.”
The PASA conference is one of the hotel’s largest, but Karaky thinks they’ll eventually make more money from replacement events.
The conference runs this Wednesday, Feb. 7, through Saturday, Feb. 10, in State College. Next year, the PASA conference will take place at the Lancaster Convention Center.