COLUMBUS — Ohio communities that want to try innovative ways to enhance the viability of local agriculture and the health of area farms can apply for funding from the Center for Farmland Policy Innovation at Ohio State University.
“Overall, we have three goals for this program,” said Jill Clark, director of the OSU’s Farmland Policy Innovation Center. “We want to see successful local projects in Ohio, we want to see innovative programs implemented so localities have examples in Ohio they can follow, and we want to build the capacity of communities to work on protecting farmland.
“In the end, we want to help make sure Ohio’s No. 1 industry —farming — remains viable and locally relevant.”
The center, which works with local communities on their farmland protection priorities, has issued a request for proposals focusing on community-based agricultural economic development.
Proposals are due Oct. 31. The center expects to allot mini-grants in the range of $1,000 to $10,000 per project, and a total of $25,000 for the projects.
Community-based agricultural economic development involves community planning, organizing and acting to enhance the viability of local agriculture and the health of area farms, Clark said.
By considering agriculture to be part of local economic development strategies, Clark said, communities can benefit by keeping more dollars circulating in the local economy and protecting more of local farmland resources.
“We are excited to focus on local economic development of a truly local industry,” Clark said. “Farming is not only a foundation for so many of Ohio’s communities, but contributes to the quality of life for all Ohioans.”
Primary applicants for this funding, available through the center’s Farmland Protection Partnership Program, must be a governing body of an Ohio county, township or municipality, or a nonprofit organization.
Proposals must include a minimum 50-percent local match to the amount requested from the center.
Other criteria for proposals include:
• The project is innovative and new to Ohio. This may mean incorporating policies new to the state of Ohio or combining existing policies or programs in new and innovative ways.
• The proposed project is a community-based agricultural economic development initiative and is supported by the community.
• The project can translate into a model (is replicable) for other Ohio communities, and the local partner is willing to participate in ongoing education for other Ohio communities.
• The end result of the project is an innovative farmland policy.
Clark encourages applicants to contact the center for assistance in developing proposals and project budgets.
For additional information or a copy of the request for proposals, contact Clark at 614-247-6479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.