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  • Creamery is first stop in series of farm tours | OEFFA News
    the remaining 17 stops Ketcham said We feel that consumer education is an important part of our mission she said The more consumers know about how their food is grown the better prepared they are to make informed choices about who to support with their local food dollars The tours also are designed to help farmers and gardeners learn from each other so they can improve their production and marketing techniques and grow their operations she said Ketcham is looking forward to the July 28 tour of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus and to the July 21 tour of Northridge Organic Farm in Johnstown Mike and Laura Laughlin are turning their farm over to young farmer Joseph Swain The tour series is all about offering farmers alternatives said Mike Hogan an OSU Extension educator in Fairfield County Our goal is to give people ideas to make their farm operations more sustainable Hogan said We give them ideas about alternative enterprises alternative production systems like grazing or no till and alternative marketing systems The July tour of Berry Family Farm in Pleasantville shows how one producer has added facets to its operation Hogan said They re adding value to beef products selling jerky summer sausage and snack sticks directly to consumers as well as marketing freezer beef At Snowville Creamery owner Warren Taylor put his workers through their public speaking paces yesterday in preparation for today s open house from 1 to 4 p m Snowville supplies milk cream yogurt and creme fraiche to Jeni s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus and select grocers from Ohio to Virginia This year we have organized ourselves into a dozen functional areas each of which will have a Snowville Creamery team member explaining that area Taylor said Taylor spent a career designing and

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1211 (2016-02-17)
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  • Go Behind the Scenes of Ohio’s Sustainable Growing | OEFFA News
    inner workings of their operations It s really a lot to ask of a farmer to take the time during the growing season to hold these farm tours but we re always encouraged by the willingness of farmers to really want to open up their doors and let consumers know how they re raising their food Ketcham said The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association has been offering the tours for more than three decades This year s series includes tours and workshops on a variety of topics including dairy farming and processing composting specialty crops cut flowers urban farming food preservation and farm business skills Lauren Ketcham said that as the popularity of local and organic food has grown so has interest among young farmers in getting into the business She remarked that the tour is a great networking opportunity for aspiring and beginning farmers and even backyard growers Farmers and gardeners see first hand how their colleagues are incorporating sustainable agriculture methods on their lands ask questions of each other and take home information that they can put to use on their own farms or in their backyard gardens she said Ketcham said the tours can also be a fun experience for families couples or anyone interested in Ohio s agriculture system Last year more than 600 people attended More information is online at OEFFA org In addition to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association the tours are also sponsored by Ohio State University and the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts Post navigation Letter to Congress Seeds and Breeds in the Farm Bill Letter to Congress Equity Amendments for a Fair 2013 Farm Bill Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1197 (2016-02-17)
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  • Farm Tours | OEFFA News | Page 2
    soil do composting and garden smarter When she isn t working on the farm West Volland runs a bed and breakfast on her property and teaches classes She also hosts tea parties a writers retreat a photography group and a children s day camp that focuses on crafts recycling and creative writing Although things can get busy especially in the spring and fall West Volland said she enjoys teaching about farming and sustainability You try to find work you love that people will pay you to do That s what this is she said You get to the point where you don t want to be anywhere else West Volland is proud to be continuing her husband s dream teaching the next generation of organic farmers and raising quality animals and food It s sharing the knowledge with other people so they can continue to share it with their children she said We should be able to feed ourselves Salem farm part of growing sustainable farm movement July 28 2011 Farm Tours OEFFA in the News Lauren By Charita Goshay Canton Repository Salem Among the calves Jessie is one of the youngest of the bunch but she also is the boldest As the rest shy away from the approaching adults Jessie wanders over curious about the goings on The only thing standing between her and a flurry of head pats An electric fence Jessie is one of 70 bison being raised by Kevin and Sarah Swope co owners of Heritage Lane Farm at 29668 Mountz Road which is part of the Ohio 2011 Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshops presented by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is a grassroots affiliation of farmers gardeners university researchers food retailers and educators The tour and workshops showcase 40 farms and food businesses university research centers and family run businesses that have found success in using sustainable methods for food production The Swopes farm is an example of how some are using alternative organic methods of cultivating food DIFFERENT WAY Kevin Swope said Heritage Lane employs a pasture based system to feed the bison whose meat is lower in fat grams cholesterol and calories than beef pork or poultry Forty acres of the farm is pastureland which has been divided into paddocks containing different grasses for bison to eat The herd is shifted among the paddocks every two to four days allowing the pastures to recover naturally It s a whole different way of thinking Swope said We re harvesting sunlight by way of the grass which finds its way into the animals which becomes a meat product I m not working for these buffalo they re working for me In addition to bison Heritage Lane also features organically grown vegetables including heirloom tomatoes and flowers as well as poultry and sheep The meat is processed off site by a USDA approved facility We re attempting to manage our pastures using an organic method Swope said We re really focusing on the health of the soil and allowing the biology to develop The property has been a working farm since 1830 It was purchased by Sarah Swope s parents in 1978 and later deeded to the couple in 1991 Kevin Swope said the chief goal is to reverse the impact on the soil of nearly 200 years of tilling and chemically dependent farming Lime manure and chicken litter are the additives of choice Forty of Heritage Lane s 52 acres is under grassland easement meaning that at least 40 acres must remain as undeveloped grassland for 99 years There was a lot of erosion he said I see improvements every year HIGH TUNNELS Swope who grew up in Louisville had no prior farm experience He did his own research on organic farming techniques In addition to farming he is a manager and soil conservationist for Natural Resource Conservation Our agency is looking more and more at soil health he said Sarah Swope grows organic vegetables including several types of hybrid tomatoes and flowers through a high tunnel method Essentially high tunnels are Quonset huts made of clear plastic that cover the gardening area The plastic keeps the ground warmer which expands the planting season from March through December High tunnels also reduce the spread of disease and protect plants from such extreme weather elements as high winds or hail Almost all of our produce sold is grown in high tunnels she said You re using purely solar energy Sarah Swope said the growing method probably is not for everyone because the enclosure limits use of equipment It s extremely labor intensive she said The flip side is we produce all of our family s food supplies for the year FOOD DESERT On weekends the Swopes sell their products at a farmers market in Beechwood Kevin Swope said the Cleveland area has been designated by nutrition experts as a food desert meaning that availability to fresh locally produced food is limited He believes opportunities abound for people interested in farming as a profession particularly small acerage food production The couple s three children are engaged in agriculture or environmental studies I grew up with that mentality that you can buy it cheaper than you can grow it Swope said Sixty percent of our fruit and vegetables in the U S are imported But people are willing to pay for a premium item picked on a Friday The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour runs through Oct 9 For a schedule or more information call the OEFFA at 614 421 2022 or visit www oeffa org Heritage Lane Farms also conducts tours Call 330 222 1377 Organic food group to observe Wood County farm Hirzel s Luckey site part of statewide tour June 25 2011 Farm Tours OEFFA in the News Lauren Jon Chavez The Toledo Blade June 17 2011 A group devoted to organic food production will visit the operations of Hirzel Farms in Wood County Saturday as part of a 40 stop tour of

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=7&paged=2 (2016-02-17)
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  • Grower’s passion for food yields uncommon produce | OEFFA News
    freshness to Columbus area farmers markets and to clients in his community supported agriculture program known among the cage free egg buying crowd as a CSA On a recent Wednesday he collected fruits and vegetables for six orders He crawled on his belly and slithered under leafy ground cherry plants to scoop handfuls of their ripened fruits he plucked peach tomatoes off vines and he gathered colorful carrots red cabbage and more He then separated the produce into six bags all the while playing the soundtrack of the farm centric movie Babe from a nearby boombox A few hours later Karcic met BeJae Fleming at a nearby store to hand off her weekly CSA share What d I get What d I get Fleming 64 eagerly asked as Karcic approached Peering into a bag she said with a smile Tomatoes The Grandview Heights resident didn t know what kind of tomatoes she had but that s kind of the point of a CSA which allows people to buy a share of a farmer s harvest for a prearranged period Since signing up with Karcic last year Fleming said she has learned to cook with fruits and vegetables she wouldn t have bought otherwise It forces you to be creative in preparing food she said Fleming has grown particularly fond of the ground cherries as have others People come back and ask for those said Ruth Brown manager of the Blendon Township market where Karcic sells his produce on Thursday afternoons Karcic also peddles his harvest along with homemade mosquito repellent at the 400 Farmers Market in Franklinton on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month under the name Peace Love and Freedom Guild He used to call his operation a farm and himself a farmer but he grew tired of people asking him How many acres do you have His entire lot stretches less than an acre So he refers to himself as a gardener who happens to work 100 hours a week Despite the long hours Karcic said he loves his job I don t have to get up and drive to work I just get up and go outside The son of eastern European immigrants he grew up near Mansfield before moving to Columbus to study interpersonal communication at Ohio State University In the early 1990s outside an apartment in the University District he planted his first garden Probably what happened was I realized I could buy a pack of seeds for 1 and grow a ton of tomatoes Karcic said I was a college student and didn t have any money He stuck with the pursuit through the years eventually launching his CSA in 2009 and last year becoming a full time gardener and making a deal with the Refectory The CSA has since grown to encompass about two dozen customers with each paying 26 a week for a full share or 13 a week for a half share Karcic hopes that his tight finances will

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1741 (2016-02-17)
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  • What Toledo’s Water Crisis Reveals About Industrial Farming | OEFFA News
    widely touted as an improvement in the sustainability of industrial agriculture conservation tillage and no till farming As their names imply these are approaches to farming that require farmers not to plow the soil with tractors but rather to leave it in place and kill weeds in other ways They are often practiced in concert with the use of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds Genetic engineering is sometimes given credit for the adoption of no till but the practice actually started to become widely adopted years before genetically engineered commonly known as GMO crops were commercialized Nonetheless engineered herbicide resistant crops made conservation tillage easier in many areas until the advent of glyphosate herbicide resistant weeds that is So the tarnishing of no till also diminishes one of the main purported benefits of GMO crops No till usually reduces soil erosion which is a very good thing Many farmers and scientists also believed that it would reduce phosphorus pollution because that nutrient binds tightly to soil So reduced erosion should also reduce the amount of soil washed into streams carrying bound phosphorus Unfortunately when phosphorus fertilizer is not plowed into the soil it builds up at the surface and from there it can be more easily washed off soil into streams and lakes This is because this form of phosphorus called dissolved reactive phosphorus is not bound to soil It is also more easily utilized by the toxic microbes in lakes and waterways What About Factory Animal Farms Industrial corn and soybean production are clearly linked to the problems in Lake Erie via fertilizers But factory farming of livestock is also suspect Concentrated animal feeding operations CAFOs have a manure problem Because so many animals are confined in such as small area they often produce far more manure than can be applied to the surrounding farmlands without causing runoff That means more nitrogen and phosphorus gets into streams When livestock farms were smaller and more dispersed geographically manure could be used to fertilize nearby crop fields in a balanced way but today CAFOs are large and often located near one another And it is simply too expensive to transport manure far enough to spread onto fields in amounts that won t end up in streams or groundwater Although the role of CAFOs in the Lake Erie microbial blooms has not been quantified Ohio has many CAFOs And the overlap between the location of most Ohio CAFOs and the Maumee River watershed the source of most of the phosphorus that causes the blooms is striking Here are the maps side by side What Now We have the solutions to these problems Agroecology or farming that uses principles of ecology and includes organic relies on organic sources of crop nutrients and integrates livestock and crop production in ways that are much less likely to cause phosphorus or nitrogen pollution It is possible to use too much manure on organic farms too But the integration of crops and livestock works against pressure to

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1714 (2016-02-17)
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  • From Market to Farm: One couple’s commitment to cultivating connections on Ohio’s largest certified organic blueberry farm | OEFFA News
    cooked and enjoyed friendship is shared There s a pool a teepee a friendly contingent of dogs hammocks and a welcoming vibe The longtime association with the farmers with whom they work through Mustard Seed Market has made Phillip and Margaret s transition to the farming life a natural one The connection between the earth and our food supply is profound says Phillip For every bite of food there s a farm somewhere There s a profound process that s worthy of appreciation It takes a lot of effort to manage all of the forces to get food to grow out of the ground and get it to market As the land is cleared they re planting new trees Long term plans include diversifying and focusing on high nutritional value super fruits and aligning with the permaculture model They re introducing forest gardening creating a habitat for mushrooms ginseng medicinal herbs things that want to grow in the forest as Phillip says Between the forest and pasture are the paw paws persimmons and nut trees There are a lot of interesting crops that want to grow on the edges and we re going to help them along by planting them he says Obviously the food aspects of Blueberry Hill are important but the spiritual effects of the farm have become apparent as well To a person everybody who goes there feels something Phillip says We ve had some amazing experiences with our guests really connecting with this land Visitors receive explicit instructions at Blueberry Hill to taste the berries as they pick and Phillip likens the joy that comes from this to feeding our inner caveperson s primal connectivity to the earth We take the larceny right out of the equation By saying that it s okay to eat as they pick we take the guilt off the table Very often kids will come back their faces just smeared with blueberries and about 12 berries in their bucket They come back with these huge smiles It s fun for us to enable that The Nabors hands these days are quite full with Blueberry Hill and the two grocery stores Joining locations in Solon and in Montrose a third Mustard Seed Market is under construction in the Highland Square area of Akron I am incredibly excited about the store because it s not just a new store it s a new path for us Phillip shares The newest market is a smaller store in the dense neighborhood where the Nabors family has lived for 35 years on the edge of an official USDA food desert Lacking a grocery store for 15 years the neighborhood is truly hungry for its offerings and much thought is being put into how to best serve the area What s amazing is that the category of natural organic stores has evolved to where now we can do a natural organic store and serve as the neighborhood grocery store That really wasn t possible as little as

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1709 (2016-02-17)
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  • Ohio cattle ranchers rebuilding herds | OEFFA News
    s Association Ohio has been fortunate We have been in a different weather pattern Beef producers are at the mercy of Mother Nature Ohio s pasture and range lands are in good shape with 93 percent in fair to excellent condition according to the USDA s latest crop report In major beef producing states such as Texas Kansas and Colorado 20 percent to 35 percent of pastures are in poor to very poor condition In California the report rated 75 percent of pasture as poor to very poor Partly because of good grazing conditions Ohio s ranchers kept more heifers young female cows to breed and are looking to grow their herds as their operations allow Harsh said Wiley has added 20 cows to his operation Up the Lane Farm through the past couple of years but he is now at capacity Wiley said his fellow ranchers struggle with the decision to cash in their cows at today s prices or hold a few back and grow a bit to see if tomorrow brings even better returns Some of these guys are more likely to hang on when the prices are up Wiley said The animals are worth so much money it is almost too expensive to turn them into meat Calves are sold by weight and weigh between 450 to 800 pounds Prices for calves in June 2013 ranged from 640 to 1 000 the USDA said This June prices ranged from 1 000 to 1 600 We keep raising our retail beef prices to keep up Wiley said But everything we do keeps costing more everything from hay and the price of calves I would say it has doubled in about five years Because of the high price of calves and low herd count fewer animals are being

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1691 (2016-02-17)
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  • Checkoffs: More and more of the same | OEFFA News
    a self described membership based business association for the organic industry in North America is able to sway federal lawmakers to endorse an organic checkoff in the next two years OTA claims a checkoff would carry benefits for farmers and industry alike It sees the money pegged between 20 million and 40 million per year as a way to distinguish organic in the market place grow demand and help the consumer understand all that organic delivers Links to documents are posted at http farmandfoodfile com in the news To raise the money OTA is pushing an assessment plan it calls broad and shallow for everyone in the organic supply chain Everyone means not only producers according to OTA but also handlers brand manufacturers co packers and importers Exempted from paying any checkoff however would be organic certificate holders most players in the U S organic market must be certified organic by USDA with gross annual sales of 250 000 or less The proposed assessment advocated by OTA is 1 10 of 1 percent of gross organic revenue greater than 250 001 per year For example OTA explains there would be a 1 000 assessment at 1 000 000 gross organic revenue One sided While OTA s checkoff plan is relatively broader and cheaper than its federal siblings most organic farmers see little need for it Ed Maltby executive director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance recently posted a lengthy discussion on NODPA s website on what he calls OTA s one sided propaganda campaign for the checkoff In fact writes Maltby the push by OTA a trade organization using emotive language and a well financed program will be counter productive at a time when the organic community needs to be united in the face of many marketplace and USDA

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1684 (2016-02-17)
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