Coalition is looking at intersection of food, ag

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COLUMBUS — A multi-year project designed to help Ohio farmers while supporting local communities’ food security, has launched with the inaugural meeting of the steering committee of the Ohio Smart Agriculture: Solutions from the Land project.

Solutions from the Land (SfL), a national collaboration led by a group of active farm, forestry and conservation leaders, is coordinating the three- to five-year project with the assistance of a $500,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Joining the initiative will be The Ohio State University’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), along with other partners.

Lisa Hamler-Fuggitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, is co-chairing the project with Joe Hartzler, a Wooster dairy farmer and a co-founder of the Agroecosystems Management Program at OSU.

Starting to plan

The steering committee is starting its work to identify and the project’s goals, objectives and outcomes, as well as discuss and refine their vision, plan of work and timetable.

The committee will identify the building blocks that can make up the Ohio Smart Agriculture Action Plan, and discuss the process that will be followed for developing the plan.

The committee begins its two-day session with a tour of mission-related operations, including the South Side Roots Cafe & Market, a local market operated by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank; Franklinton Gardens, a 2.5-acre urban farm and distributes them to community residents at reduced cost; Price Farms Organics, in Delaware County, an Ohio EPA Certified composting facility; and the Seminary Hill Farm, a certified organic farm on the campus of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, outside of Columbus.

For additional information, contact Ernie Shea, Solutions from the Land president and the Ohio Smart Agriculture project coordinator, at 410-952-0123, or via email at EShea@SfLDialogue.net.

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