Part – 8: Investing and creating a sustainable business model for the urban farm
The Microfarm Project makes the business of sustainable urban farming accessible, equitable, and profitable by leveraging the knowledge and science of the Land Grant University to grow cooperative businesses, make microfarming profitable, train new microfarmers, address racial and social justice by creating access to microfarming opportunity, study the impacts of microfarming on the surrounding community and ecosystems, connect students to knowledge, research, and service opportunities in and around microfarming. Since 2017, Ohio State University Associate Professor Kip Curtis has been building partnerships and recruiting collaborators to pilot a microfarming system in Mansfield, Ohio. Since 2019, OSU, The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, IdeaWorks, Braintree Business Solutions, and The Richland County Foundation, along with a dozen aspirational microfarmers from Mansfield and Richland County, have been piloting the first microfarm aggregation system with the support of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture’s Seeding Solutions grant program. In 2020, with the support of the Office of Outreach and Engagement, Dr. Curtis began conversations with community leaders and others in Marion about expanding this program to Marion.