Rural Resources Records, 1969-2000 (bulk 1975-1981)

Biographical / Historical

As a response to encroaching development in rural areas, consolidation in agriculture, and the loss of family farms, Rural Resources was founded in 1975 in Loveland, Ohio, by Jodine and Terry Grundy, Sister Michele Teff, Maria Duivenvoorden, and others in their community. An earlier organizing effort, Citizens for a Better Goshen, protected some local farms and led to the formation of Rural Resources. After incorporation the following year, Rural Resources expanded and drew on the expertise of Roger Blobaum, Dan McCurry, Lindsay Jones, David Rosenberg, Ivan Crowe, and Fran Hill, for its programs and direction. Funding from various faith communities and other organizations enabled the new organization to hire staff (Jody Grundy, Kathleen Cusick, and Eileen Frechette).

Extensive collaborative connections quickly formed with other organizations involved in food, farm, and land issues. These included the Federation of Ohio River Coops (FORC), Grailville, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Chatfield College, Xavier University, Rural America, Institute for Food and Development Policy, UFW (United Farm Workers), NFU (National Farmers Union), Rural Advancement Fund and Frank Porter Graham Center, Cincinnati Civic Garden Center, and many others.

Rural Resources engaged in self and community education. The working Board, staff and volunteers attended national organic agriculture and rural development conferences and mounted a series of education, action and advocacy programs. These Rural Resources projects furthered organizational aims through farmer conferences, tailgate markets, community gardens, urban agriculture [and] food co-ops, creation of OEFFA [Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association], support for sustainable agriculture, farmworker advocacy, and creation of alliances locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally. --From "A Brief History of Rural Resources, Inc." by Jodine Grundy, 2021

By 1979 Rural Resources was increasingly in contact with similar organizations at both the state and national levels, and these contacts led to the Ohio Natural Farming Conference that in turn led to the formation of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). Another conference, Women and the Land, the same year focused on the role of women in U.S. agriculture, and attracted media attention. The organization also became involved in legislative hearings concerning agriculture, including hearings under USDA Secretary Bob Bergland which led to a 1980 report favorable to organic farming that was later suppressed (see Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Publications (M2013-012, Part 21 (M2018-071), Box 6, Folder 18, for a physical copy of this report).

After 1981 with many of its goals accomplished and with OEFFA well underway on its own path, the Rural Resources staff disbanded, although many continued to work on key issues with OEFFA. For information on OEFFA's activities, see its website.

1975 Citizens for a Better Goshen organized in Clermont County, Ohio
Rural Resources established in Loveland, Ohio
1976 Incorporation of Rural Resources as a non-profit organization
1977 Organized Rural People, Rural Prospects conference, Chatfield College (January), and New Directions in Agricultural Marketing, Dayton, Ohio (October)
Established community gardens
1978 Developed Tailgate Markets with Cincinnati Agricultural Marketing Project (CAMP)
Collaboration with Chatfield College and Wilmington College to establish a Small Farm Training Center
Worked with Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)
Organized Rural Awareness Day (March 4, 1978), Fayetteville, Ohio
Co-sponsored Sun Day (May 3, 1978), Cincinnati, Ohio
Organized Solar Food Dryer workshop (August 1978), Cincinnati, Ohio
Sponsored tour of two Filipino leaders working on food security issues
Organized Food Cooperative Exchange Meeting #1 (December 1978), Loveland, Ohio
1979 Organized Food Cooperative Exchange Meeting #2 (February 1979), Cincinnati, Ohio
Organized Ohio Natural Farming Conference (March 4, 1979), Columbus, Ohio, where group met to establish the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)
Organized Women and the Land … There's a Story conference (April 6-8, 1979), Chatfield College, Ohio
Rural Resources Summer Institute (June 1979)
1980 Worked on development of OEFFA
Continued community garden and Tailgate Markets work
1981 Staff disbanded but many of those involved with Rural Resources continued work on farm, food, and land issues