Countryside was established in 1999 as a private nonprofit organization whose primary mission was to assist Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in the creation of the Countryside Initiative program, to preserve the fading rural character of the Cuyahoga Valley. This innovative land use program rehabilitated farms and farmland within the park and leases these farmsteads to be farmed and cared for by private farmers.Click here to learn more about the Countryside Initiative.
The Cuyahoga Valley has a long and rich history in agriculture that is thousands of years old. Prehistoric people were cultivating the landscape of the Valley at least 2,000 years ago. During the 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of farmers settled here because of the lush vegetation and access to the river, and later the canal. But by the mid 20th century, most had disappeared. Today there are still a couple dozen scattered throughout the park boundaries on both public and private land. To learn more about the history of farming in CVNP, click here.
Just like the Cuyahoga Valley, the rest of Ohio shares a rich and long agricultural history, which has led the state to become a leader in agribusiness. The Ohio agribusiness industry is worth over $50 billion, and 1 out of 7 Ohioans are employed in agriculture. To learn more about the history of agriculture and farming statistics in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture, OSU Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center or Ohio Farm Bureau for links.
Countryside is always here to help people answer their farm and food questions. But here is a great list of other local, regional and national organizations dedicated to helping farmers and food producers.