Free Public Tour Series Features Ohio's Organic and Sustainable Farms and Businesses


The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced the farm tours and workshops that will be included in the 2013 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, featuring free public tours of some of Ohio's finest sustainable and organic farms. OEFFA has offered these tours for more than 30 years, providing unique opportunities for Ohioans to see, taste, feel and learn what sustainable food and fiber production is all about from the farmers themselves.

Consumers interested in local foods, farmers and market gardeners wanting to learn more and network with other farmers, and aspiring and beginning farmers are encouraged to attend.

"Consumer demand for fresh, locally produced food and farm products continues to grow, along with the desire to understand how food gets from the field to the dinner table. Farmers are opening their barn doors this summer to show how sustainably produced food is grown," said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA's communications coordinator. "The tours are also designed to help farmers and gardeners learn from each other so they can improve their production and marketing techniques and grow their operations," added Ketcham.

OEFFA is sponsoring 17 tours and workshops, which will be held between June and November. The 2013 farm tour and workshop series is promoted in cooperation with the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team and the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts, which are sponsoring additional tours. In total, the series features 24 farms and food businesses, three university research centers, and three educational workshops.

OEFFA's tours and workshops feature: dairy farming and processing, diversified organic production, pasture-raised livestock and poultry, composting, permaculture, specialty crops, cut flowers, agritourism, urban farming, cover crops, season extension, food preservation, and farm business skills.

OEFFA's events are:
Saturday, June 8: Full-service sustainable dairy farm tour and open house, Snowville Creamery, Pomeroy, Ohio

Sunday, June 9: Community compost facility tour, The Compost Exchange, Athens, Ohio

Saturday, June 15: Pasture-raised livestock farm tour, Omega Meats, Grand Rapids, Ohio

Friday, July 5 - Saturday, July 6: Perennial Permaculture farm and Organic Valley field trip, New Forest Farm, Viola, Wis.

Sunday, July 21: Organic farm growth and transition tour, Northridge Organic Farm, Johnstown, Ohio

Sunday, July 28: Sustainable cut flower farm tour, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm, Columbus, Ohio

Saturday, August 24: OEFFA Benefit: An Evening at Blue Rock Station, Blue Rock Station, Philo, Ohio

Saturday, August 10: Agritourism and poultry production tour and consultation, co-sponsored by Women Farm, Manchester Hill Bed and Breakfast, Farm, and Winery, Circleville, Ohio

Saturday, August 17: Historic artisan market and urban farm tour, Ohio City Farm, Cleveland, Ohio

Tuesday, August 27: Innovative cover crop farm tour, Brandt's Farm, Carroll, Ohio

Thursday, September 12: Organic dairy farm tour and panel discussion, co-sponsored by Organic Valley, Rolling Ridge Meadows, Millersburg, Ohio

Saturday, September 14: Local food from farm to plate tour and open house, Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

Sunday, September 15: Diversified organic farm tour and food preservation workshop, Strawberry Hill Farm, Fresno, Ohio

Thursday, September 26: Organic farm production and business management tour, Birdsong Farm, Garrettsville, Ohio

Saturday, November 2 - Tuesday, November 5: Scaling up the food chain specialty crop workshops, Wooster, Ohio

Saturday, November 9: Cold season vegetable production tour, Turner Farm, Cincinnati, Ohio

OEFFA's 2013 farm tours are supported in part by the Jim Rosselot Memorial Fund. Rosselot, a third-generation farmer from Butler County, passed away last summer at the age of 57. He was a staunch supporter of sustainable agriculture and an active OEFFA member. He and his family grew vegetables and produced free-range meat, poultry, and eggs, sold through a successful community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, the local farmers' market, and restaurants.

For additional information and a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, and driving directions, click here.