In January of 2013, Laura Fields founded the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation as an organization committed to helping the region’s agricultural industry.

Laura established the Foundation’s mission with two main objectives. The first was to help provide an economic jumpstart for local farmers by creating partnerships and opportunities with locally producing industries. The second was to educate the public on the important role that local agriculture plays in the well-being of the region.

Laura has identified the fast-growing whiskey distilling industry as a potential growth partner for Pennsylvania farmers. Her foundation works to create a bridge between the two industries.

To accomplish the goal of being an economic catalyst, Laura created the innovative SeedSpark program. The first task of the SeedSpark initiative is to revive lost grains and bring them back into full production. For the first years of the program, the focus has been on rye - an historically important whiskey grain in Pennsylvania. The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation has partnered with Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences to revive a heritage grain called Rosen Rye. That partnership has turned a handful of seeds into nearly 6000 pounds of Rosen rye. This grain has now been shown to contribute exceptional flavor in whiskey, and its economic viability looks very promising.

By providing the initial funding and resources that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, Laura Fields and the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation’s SeedSpark Project is giving farmers the opportunity to create regionally exceptional products with worldwide appeal. The SeedSpark Project continues to identify heritage grains that can thrive in the Pennsylvania climate and be a benefit to the Pennsylvania economy.

The second phase of the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation mission is reminding the local region about the importance of local farming to the region’s economy. The Foundation does this primarily through special events that highlight farming and local production.

The nexus of this idea is an event created by Laura Fields called the American Whiskey Convention. The AWC brings together whiskey distillers, farmers, maltsters and local artisans in the largest event of its type in the country. The general public attends this grand tasting event to sample the best American whiskeys in the country while meeting the farmers who grow the grains used in the whiskey production. Each attendee learns that their favorite whiskey would not exist without grain farmers and a successful agricultural economy to support each distillery.

By following through on Laura Field’s vision, the DelVal Fields Foundation hopes to play a role in helping regional agriculture be a part of the Delaware Valley’s economic success.

A native of the Delaware Valley, Laura holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has worked with different farming related activities for the past 20 years. She also hosts historical whiskey events and is often called upon for her expertise in American and Pennsylvanian whiskey history.