• Climate Change

    Growing Support for Farmer Solutions to the Climate Crisis

    A growing number of farmers are making the connection between more frequent, extreme weather events and the climate crisis. Last year, OEFFA, as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), began circulating a letter written by and for farmers: the Farmer and Rancher Letter on Climate Change and Agriculture. The letter expresses deep concerns about climate change impacts on U.S. agriculture and calls for solutions that invest in rural and agricultural communities. As a result, more than 150 OEFFA farmers joined thousands more farmers from across the nation in a clarion call for investments in sustainable agriculture. Agriculture is on the Front Line of the Climate Crisis Agriculture…

  • State Policy

    Opportunity in a Time of Crisis Report Details Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System

    OEFFA, the Ohio Farmers Market Network, Produce Perks Midwest, and the Ohio Food Policy Network released a new report, Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System, which captures the landscape of small- to mid-scale agriculture in Ohio and how local and regional food systems were impacted by COVID-19. While farmers and farmers’ markets have risen to the challenge posed by a national pandemic and disruptions in the global food supply chain and adapted their operations to feed Ohio families, those adaptations are not sustainable without state and federal leadership. Investment is needed to increase the resilience and stability of the food system.…

  • Climate Change

    Agriculture Underscored in House Climate Committee Report

    This blog is from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), written June 30 following the release of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis report and provides detailed analysis and resources on the recommendations in the report related to agriculture and related programs and legislation. Major comprehensive federal legislation to deal with the global climate crisis is long overdue.  While no bills are likely to become law this year, the time is ripe for piecing together the key components of a new law for consideration in the 117th Congress (2021-22).  Even before next year, the House of Representatives will engage in a trial run, voting on climate-related bills yet…

  • Climate Change

    Answers to Your Questions About Agricultural Carbon Markets

    Understanding voluntary private carbon markets can be confusing. Will selling carbon credits generated by farmers help mitigate climate change? Will new legislation creating a certification program for carbon markets solve existing problems and confusion? Thankfully, one of our partner organizations in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has some answers. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) works locally and globally on fair and sustainable food, farm, and trade systems and IATP’s Tara Ritter wrote the article below to help us understand this complicated issue. With Tara’s permission we are republishing her blog post about carbon markets and a new bill called the “Growing Climate Solutions Act.” Senate Climate Bill…

  • General

    Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: A Faltering Start and an Uncertain Future

    While the highly consolidated global food supply chain has broken under the pressure of the COVID-19 crisis, our diverse and distributed local and regional food system has proven more resilient. Many OEFFA farmers have been able to adapt to the market disruptions that occurred as restaurants and schools closed, by pivoting to other strategies like online pre-ordering and taking advantage of strong customer demand. Farmers’ markets moved quickly to adapt to the new reality of social distancing by implementing drive-thru markets, online ordering systems, and other market modifications. While these adaptations helped keep local food flowing, they did not come without cost, both financial and human. These changes included things…

  • State Policy

    Earth Day Turns 50: Unlocking Soil Health Solutions for a Vibrant Planet

    One day each year is designated for us to offer some reverence for the Earth. April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a tradition started in 1970 in response to oil spills, air pollution, and water contamination so bad the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Cleveland became a poster child for the need to take environmental action to protect the soil that feeds us, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, helping to pave the way for the Clean Air and Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act. The need for action was clear to Michelle Ajamian, co-owner of Shagbark Seed and Mill. “When I…

  • General

    Economic Assistance for Farmers through the Paycheck Protection Program

    UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, the initial round of PPP funding under the CARES Act has been exhausted, but small farms can apply for another set of federal disaster loans under a new deal reached April 21 by Congress and the Trump Administration. The agreement allows agricultural operations with fewer than 500 employees to qualify for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which offers up to $10,000 in advance to businesses that are losing revenue amid the pandemic. Learn more and apply for EIDL. The deal also replenishes the depleted PPP, setting aside an additional $321 billion for the program, including $60 billion for small businesses without access to…

  • State Policy

    Local Food is Essential

    Four state level groups recently called on state leaders to adopt six policies that will help farmers, farmers’ markets, and low income food access. OEFFA, Produce Perks Midwest, the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network, and the Ohio Food Policy Network, with input from Countryside and Summit Food Coalition, believe that decisive action is needed to ensure the survival of small and mid-scale family farmers that feed our communities and make sure Ohioans, particularly those receiving nutrition assistance, can access much needed fresh, local food in the months ahead. In addition to the public impact, the group’s policy recommendations, are designed to address the broader economic impacts of COVID-19 on Ohio’s local…

  • State Policy

    The Future of Food and Farm Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

    UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, Ohio has issued an amended Stay at Home Order, effective through May 1, 2020. The links throughout this article reference the original Stay at Home Order. The amended order no longer references “certified” farmers’ markets, instead listing simply “farmers’ markets” among the Essential Businesses and Operations. All of our lives are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including OEFFA members and supporters concerned about sustainable agriculture and healthy local and regional food systems that are likely to experience disruption in the days and months ahead. Please know that OEFFA remains open for business; this includes our organic certification services as well as our education…

  • General

    Comprehensive Climate Bill Invests in Farm-Based Solutions

    One of very few farmers in Congress, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) recently introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), the most comprehensive climate and agriculture bill ever introduced. It lays out 12 bold and necessary goals to meet over the next 20 years to restore lost soil carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost on-farm renewable energy, and reduce food waste, among other laudable goals. According to the Congresswoman, “Farming has always been a risky business, but unpredictable, extreme weather patterns are creating immense challenges that threaten our nation’s food production and jeopardize the livelihood of American farmers.” Currently, agriculture contributes more than 8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the…