The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2019 recipients of its Stewardship and Service awards.
Guy and Sandy Ashmore of Clinton County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Mike Hogan of Franklin County received the Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture.
The announcements were made Feb. 15 and 16 in Dayton as part of OEFFA’s 40th annual conference, “Just farming: The path before us.”
2019 Stewardship Award winners — Guy and Sandy Ashmore
Guy and Sandy Ashmore are co-farmers and owners of That Guy’s Family Farm, a certified organic 48-acre farm in southwest Ohio. They wholesale produce through Local Food Connection and Dorothy Lane Markets, and sell at a farmers’ market, their farm store, and through a winter and summer community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
They started farming in 1978 using conventional practices and raising confinement hogs.
“We were adding more land, more chemicals, and more livestock, but things were not working out. We were stressed; our livestock and crops were stressed. We enjoyed farming, but this just didn’t seem right for us,” said Guy Ashmore.
In 1988 they joined OEFFA, describing it as a “turning point in our farming practices and ultimately our lives.” Their first acres were certified organic in 1998. “Farming began to be fun, rewarding, and enjoyable again. Our children could help; we could farm a lot less acres and make a profit.” By 2005, their entire farm was certified organic.
The Ashmores have inspired a love of farming in their children Maggie, Nellie, and Conard. Nellie manages her own business on the farm, That Girl’s Flowers, and Conard is a partner in the produce operation. Their oldest daughter, Maggie, and her husband farm in eastern Kentucky at Old Homeplace Farm.
The Ashmores have also helped to train the next generation of farmers. They’ve hired apprentices since 2011 and recently started hosting apprentices through OEFFA’s Begin Farming program. They have held OEFFA farm tours, led OEFFA conference workshops, and are active members in their OEFFA chapter.
They received the Snail of Approval from Slow Food Cincinnati in 2018, were elected to Dorothy Lane Market’s Vendor Honor Roll, and have been featured in Edible Ohio Valley, Ohio Farmer, and Rural Life Today.
“I saw the Ashmore family in full swing when they let me ‘help learn’ how to process chickens. With good-natured determination and sense of purpose, they have continued to grow and share their insights. Their love for food, farming, family, and friends is an inspiring example our community strives to repeat,” said Steve Edwards, who has represented OEFFA’s Southwest chapter on the Board of Trustees since 2005.
2019 Service Award winner — Mike Hogan
Mike Hogan is a Franklin County Extension Educator and Associate Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU), specializing in urban agriculture, local foods, sustainable agriculture, small farm management, marketing, and food safety.
“Mike’s long-term dedication to family farming has been instrumental in increasing the acceptance, understanding, and adoption of sustainable and organic practices in Ohio. The continuing collaboration between OSU and OEFFA to host farm tours is a testament to Mike’s understanding that farmers, researchers, and Extension work best when they work together,” said SARE Outreach Specialist Sean McGovern, who received the award in 2018.
He has spent his 32-year career working with sustainable, alternative, organic, and small-scale farmers. For the past several years, he has focused on increasing urban food production and food access in Columbus.
“Over the course of 40 years, this organization and the broader sustainable food and farm movement it serves have been built by the tireless efforts of farmers, conscientious consumers, educators, researchers, retailers, and others. It is breathtaking how far we’ve come, from a handful of folks with a shared vision to a societal-wide understanding of the economic, environmental, and social significance of local and sustainable food systems,” said Carol Goland, Executive Director of OEFFA. “Guy, Sandy, and Mike have all made lasting contributions to this effort, and we are both grateful and pleased to be able to recognize these truly remarkable individuals for their hard work and accomplishments.”
As Co-Coordinator for the Ohio U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program for the past 21 years, he has helped train agricultural professionals in sustainable practices, disseminated SARE research and project results, and promoted the availability of SARE resources.
For more than a decade, Hogan has partnered with OEFFA on the Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, and has offered regular workshops as part of the organization’s annual conference.
“Working with OEFFA has been a privilege. OEFFA helped the university evolve its understanding of sustainability in agriculture at a time when many concepts about sustainability were not well understood or well-received,” Hogan said. “OEFFA members have taught me and my colleagues so much about sustaining Ohio’s farms and families too.”