Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Last Minute Budget Makes Long-Term Mistakes: Press Statement by Amalie Lipstreu

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, amalie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

“A new spending bill unveiled by Congress this week removes critical resources for voluntary conservation programs that help farmers with the work of protecting our natural resources. Hundreds of millions of dollars are stripped from programs highly utilized by farmers including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program.

This move will cut funding which the 2014 Farm Bill made mandatory. It is a backdoor approach to de-fund agricultural programs by those putting together the budget bill.  When environmental regulation is opposed, voluntary approaches to address environmental concerns are held up as the solution. The commitment to improving agriculture and the environment is called into question when those measures are undercut.

The EQIP program is an important tool for farmers implementing measures to address natural resource concerns, like toxic algae affecting Ohio’s waterways such as Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys. Nationally more than1.5 million acres were planted with cover crops between 2009 and 2012 as a result of the EQIP program, helping to reduce nutrient runoff.

The demand for EQIP technical assistance and resources already exceeds the funding allocated to Ohio. Further reductions in funding are a disincentive to conservation.

The new spending bill also includes a detrimental anti-farmer provision that would create an unfair marketplace for meat and poultry producers. It removes protection from retaliation when they use their first amendment rights, denies them the right to a jury trial, and even denies them the right to know how the prices they receive are calculated. This should not be part of any legislation in a free market economy.

As lawmakers hurriedly craft a deal to prevent government shutdown, sustainable agriculture and the rights of family farmers should not be sacrificed.”

Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil: Online Registration Now Open for Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2014

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil. Pre-conference intensives will be held on Friday, February 13 and the conference will take place Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, 2015 at the Granville Middle and High schools in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

As the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the U.S will come together to enjoy keynote sessions with Doug Gurian-Sherman and Alan Guebert; nearly 100 educational workshops; three pre-conference intensives; a trade show; locally-sourced and organic from-scratch meals, and more.

“How we care of our soil has everything to do with the well-being of our food and water, how we feed ourselves in the future, and who will be raising our food ,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Soil health is at the core of sustainable agriculture, but by building connections between eaters and farmers we are also renewing the heart of our community-based food systems.”

Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman is Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Scientist at the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. He is the founding co-director and former science director for the biotechnology project at the Center for Science and the Public Interest and formerly served as senior scientist in the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). He is a widely cited expert on biotechnology and sustainable agriculture, and author of dozens of articles, papers, and reports, including the landmark UCS report Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.

Alan Guebert is an award-winning freelance agricultural journalist who was raised on a 720 acre dairy farm in southern Illinois. He began the syndicated agriculture column “The Farm and Food File” in 1993 and it now appears weekly in more than 70 newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Guebert has won numerous awards and accolades for his magazine and newspaper work. In 1997, the American Agricultural Editors’ Association named him Writer of the Year and Master Writer.

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The conference will offer nearly 100 beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops across eighteen tracks, covering a range of topics including sustainable farming, gardening, homesteading, cooking, livestock and poultry production, business management, food and farm policy, research, and more.
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“OEFFA’s conference offers something for everybody. Whether you’re an experienced grower, backyard gardener, or local food enthusiast, this conference has workshops for you,” said Hunt.
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The conference will also feature three pre-conference intensives from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, February 13 in Granville.
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The first, Principles of Regenerative Agriculture, will be led by John Kempf of Advancing Eco-Agriculture. Participants will learn the principles which support regenerative farming systems and how to produce disease- and pest-resistant crops.
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The second, Slow Poultry: Sustainable Poultry Production, will be led by Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network, and focus on effective and profitable strategies for sustainable poultry production.
  
The third, Udder Health and Mastitis Control in Organic Dairies, will provide organic dairy producers with information about practical management and mastitis control practices to improve milk quality and farm profitability. The intensive will be led by veterinarians Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz and Dr. Luciana da Costa from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Organic Valley Cooperative staff veterinarian Dr. Guy Jodarski.
The conference will also feature:
  • Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a film screening of GMO OMG presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill;
  • A trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, farm and garden products, tools, information, and services;
  • A kid’s conference with engaging activities for children ages 6-12;
  • A playroom for young children;
  • A teen conference where teenagers ages 12-15 can create their own personal weekend schedule;
  • A raffle, book table, book signings, and much more.
For more information about the conference, or to register, click here. Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.
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Our Sponsors
Northstar Café, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, UNFI Foundation, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Greenacres Foundation, Jorgensen Farms, Mustard Seed Market and Café, Organic Valley, Snowville Creamery, Albert Lea Seed Company, Eban Bakehouse, Edible Cleveland, Edible Ohio Valley, Green BEAN Delivery, Green Field Farms, Lucky Cat Bakery, Metro Cuisine, Raisin Rack Natural Food Market, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, Swainway Urban Farm, Whole Foods Market, Andelain Fields, C-TEC of Licking County, Casa Nueva, Columbus Culinary Institute, Curly Tail Organic Farm, DNO Produce, Eden Foods, Kevin Morgan Studio, King Family Farm, Law Office of David G. Cox, Luna Burger, Northridge Organic Farm, Ohio Environmental Council, WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Fedco Seeds, Glass Rooster Cannery, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Krazy Kraut, Lucky’s Market, Marshy Meadows Farm, Middlefield Original Cheese, Nourse Farms, Schmidt Family Farms, Stutzman Farms, Wayward Seed Farm
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About OEFFA
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a state-wide, grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Press Passes and Media Inquiries
OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend conference and pre-conference events. We can also help members of the press schedule interviews with keynote speakers and workshop presenters. To arrange an interview, request a press pass, or for other media inquiries, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or lauren@oeffa.org.

Free Information Session About New Oil and Gas Pipelines in Ohio

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 13, 2014
Contact: Amalie Lipstreu, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, policy@oeffa.org

What: The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) presents a free information session, “Who’s In Charge? 70,000 Miles of Proposed Pipelines in Ohio.”

Why: Due to the growth of fracking, more than 70,000 miles of new oil and gas pipelines are being proposed in the state. Companies are asking landowners to sign easements so they can build pipelines, and more land is also being purchased, or acquired through easements, for compressors and processing facilities.

“While we’re still coping with how to protect our communities from fracking, landowners and farmers are now bracing for the next unwanted fracking activity—miles and miles of new high pressure pipeline to move fracked gas across our state,” said Christine Hughes, owner and operator of the Village Bakery and Della Zona in Athens, and one of the event’s organizers. “What we don’t know about pipelines could hurt us.”

Farmers, landowners, neighbors, and communities need to understand the environmental and financial risks.

Join OEFFA, Ted Auch, Program Coordinator for FracTracker Alliance; Nathan Johnson, Attorney with the Ohio Environmental Council; food business entrepreneur Christine Hughes, and others to learn about:
-New proposed pipelines in Ohio
-How state and federal agencies regulate pipelines
-Impacts to landowners, organic farmers, and farmland
-Eminent domain and your rights as a landowner
-When you need to speak to an attorney

This event is co-sponsored by Ohio University Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics (IAPE). Director Alyssa Bernstein will provide an introduction and facilitate the discussion.

When: Thursday, November 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Ohio University, Porter Hall Room 105, Athens, Ohio

Who: OEFFA is a statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to http://policy.oeffa.org/fracking.

IAPE works to promote well-informed, critical reflection about climate change and economic, social, and environmental sustainability in relation to human rights and justice at local, national, and global levels. For more information, go to http://ohio.edu/appliedethics.

FDA Responds to Farmer Concerns, Releases Revised Draft Food Safety Rules

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Columbus, OH—Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued revised proposed food safety regulations for farmers and food businesses under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA is inviting a new round of public comments to respond to the revised language.
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“The FDA is to be commended for listening to farmers and the public and for realizing that a second draft was necessary,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “This is the first major overhaul of food safety rules in 75 years. It is critical the FDA gets it right by setting regulations that protect consumers, but do not put small farmers and processors out of business.”

The original regulations, issued in fall 2013, contained several requirements that would jeopardize sustainable and organic farmers, discourage growth of local food systems, and negatively impact the conservation of natural resources. In response, OEFFA and other state and national groups mobilized more than 18,000 farmers, consumers, and food businesses to submit comments to the FDA.

“Based on our initial review, there are some encouraging improvements. For example, the FDA has clarified that activities that happen on a farm—like packing and holding produce—should be treated the same whether the produce was grown on that farm or a neighboring farm. This is important for community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, aggregating produce from multiple farms,” said Lipstreu.

“We also are encouraged by the FDA’s reconsideration of the criteria used to determine farm size and eligibility for certain exemptions. Basing farm size on sales of covered produce, rather than total sales, is incredibly important for diversified farming operations.

“However, the FDA’s revised proposals regarding water and manure standards for produce farms will require a closer look. OEFFA and our partners will be undertaking a thorough review of the revised language in the weeks ahead to make sure that sustainable and organic farmer concerns are represented. We will continue work to ensure that the rules are finalized and implemented in a way that supports a flexible, scale- and supply-chain appropriate framework that supports the growth and success of a more sustainable food and agriculture system,” concluded Lipstreu.

The official public comment period will begin Monday, September 29. Farmers, organizations, and the public are encouraged to submit feedback during the 75 day public comment period. The revised draft rules are available at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection under the Food and Drug Administration section.

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, amalie@oeffa.org
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209, eric@oeffa.org

Webinar and On-Farm Workshop to Help Veterinarians and Livestock Professionals Manage Organic Dairy Herd Health

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Veterinary Extension at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) are offering two upcoming events to help veterinarians and other livestock professionals manage organic dairy herd health.

On Monday, June 23 at 1 p.m., Ohio State University Assistant Professor and Extension Veterinarian Dr. Gustavo M. Schuenemann will lead a webinar, “CSI for Dairy: On-Farm Audits to Assess Risks.” During this webinar, participants will learn about transition herd management with an emphasis on calving-related disease prevention and on-farm risk assessment.

On Thursday, June 26 at 1 p.m., Dr. Schuenemann will lead an on-farm dairy herd health workshop at Pleasantview Farm, a family-owned certified organic dairy farm managed by Perry Clutts and his family since 1899. He will cover herd health monitoring, record-keeping, and perform an on-farm risk assessment with an emphasis on herd health and productivity to identify areas for improvement. Participants will gain hands-on experience in conducting an audit using an instrument designed to identify and rank risk factors, enabling veterinarians to offer this service to their clients. Pleasantview Farm is located at 20361 Florence Chapel Pike in Circleville.

Both events are geared toward veterinarians, Extension educators, farmers, and other animal health professionals who work with certified organic farmers and dairy herds.

There is no cost to attend the webinar or workshop, but pre-registration is required. To register for the June 23 webinar, click here. To register for the June 26 on-farm workshop, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or eric@oeffa.org.

Veterinary Continuing Education (CE) credits will be granted on an “hour for hour” basis.

These events are part of an educational livestock health series offered by OSU and OEFFA designed to help veterinarians and other livestock professionals gain new knowledge and expand services offered by providing important information on working with certified organic livestock and poultry.

For more information about the series or to see other scheduled events, click here, call (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209, or email education@oeffa.org.

This series is made possible with funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program.

Good Earth Guide Connects Consumers with Local Farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 10, 2014

Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
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Columbus, OH – Ohio summers are a time to enjoy the bounty of fresh garden vegetables, ripe off the vine berries, farm fresh eggs, and orchard harvests bursting with juicy flavor. The Good Earth Guide to Organic and Ecological Farms, Gardens, and Related Businesses produced by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) can help bring these delicious tastes of summer to any kitchen.
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The Good Earth Guide includes information on 450 farms and businesses, including 193 certified organic farms and businesses and more than 100 community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
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“Since the first Good Earth Guide in 1990, the directory has grown from a list of a dozen or so to  450 farms and businesses, reflecting the tremendous growth in locally-sourced and sustainably-produced foods, fibers, products, and services,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

The searchable online directory identifies sources for locally grown vegetables; fruits; herbs; honey; maple syrup; dairy products; grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb; free-range chicken and eggs; fiber; flour and grains; cut flowers; plants; hay and straw; seed and feed, and other local farm products.
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“The Good Earth Guide gives consumers out there a one-stop shop to find not only vegetable growers, but people who are raising poultry and beef, and  a whole range of products that are close to them and grown and raised organically,” said certified organic farmer Jake Trethewey of Maplestar Farm in Geauga County.
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Each listing includes name and contact information, products sold, a farm or business description, and whether the farm or business is certified organic. Many listings also include locations and maps for where the farm or business products are sold. The directory includes tools that make it easy to search the listings for a specific product, business or contact, by county, or by sales method.
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“One of the other primary benefits of the Good Earth Guide is that it helps growers get together with other growers, finding out what worked for them, and passing on ideas, techniques, and products that work for you to other growers,” Trethewey said.
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That’s the purpose of the Good Earth Guide, said Hunt—making connections. “Connecting consumers to local farms and businesses so that their dollars support the local community and sustainably grown food and farm products. Connecting farmers with one another so they can network and develop business relationships that support a successful farming community. And, connecting businesses with farmers who can supply local food for restaurants and other retailers,” concluded Hunt.
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The Good Earth Guide is available free to the public in an easy to use online searchable database at http://www.oeffa.org/search-geg.php.

Organic Livestock and Poultry Health Series Provides Comprehensive and Convenient Education for Veterinarians and Other Livestock Professionals

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2014
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Contact:
Jeffrey D. Workman, PhD, Veterinary Extension, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, (614) 292-9453, workman.45@osu.edu
Renee Hunt, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, (614) 421-2022, renee@oeffa.org
An upcoming educational series will give veterinarians and other livestock professionals the opportunity to gain new knowledge and expand services offered by providing important information on working with certified organic livestock and poultry.
The series is being offered by Veterinary Extension at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and includes both webinars and in-person workshops.

“The objective of this educational series is to help veterinarians and their clients design best herd health management practices that comply with federal and state regulations and organic standards when considering the health and well-being of the animal,” said Ohio State University Assistant Professor and Extension Veterinarian Dr. Gustavo M. Schuenemann.

As part of this series, participants will learn how to perform an on-farm risk assessment, or audit, to identify and rank risk factors associated with herd health and performance. “This audit will be a valuable service they can offer clients—certified organic or otherwise,” said Schuenemann.

The educational series will also demystify the organic standards, and clarify the requirements for individual animals to obtain and maintain their organic status. “Understanding the certification process will benefit everyone—the animal, the farmer, the service provider, and the consumer,” said OEFFA Organic Certification Program Manager Julia Barton.

Demand for organic products continues to increase, including organic meat, poultry, dairy, and fiber. Ohio ranks second for the number of dairy farmers that produce milk for Organic Valley, for example. Approximately 270 Ohio farms are certified organic livestock and poultry operations.

The series will cover the following topics:

  • Transition cow management, emphasizing calving-related disease prevention and on-farm risk assessment
  • Organic standards for livestock, allowed inputs, and the certification process
  • Management of somatic cell counts and mastitis control
  • Parasite management and control
  • Pain management, regulatory medicine, and science-based treatments
  • Organic poultry flock health
  • Nutrition-related diseases
  • On-farm health audits to assess herd risk factors
  • Defining, monitoring, and recordkeeping of health events
Free events currently scheduled include:
  • CSI for Dairy: On-Farm Audits to Assess Risk Webinar—Monday, June 23, 1 p.m. EDT
  • Certified Organic Dairy Tour and Workshop—Thursday, June 26, 1 p.m. EDT at Pleasantview Farm in Circleville, OH
  • Certified Organic Livestock Standards Webinar—Thursday, July 10, 1 p.m. EDT
  • Organic Livestock Inputs Webinar—Wednesday, October 1, 1 p.m. EDT
Veterinary Continuing Education (CE) credits will be granted on an “hour for hour” basis.

In addition, veterinarians and other agriculture professionals that work with poultry and livestock can join a network to share ideas and find answers to questions. “Their work will be strengthened as this network bridges the gaps between educators, certifiers, farmers, and veterinarians,” said Eric Pawlowski, OEFFA Sustainable Agriculture Educator.

This series is made possible with funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program.

For more details, or to register for scheduled events, go to www.oeffa.org or http://vet.osu.edu/extension, call (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209, or email education@oeffa.org.

Solar Electric Workshop Scheduled for June: Farmers and Others Can Learn How to Design and Install Photovoltaic Systems

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For Immediate Release: May 13, 2014
Contact: Milo Petruziello, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206, milo@oeffa.org

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and Jay and Annie Warmke of Blue Rock Station will be offering a five-day solar electric workshop designed for people who want to make their farm, home, or business energy independent, or who are looking to start their own business installing photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The workshop will be held Monday, June 16 through Friday, June 20 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at OEFFA’s offices in the Lumbermens Building at 41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH.

“During previous courses, we’ve helped many people to enter a new career field or gain the skills necessary to design and install their own PV system,” said instructor Jay Warmke. Jay is the author of numerous textbooks on the subject, teaches renewable energy classes at Central Ohio Technical College, and serves as vice president of Green Energy Ohio. He and his wife Annie put this knowledge into practice at Blue Rock Station, a 38 acre educational center which is home to Ohio’s first Earthship and a 6kW solar array.

During this training course, participants will learn how to design and install photovoltaic systems through lectures and hands-on labs. They will learn with a working PV system, dismantling and reinstalling it, troubleshooting, and testing its proper operation. The class will also learn how to integrate a working wind turbine into the PV system. As part of the class, registrants can nominate a site to serve as a “real world” model; one site will be selected and together the class will evaluate, size, and design a system for that site. At the end of the week, participants will have the opportunity to sit for an internationally recognized certification Level 1 examination offered by the Electronic Technicians Association (ETA).

“Many farmers and homesteaders are looking for a way to be energy independent and reduce their reliance on polluting fossil fuels. With prices for PV systems falling and demand on the rise, systems are becoming economical for nearly every home or farm,” said OEFFA program assistant Milo Petruziello. “Finding qualified personnel to install and maintain systems remains a challenge, however. We hope this course will give people the tools they need to harness the power of the sun.”

The cost of the workshop is $930 for OEFFA members and $970 for non-members. The cost includes ETA fees, an installation toolkit, and a course workbook. Lunch is provided on each class day.

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Register at www.oeffa.org by Wednesday, June 11. To register by mail, send a check made out to OEFFA along with the names of all attendees, addresses, phone numbers, and emails to OEFFA Solar Workshop, 41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214.

For more information, or to register by phone, please contact Milo Petruziello at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206 or milo@oeffa.org. For more information about Blue Rock Station, call (740) 674-4300 or go to www.bluerockstation.com.

Free Public Tour Series Features Ohio’s Organic and Sustainable Farms: 2014 Guide Now Available

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2014
Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209, eric@oeffa.org
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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced th farm tours and workshops that will be included in the 2014 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, featuring free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms.
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OEFFA has offered these tours for more than 30 years, providing unique opportunities for growers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable food and farm products in a real world setting from farmers with years of practical experience.
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“Consumer demand for fresh, locally produced food and farm products continues to grow, along with the desire to understand how food gets from the field to the dinner table. Farmers know all the dirt and this summer, they’re sharing that knowledge about how sustainably produced food is grown,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s Communications Coordinator. “The tours are also designed to help farmers and gardeners learn from each other so they can improve their production and marketing techniques and grow their operations.”
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Fifteen tours, six workshops, and a farm to table dinner are being sponsored by OEFFA and will be held between June 7 and November 14. The 2014 farm tour and workshop series is promoted in cooperation with the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team, who is sponsoring additional tours. In total, the series features 21 farms, four university research center tours, six educational workshops, a film screening, and a benefit dinner.
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OEFFA’s tours and workshops are:
For additional information and a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, and driving directions, click here.

GMO OMG! Free Screenings of Film to Explore Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms and Role Consumers Can Play

Columbus, OH—This month, Horizon Organic, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), will be offering free screenings of the film, GMO OMG in Athens and Columbus.

“While unlabeled genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have filled our supermarket shelves, biotech companies are hoping that consumers like you and me won’t ask questions,” said MacKenzie Bailey, OEFFA’s  Policy Program Coordinator. “However, more and more consumers and farmers are raising concerns about seed and crop contamination, superweeds, and the other health and environmental risks of these under-regulated foods.”

The screenings will take place on Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema located at 20 S. Court St. in Athens and on Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m. at the Gateway Film Center located at 1550 N. High St. in Columbus.

Limited space is available; RSVP to MacKenzie Bailey at policy@oeffa.org.

The terms “GMO” and “genetic engineering” (GE) refers to a set of technologies used to change the genetic make-up of cells to produce novel organisms that exhibit a desired trait, such as pesticide resistance.

Promised higher yields, labor savings, and lower weed pressure, GE seeds have been widely adopted by U.S. farmers. Today, more than 80 percent of the soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets, and canola grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered.

“The new reality of the world is that giant chemical companies are feeding us…and our children,” said GMO OMG film director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert.

In this documentary, Seifert sets out on a journey across the globe to uncover the truth about GMOs. Seifert explores how GMOs affect our children and the health of our planet and whether it’s possible for consumers to make informed choices in the absence of labels identifying GMO foods. Along the way, he helps to reveal our current industrial food system and answer a question that is of growing concern to consumers everywhere: What’s really on our plate?

GMO OMG sheds light on the complexity of today’s food production system,” said Perry Clutts, the owner and operator of Pleasantview Farm, a dairy farm that supplies Horizon Organic. “As an organic dairy producer, I see the benefits of farming without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically engineered feed. It’s important that farmers, like me, are offering Ohio families an alternative. The organic sector is growing and I believe it will keep on growing as consumers learn more about where their food is coming from.”

Following the film, there will be a question and answer session with the director and Horizon Organic’s Kelly Shea.
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Go to www.gmofilm.com to learn more about the documentary or to watch the trailer.

Seifert and Sara Loveday of Horizon Organic, along with local farmers, food advocates, and business leaders, are available for interviews with the media. To schedule an interview, contact MacKenzie Bailey at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208 or policy@oeffa.org.

This film screening is sponsored by Horizon Organic and Chipotle Mexican Grill with support from Pleasantview Farm, Shagbark Seed & Mill, Snowville Creamery, Northstar Cafe, Green Edge Organic Gardens, and Rich Gardens Organic Farm.