Local Business Steps Closer To Sustainability

By
Alexandra Milne

Dateline
Updated Tue, May 1, 2012 11:45 am

 

In March of last year, Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery owner, Art Oestrike, bought a farm with one goal in mind: to make it the restaurant's main food supplier.

Now more than a year later, the business is starting to reap the benefits.

The farm supplied all of Jackie O’s greens for the first time last week.

On Sunday, the Jackie O’s farm opened to the public, and Melissa Christen, Jackie O's Head Agriculture Specialist, invited the members of Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association to the farm.

Around 15 people from many surrounding counties came to check it out.

Oestrike hired Christen to design, grow and harvest the crops.

“I’m a rookie at this, but I want these very, very experienced farmers to give me insight on things that only practice can make perfect,” said Christen.

Christen showed the OEFFA members her greenhouse, raspberry rows, spinach plants, strawberry patches and explained her future plans.

“We’re hoping to grow every ingredient, besides hops, that is necessary to brew Jackie O beer. We’re going to have nuts growing here and beehives so that everyone’s favorite beer is coming from the same place as their food,” said Christen.

Whether it’s networking, lending a hand or giving advice, OEFFA was implemented so local farmers can do more than survive, but thrive and continue to have a demand.

“It was important because we all like to know each other and help each other out, we’re all each other’s mentors and there needs to be more farmers in the area, so we hope to encourage more people to get involved in sustainable agriculture,” said Angie Starline, OEFFA Athens chapter president.

Founded in 1979, OEFFA offers a number of activities to unite the farming community and the local community at large.

Workshops, gatherings and new-farmer tours to keep the farming community strong and continue bonding are hosted by OEFFA throughout the year.

Christen also plans to have three full-time, live-in interns this summer.

Oestrike expects to fully carry out his plans for the farm within the next few years, and said he expects to do it with OEFFA behind the business.

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