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Reclaiming Ohio’s Food Sovereignty

December 27, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - From foodies to farmers, hundreds are expected at an upcoming conference to look at ways to reclaim Ohio's food sovereignty. Registration is open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 33rd annual conference, the state's largest sustainable food and farm event, to be held in February.

Woody Tasch, co-founder of the Slow Money movement, which aims to organize investors and donors to steer new sources of capital to small food enterprises, organic farms, and local food systems, is a keynote speaker and will discuss how investments in food and farms can help the overall economy. He says the current system of investing is complicated and disconnected and we need to bring money back down to earth.

"We've got to take some of our money out of all this stuff that we no longer understand or can manage effectively and put it to work near where we live, starting with food."

Tasch says that means investments that support local, community-based food and farm businesses.

He says access to healthy, organic food, grown with sustainable agriculture practices, has increased. But he says it will take more than consumer demand and dollars to help local food systems succeed.

"Also it's going to take massive amounts of investment capital, because organic farmers need to get on the land, they need to create their enterprises, there needs to be new distribution and processing and a whole bunch of other things that require investment capital."

Tasch says the idea is to put money where we live, behind those entrepreneurs who are already using sustainable practices.

"So, whether it be a small farmer or someone who's developing a niche brand or someone who's got a seed company or a creamery or grain mill or a distribution business, there's a myriad of small businesses that create a vibrant local food system."

Other topics to be covered at the conference include food safety, gardening, livestock, green living, and cooking.

The event draws more than 1,000 visitors from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past two years. It will be held February 18-19 in Granville.

More information is at oeffa.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH