MT. HOPE -- If you grow it, you should come.
For the fifth consecutive year, produce and flower growers -- and those who would like to become either -- will gather to see, discuss and learn about numerous aspects of the respective businesses.
The fifth annual Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting will be held Thursday and Friday Jan. 12-13 in Mount Hope. Just as there is always something new in the world of small-scale agriculture, the venue itself is new, too: The Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting will be the first event held at the new Mount Hope Event Center, on the campus of the Mount Hope Auction. The new building is a stand-alone venue at the western edge of the Mount Hope Auction grounds. It's adjacent to the existing 20,000-square-foot building that opened in 2014. Owner/Manager
Thurman Mullet said that, with more than 40,000-square-feet, the new building is being constructed, "to handle these types of events, and to accommodate some of the other sales we already have throughout the year. It gives us a lot more indoor space." Mullet said with the two buildings there now will be about 64,000-square-feet of indoor exhibition space.
And while the Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting will be held solely in the new building, it is sure to be packed: Organizers anticipate having about 90 vendors, and have scheduled 32 different informational sessions with 26 different speakers (including several from right here in the Wayne/Holmes area) over the course of the two-day event.
Organizers of the Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting are excited about bringing their event to the new Mount Hope location, and emphasize that it is "For anybody who has an interest in produce or flower growing. By attending, they can go home with a lot more information on how to grow and market their products."
In addition to the vendors, a full lineup of speakers will address a wide variety of topics, covering everything from beekeeping to blackberries; healthy soils to Hi-tunnels, good business practices and recordkeeping and just about everything in between.
In addition to the numerous speakers, hands-on workshops also will be held. Topics include, Planting Flower Combinations in Planters and Vegetable Seed Treatment.
Local speakers scheduled to offer their input include Sam Yoder from Berlin Gardens, Holmes County native Emanuel Erb, veterinarian Dr. Ken Blanchard, Dr. Sally Miller from OSU/OARDC, CPA Carlos Mullet, and OSU Extension Educator for Wayne County, Rory Lewandowski.
One thing in particular the organizing committee wants the local community to know is that the event, "is for anybody who has an interest in growing produce or flowers, whether they are doing it right now, or just looking to gather information." Indeed, with the number of guest speakers, breakout events, displays and vendors, "there will be something for everyone."
Organizers pointed out that, "There really is something for everyone here, whether you're already a producer, would like to become one or just are curious" about the various aspects of small-scale agriculture. They noted that the breakout sessions on recordkeeping for example, might be something "that applies to business in general."
Small-scale agriculture offers many benefits, whether you have 2 acres available for production, or 20. For example, considering some of the economic challenges that have occurred in recent years, committee members said that growing and marketing produce or flowers is an excellent way to build or supplement an income. In addition, it is something that families can do together, at home. "This is a way to keep the family together; working together on something that can bring in more income."
While there is an ever-growing interest in organic/sustainable agriculture, the organizers said this event includes topics and vendors that are of interest to people following that path, as well as those who are engaging in conventional growing practices.
The mission of the Mid-Ohio Growers is, "to provide educational information on growing and marketing fruits, vegetables, and flowers for small growers." A review of the biographies of the speakers and presenters scheduled reveals a fascinating lineup that is destined to support that mission, and one which appeals not only to local producers but also those from well outside our area. In fact, organizers shared that the Mid-Ohio Growers meeting regularly draws attendees from eight to 10 states, and from as far away as New York and Tennessee.
Breakfast will be available both days, as well as a lunch buffet, sandwiches and salads. The vendors will provide free refreshments on Thursday from 6-7 p.m. The event will culminate with a drawing for a free 20x48 greenhouse at 2 p.m. Friday. All paid attendees are automatically registered for the drawing.
The Mid-Ohio Growers Meeting is open to the public, and no membership is required. Preregistration is available until Dec. 31, at a cost of $20 per person, which covers both days. Admission at the door is $25 per person. No additional fees are charged for the workshops or speaker sessions.
Pre-registration checks can be mailed to: Mid-Ohio Growers, LLC, P.O. Box 111, Mount Hope, OH 44660. You may also request the event schedule. Information also is available at the group's website: www.midohiogrowers.com, or by calling 330-275-7566 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org