DAYTON — Delaware County organic farmer Mike Anderson was honored Friday with the 2017 Stewardship Award by the Ohio Environmental Food and Farm Association.
In taking the stage to receive the award during the group’s annual convention in Dayton, he thanked OEFFA for the honor but added he thought of the many other Ohio farmers who have been responsible stewards of the land who were more deserving than himself.
“I think of the many farmers I’ve met through OEFFA, good stewards who carefully manage their land, but are also so generous to share information and experience with anyone who asks them,” Anderson said.
He said he also thought of those at the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, who “Carefully managing and caring for a library of information and making it available to farmers around the world to increase the sustainability of agriculture. I think of the many business owners here at the exhibit hall here who are stewards of their businesses, who carefully and responsibly manage their businesses to provide good service and markets that help farmers thrive in Ohio.”
He stressed the main person he wanted to thank was his wife, Ulrike Martin.
“If it wasn’t for her stewardship and careful and responsible management of the most important part of my life, I wouldn’t have been free to pursue this career.”
In presenting the award to Anderson, former OEFFA executive director Shawn McGovern said the Delaware County farmer has, “for 25 years given his time and energy to Ohio’s organic farming community.”
Anderson began his career in farming at the Ohio State University Demonstration Farm in Reynoldsburg, then managed vegetable production and field research for five years at the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware.
In 2001, he started Sundog Specialty Crops in Sunbury, a certified organic farm specializing in produce and cut flowers. Today, he co-manages Whitebarn Organics, a certified organic farm in New Albany.
“I’ve met many extraordinary farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates over the past 25 years and I know for certain that there are countless individuals much more deserving of this recognition then I am. I’m grateful for the people that I’ve met through OEFFA and inspired by their dedication to help us all become better stewards of our farms, families, and communities,” Anderson said.
Anderson served on the OEFFA board of trustees on the 1990s, and helped plan a number of farm training workshops for the organization. He later served as a sustainable agriculture specialist with OEFFA, helping farmers with their certification and marketing questions.
He has hosted numerous farm tours and conducted many workshops at OFFA conferences, sharing what he knows with other farmers and helping grow sustainable agriculture.
Gary Brock is editor of Civitas Media’s monthly farming and agriculture publication Rural Life Today and can be reached at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.