How to grow grapes, make wine sustainably

Grapes on The VineThe Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series continues tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 20, with the Grape Production and Winery Tour at Slate Run Vineyard in Canal Winchester near Columbus. The vineyard grows 60 grape varieties on 4 acres. Plus it locally sources apples. Yield? Some 17 unique proprietary wines. Sample the details here on p. 27.

Dairy goats and soaps: Sustainable Farm Tour Series

June 13 calendar dateNext in the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series: Dairy Goats and Soaps Tour, June 13, at Pine Lane Farm in Batavia in southwest Ohio. Martha Fix and family raise Saanen and Toggenburg goats, which give milk for making cold-process soaps and body care products. For details, click here and scroll down to p. 33. Read more about the farm at its website.

New co-op could help hop crop pop: OEFFA conference preview

hops for GBOn Ohio small farms, as a high-value niche crop, hops, yes, are hopping. And now a new program could help them hop higher. The Ohio Hops Growers Cooperative and Alliance will jointly help members with planting, promotion, group-purchasing and more. Brad Bergefurd, a leader of CFAES’s own (here it comes) nonstopping, bebopping, hop-popping efforts (thankyouverymuch), will talk about the co-op and how it can help you. “Cooperatively Growing the Ohio Hops Industry,” Session III B, 10:35-11:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference. (Also coming, in the first week of February, are two CFAES workshops on hops.) (They’re the tops.) (Photo: iStock.)

Growing new non-GMO soybeans

OARDC’s soybean breeding program serves, in part, a growing niche — the producing, selling, and/or exporting of non-GMO soybeans (not genetically engineered). Here’s why (video, 2:46).

Niche marketing, says sustainability advocate John Ikerd in a paper on marketing and sustainable agriculture, is a way to “enhance the economic viability of systems that are ecologically sound and socially responsible and otherwise likely to be sustainable.”

In other words, niches are one way to strengthen a side — the staying in business and making a living side — of the sustainability-based ecological pyramid.