I have spent a LOT of my life in schools – as a student, as a teacher, as a student again. And so, I returned to the ivory tower, albeit the backyard, for The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Ohio Master Urban Farmer Certificate Program with a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension.
I have been reading a gazillion books, blogs, and extension fact sheets in advance of the 2014 growing season. I have learned so much from these resources and wondered how much more I could possibly learn in a 21-hour program. Turns out I learned a lot, the least of which is how much more there is to learn. As with any educational experience, the presentations in this series opened windows for me onto issues and ideas I’ll need to spend more time exploring on my own. Now I know more of the questions I need to ask, even if I can’t answer them right now.
As a doctoral student you learn to be an autodidact. You have to. Noone else is studying the exact same thing as you. Same goes for artmaking and, it turns out, urban farming.
[I would be remiss not to briefly mention the topics of our last session of farm school. Good Agricultural and Handling Practices (GAPS), zoning, and legal issues related to urban farming. I hope to complete a full GAPS training program later this year to ensure that our produce is the highest quality it can be and safe for whatever lucky folks wind up consuming it. I also learned a few things about what we clearly can and cannot do in the name of urban farming within the boundaries of the City of Columbus. Best advice of the night: Be sure your project looks as beautiful as it can be to ensure neighbors don’t get upset with you and, add talk to your insurance provider about options for food activity coverage.]