DAYTON — Urban agriculture offers exciting opportunities for individuals to make a living farming and gain educational and job training, and provide communities with healthy food.
Addressing the specific challenges and issues that face urban farmers is the focus of a six-part workshop track sponsored by Ohio’s recently-designated 1890 land-grant institution, Central State University (CSU) Cooperative Extension.
The workshop track is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow, which will run Thursday, Feb. 9 through Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton.
“Urban Agriculture has the ability to transform our urban and blighted communities by becoming a practical solution,” said Dr. Clarence Bunch, Associate Director at CSU Cooperative Extension Service. “Food security has been identified as a critical need by Central State University Extension. Our sponsorship of the urban agriculture workshop track and OEFFA Conference provides the support needed to offer practical solutions that benefit families and the local community.”
Six 90-minute workshops, totaling nine hours of urban agriculture education, will address production practices for small spaces, business planning, and cost-effective technologies for efficient urban production:
• Safe Handling and Use of Organic Approved Pesticides — Terry Grace, Ohio Central Community Co-op (Friday, Feb. 10, 8:30-10 a.m.)
• Urban Farm Planting and Management — Milan Karcic, Peace, Love, and Freedom Farm (Friday, Feb. 10, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)
• Business Planning for Ag Entrepreneurs — Stephen Washington, Central State University (Friday, Feb. 10, 2-3:30 p.m.)
• Water Quality’s Role in Sustainability on Small and Urban Farms — Krishnakumar Nedunuri, Central State University (Saturday, Feb. 11, 8:30-10 a.m.)
• Low-Tech Farm Hacks and DIY Infrastructure — Lisa Helm, Dayton Urban Green (Saturday, Feb. 11, 1:30-3 p.m.)
• Growing Efficiently Through Technology — Cadance Lowell, Central State University Extension (Saturday, Feb. 11, 3:30-5 p.m.)
In addition to the urban agriculture workshop track, the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will feature:
• More than 70 other workshops on topics including sustainable farming, gardening, cooking, livestock, business management, and policy;
• Keynote speakers Jim Riddle and Robyn O’Brien, presented by Horizon Organic;
• Four full-day Thursday pre-conference intensive workshop options on farm business planning, niche fruit production, bionutrient rich food, and pastured broilers;
• A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;
• The Cream of the Crop Banquet on Friday, February 10 featuring a dinner celebrating Ohio’s farming community;
• A Farm Land of Opportunity reception, Old MacGyver Had a Farm discussion and reception, and an OEFFA oral history discussion on Thursday, February 9;
• A kids’ conference for children ages 6-12; a playroom for young children, and a teen conference for teenagers ages 12-15; and
• Locally-sourced, from-scratch lunches; raffle; book table; morning yoga and tai chi; book signings, and much more.