Big organic food, farm conference: OSU is there

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association will hold Ohio’s largest conference on organic and sustainable agriculture next month, and Ohio State will be well represented there. Ohio State scientists, specialists and students will give 19 presentations — the most ever from the university — as part of the program. OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference takes place Feb. 19-20 in Granville in central Ohio. “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” is the theme. The Ohio State speakers are from CFAES and our research and outreach arms, OARDC and OSU Extension. Details.

‘Buckeye Swamp’ celebrating 20th year with Open House

Feel like walking around a winter wonder wetland? Your chance is coming up Feb. 2, when our college’s Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park will begin its 20th anniversary celebration with an Open House, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Check out the tours, displays, videos and international food (our “swamp” has had an international impact, after all). Check it out:

‘Environmental stewardship and you’

Ohio State’s John W. Simpson, who writes about people’s relationship to the land, including the role of politics, will speak on the subject this Friday (1/28). He’ll present “Environmental Stewardship and You: Lifestyle, Cultural Values and Politics” at 11 a.m. as part of a free winter seminar series by the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. Simpson is a professor of landscape architecture in the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture and the School of Environment and Natural Resources. He’s the author of Dam! (2005), Yearning for the Land (2003), and Visions of Paradise (1999). Get location and other details here.

New, better way to farm in cities?

A new, nature-based growing system can help urban farmers grow more food and make more money, and Ohio State scientist Joe Kovach will talk about it this Friday (1/21). Kovach is an expert on intensive fruit and vegetable production. He’ll discuss his six-year study of modular ecological design in a seminar called “Polyculture, Plastic, Pests and Profitability: An Alliteration of an Ecosystem.” 11 a.m.-noon in Columbus and Wooster. Location and other details here. Read more about Kovach’s research here.

Economic incentives, water quality in Ohio

Brent Sohngen, a professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, will present “Economic Incentives and Water Quality in Ohio” at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow (1/20) in a seminar series sponsored by the university’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. Details. Sohngen holds a doctorate in natural resource and environmental economics from Yale University and has interests in the area of natural resource and environmental economics.

Researchers suggest new direction for Ohio green jobs

Amanda Weinstein

Researchers with the college’s Swank  Program on Urban-Rural Policy envision a new direction for Ohio’s green economy: Instead of playing “follow the leader” in developing wind and solar farms, they suggest Ohio put its resources toward developing new storage and transmission technologies — real gaps in the nation’s use of green energy. See the college news release, with a video of researcher Amanda Weinstein explaining their position, at, or download the policy brief, “Making Green Jobs Work for Ohio,” at

‘Demonstrate your commitment to a healthier environment’

Got a green product, service, or program to promote? Do it by being a sponsor of Ohio State’s fourth annual Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray, and Green Fair. It’s on April 19 at OARDC in Wooster. Becoming a financial sponsor of the event lets individuals and organizations “demonstrate their commitment to and support of a healthier environment and a more sustainable society,” says Ohio State’s Allen Zimmerman, chair of the event’s planning committee. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 15. Last year’s event drew 2,000 people. Call 330-287-1263, e-mail, or click here for details.

‘Green Is for Life!’ coming April 19

Ohio State’s 2011 Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray, and Green Fair is set for April 19 at OARDC. It’s a free public program on the environment and how people can improve it. “Green Is for Life!” is the theme. Displays, exhibits, student contests, and local food vendors will all be a part of it. Last year’s event drew 2,000 people. Call 330-287-1263 for details (including if you’d like to have an exhibit there); the event’s website will be updated soon. Coordinating sponsors are our college; OARDC, the Agricultural Technical Institute, and OSU Extension (all three are part of our college); and the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network.

How social networking, sustainable ag can help grow local economies: Talk tomorrow (1/14) at OSU

Social networking, local economies and sustainable agriculture will be the focus when Casey Hoy speaks tomorrow at Ohio State. Hoy, holder of the university’s Kellogg Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystem Management, will present “Specialty Crop Partnerships, Business Ecosystems and Agroecosystem Health” at 11 a.m. in 244 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Rd., in Columbus or in 121 Fisher Auditorium at OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. Details.

3 years later, Ohio 4-H Center still green as ever

Lobby area of the 4-H CenterThree years ago this month, OSU Extension’s 4-H building, the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, opened as the university’s first “green” building. It’s not only a source of pride — it also makes economic sense: Campus facilities officials say it uses just one-third the energy of the average office building, and water use is so low that the building’s entire bill for FY 2010 amounted to just under $45. Read more: