For the second year in a row a grant has been secured to help offer a six-month program in Hillsboro for people wanting to learn more about growing and eating organic foods.
The grant of around $3,000 comes from Ohio State University’s Stinner Summit and is offered by its Agroecosystems Management program. It will help fund the Freedom Farm Market Groundswell program, a six-month educational initiative that pairs experienced homesteaders with people looking to grow traditional skills, according to Analena Bruce, a former local resident who now resides in New Jersey and helped secure the grant.
“The project intends to support organic growers in Hillsboro by connecting them with consumers interested in eating more locally produced whole foods.” Bruce said. “Our goal is to create a ripple effect that will raise awareness of the many new organic farmers in the area and support the new local food businesses who are selling their products. Building new connections between these groups will result in a stronger business, farming and consumer community who are connected and learning from one another.”
The program will offer sharing and networking opportunities through hands-on educational workshops, a field trip, and two social events to provide opportunities for program participants to develop connections. The 2016 program includes classes on meal planning and simple cooking strategies for busy moms using herbs, cleaning without chemicals, fermentation for health, and lots of ways to use a gallon of milk, Bruce said.
Midge Weller, owner of the Freedom Food Market at 405 W. Main St., Hillsboro, said classes will be held once a month, likely on Saturdays beginning April 30. Weller said the field trip plans have not been completed, but that the social events will include one at the beginning of the program that will have a meal where participants can taste local organic produce and meet some of the people that will serve as their mentors, then a potluck dinner at the end of the program where participants prepare something they learned to make during the program to share with their fellow participants.
“We got rave reviews last year,” Weller said. “It’s a way to meet other people that are like-minded and interested in gardening and other things like that.”
There’s is a $100 fee for the course that Weller said is used to pay the mentors and purchase produce used throughout the program.
To learn more, readers can stop at the market, visit Freedom Farm Market & Organic Grocery on Facebook, or call 937-763-2813.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.