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Urban agriculture featured at Ohio's largest sustainable food and farm conference

• Jan 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

DAYTON — Urban agriculture offers accessible opportunities for individuals to make a living farming, gain practical educational and job training, and provide communities with healthy, local food.

Empowering urban farmers to take advantage of these opportunities and helping them succeed in urban agriculture is the focus of a six-part workshop track presented by Ohio's newest 1890 land-grant institution, Central State University Extension (CSUE).

The workshop track is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, Feb. 15 to 17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

"Urban agriculture has the ability to transform our urban and blighted communities by becoming a practical solution to food insecurity," said Dr. Clarence Bunch, CSUE associate director. "This urban agriculture workshop track helps provide the supported needed to offer practical solutions that benefit families and the local community."

On Feb. 16-17, six 90 minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics, from urban soil health to high tunnel production:

• Cover Crops for Small-Scale Vegetable Production — Oliver Freeman, Central State University

• You CAN Take It With You: Lessons from Losing Your Land — Lisa Helm, Dayton Urban Grown, Matt Tomaszewski, Earth Source Produce

• Inroads into Food Deserts: Mobile Farmers' Markets and Good Food Access in a Rust Belt Town — Danny Swan, Grow Ohio Valley

• Urban Farming Practices and Principles — Milan Karcic, Peace, Love, and Freedom Farm

• Urban High Tunnel Tomato Production — Annabel Khouri and Eric Stoffer, Bay Branch Farms

• Can Urban Soils be Made Healthy for Farming? — Larry Phelan, Ohio State University

Additional workshop sessions on production, marketing, business, and green living will be offered over the two days, giving attendees nearly 80 workshops to choose from. Central State University educators will also be leading other sessions on preventing zoonotic disease transmission (Lisa Craig), business basics for start-up farms (Anthony Barwick), and legal considerations for beginning farms (Ambrose Moses).

The state's largest sustainable food and farm conference will also feature:

• Keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know;

• Four full-day February 15 Food and Farm School classes on livestock grazing, restorative health, food safety, and farmland access.

• A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;

• The Contrary Farmers' Social on February 15 and the Cream of the Crop Banquet on February 16;

• A kids' conference for children ages 6-12 and a playroom for young children; and

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. Online registration will be open through Jan. 29.

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