Regenerative Farming (agriculture) points to a direction of commercial agriculture (monocultural) and local food producers adopting farming methods that improve the soil and water, plus trapping carbon (CO2) within the soil. Some of this is returning to old methods of animal husbandry and cultivation, some are new methods under test and others are yet to be found (i.e. perennial grains). These methods must be cost effective or they are of no avail. The nutritional value of worldwide food production has diminished by close to 20%. Therefore, we must increase our food production to feed the current population by that percentage just to stay even. Our current farming methods have depleted the nutrients from the soil that humans need for nourishment. We do artificially enrich the soil with NPK for the plant’s needs, but nothing for the people’s needs.
Native American Cultural Garden
The Native American Indian Culture Garden project was continued this year with the group obtaining approval on a site plan for their plot in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They are continuing to obtain funds for a site construction. Council is serving as the fiscal agent for the funds raised to date and has continued to work with this group through throughout the year. Glenn Odenbrett has been our principal liaison to this group.
- Ashtabula SWCD’s hosted the 201 Area II Envirothon held on April 25th at Beaumont Boy Scout Camp, Ashtabula County, Rock Creek, Ohio. The Western Reserve RC&D provided scholarships to the top four teams. The funds for the scholarships were provided by Dominion East Ohio Gas Co. The winning teams this year were: 1st – Boardman Hawks- Boardman High School, 2nd – Perry High School, Perry, Ohio, 3rd – Chardon High School and 4th –Brecksville Broadview Heights Amory Loving Appreciation Society. The state contest was held at Bowling Green State University. The first-place team was not able to attend the state competition so 5th placed tram Western Reserve Local Schools was substituted.
We have received thanks from several schools expressing their thanks for our support and letting us know that quite a few students have used this experience to change their lives, got advanced training and became natural resource/environmental oriented employees.
Saint Casimir Church Infrastructure
The Western Reserve RC&D co-sponsored a grant application for a storm water demonstration project in an inner-city neighborhood of Cleveland. The project was funded by the Northeast Ohio Sewer District for $160,000.00 to provide an example of how commercial, church, and other private properties can successfully implement storm-water management practices. The project is now completed with demonstration day planned.
Farmer & Hunters Feeding the Hungry
The Farmers and Hunters Feed the Hungry (FHFH) Project is an effort of the Western Reserve RC&D Council to assist the local Chapter of this organization to extend its work in Northeast Ohio. The FHFH Program (http://www.fhfh.org/) helps to work with local hunters and farmers to distribute deer meat to operations mainly in inner city areas that can be used at food shelters. Butchering cost can be an obstacle to facilitate such donations; grants and other donations are needed. The Western Reserve RC&D has assisted representatives of local FHFH program to partner with other groups and help to distribute the food items. The RC&D Council is also interested in helping local chapters in each county expand their efforts.
GLISTEN (the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network)
The Council’s AmeriCorps National Service Program, GLISTEN (the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network) has recruited and deployed students from Case Western Reserve and Cleveland State University to support environmental projects of the Cuyahoga and Lake Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Cleveland Metroparks, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Projects included invasive species control, tree planting, and watershed protection. These students have also provided environmental education lessons at Bolton Elementary School in Cleveland. Glenn Odenbrett has served as project coordinator for this initiative throughout the year.
Food, Land and People
The Food, Land and People project is continuing to set up training programs to help teachers in the school systems throughout the nine county region to be able to use the Food, Land and People curriculum in their classes and how it relates to the state educational requirements. Katie Nainiger of Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District is coordinating this project.