The Agroecosystem Management Program (AMP) at the Ohio State University supports educational offerings in sustainable agriculture, facilitates regional collaboration and coordinates agroecosystems research to develop a food economy in Ohio that is environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sustainable – from farm to consumer.
Mellinger Farm is currently in transition to an organic farm. Woodlyn Acres Farm, LLC., of Dalton, OH, is working in cooperation with OSU-OARDC to complete the transition. Chemical fertilizers are being replaced with animal manures, legume crops and cover crops, mined soil amendments such as gypsum, and carefully planned crop rotations to manage fertility. Some fertilizers are applied by sprayer to the crop leaves with fish-based emulsion to aid absorption. Weeds are managed by tillage and planned competition with crops. Crop choices along with their rotation are used to manage pests and diseases.
Current research on small and medium sized farm diversification at Mellinger Farm is being run by the Agroecosystems Management Program at OARDC. Four replicates of five plot treatments are currently installed west of the farmstead. Three years of pasture are in rotation with hulless oats and an oilseed crop such as sunflower or camelina. Half plots of the 3rd year pastures are planted in vegetables and half plots of the 1st and 2nd year pastures are grazed by chickens. Careful accounting of all inputs, outputs and costs will add to understanding of how diversification proceeds and where difficulties in transitioning to diverse agricultural systems may require careful attention.
LocalFoodSystems.org is a collaboration platform that promotes strong local and regional economies by offering tools that help entrepreneurs build business ecosystems rooted in agriculture. Entrepreneurs can use the tools on this site to connect their business idea into a supply chain network of locally owned businesses, existing and planned, and together with other entrepreneurs and locally owned businesses find the capital needed to launch their businesses. Food is of particular interest both to entrepreneurs and consumers, hence the name localfoodsystems.org, but other basic needs like energy, equipment, services and materials that are part of agriculture are of equal importance.