Summit County Farm Bureau receives grant for creative programming

Summit County Farm Bureau was one of four county Farm Bureaus selected nationwide to receive a $700 grant from the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee (AFB WLC) to help fund “Our Food Link” activities.

Our Food Link is a year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus can use to effectively reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture.

Summit County Farm Bureau will use the grant for its “Plow to Chow” event, an outdoor formal dining experience that will benefit Ronald McDonald House of Akron. The fundraiser will be held July 17 at Boughton’s Farm, a local produce operation that offers “u pick” and a farm market. Guests will go on a wagon ride through produce fields before sitting down for a six-course gourmet meal of almost all local ingredients with local wine pairings.

“Our overall goal is twofold: to raise awareness of agriculture to nonfarming individuals by connecting our diners to the origins of their food and to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron so that they can provide local individuals and families in need with assistance and services,” said Nick Kennedy, Summit County Farm Bureau’s organization director.

Also receiving the award were county Farm Bureaus in North Dakota, Virginia and Idaho. Three state Farm Bureaus — Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah — also received the grant.

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee started the Our Food Link program in January. Throughout the year Farm Bureau members help consumers of all ages and backgrounds connect with sources of clothing, food, shelter and energy in their communities. Program activities range from outreach at supermarkets or farmers markets to hosting interactive booths at community events, speaking with lawmakers and neighbors about food or visiting a classroom to help students understand agricultural topics.

“Year-round outreach through Our Food Link is more important than ever because the average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm,” said AFBWLC Chair Terry Gilbert. Farm and ranch families make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population today.