Goodness Grows works to satisfy growing demand for fresh, local food

By Elise Mckeown Skolnick

The goal is to teach the skills necessary to produce food in sustainable ways.

NORTH LIMA — As an area organization sees an increased demand for fresh, local food, it’s doing something to help.

Goodness Grows, a North Lima nonprofit, is offering a project-based market-garden training course. The goal is to equip people with the skills necessary to produce and sell food in sustainable ways.

“As the demand for fresh, local food increases, there is a need for local producers as well as processing and distribution networks,” said Meagan Zeune, Goodness Grows program director.

Ohio State University professors, experienced farmers and Mill Creek MetroParks staff will teach the course. The program will include workshops, guest lecturers, projects and on-the-job training.

The course is offered to those seeking to generate income through small-scale farming and as a track for young adults in the Leadership Zone program organized by Flying High Inc., a local youth-development nonprofit.

The cost for the eight-week course is $500. Scholarship opportunities are available. It begins Monday.

“We hope participants gain skills to be a part of the local food system and work in the sustainable agriculture field,” Zeune said.

Students are able to specialize in one of four fields: animal husbandry and beekeeping, food processing and preparation, fruit and vegetable production and horticulture and landscaping.

Topics to be covered include pest management and disease prevention, organic standards, botany, propagation, value-added products, farmer’s markets, record keeping and more.

Six workshops, held in tandem with the course, are open to outside participants. Topics include ecological fruit and vegetable farming, propagation and transplanting, among others.

“Local farming is an asset to our county by maintaining our environment, providing fresh, nutrient-dense products and providing jobs that are rooted in our community,” Zeune said. “Urban land and space in Mahoning County is ripe for local food production that contributes to the health and vigor of our economy.”

Goodness Grows was founded in 2007.

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