Archive for February, 2011

‘Great new sustainable landscape plants’

Steve Foltz, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s horticulture director, will present “Great New Sustainable Plants for the Landscape” Friday (2/25) at Ohio State. Foltz oversees one of southern Ohio’s largest plant collections — 3,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, tropical plants, grasses, bulbs, perennials and annuals. His talk is part of a free winter seminar series by the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, which is part of our college.

OSU organic farming leader receives top honor

Deb Stinner, head of Ohio State’s nationally known Organic Food and Farming Education and Research program, has received one of two Stewardship Awards presented by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). It’s the group’s highest honor. She’s the first recipient of the award from Ohio State. Also honored was Ed Snavely, a Knox County farmer with whom Stinner has collaborated on a number of studies. “Both Deb and Ed care deeply about creating a sustainable food system,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland. “We should all be sincerely grateful for what they have done to advance sustainable agriculture in our community.”

New ways to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys

A workshop next month in western Ohio aims to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys — and in doing it, give farmers a new source of income. “Turning Manure into Ca$h” features new technologies for turning livestock waste into sellable fuel, fertilizers, and bioresins. It’s on March 8 in Maria Stein, about 10 miles south of the lake. OSU Extension is one of the sponsors. “We have new manure rules in place for Grand Lake, but we still have the same amount of manure, so we need to look at ways of reducing our nutrient loads,” said Jim Hoorman, one of the speakers and an OSU Extension educator in Mercer County. “Farmers can adopt these technologies, sell their manure for a profit, and reduce their nutrients.”

A green, better way to take care of the inevitable

What do you do with a dead cow the size of a Smart Car? A dead pig as big as a washing machine? More and more, the answer is composting — it saves farmers money, protects the environment and returns animals slowly to the earth — and two programs next month will feature it.

How to know, grow, and manage a woods better

Purdue, Kentucky and Ohio State universities are teaming for a workshop for enthusiastic woodland owners — people who want to know, grow, and manage their woods better. The Ohio River Valley Woodland and Wildlife Workshop takes place March 26 at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Ky., between Cincinnati and Louisville. “It’s for landowners interested in learning more about the resource they own,” said Kathy Smith, OSU Extension’s forestry program director. She’s one of the planners and speakers. “The unique aspect of this workshop,” she said, “is that the knowledge base comes from three different land-grant universities. This allows the participants to get different perspectives than they may get elsewhere.”

Home energy audit well worth it

I first heard about home energy audits last summer when I attended an energy efficiency presentation by ATI professor Allen Zimmerman. (His talk was really thought-provoking -- and he's willing to speak to groups small and large. Contact him at to see about his availability). Among all the pieces of great advice Allen gave, item No. 1 was to get a home energy audit. It might cost $250 or so, but Zimmerman said in most cases it's well worthwhile. I procrastinated... but the seed was planted. Today, I had an extensive home energy audit conducted for just $50, thanks to Columbia Gas of Ohio. Was it worth time and nominal expense? You bet. Here's what auditor-extraordinaire Jacque (pronounced Jackie) Chaney found: ...    Read More »

58+ ways to be more profitable, sustainable

Farmers who want new ways to grow, sell, and stay in business can find them at two coming events. The “Opening Doors to Success” Small Farm Conference and Trade Show (35 breakout sessions plus keynotes) runs March 11-12 in Wilmington. The “Living Your Small Farm Dream” Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference and Trade Show (23 sessions, keynotes) takes place March 26 in Massillon. “‘Small’ is relative, almost a mindset,” said Mike Hogan, one of the organizers and an OSU Extension educator in eastern Ohio. “It’s hard to draw a line to say what’s small and what isn’t. The main focus either way is to help farm families identify ways to become more profitable and sustainable -- economically, environmentally, and social...    Read More »

World Agroforestry head to talk tomorrow

Dennis Garrity, director general of the Nairobi, Kenya-based World Agroforestry Centre, will present “Creating an Evergreen Agriculture in the Tropics” from 3:30-4:30 p.m. tomorrow (2/10) at OSU. It’s part of the “Agriculture, Water Quality, and Nutrient Management” winter seminar series of the School of Environment and Natural Resources. The center, its website says, is “dedicated to generating and applying the best available knowledge to stimulate agricultural growth, raise farmers’ incomes, and protect the environment.” It’s a member of the global Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and has regional offices in Kenya, Mali, Malawi, India, and Indonesia.

President Gee to speak April 19: ‘Green is good’

OSU President E. Gordon Gee will keynote the Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair April 19. He’ll speak on “Sustaining a Stronger Ohio” during the fair’s 11-11:30 a.m. opening ceremony in Fisher Auditorium. “The creative power and technical expertise of The Ohio State University are being marshaled every day on behalf of Ohio farmers, Ohio businesses, and Ohio residents to help make all our lives cleaner and greener,” Gee said. “Green energy and green practices are an essential part of building sustainable prosperity in Ohio. To paraphrase an old movie line, ‘green is good.’ ”

It’s Recyclemania time

Ohio State is again participating in RecycleMania, an eight-week competition among 630 universities nationwide to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Universities are ranked each week by the volume of recyclables collected and by recyclables per capita, trash generated per capita, and by recycling rates.

Last year, Ohio State placed 50 out of 300 in the category of total recyclables, with a collection of nearly 300,000 pounds of recycling. Ohio State also placed in the top 50 in the waste minimization category with 34.6 pounds of waste generated per person.

Can we do even better this year?

Find out more at and