Ohio statewide tour series features farms managed by women, urban agriculture

With more women managing farms or becoming interested in entering the farming industry, highlighting several farms around Ohio with female operators was a logical choice for the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, organizers said.

This tour will also focus on identifying some of the issues women farmers are dealing with including information on access to capital, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also the coordinator of the university's Sustainable Agriculture Team.

The Sustainable Agriculture team will host 15 of the 40 tours offered this year, Hogan said. Other hosts for the tours include  the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Clintonville Farmers Market, he 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 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, which provides a unique opportunity for growers and other interested people to experience these and other agricultural operations directly from farmers, he said.

"The tours and workshops offer farmers to view what works on other farms and a way to see how other farmers are doing things differently," Hogan said. "It's all about people getting new ideas about different production techniques, alternative crops or other farming systems.

"Farmers who know they want to make a change to their production system, such as moving from conventional farming to organic farming, or may want to incorporate cover crops in their fields or move to no-till, but may want to see how that's working for other farmers, can do so on this tour. It allows farmers to ‘kick the tires" on a farm, so to speak."

Other topics that will be featured during the tour include hops production, aquaponics and urban agriculture and local foods, Hogan said.

Complete details and a list of all 40 tours in the series can be downloaded atfranklin.osu.edu/news/2015-statewide-sustainable-farm-tour-series.

The Ohio State team's tours in the series include:

* June 13, Pine Lane Farm: A look at a herd of registered Saanen and Toggenburg dairy goats. Guests can try their hand at showing and milking, learn about cold process soap making, and see finished goat milk body care products including soaps and lotions. From noon to 6 p.m., at 5057 state Route 133, Batavia, Ohio. Contact: 513-260-4352, info@pinelanesoaps.com or pinelanesoaps.com. Rain date is June 20.

* July 19, Farming for Farmers" Markets Tour: A visit to Jaybird Farms" greenhouse and walk the field to see the plants Vivian Pfankuch grows and picks for market sales. Guests can also see an empty hive and learn about the beekeeping process. From 1-4 p.m., 2091 state Route 321, Sardinia, Ohio. Contact: 937-442-4800,vivian@jaybirdfarms.com or jaybirdfarms.com.

* July 25, Urban Fruit and Vegetable Production and Marketing Tour: A visit to Franklinton Gardens, a nonprofit urban farm in the Franklinton community of Columbus. Franklinton Gardens maintains a mosaic of urban food production gardens that total just over 1.5 acres, including multiple market gardens, a perennial fruit and nut nursery, a bramble garden, a community garden, and a neighborhood produce stand. Franklinton Garden's goal is to demonstrate that urban agriculture can be a cornerstone of a healthy urban food system by showcasing high output gardens and inspiring others to garden to strengthen household food security and the local food economy. From 2-4 p.m. at 909 W. Rich St., Columbus, Ohio. Contact: 614-233-1887,nick.stanich@franklintongardens.org or franklintongardens.org.

* Aug. 1, Pasture-Based Livestock and Poultry Tour: This tour will focus on the challenges and benefits of a recently established breeding program and on-farm poultry processing. From 1:30-4 p.m. Three Moon Farm, 8181 state Route 138, Williamsport, Ohio. Contact: 740-253-9029, kelly@threemoonfarm.com orthreemoonfarm.com.

* Aug. 9, Urban Farming in Small Spaces Tour, Swainway Urban Farm: Visitors will see the farm's extensive composting systems, hoop houses used for season extension and hardening off seedlings, personal perennial gardens, and egg-laying chickens. From 2-4 p.m. Contact: Joseph Swain, 285 Canyon Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 614-557-8902, joseph@swainway.com or swainway.com.

* Aug. 14, Aquaponic Fish Production Tour, St. Stephens Community House: The site includes an aquaponics system utilizing six 1,200-gallon tanks. Aquaponics is a synergistic production technique in which fish and plants are grown together in the same system. The fish waste feeds the growing plants and the plants in turn clean and filter the water that returns to the fish environment. Tilapia fish are produced in this system in an effort to help address food insecurity in the Linden community. From noon-2 p.m. Contact: Henry Pettigrew, 1500 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio, 614-294-6347 or hpettigrew@ststephensch.org.

* Aug. 15, Food, Family, and Farming Tour, Lucky Penny Creamery: Join Gwenn Volkert from Ferrum Moraine Farm at 10 a.m. for the inside scoop. Are you interested in learning how to make cheese? Abbe Turner of Lucky Penny Creamery will demonstrate how to make simple cheeses at home beginning at 11:30 a.m. Have you considered backyard urban homesteading and raising a few animals? At 1 p.m., Amber Sattleberg of the SARE Food Waste for Farms project will discuss basic care and feeding for your small farm menagerie. Thinking about starting a small food or farm business? Abbe Turner will discuss getting started and selling at farmers markets in her talk "Living the Dream: Just Say ‘NO" to Pantyhose" at 2:30 p.m. How about composting? At 4 p.m., Teresa Kaminski from the SARE Food Waste For Farms project will discuss setting up a small compost bin for your food waste to build the soil health of your garden. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact: Abbe Turner, 632 Temple Ave., Kent, Ohio, 330-715-4140, abbe@luckypennyfarm.com or luckypennyfarm.com.

* Aug. 24, Large-Scale Urban Farm Tour, Clarfield Farm: The farm works to sustain itself and raise awareness about hunger by selling a portion of crops directly to local restaurants in addition to feeding the neighborhood around the farm. The Clarfield Farm operates on three acres of vacant elementary school property in the Marion-Franklin neighborhood. Each week, neighbors visit the farm stand to fill up on fresh, wholesome produce. With three high-tunnel structures at the farm, produce and opportunities for engagement are available year-round. From 5-7 p.m. Contact: Dana Hilfinger, 3220 Groveport Road, Columbus, Ohio, 614-277-3663,slenkay@midohiofoodbank.org or midohiofoodbank.org/programs-services/our-programs/UFCO.

* Aug. 25, Hops Production Workshop, Agricultural Incubator Foundation: Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist with OSU South Centers, will showcase the newly established hops research planting. 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. From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Contact: 13737 Middleton Pike, Bowling Green, Ohio, 419-354-9050, sundermeier.5@osu.edu or www.agincubator.org.

* Sept. 3, Cover Crop Farm Tour, Turnwald Farm: Learn about more than 10 different cover crops and cover crop mixtures after wheat that are broadcast, drilled and applied with and without manure, for a total of more than 40 combinations. Participants will learn about soil health concepts, ways to enhance cover crop growth through different seeding methods, and how cover crops may enhance soil productivity, improve yields, and increase profits. From 6-8 p.m. Contact: Terry and Dennis Turnwald, 22714 Road N, Cloverdale, Ohio, 419-235-8122.

* Sept. 10, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Field Day: Learn about organic grain crop production and Zeolite soil amendment research, pest scouting, organic controls, and other projects. A meal will be provided at no cost. From 5–7 p.m. Contact: Alan Sundermeier, 13737 Middleton Park, Bowling Green, Ohio. 419 354-9050,sundermeier.5@osu.edu or agincubator.org.

* Sept. 19, Sustainable Living Farm Tour, Schooner Farms: Visitors will see classrooms and sundry shop; various huglekultur mound gardens, including a one-third scale replica of the Great Serpent Mound that is aligned with the moon and sun; a lavender labyrinth; herbs; berries; aquaculture; ponds; a community supported agriculture (CSA) program pick up and an apiary. From 2-4 p.m. Contact: Becky White Schooner, 14890 Otsego Park, Weston, Ohio, 419-261-0908,info@schoonerberries.com or schoonerberries.com.

* Sept. 20, Sustainable Fruit Orchard Management Tour: Cherry Orchards, a family owned orchard, also operates an on-farm market, contributes a "fruit share" for an area CSA program, and offer pick-your-own apples. From 1-4 p.m. Contact: Neil and Faybelle Cherry, 10290 state Route 669, Crooksville, Ohio, 740-982-0976.

* Sept. 26, Alpaca Farm Tour, Alpaca Spring Valley Farm: See healthy alpacas and learn how to use natural preventative health care. Walk the farm's pastures, touch the alpacas, and learn the cost involved in being an alpaca farmer. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Contact: Alicia Rocco, 3944 Whitacre Ave. SE, Minerva, Ohio, 330-868-5353,alpaca4u@frontier.com or alpacaspringvalley.com.

* Sept. 26, On-Farm Processing, Cheesemaking, and Agritourism Tour, Blackstone Farmstead: An on-farm licensed commercial kitchen, cheesemaking facility, milking parlor and catering business. The farm also features a flock of Russian Romanov sheep, bed and breakfast and vacation/hunters cottages, a pond with swans, a smokehouse, a greenhouse with extensive flowerbeds and 50 varieties of hostas. Enjoy free samples of baklava, honey, cheese, breads and stuffed smoked sausage. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Contact: David and Nicki Blackstone, 49800 township Road 58, Lewisville, Ohio, 740-567-3463 or davidblackstone73@gmail.com.