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A LOOK AT THE SERIOUS GROWTH IN OUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM

 A LOOK AT THE SERIOUS GROWTH IN OUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM

Editor Jim Prues: Great article and this is a truncated version. Cincinnati Magazine has the full piece…

Heyyyyy, cow!” Jeremy Boswell yells from the all-terrain vehicle he’s using to give a tour of his 132-acre farm in New Richmond. And here comes the herd—caramel colored with long shaggy hair and long horns, light tan with short hair and short horns, one black and white—stampeding over a fairway on the former Lindale Golf Course.

Jeremy Boswell raises beef, pork, chickens, and turkeys at Emmett Ridge Farm.

Boswell has been raising cattle and other animals for nine years, beginning on a small homestead in the area with enough meat and produce to feed his family. He owned a successful tree-trimming business at the time, but felt himself pulled toward farming after studying where our food comes from. Boswell decided to become a full-time farmer and, with his wife Lauren’s support, began leasing farmland from his in-laws in Georgetown, Ohio, and built a small customer base. But the Boswells felt a calling, from both God and their consciences, to serve more people, so they bought the golf course just 25 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.

Zipping around his property, Boswell points out a pond where he wants to try aquaculture to raise tilapia or other fish for consumption. He’ll stock one of the ponds with catfish, his favorite. There’s an area that should be good for a fruit orchard, and he’s going to lend some of his land to a local farmer to plant a produce garden. “Our mission early on was to help lead the charge to a vibrant, sustainable food system locally,” Boswell says. Emmett Ridge Farm—named after their eldest son, whose name means “strong, hardworking, industrious leader”—now provides up to 150 area households with monthly subscriptions for assortments of grass-fed beef, pasture-raised and heritage-bred pork, and pasture-raised chickens and turkeys. An 18-pound order is $140 a month. Their boxes, delivered to customers’ doorsteps, can now include fresh produce from nearby Foxtail Farm.

The Boswells represent one cog in a local food system that’s better organized and more accessible than ever. Convenience used to be the enemy of local farms, but innovative farmers are adding delivery, on-farm markets, and other ways to connect with consumers.

The truth is, if you’re privileged with extra time, a form of transportation, and a little wiggle room in your budget, you can get all your fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, breads, and so much more from producers in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. And you can get to know the farmers and support staff who do the actual work.

At the same time, our local system is far from living up to its potential, says Michaela Oldfield, director of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, an initiative of Green Umbrella, the region’s environment and sustainability alliance. “The thing is, local and regional food systems are not luxuries,” she says. “They’re essential for us to be resilient to things like COVID-19. If we had good interconnected systems, we could compensate when one market collapses or one region doesn’t produce. That’s what’s so great about a strong local food system nested in a strong national and global system, which we don’t have yet.”

Read the rest of the story at CincinnatiMagazine.com

Jim Prues