• 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…

  • Dirty Energy,  State Policy

    Farmers Celebrate as Ohio EPA Terminates Permit for Coal Mine in Perry State Forest

    After two years of grassroots organizing, local farmers, community members, and forest supporters celebrated a major victory in their campaign to prevent coal mining on public land just outside New Lexington, Ohio in Perry County. On January 30, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced it will terminate CCU Coal and Construction’s wastewater discharge permit for a proposed 545 acre strip mine in the Perry State Forest in close proximity to farmland, local residents, and public recreation spaces. The termination of the permit came at the request of the coal company, according to OEPA, and will take effect April 1. “This is a huge victory for our community, our forest,…

  • General

    OEFFA’s Top 10 Policy Highlights for 2019

    Making policy change is often a long and slow process. It can be difficult to identify “big wins” sometimes, but there are so many milestones we can look back on in 2019 that helped move sustainable agriculture forward into 2020 and beyond. Here are 10 positive strides we made this year: Family Farm ReGeneration Act Advances in the Ohio Legislature The National Young Farmers Coalition conducted a survey of young farmers across the country which found the top challenge these farmers face is access to land. Since 2017 when OEFFA launched its Begin Farming program, we’ve seen first-hand the difficulty Ohio farmers experience getting on the land. That’s why, beginning…

  • State Policy

    Land Access Legislation Moves to the House Floor

    OEFFA has been working with members of the Ohio House and Senate to pass legislation that would incentivize land transfer between current landowners and beginning farmers. After months of work, the House Bill 183, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, passed out of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee unanimously on November 19. OEFFA is thankful to the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Susan Manchester and Rep. John Patterson. In October, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program Coordinator, Rachel Tayse, presented testimony to the committee on the need for this bill based on her experience working with aspiring and early career farmers. According to Rachel’s testimony, “… OEFFA’s elder farmer generation call on…

  • General

    New Report Provides Roadmap on Climate Solutions in Agriculture

    Multiple adverse effects of the climate crisis have been documented in U.S. agriculture, including: Intensified droughts, floods, and storms; Stresses on crops, livestock, and farm personnel from higher summer temperatures; Disruption of seasonal development, flowering, and fruiting in horticultural crops; Shifting pest, weed, and disease life cycles and geographic ranges; and Disproportionate impacts on economically disadvantaged rural communities Certainly, farmers in the Midwest experienced some of these impacts this spring and summer with hurricanes, record setting rains, and summer drought. Although agriculture currently affects our climate through direct greenhouse gas emissions and the indirect loss of carbon in our soil, a report released this week demonstrates how organic and ecological…

  • General

    Nourishing People, Nurturing the Planet: A Call to Action on World Food Day

    Today is “World Food Day,” an international day of action when people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicating global hunger. As we join with the state, national, and international community today, it is important to critically consider the ways in which our food system so often fails us. Millions of people suffer from obesity and obesity-related diseases and more than a billion people globally are overweight. At the same time, 10 percent of the world—821 million people—currently experience chronic hunger. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a report saying the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture will result in growing world…