Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer: Lorain, Hancock, & Morrow County

Sep. 14, 2018

Schools are back in session, autumn is rapidly approaching, and we have recently wrapped up the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer county fair tour. Lorain, Hancock, and Morrow Counties were the final three stops on our twenty-two county fair tour. Although we have conducted our outreach activities at county fairs all across the great state of Ohio, the last three were certainly some of the most memorable.

During the last week of August, we set out toward the Lorain County Fair. Lorain County, in north-east Ohio, is home to several of the rural communities outside of Cleveland. We set up our activities in one of the many exhibitor buildings, beside the Lorain County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Ann Chanon. We spoke with several consumers from Lorain County, and the nearby city of Cleveland about biobased innovations. Ann was excited to tell us about her community composting efforts and the prominent soybean industry in Lorain County. Our activity area was located across from a hefty display of soybean plants, hung on the wall to showcase their qualities and the skill of the farmers who grew them. When approached by consumers who were less familiar with agricultural commodities, we were able to show them a soybean plant next to a soybased bioproduct for comparison.

On the first day of September, we drove the van to the Hancock County Fair in Findlay, Ohio. During our time in Hancock County, we met several groups of parents with their children. The children were amazed that plastic could be made from plants, a few of them admitted that they had never thought about where plastic comes from, they only knew about the negative effects of plastic litter. The parents were more interested in the biobased household cleaning supplies that we had on display.

Our final stop on the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer county fair tour was in Morrow County. A short forty-five minute drive from Columbus, Morrow County is known for their cattle production. We set up the Sustainable World tour van outside of the Youth Building, and taught several residents of Morrow County about the large range of products that can be made from agricultural commodities, such as corn and soybeans. We were approached by one couple that was passionate about their at-home composting facility, and they expressed their interest in purchasing products with compostable packaging. Later in the day, we spoke with a local cattle producer who utilizes a large amount of soybased biodiesel on his farm, his goal is to produce a quality beef product in the most sustainable way possible.

This article was written by Bradley Collins, OBIC Student Assistant and Senior at The Ohio State University.