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Sustainable Agriculture in Ohio Featured in Statewide Farm Tour
Ohio Ag Connection - 06/11/2019

Interested in learning how to use yellow perch to grow aquaponic produce sustainably?

Ohio State University's Sustainable Agriculture Team will host 10 tours this spring, summer and fall on sustainable organic specialty crops, year-round gardening, cut flowers, raising livestock, aquaponic produce and yellow perch farming and urban agriculture, as part of the 2019 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

The series is an opportunity for growers and other interested people to both learn and experience what sustainable agriculture is all about from farmers and producers who are working in this field daily, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also the coordinator of Ohio State's Sustainable Agriculture Team.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences(CFAES).

The tour is designed to share and update information among growers and those trying to promote sustainability throughout Ohio, he said.

"Ohio is an absolute cornucopia of possibilities when it comes to alternative enterprises, alternative production systems, and alternative marketing strategies and these tours display some of these alternatives already working for some Ohio farm families," Hogan said. "Our goal is to help farmers and aspiring farmers 'kick the tires' on some alternatives which might help them improve the profitability and sustainability of their farm operation.

Ohio State's Sustainable Agriculture Team works to get people to consider economic sustainability, the environment and social consciousness when farming, he said.

The Ohio State team's tour dates and locations include:

- June 22, Large Acreage Conservation Demonstration and Education Site Tour, a look at the Gwynne Conservation Area, which is located at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio, home of Farm Science Review. The Gwynne showcases land management practices that promote conservation of soil, water, woodlands, and wildlife. From 10 a.m. to noon,135 State Rte. 38 Northeast, London. Contact Nick Zachrich, 614-514-9577 or zachrich.13@osu.edu.

- June 26, Diversified Crop and Production Field Dayand tour, will feature a demonstration and discussion on state-of-the-art aquaponic systems, climate-smart agriculture, long-term tillage and cover crops, berries, pumpkins, pawpaws, and organic farming. The tour will be held at the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources at OSU South Centers. Starts at 2 p.m.,1864 Shyville Rd., Piketon. Contact Rafiq Islam, 740-289-2071 Ext. 147 or islam.27@osu.edu.

- July 13, Pioneering Urban Farm Tour, a look at the 1.5 acre Four Seasons City Farm, which is the oldest operating urban farm in Columbus.The farm produces berries, tree fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Produce is provided to several food pantries, given to volunteers, and marketed through a 20 share community supported agriculture program. From 10-11:30 a.m.,931 E. Mound St., Columbus. Contact Daniel Ingwersen, 614-619-0784 or fourseasonscityfarm@gmail.com.

- July 25, Pasture-Raised Livestock and Pasture Consultant Farm Tour, a look at a working sheep and cattle farm, where participants can learn about pasture management, forages and fencing. From 5-7 p.m., Windy Hill Farm, 25995 State Route 159, Circleville. Contact Bob Hendershot, 740-447-1114 or bobhendershot2011@gmail.com.

- Aug 10, Vacant Lots Become Productive Urban Farm Tour, a look at a community-based urban farm spanning a half acre on converted vacant lots in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus. In its third season, the farm focuses on companion planting and intercropping. Across four city Land Bank parcels, practices rooted in organic agriculture have been used to maximize a healthy crop yield and variety of food for the local community. From 10-11:30 a.m., 120 N. Yale Ave., Columbus. Contact Joe Wolfle at 614-453-4606 or magichousefarms@gmail.com.

- Aug. 11, Sustainable Organic Specialty Crop Farm Tour, a look at the 10-acre That Guy's Family Farm and learn how this farm transitioned from traditional crops to specialty crops, the business decisions that went into it, and the results. From 2-5 p.m. at That Guy's Family Farm, 419 N. Beechgrove Rd., Clarksville. Contact 937-289-3151or guy@thatguysfamilyfarm.com.

- Aug. 17, Year-Round Youth Garden to Address Food Insecurity Farm Tour, a tour of an award-winning youth garden that focuses on food insecurity, gardening education, and nutrition education for youth in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus. The nearly half-acre garden covers two formerly vacant city lots and includes a high tunnel to extend the growing season. The garden offers a diverse, hands-on learning environment for children, giving them the space and guidance to grow their own food. From 10-11:30 a.m. at 65 S. Highland Ave., Columbus. Contact Beth Urban at 614-323-7960 or bethurban36@yahoo.com.

- Aug. 18, Cut Flower Farm Tour, a look at a farm that sells a multitude of varieties of fresh cut flowers through their community supported agriculture program. They sell at markets and to special occasions, such as weddings. Participants will hear the perspective of a younger generation of farmers establishing a small, new business and finding their place in the market and participants will also learn about a range of subjects, from public grants to soil testing to differentiating your operation in the market. From 2-5 p.m. at 804 Hales Branch Road, Midland. Contact Tracey and Matt Parriman at traceyraefarmerflorist@gmail.com.

- Aug. 24, Community Outreach and Education Farm Tour,a look at a farm-to-table storefront in a rural food desert in historic downtown London, Ohio. They also run a farmer's market once a week and balance and manage a farm. From 9-11 a.m., Procter Center Farm, 11235 Route 38, London. Contact Danielle Vogel, at 740-490-6072 or dvogel@proctercenter.org.

- Oct. 19, Aquaponic Produce and Yellow Perch Farm Tour, a look at a family farm that has been using yellow perch to grow produce sustainably with aquaponics in there three greenhouses. Visitors will learn how aquaponics works while conserving resources. The farm also has goats, alpaca and chickens. From 1-3 p.m., at Fresh Harvest Farm, 33869 Fields Rd., Richwood. Contact 614-264-9098 or info@freshharvestfarmllc.com.

The Ohio State tours are part of the 2019 Farm Tour and Workshop Series which features a total of 46 organic and ecological farms and businesses in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. The series is sponsored by Ohio State, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions, the Clintonville Farmers Market, and the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance. Complete details and a list of all tours and workshops in the series can be downloaded at franklin.osu.edu/news/2019-sustainable-farm-tour-and-workshop-series.

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