Marion Leadership organizes a summit on the micro-farm project in Marion


In just over three years, 10 Ohio State University Mansfield micro-farms have created nearly 10 tons of fresh produce.

With spinach, kale, and bell peppers all growing in different areas over an acre and a half, these OSU-Mansfield efforts show just how powerful a small farm can be. With this success, it caught the attention of Leadership Marion, a Marion-based program focused on creating new leaders in the community, and now the program seeks to bring microagriculture to Marion.

At the Marion Palace Theater on October 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Leadership Marion will host the Marion Microfarm Summit where attendees will learn more about how to bring a micro-farm project to Marion. Throughout the evening, the free summit will feature four different breakout sessions with more information on how micro-agriculture works, how it can lead to employment opportunities, and how to become a better farmer.

Cathy Gerber, director of development and community relations at OSU-Marion, explained that micro-agriculture can become a profitable venture if done right. After the crops are harvested, Gerber said they are working to build relationships with buyers such as grocery stores or restaurants.

Chipotle is a good example of what is actively going on right now. While Chipotle is a national brand with locations across the country, each location attempts to source products from local farmers. If a micro-farm came to Marion and established a relationship with Chipotle, it could help supply the quick, laid-back local restaurant with produce like cilantro or jalapenos.

This is just one example of how the micro-farm could be profitable for those who get involved and continue to nurture the crops. Ultimately, Gerber said each micro-farmer would be given a growing plan and a marketing plan so they know exactly what crops to grow, how much to grow, and which buyer is buying. And since micro-farms don’t require the creation of large amounts of land, Gerber said they can be used in more urban areas to create access to profitable business ventures that help solve racial justice issues and social.

The original Mansfield Microfarm came from Ohio State University Associate Professor Kip Curtis in 2017. A Microfarm is similar to regular farms in that the crops are crowned, however, Microfarms do so on a much larger scale. smaller with different equipment. Instead of combines and tractors, its greenhouses and boxwood gardens; automated irrigation systems for watering crops; and LED lighting systems for sunlight.

Gerber said there are currently around 50 people registered for the program on Thursday and they plan to allow people to register until the start of the event. Visit the Marion Ohio State website for more details on how to register or to learn more about the Mansfield Microfarm.

Mitch Hooper Story | (740) -244-9935 | [email protected] | @ _MH16 on Twitter

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