More than 80 people – many of them farmers from Lorain County – participated in a town hall discussion and brainstorming session on the challenges and opportunities facing Lorain County’s agricultural economy recently at Lorain County Community College. The discussion followed the viewing of the documentary, “Forgotten Farms,” which examines the past and discusses a vision for a future regional food system.
LCCC and the Lorain County Farm Bureau collaborated in the presentation of this film to highlight the unique situation of local farmers. The Farm Bureau and the College will take the information gathered from the discussion to help develop programs that can assist the Lorain County farming community.
“Farmers in our county are passionate about their craft but they face many challenges,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “We hope our partnership with the Farm Bureau will lead to discussions on how we as a community can work together to keep the farming economy vibrant and growing in Lorain County.”
“Forgotten Farms” examines class divides in our farm and food communities. Most people buy their food in supermarkets and don’t have a chance to meet their farmer. But in more affluent communities, farm-to-table restaurants, farmer’s markets and CSAs are booming and the new farmers are celebrated. The film highlights the need to examine differences, develop mutual understanding, and find common ground in developing a truly sustainable food system.
“Lorain County has a rich agricultural history and was once a leader in the dairy industry. Farm bureau members want to share their passion and experiences with community members who are not directly involved in agriculture,” said Lorain County Farm Bureau Trustee Eric Grim of Grim Dairy Farm. “Agriculture and the dairy industry are severely underrepresented in local economic development discussions and need to be included as agriculture is the largest industry in Lorain County, Ohio and the United States.” The partnership between Lorain County Community College and the Lorain County Farm Bureau is a wonderful attempt at bridging this divide.
The collaboration between the college and the farm bureau goes back several years, including the annual Brunch with a Farmer event, and both organizations look forward to growing the relationship for the benefit of Lorain County.