A workshop was created to inspire collaboration around balanced land use, engage new stakeholders, and spur new dialogue and partnerships. With partial funding from a grant from Ohio State University’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), a steering committee was formed to organize the workshop, consisting of Wayne County Farm Bureau; OSU Extension; OSU College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Wayne County Planning; and Sustainable Economies Consulting LLC.
The in-person workshop was initially scheduled for March 13, 2020. Due to the pandemic, instead a virtual, four-part workshop series took place September through December 2020. The steering committee put considerable time into selecting a diversity of speakers – 16 total – to represent a multitude of perspectives and backgrounds.
The workshop series was considered a success with about 50-80 participants registering for each session. The attendees included a diverse group of stakeholders who in many cases had not worked together previously. The discussions with those who participated in the seminar series indicate that the series succeeded in building new partnerships around balanced land use.
Further, the project won a national award, a County Activities of Excellence award from The American Farm Bureau Federation. The prize was a grant to send participants from Wayne County to the 2022 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and Trade Show in Atlanta.
Land use planning an underused tool for farmland preservation – An article from 2022 by Elizabeth Schuster in the Ohio Country Journal, showing the findings and lessons learned from the project.