Ohio sustainable agriculture tour offers first-hand experience

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COLUMBUS — Interested in learning more about how sustainable agriculture in Ohio works?

Ohio State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Team will host several tours this spring and summer on the plasticulture strawberry growing method, hops production, agritourism, organic farming and urban agriculture, as part of the 2013 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

What is sustainable ag?

The series is a unique opportunity for growers and other interested people to experience what sustainable agriculture is all about directly from farmers, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also the coordinator of Ohio State’s Sustainable Agriculture Team

“We want to provide farm families and anyone interested in sustainability a place where they can gain new ideas to make their farms or operations more sustainable by looking at alternative enterprises, alternative production systems and alternative marketing systems,” Hogan said.

“Our goal is to help farmers, business and communities become more sustainable no matter where they are in the sustainability continuum.”

Here are some of the upcoming stops:

  • June 21, Fulton County Sustainable Agriculture tour, a look at three economically viable farms in Fulton County, including a winery, a goat cheese farm and a traditional family-run farm that has modified its production to include organic produce, community supported agriculture subscriptions, and high tunnel greenhouse production.
  • July 12, Fairfield County Managed Grazing and Direct Marketing Meats, a look at the 70-acre Berry Family Farm, which direct-markets freezer beef and value-added products, including beef snack sticks, jerky and summer sausage.
  • Aug. 15, Hops Production, a look at the new hops research planting effort and discussion of malting barley research. Participants can learn about new hop cultivars; innovative hop production techniques; insect and disease control methods; and harvesting, processing and marketing techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers wanting to provide hops for Ohio’s breweries. 
  • Aug. 17, Urban Community Garden, a tour of Magyar Garden, an urban community garden on the east side of Toledo, where some 15 to 30 families grow food. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2353 York St., Toledo. Contact 419-578-6783 or richter.71@osu.edu.
  • Sept. 5, Hops Production, like the Aug. 15 date in southern Ohio, this is a look at the new hops research planting effort and discussion of malting barley research. From 6-8 p.m. at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center research field, 5082 Oil City Road, Wooster.¬† Contact 330-263-3725 or jones.728@osu.edu.
  • Sept. 5, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Field Day, a tour of the Organic Valley corn variety plot, where participants will learn about an organic grain crop and Zeolite soil amendment research, pest scouting and organic controls. Begins at 5 p.m. at 13737 Middleton Pike, in Bowling Green. Contact 419-354-9050 or sundermeier.5@osu.edu.

Complete details and a list of all 26 tours in the series can be downloaded at http://www.oeffa.org/pdfs/farmtour2013.pdf#page=1.

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