Ohio Veterans Agribusiness Group

An Ohio Veterans Agribusiness group, gathering a group of fellow Veteran farmers and new farmer Veteran-centric organization, are known as the Ohio Veteran Agripreneurs. Our goals are complex:

·          Increase availability of local, farm fresh foods through Ohio, grown and raised by Veterans

·          Develop a Veteran Farm to Fork to Program involving all Veteran farms in Ohio

·          Develop a Veterans Feeding Veterans Program enabling Veteran farms and ranches are able to sell produce, poultry, meat, and other products directly to Veteran Administration (VA) Hospitals throughout Ohio.

·          Help veterans transition into farming, ranching, and other forms of Agribusiness by sharing resources, how to’s, and how not to’s.

We are currently in the process of reaching out all known and developing veteran-owned farms throughout Ohio to bring them together as a single cohesive organization of many resources, one day leading to a co-op development.  Singularly, the costs and challenges associated with beginning or sustaining a veteran farm are many—and sometimes are insurmountable.  Collectively, however, the skills and experience of the many can be freely shared between farms, and often resources such as farm equipment can also be shared.  With everyone’s help, we will take the Ohio Veteran Agripreneurs and create a fully operation co-op down the road to the betterment of everyone involved. 

Any questions or comments should be sent to Mr. Lee Lichtenwalner via email at Lee@DandelionLaneFarm.com, or by phone at 702-271-3304.  Lee Lichtenwalner is a retired US Air Force veteran, and owns Dandelion Lane Farm in NE Ohio with his wife, Dawn Lichtenwalner.  Together they raise ducks, chickens, and turkey and an assortment of produce. located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Ohio-Veteran-Agripreneurs-970025489759123/



Homegrown By Heroes

On November 11th 2014, Veterans Day, Ohio Proud announced a new partnership with Homegrown by Heroes program, to support and promote veteran farmers. The Homegrown by Heroes program is a program that certifies agricultural products from veteran farmers, ranchers, and fisherman. This program includes those who have served or are still currently serving in any U.S. military branch. ”These farmers have given so much to defend our country and now we are working to give something back to them” said Director Daniels as he signed the agreement. Homegrown by Heroes was started in Kentucky by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and was launched by the Farmer Veteran Coalition last year. The Farmer Veteran Coalition is based in Davis, California. The program helps veterans to develop careers in agriculture through partnerships of the agricultural and military communities. The Farmer Veteran Coalition has certified 10 farmers in Ohio already, one being Dandelion Lane Farm, which is an Ohio Proud partner. Ohio Department of Veterans Services Director Tim Gorrell stated that “agriculture is one of the major industries in Ohio, and generations of Ohioans have left the farm, served honorably in our Armed Forces, and then returned home to take up this work that all of us depend on”. Veterans are encouraged to apply by visiting www.hgbh.org or email HBH@farmvetco.org.



2014 Ohio Food Summit

On August 14, the Ohio Department of Agriculture hosted the annual Ohio Food Summit for Ohio Proud partners. The purpose of this event is to educate Ohio buyers about the importance of purchasing Ohio products and to develop business relationships between Ohio buyers and Ohio producers through one-on-one meetings. The Ohio Food Summit gives buyers an opportunity to meet with several food producers in one day to help with sourcing local foods. The buyers request the product categories of interest and we schedule sales meetings with those producers. This annual event is one of many benefits to our Ohio Proud Partners. We had another very successful event and most partners were able to increase their sales within the next year!

Ag is Cool at The Ohio State Fair 2014

The Ohio Department of Agriculture along with Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio’s Commodity groups had another successful year with their Ag is Cool program for students. The program is one that kids of all ages can experience by participating in a scavenger hunt throughout the fair grounds to learn about Ohio agriculture. This gives kids a chance to really experience the agriculture side of The Ohio State Fair which may be areas some fairgoers overlook. The theme of ODA’s display this year was sports. Hands-on activities relating the sports industry to agriculture showed fairgoers how agriculture affects them in their daily lives. Some of the activities included a football toss for the kids with facts about Wilson’s (Ada, Ohio) footballs. Did you know one cow hide covers 10 footballs? Another activity included Ohio’s turf grass industry that continues to grow throughout the state. Facts about pests affecting the turf grass were described with turf donations from The Ohio State University, and the Columbus Crew. Phoenix Bats (Plain City, Ohio) provided a wonderful display explaining the process of how baseball bats are made. Along with the bat display microscopes and bugs were available to show the invasive species that are destroying Ohio’s trees. Other Ag is Cool stations around the fair allowed the kids to see livestock shows, milk a cow and to see how wool is spun.
The Ag is Cool Program is a great educational program to teach fairgoers about Ohio agriculture, especially those who are not from rural areas and are unaware of the importance of agriculture. This program also encourages exiting 4th graders to write an essay about their experience with the Ag is Cool program and why they think “Ag is Cool.” Once essays are submitted to the Ohio State Fair, they are entered into a contest with a chance to win a $ 500 scholarship. Also, those 4th grade teachers who participate in the Ag is Cool program have a chance to win an agricultural based field trip for their class. Thanks to the partnerships that helped make this program a success.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with OHIO PROUD

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with OHIO PROUD!

July is National Ice Cream Month, this celebration was established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, and the third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day which, is on July 20th this year. Reagan recognized that ice cream was a fun and a sometimes nutritious snack that the majority of our population enjoys! Help celebrate National Ice Cream Month by supporting Ohio Proud partners that sell and produce ice cream. These partners include:


Ayars Family Farm

Cooper’s Mill

Frosty Twins

Johnson’s Real Ice Cream

Miller’s Creamery

Pierre’s Ice Cream Co

Smith Dairy Products, Co.

Toft Dairy, Inc.

Velvet Ice Cream Company, Inc.

Young’s Jersey Dairy, Inc.

Z’s cream & bean


Also this summer Velvet Ice Cream is celebrating 100 years of making quality ice cream. Check out Velvets new cookbook that is out, which is available on the website at www.velveticecream.com.

Support Locally Grown Food!

Where can you find fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables? Farmer’s markets of course!

It is that time of year again! Markets are a great way to support local families with their growing businesses and to connect with others in the community who support Ohio agriculture. Consider joining a farmer’s market or attending one regularly to support locally grown products! To find a Farmer’s Market near you, go to our Ohio Proud website www.ohioproud.org and look under the Farm Markets tab.

Thirteen Things We Love about Ohio Proud in 2013

Ohio Proud 20th blue circle

It is hard to believe that there are officially only two weeks left in 2013. Ohio Proud wants to look back at another wonderful year by highlighitng thirteen great memories that took place in 2013.

1. Ohio Power Show: Ohio Proud partners attended and exhibited their products in January for the Ohio Power Show at the Ohio Expo Center!

2. The Ohio Food Forum: Partners were invited to attend the Ohio Food Forum at the Nationwide 4-H Center that brought together companies and retailers for a great way to meet and make new contacts and business deals!


3. The Ohio State Fair: The Ohio State Fair took place at the end of July and hosted a beautful display of Ohio Proud products that promoted buying Ohio Proud!

4. Ohio Proud’s 20th Anniversary: The program celebrated their 20th anniversary this August by walking in the parade at the Ohio State Fair and were featured on TV!

5. The Ohio Proud Video Tour: Ohio Proud associates have been on the road visitng and taking video footage of Ohio Proud companies to promote our partners and their businesses through social media!

6. The Oh So Fresh Campaign: Ohio Proud partnered with the Ohio Grocer’s Foundation this summer to particiapte in the USDA Specialty Crop Grant for the Oh So Fresh marketing campaign that promoted buying locally grown produce.


7. Ohio Proud on the Menu: Ohio Proud was excited to create a new division of the program, Ohio Proud on the Menu, which promotes locally sourced restaurants and cafes.

8. The Ohio Proud Fall Harvest Famer’s Market: Ohio Proud partners came together on a beautiful fall, Saturday afternoon in September for the annual Ohio Proud Fall Harvest Farmer’s Market.

9. Farm Science Review: Ohio Proud companies and products were on display and sampled by thousands of Farm Science Review attendees in September.

10. Ohio Apple Taste Challenge: Ohio Proud held two Ohio Apple Taste Challange events this fall in conjuction with the Oh So Fresh campaign that encourged consumers to buy locally grown produce. One event took place at Riesbeck’s in Cambridge and one event took place at Buehler’s in Ashland.


11. Ohio Pumpkin Painting Day: Children were invited to paint Ohio pumpkins with Ohio Proud in October at Buehler’s in Delaware in conjuction with their Celebration Saturdays!

12. Ohio Proud’s 500th Partner: Ohio Proud was excited to welcome their 500th partner this fall, Olive Branch Ministries!

13. Ohio Proud’s Holiday Campaign: Ohio Proud has partnered with Celebrate Local to create holiday gift baskets to encourage holiday shoppers to buy local this season!


Give the Gift of Ohio Proud!

Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! As you begin your shopping, we hope you will consider buying local this year by purchasing an Ohio Proud gift basket. What better way to celebrate than to give a gift that supports local businesses in your community, while getting unique and thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list?

Every product in these baskets is at least 50% raised, grown or produced in Ohio. Ohio Proud products can be found in your local grocery store, or specialty retailers such as Celebrate Local (Easton), Simply Vague (Tuttle), The North Market and the Ohio Statehouse Gift Shop (Downtown Columbus).

With a big help from Celebrate Local, we bring to you some amazing themed gift baskets. CL has an extensive variety of Ohio Proud products, assuring a gift for everyone on your holiday list. We have highlighted many of them below, and more will be showcased through Ohio Proud’s Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

Do you have someone on your list with a serious sweet tooth? A sweet treat gift basket would be the perfect gift to satisfy their sugar craving!


Contents of this basket include:
• Joy’s Fairy Floss (Columbus), Gourmet Cotton Candy
• Three Kids and a Kitchen (Reynoldsburg), Caramels
• Dolce’ Pizzelles (Hammondsville), Cookie Company
• Figg’s Liquid Innovations (Mansfield), Hot Apple Pie Cider
• Hondel Haus (Columbus), Homemade Buckeyes
• Sheril Ann’s (Columbus), Peanut Chews
• JC’s Sweet Ice Tea, LLC (Gahanna), Southern Style Sweet Tea
TOTAL: $40

Have an early riser on your list? A breakfast-themed basket might be just the ticket. They can entertain themselves with it while you sleep in!


Contents of this basket include:
• The Toasted Oat (Columbus), No. 3 Blueberry + Flax Granola
• Bissell Maple Farm (Rock Creek), Pure Maple Syrup
• Cameo Rose’s Blueberry Cream Jam
• Crimson Cup Coffee (Columbus), Winter Wonderland Season Blend
• Aimee’s Blue Ribbon Spices (Granville), Cinnamon Apple Pie Bagel Spread
Total is $40

Who doesn’t love chips and dips? Give your friends and family the gift of the perfect snack pack! This basket includes something for everyone: sweet, salty, tangy and spicy.


Contents of this basket include:
• Dzalt Enterprices, LLC (Londonderry), Creamy Buffalo Ranch Dip
• Shagbark Seed & Mill Co. (Athens), Corn Chips
• A Bit of A Bite Salsa, LLC (Miamisburg), Medium Salsa
• Cottage Creations by Donna (Reynoldsburg), Twist N’ Shout Salsa
• Taste Weavers (Urbana), Key Lime Cheesecake Dip
TOTAL: $40

How about a gift for your furry friend? We have you covered with this adorable basket that will make the pups in your life drool, literally.


Contents of this basket include:
• Jackpot Treats
• Blissful Biscuits
• *Bandana*
TOTAL: $35

Other themed baskets include wine, hot and spicy and gluten free goodies.

For Wine Lovers.


Contents of this basket include:
• Maize Valley Winery (Hartville), Apple Pie Fruit Wine
• Mixology Marmalades (Reynoldsburg), Mulled Merlot
• Troutman Vineyards (Wooster), Farmer’s White Wine
• Firelands Winery (Sandusky), Pinot Noir
TOTAL: $55
***Alcohol cannot be shipped, but can be purchased in store.

Those looking for a hot, hot, hot gift!


Contents of this hot and spicy basket include:
• Honeyman Gourmet Products (Columbus),
• Royal Fireworks Sauce (Columbus), A spicy sweet Explosion sauce & A sweet crescendo
• Black Swamp Gourmet (Toldeo), Spicy Rub
• Mudflats Brand Sauces, Inc. (Galena), Ragin’ Cajun’ Sauce
• CaJohn’s Fiery Foods (Westerville), Blackbean and Corn Salsa
• Wishwell Farms, Sweet Pepper Relish
• RJ’s Pepper Pantry, Hot Peppers in Oil
• Szagorski’s, Hot Peppers
TOTAL: $50

Don’t forget about your gluten-free friends!


Contents of this basket include:
• The Brown and Blond (Marysville), Pumpkin Blondies
• Al’s Popcorn (Columbus), Vanilla Butternut
• The Ohio Relish Company, LLC (North Canton), Gourmet Hot Dog Mustard
• Plant Kingdom Bakery, LLC (Akron), Coconut Chocolate Hemp Bars
TOTAL: $20

We want to give a big thank you to the crew at Celebrate Local for putting together these baskets, particularly Heidi and Ruthie. We hear Ruthie is the gift basket guru at Celebrate Local, and boy did she do a great job!



To order these gift baskets and more, visit the Celebrate Local website and send them an email with what type of basket you are looking for, or visit them at Easton! For more information about the products seen here, all Ohio Proud products, more gift ideas and recipes, visit http://www.OhioProud.org.

“Ag is Cool” at the Ohio State Fair!




The 2013 Ohio State Fair took place over a beautiful 12 days from July 24th to August 4th! History was made at this year’s state fair with an estimated  903,824 guests breaking the attendance record! The “Ag is Cool” program hosted an exciting and educational agricultural education program for guests of all ages. Put together by the Ohio Department of Agricultre, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio’s Commodity groups, the program had stations set up across the entire fairgrounds, which helped to enlighten the public about agriculture and to redirect the focus of the fair back to it’s roots. From inspecting and climbing up the ladder of a John Deere combine, to visiting with real life farm animals, playing giant Jenga, and learning how to spin sheep’s wool, the program was a hit! Fair attendees had the opportunity to take part in activities such as milking a real life cow, and watch livestock such as hogs and dairy cattle give birth!

The “Ag is Cool” program is a great addition to the the educational programs at the Ohio State Fair because it helps to excite and educate children about agriculture. If a child is not from a rural area or around a community that hosts 4-H or agricultural education programs, they may not get the opportunity to learn about the industry. The program is open for people of all ages to particapte and recieve a scavenger hunt passport. 4th graders who participlate in the program and write an essay summarizing what they learned while at the fair are entered into a contest to win a scholarship! 4th grade teachers are also encouraged to participate in the program and submit completed passports in order to enter themselves to win an agricultural education based field-trip for their classroom!.


20 Years and Counting

Ohio Proud 20th blue circle
This August marks the 20th Anniversary of Ohio Proud! To celebrate we have came up with different activites that will showcase Ohio Proud and all of it’s partners. The one main activity that we are doing is making a tour video. For this video we will be visiting 20 partners all around the state of Ohio with all different kinds of products. It took many weeks to narrow down our list of almost 500 partners to 20 but we finally figured it all out!

We went on our first visit last Wednesday (June 26th) to Rhoads Farm Market. Rhoads Farm Market is located in Circleville Ohio and happens to be one of our first partners. While visiting we got to sit down with Kathy Rhoads and talk about her family’s business and then took a tour of the farm to see what all they grow and raise.

We are still trying to set up days to go visit the other 19 partners but already have visits set up for the next couple weeks. We are looking forward to finishing up our visits and learning more about what each partner does.