Sunday, February 21, 2010

Summit Urban Farming Initiative program coming!

Akron program- More areas mentioned in full article can be found at this link:
Thanks to enthusiasm and support from partners in the Summit Food Policy Coalition, a group started last year to address food access in Summit County, Akron is jumping on the urban farming band wagon. The Summit Urban Farming Initiative (SUFI), a seven-week training program, will begin in March at the Akron General Wellness Center in Bath Township.
The pilot program, co-sponsored by OSU Extension of Summit County, Akron's Department of Planning and Urban Development and the Summit Food Policy Coalition, will be offered on Thursday evenings through April.
Prospective or current urban farmers are being sought for the program to develop for-profit or not-for-profit agricultural enterprises in Akron and Summit County.
John Moore, director of Akron's planning department, said, ''This program will expose city residents to the necessity and lucrative nature of urban farming. The marketing, accounting, social as well as other business skills learned through this program will be valuable to the participants regardless of their final career path.''
Each week, SUFI participants will learn about such topics as developing a business mission and vision, creating budgets and marketing plans, and working with farmers markets to sell agricultural products.
The training will help participants refine plans for agricultural endeavors, whether they hope to develop market gardens, pick-your-own mini-farms or CSA operations. Sessions will be taught by farming experts from OSU Extension, the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, other farm-related organizations and successful urban farmers.
The goal of the SUFI program is simple: to bring more agricultural enterprises into Akron on both private property and city-owned vacant land. SUFI sponsors hope to be able to offer mini-grants in 2011 to help participants develop or enhance their urban farms. The hope is that in time, Akron residents looking for fresh, local food may have to go no further than just down the street.
To learn about participating in the Summit Urban Farming Initiative, including fees and program schedules, contact me at 330-928-4769, ext. 21, or The application deadline is March 5.


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