How many of you are planning a vacation this summer? The Nye family is so busy that we will not officially take a summer vacation. We had a big excursion last fall going to see Harry Potter in Florida, so I do not expect one soon.
However, there are activities in our lives like church camp, county fair, state fair, renaissance festivals, and for me national hog shows. To some it probably does not sound like much fun.
If you are not into vacations, I suggest something like what I like to call a daycation — somewhere I can drive to in less than a day, enjoy the experience and be asleep that night in my own bed.
The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series might just be the ticket. This is an annual series of public tours featuring 32 organic and ecological farms and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, providing unique opportunities for farmers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable agriculture and local foods on the farm from growers and producers with years of practical experience.
This year these events will feature 10 additional educational workshops on water quality, grass-fed beef, poultry production, season extension, beekeeping, permaculture, biochar, carcass scanning and organic production.
The schedule of events will take place from June 7 through the summer and part of the fall to Nov. 13. Many of these farm tours take place on weekends but not all.
Some of the events I have chosen to highlight will be taking place in the couple of months so you have time to make plans to attend if you so desire.
On Friday, June 25 will be the Pasture-Raised, Rotationally Grazed Livestock Tour in the Chillicothe area held on the farm of Paul and Heather Dorrance.
They raise heritage breed livestock including Red Poll cattle, St. Croix sheep, Large Black hogs, Narragansett turkeys, and Buckeye laying hens without any grown hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals.
The farm’s cows and sheep are 100 percent grass-fed and finished, and the pigs, chickens, and turkeys get a daily helping of grass and hay and a non-genetically modified feed, sourced from a local farmer.
Join Paul and Heather as they share their values, methods, and lessons learned to both educate and encourage others who want to produce food in an ethical, humane, ecologically sound manner.
Registration: This tour is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 18.
A Hands-on Gardening Workshop in Clermont County will be held on Thursday, June 26 at the farm of Karen Huseman who owns and operates Earth-Shares CSA in Loveland, Ohio. Join this workshop to learn about small-scale organic agriculture and see on-the ground demonstrations. Gain insight into the organic label, which integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Engage in hands-on activities, such as soil preparation with a broad fork, weeding with a wheel hoe, mulching tomatoes with a scythe, preparing irrigation systems, direct sowing and broadcast seeding, and observations of soil, plant health, cover crops, row cover, and insect habitats.
Cost and Registration: $10. Pre-registration required. To register, email Ken Stern at: farmtrainingOH@gmail.com or call (513) 473-1860 by June 22.
The last farm tour I will highlight this week is the Sustainable Beekeeping Farm Tour and Workshop to be held Saturday, July 9 at the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio. Join apiarist Dave Noble for a discussion of the challenges and benefits of incorporating bees, beekeeping, and apiculture into a sustainable, organic farming system. Gain an overview of the issues related to establishing an apiary, or just a few hives, from Colony Collapse Disorder and varroa mites, to Africanized bees and chemical-free hive management.
After the tour, make plans to stay for a workshop for a more in-depth look at the hives. Dave will take guests out to open up the hives and meet the bees themselves. Bring your own lunch to enjoy while exploring what it takes to become a successful beekeeper and discussing the many hive products that can be harvested, marketed, and sold.
Cost and Registration: The farm tour is free and open to the public. The cost of the workshop is
$10. Workshop pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.stratfordecologicalcenter.org or call (740) 363-2548.
All of the planned tours will take place rain or shine so if you decide to venture out for one of these events you will need to be dressed not only for the occasion and but for Mother Nature. I recommend you take a look at the whole list because there is literally something for everyone.
We have several printed copies of the tour book that contains more details on all the tours with direction to each location including these I have highlighted. Just stop by the Clinton County Extension office at 111 South Nelson Avenue in Wilmington. You can also go to the web and find info on all these tours by going to: http://policy.oeffa.org/farmtours.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 28 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.