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Reconnecting Ohio Consumers and Farmers

May 27, 2008

Ottawa, OHIO - It wasn't all that long ago when the food Ohio residents bought was mostly grown or produced close to home. Times have changed, but not necessarily for the better. Recognizing the nutritional and economic value of eating locally produced fresh food, the State Agriculture Department is sponsoring a series of meetings this week and next to help develop ways to revitalize those local food connections.

Joe Logan, governmental affairs director of the Ohio Farmers Union, applauds the initiative.

"We believe that the greatest efficiency gain can be captured by directly connecting food production and food processing by essentially re-creating the local markets that used to be the way food was always produced and distributed but no longer is the case."

Logan believes with the ever-changing state, national and global economies that now is the time to begin redeveloping local food connections.

"The local meat processors, the local milk processors, the local vegetable processors and distributors--they all used to be a part of the landscape up and down in every community in Ohio, and no longer are. As food prices and energy prices get as high as they are, we think there is an opportunity and certainly a need for those local producers."

The series of meetings also will include discussions on protecting farm land and water resources in Ohio. A meeting schedule is available online at (Click on "Public Notices," then on "Market Connections Task Force.")

Jim Mishler/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - OH