Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rural Action News

New Staple Crops Coming to Ohio and the Surrounding Area

Have you ever stopped to think about where your food comes from? How far did the buckwheat in your pancakes have to travel to get to you? An Ohio resident is hoping that soon you can say “Just down the road.”

Brandon Jaeger of Athens, OH has received a farmer rancher grant from NCR-SARE to investigate how to group staple food crops on the Western Allegheny Plateau.

Jaeger is concerned not only about where his food comes from, but what it costs to get to him. He notes that “Currently, the staple foods of my community’s diet come, for the most part, from large scale operations, with poor crop and wildlife diversity, heavy machinery operating on a nonrenewable resource, and minimal, if any, soil maintenance.” He is also concerned with how much fossil fuel is burned just to transport food to local areas.

Jaeger’s solution is to demonstrate how staple food crops can be grown locally, and with sustainable practices. He intends to grow, among others, four staple crops, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. These crops will also fit into the diet of someone who is wheat/gluten intolerant.

To make growing staple foods feasible for small farmers with limited resources Jaeger plans to use permaculture and biointensive systems. Both of these systems focus on intensive (low inputs, high yield) practices that rely on renewable resources and self-sustaining ecosystems.
Jaeger’s overall goal for the project is education. He is using donated land in Athens and Meigs counties to set up example plots that the public can view to learn more about sustainable growing techniques.

“I hope that after seeing it can be done, more people will take on these practices and help to grow food locally,” said Jaeger.

He constantly encourages people to ask their local bakeries and markets for local grains and foods in order to encourage vendors to stock local products, citing the enthusiasm of local vendor Bob O’Neal, owner of Village Bakery and Della Zona Pizza . “Bob said he’d even be willing to close down the bakery to help with harvest,” explained Jaeger.

For more information on the project feel free to contact Jaeger at (740) 590-8240 or

Jaeger preparing site for quinoa trial beds. Photo by Michelle Ajamian.

Welcome Summer VISTA Associates!

Rural Action would like to welcome eight Summer AmeriCorps*Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) Associates. Four will be serving with Rural Action and four will serve at Rural Action partner organizations, Community Food Initiatives and Appalachian Nutrition Network. They will serve an 8 week term from June 19 - Aug. 16, 2008.

Back Row (left to right):
Leo DeLuca, Rural Action Youth Leadership, Daniel Hatfield, Community Food Initiatives, Kevin Fletcher, Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture

Middle Row:
Kimberly May, Rural Action Watersheds, Aaron Lemly, Community Food Initiatives

Front Row:
Emily Roe, Appalachian Nutrition Network, Katherine Keener, Appalachian Nutrition Network, Vaughn Stewart, Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture

Join Us at the 2008 Annual Meeting
July 17, 7-9 pm at the Athens Community Center

The 2008 Annual Meeting is quickly approaching on Thursday, July 17. We are looking forward to an enjoyable evening, and hope that our members and friends will join us.

This year, we will have a guest speaker, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Janine L. Migden-Ostrander, who oversees the state agency that represents the interests of Ohio’s 4.5 million residential households with their investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone and water companies.

Click here to read Migden-Ostrander’s biography.

Migden-Ostrander will discuss Senate Bill 221, which the Rural Action Energy Committee is currently reviewing (see below). Visit and click on “Legislative Briefs” on the left side to read a good summary of Ohio Senate Bill 221.

Also planned for the Annual Meeting are Rural Action’s Annual Sustainability Awards and Board of Director Elections. A Book Sale will be set up throughout the evening, with titles such as Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Desserts and refreshments will also be provided.

FREE Childcare is also available upon request—please contact Cat Fincun to reserve a spot or for more information about the event: 740-767-4938 or

Rural Action's Energy Committee Discussing Senate Bill 221
By Katie Durham, VISTA for Rural Renewal Strategy

For the past 10 months, Rural Action's Energy Committee has been sure to keep Senate Bill 221 on its agenda. In recent discussions, the bill's 'interpretation phase'—denoting the amount of time between the passing of the bill and the actual execution, the time in which the bill's language is
up for analysis—has been a considerable talking point. Now is the time to jump in the process and ensure that the peoples' voices are heard during this important phase of Senate Bill 221.

Janine Migden-Ostrander is the prime candidate to pull into this conversation: as Ohio Consumers' Counsel, she serves as the leading regional advocate for Ohio's energy-paying citizens. We are certain that her presence at our Annual Meeting will offer the expert advice and inspiration needed for Rural Action to move forward both confidently and strategically during this crucial time.

Join us in this ongoing discussion at the next Energy Committee Meeting on Wednesday, July 9 at 5:30 pm at The Ridges Building #22. Contact Katie Durham, 740-767-4938 or for more info.

Membership Update

Our programs would not be a reality today without the generous contributions of our friends in the community. We’d like to recognize Rural Action’s new and renewing members:

Doug Albaugh
Rod Angeroth
Kaye Appleman
Janell Baran
Betsy Beebe
Linda Benedict
Catherine Brown
Geoff and Alex Buckley
William Butt
Ronda Clark
Lou and Jewel DiOrio
Joel Dufour
Daniel Eikenberry
David Ferringer
Ted and Sue Foster
Darla Gaiser
Alan and Sandra Geiger
L. Alan Goldsberry
Pat Graven
Gertrude Gray
Gregory Greene
Donna Sue Groves
Tom and Marlene Hanifan
Dan Heiss
Richard Henry
June Holley
Loren Howdyshell
John Howell
Floyd and Eleanor Huggins
Katherine Jellison
Paul and Charlotte Johnson
Tom and Patty Johnson
Paul Knoop Jr.
Rhonda Koch
Darlene Sue Leonhart
Robert Maher
Mark and Teresa Maskaluk
Gailen Maxwell
Claude and Judy Mercer
Geoffrey Morgan
Joseph and Patricia Myers
John Nabors
Paul Nutter
Randi Pokladnik
Thomas and Susan Quinn
Alan Rees
David Schatz
Randy Schworm
Phil Short
David Simpson
Larry Snyder
Wave Snyder
Natsu Ota Taylor
Shirley Tipple
Bob and Christine Walter
James and Carol Waugh
Coady Rentals
Jeffers Tree Farm
Third Sun Solar and Wind Power

Thank you! Your support makes a difference.
For more information on how to become a member of Rural Action, please contact Jordan Vincent, 749-767-4938 or


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