Local Foods Directory Website

We are continuing to update the Local Food Directory daily.  There are over 100 Ohio food producers listed on the site, with products ranging from fresh meat and eggs to maple syrup. You can visit the site at https://u.osu.edu/localfoodproducers/. The survey link is also available on the Local Food Producers Directory home page if you would like to add your farm to the list.

Southern Ohio Farm Show Broadcasting

Brooke Beam, PhD

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

April 29, 2020

On Wednesday, April 29th, we hosted the first Southern Ohio Farm Show via Zoom. The program featured a weather update by OSU Extension Climatologist, Dr. Aaron Wilson, a grain outlook by Ben Brown, OSU Extension Economist, soil sampling by Gigi Neal, and I discussed the local food directory we are building as a community resource.

If you were unable to view the show, it is also posted on our Facebook and YouTube pages. It will also be broadcasted through the Hillsboro and Greenfield local access channels.

The next broadcast of the Southern Ohio Farm Show will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at 10 AM via Zoom. You can register for the program via: https://go.osu.edu/thesouthernohiofarmshowregistration

Next week’s episode will include topics on gardening, what to do with local food in the kitchen, and a continued discussion about the markets and weather. If you do not have a computer or a smart phone, you are still able to listen to the program using the call-in option. Call the OSU Extension Office at 937-393-1918 for more information about the call-in number.

Agricultural Documentary Film Provides Local Food For Thought

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

October 1, 2018

A panel discussion with the director, Keener and Espey followed the screening of Farmers for America. The trailer for the film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/236472615.

A few weeks ago, I attended the screening and accompanying local foods dinner of Farmers For America, a pro-agriculture documentary film focused on the trials and tribulations of young farmers in the United States. Being a young farmer myself, I could relate to the challenges discussed in the film.

Did you know that the average age of the American farmer is over 60 years old? Did you know that the startup for many aspiring young farmers is out of reach because of high land and equipment prices? Or that 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity will change hands in the next 15 years?

The solution to these challenges that several young farmers are implementing in their operations are niche markets and diversification. There is a movement in society to want local foods, produced with niche practices, and for the consumer to have a personal connection with the farmer. Essentially, that is what several of the young farmers in Farmers for America are doing for their business strategies, and these practices were working for most of the individuals shown in the film.

Although the majority of the United States’ population is disconnected from agricultural production, consumers are more interested in their food products than ever before. In 1991, consumers of meat products were most concerned with external fat, palatability, tenderness, and marbling. Fast forward to 2016 where consumer concerns about meat selections were focused on food safety, eating satisfaction, how and where the animal was raised, and the visual characteristics of the meat. The change in consumer perceptions and the concerns that are influencing their purchasing decisions are creating opportunities for agricultural producers.

One of the farms featured in Farmers For America was Keener’s Family Farm from Dayton, Ohio. Matthew Keener and Amber Espey operate Keener’s Family Farm and Keener Farm Butcher Block. They produce grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and eggs, and woods farrowed pigs. Their products are marketed through direct marketing at their butcher shop and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). They also have a working relationship with local restaurants and colleges to supply local foods to the greater Dayton area. Coincidentally, Keener and Espey attended the Highland County Soil and Water Grazing Workshop at the Millstone Creek Farm in July of 2018.

The screening of Farmers For America was paired with a local food dinner at Table 33, where many of the ingredients were sourced from Keener’s Family farm. The food was excellent and was presented in an appealing manner. Several of the courses were not dishes I would have normally selected from the menu, and certainly wouldn’t have concocted on my own, but sometimes it is a good thing to be outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

The farm-to-table dinner was held at Table 33, a downtown Dayton restaurant.

How can consumers have a closer connection with farmers? Social media platforms provide a free and efficient method to market products and communicate with consumer audiences. It is also one way the next generation of farmers can easily diversify their marketing strategies by tying into technologies. Particularly for direct consumable products, photography and videography through social media or websites can help increase awareness of the company brand and products.

Several of the farmers featured in Farmers For America used social media as their main marketing source. Images of food products, like the food featured in the above image, can provide a great visual for consumers. In many cases, food is photographed from above or at a slight angle to capture the surroundings and place settings.

Whether you are looking to diversify your operation, expand your niche marketing, or expand your knowledge of local foods, exploring a new opportunity can provide an interesting and educational experience. For more information about niche markets specific to your operation, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918. Additionally, the Small Farm Colleges will be held in January, February, and March of 2019 in Montgomery, Vinton, and Adams Counties. The Small Farm Colleges provide education for agricultural producers on a variety of topics ranging from production to marketing.

 

Upcoming Events: 

  • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Producer Stockyards, Hillsboro, Ohio

Call your local Ohio State University Extension Office to register for the BQA training. The Highland County Extension Office can be reached at 937-393-1918.

What’s on your plate tonight?

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

 

Currently, the rolling landscapes of southern Ohio are filled with lush, green fields of crops that create a picturesque scenery for those who stop to enjoy the view. The same can be said for those who stop to enjoy the local products of agricultural producers as their plate will be filled with fresh, flavorful food. Local produce and meats have numerous benefits for both the consumer and agricultural producer. These benefits include economic stimulus, environmental, health, and quality of life benefits.

Did you know that the average family of three spends $9,000.00 annually on food? According to Brian Raison, from Ohio State University Extension, if the average family of three spent just 10 percent of their money on local foods, it would cause an economic impact of $900 to go to local producers. More consumers of local foods would lead to a greater economic impact for local agricultural producers. Currently, agricultural markets are in a challenging place for many farmers in the United States. Diversification into multiple commodities is one way to help alleviate some of the financial stress caused by lower commodity prices, but there also needs to be a strong local market for these products.

Local foods don’t travel thousands of miles to be marketed, and therefore do not have as many negative environmental impacts. “Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses” before it gets to the consumer (Grubinger, 2010, p. 2). Due to the decreased travel time, the food is fresher, contains more nutrients, and is generally more colorful (Grubinger, 2010; Raison, 2014).

Additionally, local foods have positive health benefits. Going for a walk at a u-pick farm, eating fresh produce, and preparing meals at home with family all have added physical and mental health benefits. Going to local farm businesses can be a social experience. Meeting new people, trying new things, and learning about local food production can be a great opportunity for people of any age to become more active in the community.

What are some local foods and where can you find them? Great question! Apples, peaches, sweet corn, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, meat, and milk, among others, are all produced locally and available for your table (some things may only be available seasonally). There are multiple farm stands, farmers markets, orchards, and u-pick farms you can visit to purchase these (and more) local products. If you don’t want to go through the process of making a pie or salad with fresh fruit, there are bakeries and restaurants in Highland County that are using local products on their menu. So, try something new tonight and eat locally.

For more information about local foods contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

References:

Grubinger, V. (2010, April). Ten Reasons to Buy Local Food. Retrieved from https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/buylocal.html

Raison, B. (2014, October 17). Local Food. TEDxDayton. Retrieved from https://u.osu.edu/raison/local-food/

 

Upcoming Events

The next Monthly Extension Program will be held on August 27, 2018, at the Pondo Center in Hillsboro, Ohio. The guest speaker will be Dr. Scott Shearer, who will discuss Big Data and UAVs in Production Agriculture. Advanced registration is required as lunch will be included in the registration fee. Tickets are available for purchase at the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918. The cost of registration is $20.00. The deadline to purchase a ticket in advance is August 23, 2018. For more information contact Brooke Beam at 937-393-1918 or beam.49@osu.edu.

 

Beef Quality Assurance Trainings:

  • Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Union Stockyards, Hillsboro
  • Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Producers Stockyards, Hillsboro
  • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Producers Stockyards, Hillsboro

Call your local Ohio State University Extension Office to register for the date and location of the BQA training of your choice. The Highland County Extension Office can be reached at 937-393-1918.

Tickets for the 2018 Farm Science Review are now available at the Highland County Extension Office. Tickets purchased at the Highland County Extension Office are $7, tickets will be $10 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free.