Preble County Farm Bureau (PCFB) is building a community of farmers and nonfarmers with its Grow It Know It seminars, designed to help people grow their skills in areas such as gardening, food preservation, cooking and sewing.
The goal is to show participants how to stretch a dollar, and start to build new relationships with people from differing backgrounds.
Jane Marshall, PCFB Communications Action team leader, came up with the idea to start these seminars two years ago when unemployment in Preble County was the highest in the region.
“We began in response to the down economy. We wanted to help people stretch dollars,” she said.
Growing, preserving and cooking food was a great place to start, according to Marshall. “We are reviving the lost arts. These are things that the ag community has been doing for generations and it gives a new face to Farm Bureau,” she said. The county Farm Bureau also offers seminars on sewing and needle arts.
After successful seminars in 2010 and 2011, PCFB decided to expand the seminar series, and its target audience. Marshall suggested that people affected by the down economy should be a target audience for future seminars. She felt this audience could benefit from learning how to cook more meals without shopping in the freezer aisle, and ways to be efficient with limited resources. This year, PCFB will add three more cooking seminars and a couponing seminar.
The county Farm Bureau received an Agricultural Action and Awareness Grant from Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation for the expansion of its Grow It Know It seminars. The competitively awarded grants support programs focusing on agricultural education, ecological and/or economic development. PCFB received $3,000.
“While I have always known the need for classes such as these, because of the volunteer work that I do, this experience made me bring this up at our last seminar,” Marshall said. “Through the food stamp program, resources are given to people to buy food.” Participants will learn how to use their resources in an efficient way at the seminars.
PCFB also will be partnering with Home is the Foundation, a local housing nonprofit, Preble County Job and Family Services and Preble County Community Action Partnership, which will help advertise the seminars to their clients. “With this expansion we are another resource for social service agencies,” Marshall said.
“Some come to hone their skills and others come to learn to begin with. The one thing to remember is that we get people from all over,” Marshall said. “Usually we have as many from outside the county as inside. We get non-Farm Bureau members, too.”
Grow It Know It seminars have and will continue to provide a great opportunity for Preble County Farm Bureau members to interact with people outside of the agriculture community. They are beginning to build a strong community of farmers and nonfarmers that have a shared stake in food issues, and can connect with each other to generate new ideas to help one another.
The first Grow It Know It seminar in the county for 2012 will take place Feb. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Eaton, and the topics will be homemade fast food and couponing. The cost is $5 for Farm Bureau members or $10 for nonFarm Bureau members. If you are interested, call the Preble County Farm Bureau office at 937-456-5400.
For More Information
Visit the Preble County Farm Bureau Website
Read more about the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Grant Program