Who We Are
Through this initiative, a diverse coalition of agricultural, environmental and food security leaders are building a 21st century strategy and action plan to help Ohio agriculture become more sustainable and relevant in addressing 21st century challenges. Using a holistic and integrated approach to land management, the project leaders will identify, build and incubate platforms that support the sustainable production of food, feed, fiber, energy and ecosystem services and the delivery of these goods and services up the food chain all the way to the urban core.
While previous initiatives have been valuable planning exercises designed to “increase production of farms”, this initiative builds on that work and includes “getting food on tables”. In embracing the vision of Ohio agriculture helping to “feed the world”, we recognize that this starts with feeding our neighbors in Ohio.
The Upper Midwest is faced with a growing demand for affordable and nutritious food, feed, fiber and energy, clean water in healthy watersheds, thriving wildlife habitats and other ecosystem services. However, this demand must be met with dwindling land resources and increasingly unpredictable weather. We need a transition to integrated landscape management of a resilient, climate-smart and multifunctional agriculture for our farms, communities and cities to continue to grow and prosper. Climate related disruptions to agricultural production in the region are projected to increase further over the next 25 years leading to declines in crop and livestock production due to pollination problems, weeds, diseases, insect pests, extreme weather and other naturally induced stresses. Furthermore, one in six Ohio families that are already experiencing low food security, as well as the even more troubling statistic, of one in four children that are not sure where their next meal will come from, is another challenge that must be overcome.
Through this initiative, which will link with and build upon the multi-stakeholder partnership’s that have been developing in the region, a diverse coalition of agricultural, environmental and food security leaders will construct a strategy and action plan for making Ohio agriculture more sustainable and resilient to the challenges before us. Based on a holistic and integrated approach to land management, the project leaders will identify, build and incubate value chains that support the sustainable production of food, feed, fiber, energy and ecosystem services, and the delivery of these goods and services up the food chain all the way to the most urban consumers.
While previous initiatives have largely been planning exercises designed to “increase production of farms”, our focus goes beyond this important dimension to include “getting food on tables”. In embracing the vision of Ohio agriculture helping to “feed the world”, we recognize that this starts with feeding our neighbors in Ohio.
Landscapes in Ohio
Access to Nutritious Food: Building on the work of food system stakeholders with a focus on food security and health impacts, develop strategies through which Ohio food and agriculture can help ensure that all Ohioans have equitable access to adequate, affordable and nutritious food for an active, healthy life.
Climate Smart Agriculture: Explore the potential impacts of changing climatic conditions on Ohio agriculture, and develop recommendations for both mitigation and adaptation to these changes, including ways to: maintain sustainable production of food, feed, fiber and energy, while also ensuring the integrity of natural resources; improve the resilience of production systems and particularly their capacity to adapt to unanticipated and unpredictable change in the environment; mitigate present and future risks by building natural, human and social capital in Ohio agriculture.
Ecosystem Services: Explore ways for placing ecosystem services at the foundation of agricultural production in Ohio, both in terms of the basis for supporting production and in terms of the benefits resulting from sustainable agricultural land management, such as green space and water quality. Develop programs and pathways to transition agricultural production to this approach, decreasing the need for inputs to production from outside of Ohio, and for widespread understanding of, and appreciation for, the ecosystem services that both support and are provided by Ohio agriculture.
Market Development: Valuing all forms, sizes and types of food, feed and fiber production systems, recommend: public policy frameworks; research, technology and infrastructure priorities (physical and social); market mechanisms; and risk management solutions that can be deployed to expand markets for regionally-produced crops, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy products, eggs, other agricultural products, value-added products, ecosystem services, and any other potential returns accruing from agriculture.