AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In 2007 Rusty and Claire received the H. Clark Gregory Award through the US Composting Council. This is awarded to individuals who have displayed outstanding service to the composting industry through various grassroots efforts; including backyard composting, vermi-composting, or public or end user education. A nominee must be active in one or more of these compost related efforts for a minimum of 5 years.
In 2015, the Orner Family Received Sustainable Ag Business Award at PASA Conference. Walker Orner received two standing ovations during his acceptance speech.
Claire Orner: On-Farm Education and Value-Added Specialty Mentor for Women in Agriculture 2012
Imagine driving along Interstate 80 in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Take Exit 78, turn onto McManigle Road, just around the second bend, down a hill and on the right appear a wooden fence, a green barn donning a red roof and greenhouse. Turn into Quiet Creek Lane and enter the 30 acres of Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living. The farm is picturesque and inviting. Farm stewards Claire and Rusty Orner grew up on farms, each have advanced degrees, both work full time at Quiet Creek and they have two sons- Walker and Ashton. Claire has two master's degrees, taught high school science and has worked in hydrogeology, hazardous waste (coal), electrical generation, and environmental education. “We started Quiet Creek Herb Farm in 1996 and grow a wide variety of herbs and produce value-added products (soap, season mixes and teas) for an on-farm gift shop. What makes our farm so unusual is our School of Country Living.” Claire explains, “We offer a wide variety of classes and intensive workshops.” Their classes include everything from Shiitake mushroom cultivation to earthen building, holiday wreath-making and medicinal use of herbs. “Education is important - both receiving it and extending it to others. Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living is recognized as an educational improvement organization by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and in 2003 we became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in order to help further our mission of providing environmental education. We share our community-building philosophy because we sincerely believe in the importance of living sustainable lives.” Claire’s commitment to sustainable agriculture guided her response when asked what she thinks needs to be done to ensure the future of Pennsylvania agriculture. “What type of farming are we discussing-- traditional or conventional? Keeping people uneducated about peak oil, government subsidies, agribusiness, genetically modified foods, food additives during production (artificial bovine growth hormone) or during processing (artificial colorants, artificial flavors, preservatives), and the relationship of proper WHOLE FOODS nutrition and health issues, for example, will permit conventional farming to grow. The reverse will happen when we educate folks on these common sense issues. Traditional farming (organic) will sustain because it implements sustainable techniques. Conventional farming will spiral downward as it depletes the earth of valuable, clean resources: water, air, soil, plants, and animals (humans being one animal greatly affected in a negative way).” Claire shares her thoughts on the perception that farming is a male dominated profession. “It is crucial to define farming. Again, are we discussing traditional or conventional. I agree that conventional farming: chemical and genetically-modified based farming appears to be male-based, although, I would have to defer to the agricultural surveys to know the true numbers. Traditional farming appears to have a dominant matriarchal mentality because some women are in touch with their ability to sustain life and will farm from that perspective. Generalizations on this statement are dangerous…there are men dedicating their livelihood to traditional farming and…women who have completely bought into agricultural biotechnology.” On the subject of women bringing something different to agriculture than men, Claire noted, “With people (female or male) of sustainable perspectives in any faction - agriculture, education, business, technology - the end product will not be compromised. Sustainability appears to be a compassionate, ethical, nurturing process, but truly it is the key to any logical, analytical, reasonable thought process. Sustainability relates to an owner-driven, supportive, collaborative, inquiry based process. Men and/or women are invited to embrace this process.”