NRCS Chief, Terry Cosby, Visits Two Partnering Farms in Pittsburgh, PA for Statewide Visit

View as a webpage / Share

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

October 20, 2023

NRCS Chief, Terry Cosby, Visits Two Partnering Farms in Pittsburgh, PA for Statewide Visit

Hilltop group

(Pittsburgh, PA- October 18, 2023) Terry Cosby, Chief of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, visited Pittsburgh on October 18th in conjunction with his visit to Pennsylvania. The Chief was accompanied by Denise Coleman, NRCS State Conservationist.

The day began at The Highline at 9:00 a.m. with welcoming and introductions from NRCS’ Soils and Plant Sciences Division staff and the Allegheny County Conservation District Executive Director, Heather Manzo. Luis Hernandez, Soil Survey Regional Director highlighted NRCS’ urban soil survey work nationally and the new project in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Andy Gaver, NRCS District Conservationist and Jeff Werner, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations provided updates on conservation program work in western PA. The Chief expressed appreciation and interest in the collaboration between the partners and NRCS to assist producers particularly those in urban areas that have been underserved in the past.

The day continued as attendees traveled to Hilltop Urban Farm for the afternoon field tour. The farm strives to educate youth in Pittsburgh, as well as provide a workforce training program for new adult urban farmers.

Executive Director, John Bixler, provided an overview of the farm which had its first harvest this season and provided 4,000 pounds of produce to residents. Alan Moore of the Soils and Plant Sciences Division demonstrated the use of Ground Penetrating Radar and how he was able to locate depth to bedrock and several large underground objects that were left over from when the site had been apartment buildings. The tour included NRCS high tunnels, a flower garden, solar-powered onsite refrigeration units, and a view of some of the gardens tended by the urban farmers in training.

The day concluded with a visit to the Project Love Coalition Farm. In addition to providing fresh produce, the organization’s mission is to provide permanent, affordable, healthy housing to homeless veterans and their families. Residents can connect with fellow community members as well as fellow veterans to create a safe and welcoming space. CEO, Kent Bey, shared more about the farm and his journey with NRCS. Additionally, attendees learned about NRCS conservation practices that are on the farm.

Pennsylvania NRCS

359 East Park Drive, Suite 2 Harrisburg, PA 17111

Phone: 717-237-2100