Hello friends of the Countryside Conservancy! I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to all of you, my name is Tracy Emrick, and I am the new Countryside Initiative Coordinator. For those of you not familiar with the Countryside Initiative program, it is the CVNP’s initiative that made it possible to revitalize agriculture here in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park by rehabilitating historically and culturally significant farms. Countryside was originally created to partner with CVNP to make this ambitious vision come to life, and so it has. Today there are 11 Countryside Initiative Farms here in the park, each with their own unique farming niche. A full list of our farms can be found here. My task, now that the bulk of farms have been physically established, is to help them grow and prosper to ensure that the legacy of farming in CVNP is never again threatened by extinction as it was in the 1990’s before the Countryside Conservancy was created.
Farmland and wilderness preservation are issues that are deeply important to me. The very best moments of my life are wrapped in memories of time spent with my family and friends in the countryside and wilderness areas all around the country. My grandparents farmed here in Ohio, as did their parents, and I found myself at a very young age, helping out in their fields, planting seeds, pulling weeds, and harvesting fruits and veggies. Later in life I put the plow to the dirt in my own farming endeavors at my home in Clinton, Ohio. I began a sustainable, small scale vegetable farm and started selling my produce at the Countryside Farmers Market in 2006. Farming will forever be an important part of my life.
For me, part of my passion for farming comes from the feeling of connectedness to the earth that it gives me; the sensation of the cool, rich brown dirt in my hands as I tuck seeds into the ground, the tranquility of standing in the fields watching the winds dance off the rows, while listening to the birds sing and chatter. It is my moment of Zen in an otherwise chaotic world. And whenever I can, I journey even further than the countryside into the wild. I am blessed to have seen so much of America’s backcountry, from the east to the west I have been to many special and sacred places that I truly believe, for all of eternity, deserve our protection and our reverence, especially right here at home in the CVNP. So, I have made it my work to protect both the countryside and the wild just beyond.
I am thrilled to be here and I welcome your thoughts and input on all things related to the Countryside Initiative, anytime. You can reach at Countryside: 330-657-2542 ext.223 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org