During the summer of 2018, the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center travelled over 4,500 miles of Ohio’s highways and rural backroads, all in the name of sustainability. With support from the Ohio Soybean Council, OBIC conducted the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer education and outreach program at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum and 22 of Ohio’s county fairs.
Beginning in the first week of June, we set out with the goal of educating Ohioans about the growing bioeconomy. In addition to being a large agricultural state, Ohio is the top producer of paints and coatings, and the second largest producer of polymer materials, in the nation; this means tremendous potential for Ohio’s bioeconomy. We wanted to help farmers realize the potential of the commodities they produce, educate consumers about biobased alternatives, and encourage young people to explore one of the many career areas that the bioeconomy has to offer.
During our time on the road, we spoke to nearly 2,500 people about living a more sustainable lifestyle through the implementation of biobased products. Most of the people we interacted with were unaware of the bioproducts available on the market today. After participating in our biobased trivia game, participants walked away with soy-based product sample prizes and a new confidence in their knowledge of the bioeconomy.
While some consumers were unaware of the wide variety of biobased products on the market, we met a few who went out of their way to purchase biobased products. Others had been composting and recycling for years with the goal reducing their carbon footprint, and taking action to encourage their local communities to do the same. Overall, we found that people may have differing opinions on the uses of petroleum, but no one can argue against living a more sustainable lifestyle.
This article was written by OBIC Student Assistants, Brad Collins and Shivani Patel