Over the past 5 months, our staff has been on the road for tens of hours, driving hundreds of miles, talking to thousands of Ohioans, all about ONE small, but mighty, bean. The 2019 Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer program brought interactive bioeconomy education to five of Ohio’s great county fairs. Our team traveled to Paulding, Crawford, Union, Darke, and Morrow counties to speak with consumers about the emerging bioeconomy and soy-based technologies.
Every year, around the first week of June, school-busses and vans flood the rural backroads of Carroll County, Ohio, shuttling student leaders from all around the state to the banks of Leesville Lake, where they will attend Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. The National FFA Organization seeks to develop the future leaders in science, business, technology, and Agriculture. FFA Members from Ohio’s 315 local chapters can attend one of five general camp sessions where they will participate in leadership development, conservation education, and outdoor recreation activities.
On May 18th, the Ohio State University’s West Campus welcomed visitors to celebrate scientific progress and sustainability, while providing a stage for participating departments and community partners to showcase their work. The Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer fit well within the mission of the event, as we again introduced consumers to the benefits of a biobased lifestyle. We also introduced a new activity at this event: Biobased Bubbles. In addition to our bioproducts identification activity, we allowed consumers to see our mission in action.
Spring downpours did not stop the Columbus community from making a big turnout at the COSI Big Science Celebration. On Saturday, May 4th, we conducted our Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer activities with community members and provided an interactive introduction to sustainability, the soybean industry, and the emerging bioeconomy. The COSI Big Science Celebration was the perfect setting to introduce the public to biobased and soy-based products.
On Thursday, May 2nd, we welcomed a sea of blue jackets to West Campus for the Blue & Gold to Scarlet & Gray event. This event is designed for high school students traveling to Columbus for the Ohio FFA Convention. The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is among the largest youth organizations in the United States. This organization is based in career technical education and prioritizes preparing youth to be leaders within the agriculture industry.
Through the support of the Ohio Soybean Council, the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center at the Ohio State University will continue its education and outreach program, the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer, throughout the summer of 2019. This program reaches a wide audience through our mobile platform, delivering an interactive display to various STEM-based events, youth camps, and county fairs throughout the state. Participants will have the chance to interact with biobased and soy-based products while learning about the positive impact they have on sustainability and the American economy.
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.
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.
Our summer tour of Ohio’s county fairs is winding down to a close, and it feels bittersweet. We may have been to more fairs than the average person in one summer, but Brad and I still look forward to attending each one. Today, we are reflecting on our visits to the Darke and Allen County fairs, our 18th and 19th stops respectively.
The Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer is quickly wrapping up as Brad and I have only a few more county fairs left to attend. We drove to the western part of Ohio to attend both the Miami and Mercer County fairs this past week, marking the program as more than 75% complete. Driving across Ohio in the Sustainable World Tour van has been great, especially when we pass through counties where we attended their fair earlier in the summer.