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Statewide Sustainable Farm Tour Series Continues
Ohio Ag Connection - 08/07/2014

Hops production, aquaponics and urban agriculture are hot topics in agriculture today -- so much so that they are among the topics featured in the 2014 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

From increasing consumer demand for fresh, locally grown, healthful foods, to the growing demand for local hops production to feed Ohio's rapidly expanding and increasingly lucrative craft brewing industry, the demand from producers and growers for information and resources on these agricultural options is huge, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also the coordinator of Ohio State's Sustainable Agriculture Team.

That's one reason why the team will host 12 of the 30 tours offered this year by the team and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Hogan said.

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The tours are part of the 2014 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, which provide a unique opportunity for growers and other interested people to experience these and other agricultural operations directly from farmers, he said.

"The tours give people a chance to see other people doing various agricultural operations and production techniques which can help them figure out if this type of venture could work for them on their farms," Hogan said. "It gives participants the opportunity to see for themselves if it is something they may want to seek more information on to see it is something that they can do on their farm.

"Sometimes the answers is yes, but other times the answers is no, and that's OK, because our goal is to help people figure out what does and doesn't work for them."

Another goal of the Sustainable Agriculture Team is to help people to consider economic sustainability, the environment and social consciousness when farming, he said. Complete details and a list of all 30 tours in the series can be downloaded at

The Ohio State team's tours continue in the series, which began in May. The next tours include:

-- Aug. 9, Non-Profit Urban Farm Tour. A look at the Robert J. Anderson Urban Agriculture Center, 900 Oneida St., Toledo. The three-acre urban farm uses greenhouses and sustainable practices to grow produce along with bees, chickens and turkeys. The site is a hub for more than 120 community gardens in the Toledo GROWs network, providing support to the gardens in the form of free seeds, plants, tool loans, gardening advice, and workshops. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Yvonne Dubielak or Susan Noblet at 419-720.871 or or

-- Aug. 21, Hops Production. A look at the new hops research effort that is evaluating new hop cultivars, innovative hop production techniques, insect and disease control methods, and techniques for harvesting, processing, and marketing that can be adopted by Ohio farmers to provide hops for Ohio's growing brewing industry. From 6 to 9 p.m., OSU South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon. The cost is $15 and includes dinner. Contact 740-289-2071, ext. 132 or to register.

-- Aug. 22, Community Revitalization and Urban Farm Tour. A look at Sophia Buggs' efforts to restore vacant lots behind her Youngstown home. She grows medicinal herbs, specialty crops, cut flowers, microgreens and mushrooms on her 1.2 acre urban farm, and sells products through her wellness business, and at on-farm, community and neighborhood events. From 2 to 5 p.m., at Lady Bug Farm, 519 Carroll St., Youngstown. Contact 330-272-6651 or

-- Sept. 6, Aquaponics Facility Tour. A look at Fresh Harvest Farm, which grows chemical-free produce using aquaponics. Aquaponics combines aquaculture, or raising fish in a contained environment, with hydroponics, growing in a soilless, recirculating water system. From 2 to 4 p.m., 33869 Fields Road in Richwood. Contact 614-264-9098 or

-- Sept. 13, High Tunnel and CSA Farm Tour, a look at the Farm on Kenyon Road, which offers a community supported agriculture program. The farm uses high tunnels and produces pasture-raised beef and poultry. From 1 to 3 p.m., 11749 Kenyon Road, Gambier. Contact 740- 397-0401 or

-- Oct. 9, Pumpkin Field Night, which will showcase OSU South Centers' pumpkin field research including cultivar evaluations, disease and insect identification and control, irrigation management, pollination, Israeli drip irrigation demonstration and management, and Integrated Pest Management techniques. From 6 to 9 p.m., OSU South Centers, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon. Cost is $15 and includes dinner. Contact Charissa McGlothin at or 740-289-2071, ext. 132.

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