Sponsored in part by the Ohio Farmers Union, this event is FREE and open to the public.
People of African descent have a long agricultural tradition. In spite of their forced farm labor under chattel slavery in the Americas, in emancipation most African Americans returned to this tradition as independent farmers or sharecroppers.
This conference will be discussing the influential history of black farmers in Ohio with an emphasis on the strength of community, preparing the next generation of underrepresented farmers for the future, and cultivating the cooperative business model to promote healthy farming and sustainable businesses. There will be keynote addresses, breakout sessions, networking, a resource fair, and more!
Keynote Speakers: Anna-Lisa Cox, author of The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality and Terry Cosby, USDA – NRCS.
Other speakers include Kevin McGruder, Ph.D. and Cornelius Blanding, President of the Federation of Southern Cooperative.
Primary sponsors include: Community Solutions, Antioch College, and The Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center.
To participate online or via the limited in-person opportunities due to the pandemic, please visit:
Friday, Sept. 11th 2020
Local Agriculture Tours – Central State University
Location: 1400 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce, OH 45384
*Parking available at the Research Farm
*This is a limited in-person opportunity
*In order to practice proper social distancing, individuals will be split into groups of no more than 10 people for each tour site.
Tour Stop 1: Seed to Bloom Botanical and Community Garden
A place to learn, explore, dream and grow. The newly-finished garden features a learning center, space for community gardens, a water feature and places for people to reflect, relax, and enjoy nature.
Tour Stop 2: Aquaponic Demonstration Center
The aquaponic center features various layouts, designs, and technology to showcase options and ideas for farmers considering or actively using aquaponic systems to grow fish and fresh produce.
Tour Stop 3: Research and Extension Farm
Central State has many exciting research projects including hemp, corn breeding, organic weed control and more. The tour will include some of the research plots and visits with the researchers.
Welcome/Opening Remarks – Presented by Jerolyn Barbee, Assistant Director, The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
Evening Keynote Address: Anna-Lisa Cox, Author of The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality
Saturday, Sept. 12th 2020
Conference Start Time: 10:00am
10:00am – Welcome/Opening Remarks/Water Cooler – Black Farming Committee Member
10:15am – 10:45am: Beyond 40 Acres & A Mule – Dr. Kevin McGruder, Historian, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Antioch College
10:45am – 10:55am: Watering hole/Break
11:00am – 11:45am: Urban Conservation – Highlights from Ohio’s cities: Cleveland,
Columbus and Cincinnati – Terry Cosby, State Conservationist, USDA
11:45am – 11:55am: Water Cooler/Break
12:00pm – 12:45pm: Cooperative Farming – Presented by Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director, The Federation of Southern Cooperatives
12:55pm – 1:55pm: Lunch on your own/Water Cooler
2:00pm – 2:45pm, 3:00pm – 3:45pm Afternoon Breakout Sessions – Breakout sessions will run concurrently
*Participants can choose up to two breakout sessions to attend.
Breakout Sessions Include:
- 1890 Land-Grant Resources, Presented by Central State University
- Technical Assistance and Local Farming Resources Presented by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)
- Farming During a Pandemic – led by Dr. Alcinda Folck, State Program Leader, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Central State University and Brad Bergefurd, Specialty Crops, The Ohio State University
- Succession Planning presented by local farmer, Branson Pyles
- Ohio Farm Bureau Federation – ExploreAg Youth Programming, Presented by Kelly Burns
4:00pm – 4:45pm – Where do we go from here? – Facilitated Discussion
5:00pm – Conference Adjourns