The Mahoning County-based agricultural non-profit, Goodness Grows, proposes to lead in the development of a 1000 acre NE Ohio network of diversified specialty crop farms that would create 150 to 250 new jobs for the unemployed and underemployed (including adults with disabilities). Annual sales would reach $6 to 10 million, with an economic impact of $12 to $20 million per year (OSU). We will assist in the necessary training by using a new Pell-grant eligible Specialty Crop Growers certificate course designed by OSU and sponsored and further developed by Lorain Community College. As a part of the training, students will spend 4,000 hours as paid apprentices. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have the option to join a newly-formed farmer’s co-op, which will develop branding, secure markets, leverage group purchasing power, enable insurance coverage, share equipment, and help with land acquisition. Goodness Grows will leverage its reputation and connections within the larger community (especially within the faith community) to gain access to land at an overall reduced cost. Already, we have pledges of further business planning support from OSU Extension, The Collaboration Business Center (Walsh University School of Business) and the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (Walsh Chapter), and individuals doing economic development in the food system context. We are looking for additional partners to help move this project forward. Contact Steve Fortenberry at 330.507.8951 or email@example.com for more information.