North Central SARE From the Field Profile
NCR-SARE's Continuing Face of Sustainable Agriculture Project
“Can a Jewish girl from Brooklyn, NY, have anything to say about the future of agriculture?” asked Ohio farmer Shoshanah Inwood of Columbus. The answer to her question must be a resounding “yes” since Inwood won the SARE 2008 New Voices Contest.
In support of SARE’s mission to advance sustainable practices and innovations to the whole of American agriculture, SARE’s 2008 New Voices Contest called for written, audio, and or video submissions that articulated new perspectives and illustrated an inspirational and pioneering vision for the advancement of sustainable agriculture over the next 20 years.
Contestants were asked to address the entrant’s vision of how truly sustainable production and marketing systems would improve pro tability, stewardship of the land and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities. Applicants were asked to highlight practical strategies for evoking deeply held and/or broadly shared values to advance sustainable agriculture on a wider scale. Inwood presented her contest entry at the closing plenary session at SARE’s 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference.
“Sustainable agriculture is not black and white, to achieve our goals we have to challenge ourselves to move beyond the ideal types of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ farmers and work in the gray, to welcome farmers who fall along a spectrum of production and marketing practices. We need to make the distinction between the political and economic contexts that lead to the technology treadmill, and the morality of individual farmers as stewards of the land. By understanding the real world constraints producers face, we reconcile why farmers refuse to invest in grazing system, fail to implement stream set backs, and overuse fertilizers and pesticides,” said Inwood.
“I’ve come to believe that the way a country feeds itself speaks to our values, humanity and the legacy we leave for the next generation…We move forward when we build an agriculture rooted in our shared values of family, community, health and prosperity,” she explained.
In 2000, Inwood co-founded Silver Tale Organic Farm in Lucas, Ohio. She has collaborated on projects with local farmers, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, the Ohio Department ofAgriculture and the Central-Ohio Chef Grower Network. Inwood’s dissertation work, examining farm succession at the rural-urban interface, was funded by NCR-SARE (GNC06-070). She served on the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA) board for four years.
Read more about Inwood’s project online on the SARE Project reporting website. Simply search by the project number, GNC06-070, at http://www.mysare. sare.org or contact the NCR-SARE office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) GNC06-070, Sustaining the Family Farm at the Rural Urban Interface.
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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.