PEMBERVILLE, Ohio — About a year ago, we told you about a program that will let folks to farm, even if they don't have land. The program now has its first tenant.
Michael Schiewer of Herbaceous Ltd. grows herbs and edible flowers that are used by local restaurants and distilleries. He's settling into his new home on about an acre of land at the Black Swamp Conservancy Homestead in Pemberville.
"It didn't take much time to fall in love with what's going on here. I, myself, am very conscious about the environment and want to treat the land as well as possible," Schiewer said.
Schiewer got started on a small 1/21 of an acre plot in south Toledo. At some point, that space no longer worked for him. So, when he heard about the Black Swamp Conservancy's Food and Farm Initiative, he jumped on board.
The project rents out land to beginning farmers.
"We hope to do long-term leases so that they have a few years to build up their business, get some money in the bank, invest in some infrastructure and then we would sell them that land," Farmland Preservation Associate with the Black Swamp Conservancy Sarah Williams said.
The initiative requires farmers to use sustainable practices. The program also aims to provide locally-grown food to consumers and to develop a new crop of farmers.
"We love the community aspect and we love really keeping the local economy secure that way," Williams said.
Schiewer said he's working to boost his supply to meet the demands of local businesses.
"Once we have enough growing and enough to harvest, we'll be in the Monnettes Stores, or at least a few of them," he said
If you're interested in the program, check out the Black Swamp Conservancy website.