OEFFA cultivates a future where sustainable and organic farmers thrive, local food nourishes our communities, and agricultural practices protect and enhance the environment.
To realize that vision, changes in state and federal policy are needed so family farmers can thrive in fair and transparent markets and can access the land they need to grow products that sustain community resilience. OEFFA’s policy program empowers our members to enact that change.
All living things have intrinsic value.
We are part of an ecosystem and exist in community, connected with and dependent on land, water, air, animals, and other people, all which require our care and gratitude. They are not commodities to exploit.
Soil, nature, and people are diverse, and that diversity builds strength and resilience.
We believe in being good neighbors. We cultivate a culture of care for each other and the Earth.
Farming builds valuable knowledge of place and land over time. We honor and respect the generations of people who have contributed to that knowledge.
Farming needs to prioritize the well-being of the land, air, water, and community because we are stewards for future generations.
Healthy communities are powerful, resilient, joyful, and sustaining. Empowered, they are a force for change.
Good, healthy, nutrient-rich and sustaining food is a human right. It is also an expression of love.
Food connects us to the Earth, history, culture, and each other. When these connections are broken, we lose appreciation and respect for our food and those who produce it.
It is possible to create a more equitable agriculture system, although the current system is based on stolen land, labor, and appropriated knowledge. We invite everyone to participate in creating a better future.
Strong markets are inclusive, transparent, recognize natural limits, and benefit regional and diverse communities.
Democracy belongs to all of us, and it is up to us to ensure it meets the needs of the whole community.
Government and public institutions have a responsibility to protect our health and well-being and support healthy ecosystems.
True individual freedom incorporates shared responsibility. It is informed and guided by our relationships and respect for the land, water, and people.
Agriculture should feed and support local communities.
Strong and resilient food systems rely on and support biodiversity.
Regional food systems and small-scale agriculture make good neighbors.
In caring for plants, animals, and the soil we are caring for ourselves and our communities.
Each plant, animal, and person has inherent worth beyond its economic value.
Farmers are an integral part of communities and farms are a critical part of the ecosystem.
Good farming respects and enhances the health of the land, people, and natural world.
Access to nutrient dense food is foundational to community health.
People have a right to fresh, nourishing, locally grown food.
Growing and preparing food can be an act of love, generosity, and gratitude.
The earth is rich and abundant.
Local farmers who value all living things foster bounty.
When we work together and with nature, we create the foundation for a good life, where our needs are met.
Diverse regional food systems are essential for our future.
Rural and urban communities are stronger together.
We value and respect rural and urban voices. Both are vital to shaping our future.
Aligning urban and rural community efforts brings greater prosperity to all.
OEFFA’s Policy Program Team
Amalie has worked in public and social service for more than 25 years, including as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Sustainable Agriculture.
She was instrumental in establishing the Ohio Food Policy Council and farmland preservation efforts in northeast Ohio.
When she is not working for a more sustainable food and agriculture system, she has her hands in the soil of her garden, holding a good book, or is in her kitchen creating with food.
Organic Policy Specialist
Julia has worked in sustainable and organic agriculture since 2006, and has served on OEFFA’s Certification, Education, and Policy teams.
She loves working with farmers, especially identifying barriers and brainstorming solutions to challenges.
When she’s not busy advocating for organic integrity, Julia and her family operate a certified organic farm in northeast Ohio where they raise soay sheep, grow vegetables, and are constantly learning.
Grassroots Policy Organizer
Heather has been part of OEFFA’s policy team since 2021.
Previously, her nonprofit service helped to address the intersection between the climate crisis and racism. She is the author of Gardening for the Earth and Soul, a handbook for community gardeners
When she is not at work for Ohio’s farmers, she provides support for Guatemalan indigenous communities defending their lands from extractive “development” projects.
Grassroots Policy Organizer
Lauren has worked for OEFFA since 2018, previously in OEFFA’s Organic Certification Program as a Food Justice and Organic Certification Specialist.
She has worked on farms and for non-profits throughout central Ohio and New York as a field worker, educator, and community organizer.
When she is not working toward a just, equitable food system, she enjoys running her small landscaping business, making art, and spending time with her husband and dog.
OEFFA’s Grassroots Team
OEFFA’s members are the heart of our grassroots food and farm policy work. OEFFA’s policy program cultivates leaders and lifts up the voices of our members. Contact us to learn more about how you can join the farmers below in being a strong advocate for a just, equitable, and sustainable agricultural system!
Policy Steering Committee
OEFFA’s Policy Steering Committee is a dedicated and thoughtful group of OEFFA farmers and members who help ensure our grassroots policy program is rooted in lived farm experience and representative of our diverse community.
The current steering committee members are:
- Sherry Chen
- Jeff Dean
- Alex Dragovich
- Alexis Dragovich
- Steve Edwards
- Jonathan Greer
- Greg Hargett
- Christine Hughes
- Emily Jackle
- Mardy Townsend
Contact us if you’re interested in serving on OEFFA’s Policy Steering Committee.
Farm Bill Work Groups
OEFFA’s policy program staff met with farmers and consumers across Ohio, revealing five key values which comprise the OEFFA 2023 Farm Bill Platform.
OEFFA’s Farm Bill work groups continue to meet throughout 2023, and include about 70 OEFFA members, who are using their grassroots power to build policy change.
The five work groups focus on:
- Soil Health and Climate Resilience
- Local and Regional Food Systems
- Consolidation in the Food System
- Organic and Sustainable Research
- Beginning and BIPOC Farmers
Contact us if you’re interested in joining a work group.
More Grassroots Opportunities
There are many ways to be a part of OEFFA’s grassroots team, including:
- Share your story with us! Tell us your vision for the future, the policy obstacles you face, or how climate change is impacting your farm.
- Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed for your local newspaper.
- Attend meetings, public hearings, lobby days, or farmer fly-ins with elected officials.
- Provide comments to the National Organic Standards Board.
- Attend leadership and skill-building trainings.
- Host a farm tour, film screening, or workshop.
Contact OEFFA’s policy program to get started!
Policy Grounded in National Expertise
OEFFA’s policy program collaborates with national leaders in organic and sustainable agriculture, whose expertise and resources are critical to OEFFA’s policy work.
In addition to the national groups listed below, OEFFA also collaborates with the Real Organic Project, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Beyond Pesticides, American Farmland Trust, National Young Farmers Coalition, Land Stewardship Project, Center for Food Safety, Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center, Rural Advancement Foundation International, and others.
National Organic Coalition
The National Organic Coalition (NOC) is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a “Washington voice” for organic farmers and consumers.
NOC seeks to advance organic food and equity in agriculture and ensure a united voice for organic integrity.
OEFFA is a member of NOC, partnering with them to advocate for strong organic standards and help Ohio farmers attend and speak at National Organic Standards Board meetings.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance sustainable agriculture.
By bringing grassroots perspectives to the table, NSAC helps level the playing field and gives voice to sustainable and organic farmers.
OEFFA is an active member of NSAC, participating in working groups and committees, attending lobby days, and serving as Ohio’s voice for national agriculture policy reform.
Organic Farmers Association
The Organic Farmers Association (OFA) provides a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers.
OFA develops and advocates for policies that benefit organic farmers, strengthen and support organic farmers. They also support collaboration and leadership among state, regional, and national organic farmer organizations.
OEFFA was instrumental in the creation of OFA. OEFFA is a member of OFA, and serves on the governing council and policy committee.
National Healthy Soils Policy Network
The National Healthy Soils Policy Network is an incubator for state-level, climate-centered, healthy soils policy.
This group of farmer-centered organizations advocates for state and federal policies that facilitate the widespread adoption of organic and sustainable farming practices.
OEFFA is a member of the network and serves on the steering committee. We are working to advance soil health policy through the Ohio Soil Health Initiative.
Policy Grounded in Local Experience
OEFFA’s policy program also partners with Ohio’s grassroots policy network of state and local organizations to work toward our shared goals and strengthen Ohio’s food and farm system. Our state and local partners include:
OEFFA’s Philanthropic Supporters
In addition to the generous support of OEFFA’s members, OEFFA’s policy program would not be possible without the support from the following foundations: