Renee Wilde

Community Voices Producer, WYSO

78 percent of the world’s seeds are now owned by three companies, and it’s those companies who decide which ones to make available to the public. 

That’s quite a turnaround from America’s early years, when the U.S. government was giving billions of seeds away for free. But it’s not just the variety of seeds being lost, it’s also the history that those seeds represent. 

Jackie Hampton has pulled up to a small, self-serve, farm stand. It houses seasonal produce from That Guy’s Farm and floral bouquets from That Girl’s Flowers. She’s here to buy flowers for her daughter’s anniversary.

“Actually this is my first time. I’ve always bought their produce and stuff.” Jackie says looking opening the door to the small, refrigerated building, “ They have beautiful flowers. You don’t see this kind in the stores.”

Farming presents unique challenges for women. As wives of farmers, they often balance full-time jobs off the farm while raising a family. Living in sparsely populated areas means many farm women are left trying to cope with the stress alone. Today County Lines introduces us to Annie’s Project, intended to build a community among rural women in Ohio.

Monica Wood lives in Clinton County. Today, she’s in the barn with her husband training calves for the show ring.

Pam Bowshier and Mark Runyan run the Champaign County Virtual Farmers Market together, but they also have working partnership, which they call Hippie and the Farmer. She is Hippie, the free-spirited baker; he's the conservative, 4th generation farmer. Together they've created a unique farm to table business. 

Pam Bowshier was selling her baked goods at the local farmers markets when she paired up with Mark Runyan, creating a breakfast sandwich from her bread and his sausage that people loved. 

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

This year, Clark County celebrates its bicentennial. But some of the county’s farms are even older than that. In fact, Clark County is home to seven farms that are more than 200 years old.

In this story, we visit one these original homesteads: The Wallace Family Farm in Medway, where Wallace descendants have saved generations of personal family records. And today the meticulous archives offer a unique window into Clark County and American history.

On a farm in Greene County’s agricultural countryside, the shared vision of a pair of retired school teachers is changing back the landscape, by creating a welcome habitat for both agriculture and nature.

Today on County Lines, Producer Renee Wilde takes a horse drawn wagon ride through a Jamestown farm, that lifetime resident Eugene Kavanagh and his wife Dorothy bought for their local community.

During the early 1800s, wheat production made Ohio one of the leading grain-growing states in the U.S. As prairie land was settled and major wheat growing moved westward, the grain became less important to the state’s agricultural economy. Corn and soybeans became the staple of farming, and now wheat fields are few and far between in the Ohio countryside.

When Europeans came to Ohio, one of the first crops they cultivated was hops; A small green flower that’s a main ingredients for brewing beer, which was a staple of their diet.

The Ohio Valley provided the perfect soil for the fast growing plant. But, in the early 21st century came Prohibition, plus plant diseases and harmful insects.  So Ohio farmers eventually quit growing hops. 

The term Liar’s Club dates back to the late 1800’s. It describes small groups of friends, usually men, who get together at local pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants to hang out and gossip about the local community, and discuss world events.

Producer Renee Wilde met with a group of retired farmers at their local liars table at Beans-n-Cream in Cedarville, Ohio.

The sign above the table says, Hunters, fishermen and other liars frequent this table. Sit down and stay awhile, you might learn something.

For many of us, the holiday season is a time for sharing stories and traditions. In keeping with the holiday spirit, Community Voices Producer Renee Wilde traces the roots of her own holiday tradition, celebrating the Christmas legend that on Christmas Eve animals can suddenly talk.

Curious how widely known this talking-animals holiday legend is, Wilde heads to Clark County. 

Renee writes:

This fall, people from all over the Dayton region came together to for the second annual Longest Table event. Organized by UpDayton, the Third Street Bridge downtown is blocked off to traffic and turned into a community dinner party open to the public, and Community Voices reporter Renee Wilde went to break bread with fellow Daytonians.

In Springfield, most calls to the city’s 911 emergency switchboard are related to an opioid overdose.

Some overdose victims will die. Many others will be saved with the fast-acting overdose reversal drug Narcan.

But, for some surviving overdose victims, that’s not the end of the story. An overdose can leave behind lasting mental and physical scars, advocates say.

The​ ​drug​ ​Narcan​ ​can​ ​seem​ ​like​​ ​magic​.​ ​Just​ ​one shot​ ​of​ ​the​ ​powerful​ medicine ​can​ ​literally​ ​bring​ ​an overdose victim ​back​ ​from​ ​the​ ​dead.​

Greenmont Village might be tucked away between Woodman and Patterson, on the border of Kettering and Dayton -- but the neighborhood stands out, because unlike the rest of the area, most of these houses have flat roofs. Some people  joke that they look like sugar cubes or shoe boxes, but in the 1940s when they were built, they were essential housing for Dayton’s defense workers and their families. 

Today on WYSO Curious we answer a question from listener Eileen Ribbler of Kettering about a statute of a little boy and dog at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton. Eileen wanted to know what the story was behind the marker, one of the most iconic monuments in the Cemetery, which commemorates five year old Johnny Morehouse. Community Voices producer Renee Wilde went to this famous Dayton landmark to dig up the answer.

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