Wednesday: Good sense food safety practices for organic veggie farms

Webinar imageeOrganic’s free organic farming webinar series continues at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 16, with “Good Sense Food Safety Practices for Organic Vegetable Farms.” Chris Blanchard of Decorah, Iowa-based Purple Pitchfork will be the speaker. Blanchard raises 20 acres of vegetables, herbs and greenhouse crops and, as owner of Purple Pitchfork, provides consulting and educational services to farms and farm businesses around the U.S. and Canada. Register for the webinar here.

NASA says February 2016 was warmest February ever

“February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin” says the headline of a post on yesterday’s WunderBlog, a WeatherUnderground blog. The post is based on an analysis that NASA released on Saturday. Read the post here. There’s coverage today, too, by The Weather Channel, The Telegraph (UK) and The Guardian (UK).

In Cleveland: Eating fresh, growing food security

Picture of Gateway 105 farmers marketA program called Produce Perks, which CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, helped establish, is tackling northeast Ohio’s urban food deserts and boosting food security.

“Families can stretch their food dollars by utilizing Produce Perks to double their whole-food purchases,” says Veronica Walton, who manages Cleveland’s Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market (shown here last summer).

“The relaxed atmosphere at farmers markets is perfect for conversations about meal preparation, food storage and preservation, all of which decrease food insecurities.”

Read more about it. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

Low-cost high tunnels raise food security

CFAES, OARDC, High TunnelUrban Farms of Central Ohio, part of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, uses high-tunnel technology refined and shared by OARDC scientists to train new farmers and help feed the hungry. The relatively low-cost high tunnels make the growing season longer, even in sometimes chilly Ohio. In doing so, they produce more food in the course of a year. OARDC is CFAES’s research arm. Read the story. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

Today: Projects, goals for helping soil fertility on Ohio farms

CFAES scientist Steve Culman, assistant professor of soil fertility and management in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, presents “Fertile or Futile? What Lies Ahead for Soil Fertility Research for Ohio Farmlands” at 11:30 a.m. today in the spring seminar series of the college’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. Details.

Got a question? Get the (expert-vetted) (sheets of) facts

Imnage of woman at computerOSU Extension has revamped its free online information resource. The website, which is called Ohioline, lets you read and download hundreds of detail-packed, science-backed, expert-reviewed fact sheets on farming, gardening, food and more, including sustainability. (Try “Gray Water Recycling in Ohio,” for one.) Recent improvements include enhanced search functionality, being responsive to mobile devices, and easier-than-ever printing or saving as PDF files. Browse the virtual shelves starting here. (Photo: joegolby, iStock.)

Conference to focus on building healthy soil

Adding organic matter leads to healthier soil, which in turn improves a farm’s profitability and the quality of the water that runs off from it. That’s a key message of CFAES’s annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference. It’s today and tomorrow in northwest Ohio. Read more …

March 2: How Cleveland’s vacant lots can help pollinators, stormwater retention and local food production

You’ve read about CFAES insect scientist Mary Gardiner’s research on Cleveland’s vacant lots here, for example, and here. Now you can hear her in person. She presents “Managing Vacant Land to Support Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences’ spring seminar series from 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio State in Columbus. You can watch by video link, too, at CFAES’s research arm, OARDC in Wooster. Find out more. Gardiner is also the author of last year’s Good Garden Bugs: Everything You Need To Know About Beneficial Predatory Insects (Quarry Books).