Learn about Season Extension, More at Farm Science Review’s Small Farms Center

A high tunnel  on Alaska Street in Dayton, Ohio. The tunnel is built on a demolished elementary school parking lot and located in a “food desert.”  Photo by Ray Wasniak

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cold frames, high tunnels, row covers and plasticulture are just some of the ways rural and urban growers can extend their growing season and increase access to fresh, local, healthy foods, says an Ohio State University Extension educator with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Techniques like these can also help growers in urban areas offset some of the impact of food deserts, particularly in cities that have a lot of vacant land no longer being used for housing, said Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, an OSU Extension Educator who will present a workshop on season extension during this year’s Farm Science Review, Sept. 16-18 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

Her presentation, “Season Extension Techniques for Urban and Rural Locations,” Sept. 18 at 11 a.m., is just one of several workshops to be held in the Small Farms Center during the Review. 

Areas that have vacant lots can benefit from urban agriculture, Mills-Wasniak said. It can increase food production, improve neighborhoods and lessen the financial impact of vacant lots on city budgets, Mills-Wasniak said.

“Many cities have vacant land no longer being used for housing or businesses, which has fallen back on city governments to maintain including grass mowing and trash removal,” she said. “But if these vacant lots can be used for agriculture, it puts fresh, affordable food in those areas and takes the responsibly off the government for mowing and trash removal on these lots, and improves the neighborhood.”

In her presentation, Mills-Wasniak will discuss how both urban and rural small farms can boost productivity by using techniques to extend the growing season.

Sponsored by CFAES, the Review features educational workshops, presentations and demonstrations delivered by experts from Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

Other Small Farms Center workshops include:

  • Organic certification – Is it worth the investment?
  • Growing strawberries on plastic.
  • Commercial raspberry production.
  • Beef herd expansion for profitability.
  • On-farm renewable energy applications.
  • Cottage food production.
  • Breeding better bees for survival.
  • Urban land leasing for small farms and community gardens.
  • Manure management for small farms.
  • Good agricultural practices for harvest, transport and packing of produce.
  • Organic heirloom tomato production.
  • A year in the life of a food hub.
  • Maximizing yield in the vegetable garden.

For the entire schedule at the Small Farms Center and other Farm Science Review presentations, see the Review’s Schedule of Events at fsr.osu.edu/visitors/plan-your-show/schedules.

Farm Science Review is nationally known as Ohio’s premier agricultural event that annually draws more than 130,000 farmers, growers, producers and agricultural enthusiasts. An estimated 620 exhibitors with some 4,000 product lines will set up shop at the three-day farm show, an increase from 608 exhibitors last year, organizers said.

The Review is also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its partnership with Purdue University Extension.  Educators and researchers from Purdue will also present educational workshops.

Review pre-show tickets are $7 and are available for purchase at all OSU Extension county offices, many local agribusinesses, and also online at http://fsr.osu.edu/visitors/tickets. Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16-17 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18.

More information can be found at fsr.osu.edu.                                               

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 


Suzanne Mills-Wasniak