Category Archives: New Farmers

Investment Fund Provides Capital for Sustainable Farms

oeffa investment fundOEFFA in partnership with a group of socially-motivated local investors who are making $500,000 available to launch a groundbreaking initiative: the OEFFA Investment Fund. The purpose of the fund is to promote sustainable agriculture in Ohio by making flexible and affordable capital available to OEFFA member farmers and farm-related businesses.

The initiative seeks to fill the gap where traditional sources of capital fall short.

Read More at: OEFFA Launches New Investment Fund « SOLE Support Our Local Economy.

Food Myth: we need industrial farming to feed the world

Big agri-business spends obscene amounts of money to promote the myth that we need industrialized farming with its pesticides, pollution and factory farms to be able to feed the world. Well, it’s just false.

Industrial agriculture is good for big pharma and chemical corporations but is unsustainable and expensive to our health and the environment. It hurts family farmers by making them dependent on corporations for all their inputs. As fewer corporations control the markets for crops, farmers have no choice but to sell for less than it costs to produce.

Study after independent study has shown that organic, sustainable agriculture will grow more than enough for everyone globally. By allowing farmers more control over what they grow and how they sell it, it empowers them to grow for their local region and markets. Locally grown food will feed the world.

There is another myth that you can’t make a living in urban agriculture. We’ll deal with that one in a future post. For now take a look at this neat 7 minute video. Please share it with your social network.

PBS Series on Urban Farming

Food Forward: Urban Farming is the pilot episode spotlighting the people who are on the edge of growing food where the consumers are, in our cities. The idea of growing food in the city is not new around the world, but for the last 70 years Americans have seen a growing distance between them and the sources of their food.  This disconnect has lead to unethical practices in food production and a decrease in the nutritional value of our food. Now we see a movement toward re-connecting with our food.  Here in Columbus we have our own crop of cutting edge urban farmers.

Watch Pilot: Urban Farming on PBS. See more from Food Forward.

Food Safety for the Garden

Weds Mar 2 Food Safety for the Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory 6- 8 pm
Food safety expert Shari Plimpton, Ph.D., Director, Industry Outreach, CIFT, will discuss the fundamentals of proper food handling and good agriculture practices for community gardeners, urban growers and those involved in farmers’ markets. Registration required; space limited. Sponsored by Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Program and the Conservatory’s Growing to Green Program. Free with Conservatory admission. Location: 1771 East Broad St Columbus 43203. Web:  Contact: 614-645-8733.

Ohio Local Foods and Farming News


Thursday, January 13:
Ohio Neighborhood Harvest:  Demonstration of, and Best Practices for Creating Fruit and Vegetable Oases in Food Deserts
Public meeting with Kara Martin, Expert for National Healthy Corner Stores and hosted by the Center for Farmland Policy Innovation at The Ohio State University and made possible by a 2010 Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant and is part of the Ohio Food Policy Council’s Ohio Neighborhood Harvest.  Ms. Martin will discuss healthy food retailing as an economic development tool to increase community access to healthy foods.  She will discuss the challenges of healthy food retailing, share exemplary projects from across the country, and address opportunities for policy and system changes.  The purpose of this event is to give local organizations and individuals interested in healthy food access and opportunity to learn from a topical expert who has worked in corner stores across Seattle.  The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will be held in room 105, Agricultural Administration Building, 2120 Fyffe Road on the OSU Campus.  A reception will follow the event. The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required by January 6, 2011.  To register send an e-mail to Jess Gambacurta (  To learn more, visit CFFPI’s project page –

Tuesday & Wednesday, January 25 & 26:
2011 Ohio Farm Management Conference
sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and OSU’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at the University Plaza Hotel, Columbus, OH.  Six general sesssions are offered covering topics such as employee management, farm transition planning, the perception of agriculture, and agricultural and environmental policy.  Registration is $75 per person and $60 per additional employee or family member paid before January 7 (after Jan. 7 the fee is $125/person and $100 per additional employee or family member.  Registration includes meals, conference proceedings, and conference parking.  For additional information and to register, visit: or contact John Yost at 740-335-1150 or via e-mail:

Saturday & Sunday, February 19 & 20:
The 32nd Annual Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) Conference – Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities
featuring keynote speakers, Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, organic farmers since 1993 and owners  and operator’s of New York’s only dedicated organic feed mill and organic seed operation and Joan Dye Gussow author of several books, including This Organic Life and most recently, Growing Older.  For more information, including the schedule and a listing of workshops and to register, visit:

On-Going 8 Week Program in Several Locations Starting in January 2011
The Southern Ohio New and Small Farm College
is an 8-week program that introduces new and seasoned farmers to a wide variety of agricultural production topics to help them diversify and explore new enterprises and new markets.  The program teaches participants how to set goals, plan, budget, and where to find resources available to help start a small farm operation.  The course will layout how to manage financial and farm records.  Extension educators will illustrate many different enterprises that can be profitable on land as small as one acre.  A bus tour is included to visit are farms and to see first hand how small farm life works and to assist in making contacts with practicing farmers in the area.  Previous Southern Ohio New and Small Farm Colleges have helped 420 individuals representing 338 farms from 43 Ohio counties improve economic development of their small family owned farms.
Registration is $150 per person and $50 for each additional family member.  Registration is limited to the first 50 participants per location.  Registration fee includes resource materials, a soil test, refreshments and a bus tour.  For more information, contact Tony Nye at 937-382-0901 or e-mai: or visit: or


Job Opportunity – Center for Closing the Health Gap
The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati is seeking a Community Health Program Coordinator.  The Center is a nonprofit organization leading the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Greater Cincinnati through advocacy, education and community outreach.  For more information, visit: or e-mail:

Job Opportunity – OEFFA is currently accepting applications for two positions:
Organic Educator.

Bookkeeper/Office Manager.

Fellowship Opportunity – Master’s or Ph.D. Level Studies in Rural Sociology and associated fields of sociological inquiry, including Environmental/Natural Resource Sociology, Sociology of Agricutlure and Food Systems or Development Sociology at The Ohio State University

Please consider or forward this announcement to prospective graduate students as appropriate regarding an opportunity for Master’s or Ph.D. level studies in Rural Sociology and associated fields of sociological inquiry, including Environmental/Natural Resource Sociology, Sociology of Agriculture and Food Systems or Development Sociology.  The Rural Sociology specialization in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is seeking high quality applicants for at least three fellowship worthy candidates.  Qualified students may also be considered for teaching and research associateships depending on school and faculty needs.

Fellowship awards are for one and possibly multiple years and include stipend, tuition and fees, with additional years of support possible via teaching or research associateships.  Fellowship awards are available beginning in Fall, 2011.  To be considered for a fellowship, applications for graduate study are due by January 15, 2011. Contact Amy Schmidt ( or 614-292-9883) for guidance regarding submission of an application and contact Jeff Sharp ( or 614-292-9410) for further detail about graduate studies in Rural Sociology.  See for more information about the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State and for information specific to the rural sociology specialization.

Graduate studies in Rural Sociology offers in depth training in the core fields of rural sociology, including the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Systems, Environmental and Natural Resource Sociology, and Development Sociology.  Additional faculty strengths exist in topical areas such as rural crime and community sociology.  Studies also include training in sociological theory, research methods and statistics.  An additional strength of this program is its close association with other social scientists in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (including faculty trained in decision-science, public policy, and law) as well as natural scientists with expertise in the environmental sciences, soils, wildlife, water quality, etc.   Recent students in Rural Sociology have explored topics related to local food systems, water resource management, animal welfare, sustainable agriculture, rural poverty, gender and development, and immigration.  Students and faculty engage in research both within the U.S. and in different global settings with research emphasis spanning theory, applied work, public-sociology, and policy.  Recent graduates have taken positions in both academic and applied settings (such as government agencies and nongovernmental organizations).

Online Farm Link Tool for Beginning Farmers

On Monday, December 13, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of TIP Net, an online tool to help link retiring farmers who have expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts with beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers who want to buy or rent land for their operations.

Under the Transition Incentives Program (TIP), administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, retired or retiring owners or operators with expiring CRP contracts can receive up to two additional annual rental payments if they sell or lease the CRP land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers who are interested in bringing the land into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods, including transitioning to organic.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition » Archive » USDA Introduces Online Farm Link Tool for Beginning Farmers.