Urban Farmers To Get Training

OSU is reaching out to food producers in cities with workshops designed to create Ohio Master Urban Farmers.

Published on: Jan 9, 2014

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is looking to grow a new crop of urban farmers.

The college is offering a new program, the Ohio Master Urban Farmer Workshop Series, designed to help urban farmers become food and crop producers within city limits. The new course will be held over a series of seven workshops created to offer participants knowledge on how to produce and market foods in urban settings, says Mike Hogan, OSU Extension’s sustainable agriculture coordinator.

Some of the topics participants will learn about in the courses include how to choose a farm enterprise, the site selection process and how to soil test for urban food production, Hogan said. The overall goal, he said, is to provide the basic understanding of how to create or expand agriculture-related business opportunities for people who want to get into the food and crop production industry.

URBAN AG: Growing vegetables on a reclaimed city lot in Columbus has posed special challenges for farmer Kwodwo Ababio, owner of New Harvest Urban Arts Center.
URBAN AG: Growing vegetables on a reclaimed city lot in Columbus has posed special challenges for farmer Kwodwo Ababio, owner of New Harvest Urban Arts Center.

“Economic enterprise is one of the many goals of the program,” Hogan says. “The workshops can help those who want to learn how to grow crops to sell at farmers markets or develop their own agriculture business – anyone who wants to learn how to capitalize on the increasing demand for locally grown foods.”

Other workshop topics:
* Basic Plant Science
* Soil quality and soil health
* Insects and diseases
* Integrated pest management
* Bees and native pollinators
* Season extension techniques
* Business planning for gardens and agriculture projects
* How to market your products in any setting
* Vegetable production
* Tomato production
* Food safety
* Harvest timing
* Tools and storage
* Keeping it legal

Graduates of the program will receive free assistance on securing land, tool, seeds, and other resources needed to start or expand a successful growing venture, Hogan said. Graduates will also be able to market their products at a new farmers market being planned for the Weinland Park neighborhood as well as additional farmers markets in other areas, he said.

The seven-part course runs Feb. 5, 12, 19, and 26, and March 5, 12 and19 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Godman Guild, 303 E. 6th Ave in Columbus, just east of Ohio State’s main campus.

Registration is $75 and includes a course notebook, several books on urban agriculture, light refreshments and a soil test. Deadline to register is Jan. 23. More details and online registration are available by contacting Hogan at 740-653-5419 or by email at Hogan.1@osu.edu. A limited number of scholarships are available for participants with financial constraints.