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County Farm Bureaus are engaging people through Grow and Know events
There is a different story to tell about agriculture in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, and many county Farm Bureaus are telling their story by holding “Grow and Know” events.
Grow and Know events vary across the state, but they all provide opportunities for farmers and nonfarmers to engage each other and have conversations about food and agriculture. Examples of specific events might include farm tours, local foods cooking classes, gardening workshops and on-the-farm dinners.
“Grow and Know events are educational in nature and offer opportunities to learn about agriculture but also serve as a platform for conversation,” said Cara Lawson, Ohio Farm Bureau director of community engagement. “It’s important for people to talk about concerns not only to find solutions to problems, but to also build trust with those in the community for a stronger future.”
Here are three examples of county Grow and Know events throughout the state that are engaging local communities. To find more Grow and Know events throughout the state, visit the Grow and Know webpage at OurOhio.org or check out the listings in Our Ohio magazine.
Clinton County series to answer fresh, local foods questions
In response to a growing number of questions about affordability and preparation of fresh, local foods, Clinton County Farm Bureau and Clinton County Farmers’ Market will hold the first presentation of “Fast Food from the Farm,” a monthly Grow and Know series of local foods cooking demonstrations, June 16.
“The goal of the demonstrations is to show our customers how to make simple, fast and affordable recipes using fresh goods from local producers,” said Dessie Buchanan, co-executive director of Clinton County Farmers’ Market board of directors.
“Fast Food from the Farm” demonstrations will occur monthly from June through September. Each month will feature a different local chef who will be given $30 to purchase fresh products from market vendors and then hold a cooking demonstration using the products purchased.
By hosting these demonstrations at the market, Buchanan said the organizations hope to engage customers in direct conversations with local farmers, increasing support and awareness of local food, while answering questions of affordability and preparation.
Muskingum County Farm Bureau summer picnic provides opportunity for conversations about agriculture
Muskingum County Farm Bureau has always held a summer picnic for its members, but this year there are plans to change it up. To add more value to the picnic, the organization will be providing opportunity for conversations about the farm and agriculture.
The June 24 Grow and Know event at Sands Family Farm will include a delicious meal held in a beautiful bank barn, followed by a farm tour.
“We are hoping to get a lot more associate members to attend this year by having it on a farm,” said Kari Burkey, Muskingum County organization director. “A board member will host the event on his farm and have stations for people to walk through where he and his family can talk about their beef, chicken and hay operation and the conservation practices they use.”
James McDonald, Muskingum County Farm Bureau president, said the county hopes to attract both farmer members and nonfarmer members alike because both will find value in the experience.
“We think the active members will appreciate seeing the facilities and hopefully get some ideas of what they could use on their own operations. For the associate members, we can show them how cattle and chickens are raised and they can talk with some of the folks who are raising their food,” he said. “They can interact with some farmers, ask questions about how their food is raised, see different methods of production and enjoy a great meal.”
Ross County Farm Bureau to hold progressive farm dinner
Ross County Farm Bureau will be hosting “Farm Factor,” a progressive farm dinner Grow and Know event, July 22 for an afternoon of fun and food.
“Farm Factor” will consist of a four-course meal, with each course served at a different Ross County farm. Every farm will serve food from its farm, or from a nearby local farmer, and the farm owner will give a tour of the farm. Other farmers and Farm Bureau members also will be there to answer questions about farming and agriculture.
Ross County Farm Bureau President Mark Crosier said he and his wife had been on a few progressive dinners and they thought it would be a fun event for the county Farm Bureau to organize.
“This will be a fun way to create excitement and unity among our farmer members and get families that are not involved in agriculture out onto farms,” he said.