Workshop Session V: 8:45-10 a.m.
Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems and the Pursuit of Climate Change Readiness
Aaron Wilson, OSU Extension
This session will start with the easiest part of this loaded topic: discussing the observed recent changes in temperature and precipitation, both globally and locally. Then, an audience-driven conversation will dive into the key challenges facing farmers, more specifically those in sustainable and organic farming, considering climate change. The goal is not to leave feeling doom and gloom, but to recognize how personal climate change is, accept the climate challenges that are present, and collectively think about solutions and better outcomes as we pursue climate change readiness.
River Birch C
Farmer Perspectives on Applying for and Managing SARE Grants
Mike Hogan, OSU Extension, Aaron Hopkins, South Side Family Farms, Krysti Morrow, Rocky Knob Farms of Ohio, Jeannie Seabrook, Glass Rooster Cannery
The USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program helps farmers improve their production practices and grow their businesses by funding experimentation and innovation. During this panel, grantees will talk about their projects, their experiences applying and working with SARE, and how their grants shaped their businesses. If there is something a bit outside the box you want to try on your farm, come and learn how SARE can help make it a reality.
River Birch A
Turn Your Lawn into Prairie
Tisa Watts, Columbus Garden School
The traditional lawn is a biodiversity wasteland. Learn the tools and step-by-step techniques used to transform turfgrass into a thriving prairie and meadow using native grasses and perennial wildflowers. Topics include weed removal, soil prep, plant selection, first-year versus long-term maintenance, project scaling, and managing expectations. The benefits are enormous: wildlife habitat restoration, soil building and retention, deep water percolation, herbal resources, and great beauty just outside your door.
All About High Tunnel Commercial Tomato Production
Michelle Wallace, CSU Extension
High tunnel tomato production offers many advantages: higher quality, higher yields, earlier crops, and the ability to manage indeterminate vines over a longer season. Learn management strategies that will help you succeed, including pruning and training the vines, scouting for insect pests, learning to differentiate between abiotic nutrient deficiencies and diseases, and learning new strategies for dealing with soil-borne diseases that can infiltrate high tunnel growing systems.
Grower Perspectives on Achieving Healthy Soils for Healthy Grain Crops
Steve Boyda, OFARM, Bridget Burgess, Hirzel Farms, Jeremy Flora, Dave Shively, Shively Farm
Join knowledgeable organic grain growers for an interactive conversation about experience-based approaches to improving soils for better, healthier crops. Panelists will discuss their strategies for building soil, and how healthier soils affect the health of their land and their profitability.
River Birch B
Thinking About Adding Heritage Poultry? Compare Investment and Profitability with Fast-Growing Poultry
Shelly Oswald, Old Time Farm
Gain insight into whether a heritage poultry enterprise might be a good fit for you. Learn the specific needs and market characteristics of heritage poultry that impact the investment and profitability of a small-scale, direct-to-consumer enterprise and compare it to those of a fast-growing poultry enterprise.
Gardening as We Age: Ideas for Adapting
Laura Akgerman, Ohio AgrAbility
Learn about good body mechanics, ergonomic garden tools, safe lifting, sun safety, and Universal Design in this session. It will include ideas for adapting your current work habits, tools, and structures so you can continue gardening productively and safely as your abilities change.
River Birch D
Managing Complex Farm and Food Projects with Airtable
Rachel Tayse, OEFFA
Do you keep complicated spreadsheets of your farm, customer, or project data that still don’t easily give you information in the formats you most need? This session will share how Airtable, a free virtual database system, can be used to improve your crop plan, CSA or wholesale order management, or work plan. Using case studies from a diversified vegetable farm and grant projects, you will learn how to set up, use, and automate your data for smoother operations and better decision making.