The 2019 Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) Farm Tour series guide is now available. This year's series offers an up-close look at 30 organic and ecological farms and businesses in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. The tour series combines efforts and resources from OEFFA, OSU Extension, and other organizations.
Franklin County Extension Educator and Associate Professor Mike Hogan has worked with OEFFA to help select and plan tour sites for the past 15 years. Two things surprise him about the tour series: The diversity and the number of miles participants travel for specific tours.
"People who come, love them," says Hogan. "They come back year after year. It's a great way to learn. They like to talk to people who are doing the things they're considering and to ask questions."
In selecting tour stops, Hogan is mindful of preserving the diversity of participating businesses by including new on-farm research, new production systems, and farms of all scales, sizes, and stages of development.
This year's tour is indeed teeming with diversity. From traditional small farms that have successfully diversified, to the Greenfield Farms creamery plant, and even urban community garden projects, everyone is sure to find a tour that relates to their current operation or future plans. Among this year's offerings, are opportunities to learn about transitioning to organic production, using rotational grazing with a diversified livestock operation, growing a specialty crop like mushrooms, hops, or cut flowers, or branching out to aquaculture, seed production, or commercial composting.
Hogan is especially excited this year to include the Gwynne Conservation Area at Ohio State's Molly Caren Agricultural Center (site of the Farm Science Review).
"It's a good example of blending agriculture and natural resources in ways we don't see a lot," Hogan says.
Check out the tour guidebook today and see which events excite you! Printed copies of the guidebook and schedule are available at county extension offices or you can download a copy here.
The farm tours are free and open to the public and do not require pre-registration unless otherwise noted. Events will take place rain or shine. Guests should dress appropriately; hats, sunglasses, long pants, closed toe walking shoes, and sunscreen are recommended. Tours involve standing and moderate walking; visitors with physical limitations or other concerns should contact the tour host in advance. For everyone’s safety, guests should keep children with them at all times; and should leave their pets at home.
Tour event organizers include OEFFA, OSU Extension, The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions, Clintonville Farmers’ Market, and the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance. Workshops and networking events are also available.