Dinner will help showcase initiative tying Ohio, Israel


I have been living back in Johnston for just over a year. I’ll be honest — it has been an eventful year.

In the past year, I’ve gone from a junior varsity volleyball coach to varsity volleyball head coach, a brand-new teacher to a second-year teacher, and I have coached track and field athletes to the regional track meet. To say that it has been a roller-coaster ride is the understatement of the year. This doesn’t leave much time for the other things in life like making new friends, reconnecting with old friends or even keeping in touch with my friends who are willing to keep up with my insane life. However, amidst the crazy that is my life, it is just not complete without advocating for another one of my true passions: agriculture.

For anyone who knows me, I am also not one to do anything halfway or with less than 100 percent effort. I am also not someone who sits idly by when I see an issue, especially in my hometown. So, after receiving an email from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber about an opportunity to link farmers and local businesses with exporting opportunities, I jumped at the chance to be a positive force within my community.

The Ohio-Israel Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative is an offshoot of the Negev Foundation and was founded in 2002 with the help of Sen. George Voinovich. The purpose of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative is four-pronged.

The first prong of the initiative is to identify what growers, researchers and those in related industries want and need. The second is to use cooperative efforts to address those needs. The third is to find a place where cooperative opportunities can be found. The last is to find funding for the mutual benefit of all involved and to get the greatest impact from that funding.

This initiative is needed because the southern desert of Israel is poised to become an agricultural bread basket due to issues still happening in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The initiative was founded by Sen.Voinovich to benefit both Israel and Ohio. Technology, agricultural products and research used and grown here in Ohio is shared with Israel and adapted to fit their climate and needs. In certain cases, Israel cannot produce the products needed or wanted by the people and they look for suppliers in Ohio. This provides a unique opportunity for Ohio farmers and businesses to have an exporting opportunity directly to Israel. With an opportunity like this, I could not miss a chance to connect farmers, business owners and any interested parties with a farm-to-table dinner showcasing local foods from Trumbull County farmers and creating a networking opportunity.

The dinner will be held at the Peter Allen Inn in Kinsman Oct. 25, with hors d’oeuvres beginning at 5:30 p.m. and a four-course dinner to follow. If you are interested in being part of this opportunity, seating is limited and filling quickly. Please contact the Trumbull County Farm Bureau office at 800-410-4613. If you want to know more about the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Imitative, visit http://www.negev.org/OIAI/aboutOIAI.html.

Clemson is a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau and completed her doctorate at Pennsylvania State University. She and her family farm in Mecca.