By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator
Ohio Earth Food provides organic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and more for ecologically-minded growers. We spoke with Ted Stutz, Owner of Ohio Earth Food, to learn more about this great resource for CNG growers. Ohio and Wisconsin farmers, listen up! Ohio Earth Food offers assistance with soil testing, and can also deliver products to your farm!
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG): How did Ohio Earth Food get started?
Ted Stutz (TS): Ohio Earth Food was started in 1973 by a gentleman named Larry Ringer who was ahead of his time on organic farming methods. He had trouble sourcing natural alternatives to use on his farm, and found that folks around him were in the same bind. So, he started his own operation to fill a local need, and the business took off!
That remains our mission today: if a group of organic growers needs something, we’ll get it it!
CNG: What are Ohio Earth Food's core values?
TS: We really believe in the family farm, and we try to make it as easy as possible for farmers to be successful in their chosen profession. We do this by sourcing the necessary products at the right prices, plus we deliver right to our customer’s farms.
CNG: How did you make the decision to support CNG as a Business Ally?
TS: I think Certified Naturally Grown is great! It was an easy decision.
All of us here at Ohio Earth Food have our own organic farms. We believe in food that is not altered by chemicals or GMOs to protect the health of people and planet. I talk to plenty of folks in the field who feel the same way - they grow organically, but don’t want to get USDA certified for one reason on another.
Certified Naturally Grown makes it easy for growers to get credit for their good practices and add value to their work.
CNG: How does Certified Naturally Grown support Ohio Earth Food customers?
TS: CNG does a HUGE service to our customers to highlight that they avoid chemicals and only use natural inputs. I promote your work whenever possible. Most of our growers know it’s the right way to farm.
CNG: What are some exciting developments at Ohio Earth Food our CNG community can look forward to in 2019 and beyond?
TS: I’m working with our three core groups of customers to develop some necessary solutions. I’m working with our vegetable farmers on reasonably-priced chelated individual vitamins to support nutrient deficiencies in crops. I’m working with dairy farmers to test different fertilizer techniques that can get farmers sizable returns. I’m also supporting row crop farmers on some products that are more readily digested by the soil, with higher nitrogen content at a lower price.
CNG: It's a tough question, but what is your favorite item in the Ohio Earth Food store?
TS: I would have to say our Re-Vita Pro 5-4-5. It’s a winning product that is the backbone of our company. Our customers will sometimes try a similar product elsewhere, but they almost always come back to our version.
I’m also partial to The Seed Catapult Professional Organic Growing Mix. I helped develop this product, and actually worked with a childhood friend for the artwork!
CNG: If you had a magic agricultural wand, how would you use it to improve farm systems in America?
TS: I would connect urban grocery buyers with their local farmers. I want to bridge this gap so small farmers aren’t crowded out by their “competitors” across the country, or even the world! I’m actually working with OEFFA to incentivize CSAs to local companies and universities. I want to do what I can to stop this breakdown in local food systems.
CNG: Is there anything else CNG growers should know?
TS: I would use the story of The Seed Catapult to answer this question. It was the first product I had completely developed, so I designed it all from scratch. I learned about the benefits of Mycorrhizal fungi from Dr. Elaine Ingham during a course at The Rodale Institute. I incorporated this knowledge by spending two years developing this potting soil that presents these spores to hosting plants as early as possible. Then, I tracked down my friend Chris Cornetet for the artwork, and found he can still cartoon with the best of 'em! It went off to the printer and we now sell 10,000 units a year and growing!
Ohio Earth Food exists to bring you the best products at the best price with the best customer experience. It always has and always will!