HARRISBURG, Pa. — Sara Nicholas, former policy director for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has joined PASA Sustainable Agriculture as its policy strategist. Nicholas will be developing the strategic direction of the organization’s policy work in soil health, agricultural conservation, and farm business viability.
“PASA’s robust network of actively farming members gives it great credibility when weighing in on issues that matter most to farmers and to advocates of sustainably grown food,” says PASA Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker. “That voice is often underrepresented at the tables where agricultural policy decisions are made. Bringing someone of Sarah’s caliber and experience on to the team will help achieve better outcomes for family farms and the environment.”
Nicholas’ primary focus will be on developing models for outcome-based soil health policy and regulations, drawing from the ongoing results of PASA’s landmark Soil Health Benchmark Study. The study, now in its fourth year, is the largest and most diverse community soil health study in the country. It includes farmer cohorts from no-till, organic, and pasture-based farming systems, the outcomes of which are as much about peer-to-peer learning as they are about improving soil health.
Prior to joining PASA, Nicholas served as policy director for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, where she worked for 12 years. Previously, she worked for a number of environmental organizations, including American Rivers, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. She has a masters degree in environmental studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
“This is the first time we’ve had a policy strategist on our team in our organization’s nearly 30-year history,” says Smith-Brubaker. “This is a milestone for advancing sustainable agriculture in Pennsylvania and the surrounding region.”
PASA is a Pennsylvania-based sustainable agriculture association working to build a more economically-just, environmentally-regenerative, and community-focused food system through education and research that directly supports farmers.
Learn more at pasafarming.org