OSU Sustainable Ag Tour offers up-close look at alternative production systems
Ohio State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Team will host four tours this summer on urban agriculture, agritourism, farming research and farmers markets, as part of the 2012 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.
The series is a unique opportunity for growers and other interested people to experience what alternative production systems are all about from farmers themselves, said Alan Sundermeier, an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also a member of Ohio State’s Sustainable Agriculture Team.
Organic and ecological farms are the focus of the tour, he said, noting that the main goal of the series is sharing and updating information among growers and people trying to promote sustainability and move the issues forward throughout Ohio.
“We try to highlight farmer-friendly research and education,” Sundermeier said. “Sometimes the best way to learn is to see it in action or experience it in person. Not everything can be learned in a classroom; sometimes you need to go to the site to understand the entire farm system.”
OSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Team works to get people to consider the economy, the environment and social structure when farming, he said.
“In production agriculture, if you are improving the economy but destroying the environment, that’s not a good thing,” Sundermeier said. “To be successful in the long term, you’ve got to consider all three aspects of sustainable agriculture and if there is a negative impact on any of them, to try to mitigate that as much as possible.”
Complete details and a list of all 23 tours in the series can be downloaded at http://www.oeffa.us/oeffa/pdfs/farmtour2012.pdf
The Ohio State team’s tours in the series, all of which are free, include:
* July 13, Urban Agriculture, a look at four successful and economically viable urban farms in Cleveland, including a wine grape vineyard and farms that offer employment for clients of the county’s Board of Developmental Disabilities and provide beginning farmers with land and technical support. The tour will include stops at Stanard Farm, Kinsman Incubator Farm, Ohio City Farm, and Chateau Hough. 12-4 p.m., E. 53rd Street and Stanard Avenue, Cleveland; contact 216-429-8200 ext. 217 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* July 26, On-farm Vegetable Market at the Green Thumb Farm Market, which uses high tunnels to grow tomatoes, peppers and squash. The market also features vegetables, flowers and plants grown on the farm, as well as other products purchased from Ohio farmers. 3-5:30 p.m., 45869 Southland Road, New Bremen; contact 419-753-2456 or email@example.com
* Aug. 15, Agritourism, featuring Leeds Farm, one of Ohio’s most successful agritourism farms. The 80-acre farm has offered tourism for more than 20 years. The tour will focus on strategies for farm markets and agritourism operations to assess and minimize risks that may arise when the public is invited onto the farm. 1-4 p.m., 8734 Marysville Road, Ostrander; contact 740-660-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
* Aug. 22, Farming Research, a look at experiments currently under way at Ohio State’s Piketon research center, including five bioenergy experiments with miscanthus, switchgrass, willow and other warm season grasses. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., OSU South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon; contact 740-289-2071 ext. 223 or email@example.com