The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2019 recipients of its Stewardship and Service awards.
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 sell produce wholesale through Local Food Connection and multiple locations of Dorothy Lane Market, and sell at a farmers market, their farm store and through a winter and summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Together, they are the OEFFA Stewardship award winners.
The Ashmores 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,” says Guy Ashmore.
In 1988 the couple 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,” says Guy Ashmore. “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,” says Steve Edwards, who has represented OEFFA’s Southwest chapter on the board of trustees since 2005.
“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.”
AWARD FOR SERVICE: Mike Hogan receives the OEFFA service award from Carol Goland, OEFFA executive director.
Mike Hogan, 2019 Service award winner
Mike Hogan is a Franklin County Extension educator and associate professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University, specializing in urban agriculture, local foods, sustainable agriculture, small farm management, marketing and food safety.
Hogan 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.
As co-coordinator for the Ohio 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 he has offered regular workshops as part of the organization’s annual conference.
“Working with OEFFA has been a privilege,” he says. “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. OEFFA members have taught me and my colleagues so much about sustaining Ohio’s farms and families, too.”
Sean McGovern, SARE outreach specialist, who received the award in 2018, says, “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.”
Carol Goland, executive director of OEFFA, says, “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 society-wide understanding of the economic, environmental and social significance of local and sustainable food systems.
“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,” she says.