Gorman Heritage Farm is a 122-acre nonprofit, working farm whose mission is to educate the community about agriculture, nutrition, sustainability, and the environment. The farm consists of 30 tillable acres, a farmyard with a variety of animals, several gardens, 40 acres of wooded hillside, 5 miles of hiking trails, and a natural pond. In a typical year thousands of community members, guests, school groups, scouts, families, corporate groups, civic groups and more visit the farm for special events and educational classes.
The historic farm was built in 1835 and has been a pillar in the community since the property was entrusted to the Cincinnati Nature Center in 1996. The 182-year old working farm has been a member agency of the Cincinnati Community ToolBank since 2016 and has used ToolBank’s tools to assist with more than 28 projects. “Because of the ToolBank, Gorman Heritage Farm is able to take on larger projects around the farm. We are now able to equip more volunteers, larger school groups and corporate volunteers than ever before.” Said Clair Long, Volunteer Manager at Gorman Heritage Farm. “By borrowing tools from the ToolBank, we have been able to increase our volunteer capacity by 48% in just one year,” continued Clair. In 2016, 56 volunteer groups assisted the farm. In 2017, the farm hosted 107 work groups, nearly doubling its project capacity.
Tools from the Cincinnati Community ToolBank helped the farm complete several large projects in 2017. With blue tools in hand, the farm was able to equip volunteers who helped dig 50ft swales in the orchard, install miles of new fencing and remove invasive honeysuckle. ToolBank tools even assisted Gorman Heritage Farm’s Annual Sunflower Festival that takes place every October. This event is well known for its sunflower picking activity. Visitors have the option to pay $1.00 per stem to walk through the lovely fields clipping the perfect selection of flowers. In the past, the farm would supply visitors with scissors, but the thick stems were not a task for the provided scissors. Visitors complained that the scissors shredded, snagged and tore the stems. In 2017, the ToolBank was able to lend 200 hand pruners, the right tool for the job. Borrowing enough pruners from the ToolBank eliminated the visitor’s wait time and improved the guest’s experience of walking away with neatly snipped sunflower stalks. In 2017 guests were able to cut 14,000 sunflowers with the help of pruners from the Cincinnati ToolBank.
The farm is set to complete event more projects in 2018 to continue the legacy of offering a green space that future generations of the community can enjoy. The Cincinnati Community ToolBank is happy to help Gorman Heritage Farm in its vision of cultivating an informed, involved community dedicated to building healthy futures. Please visit http://gormanfarm.org/ to learn more about the farm’s upcoming events and how you can get involved as a volunteer!