WEIRTON – As West Virginia’s commissioner of agriculture, Kent Leonhardt understands the significance farming and associated industries have on the state’s future.
“I’m always interested in what’s going on in agriculture in West Virginia,” Leonhardt defined during a visit to Weirton Thursday.
Leonhardt, who operates a farm in Monongalia County, was within the space to find out about a few of the newest local agricultural efforts, together with a rising hydroponics and aquaponics operation which offers instructional alternatives for youth throughout the Tri-State Area, and an anticipated agricultural market set to open within the metropolis later this 12 months.
“Agriculture is a great way to diversify the economy,” Leonhardt mentioned, noting a give attention to local farming helps to save lots of power and safe the nation’s provide chains, in addition to offering extra nutritious meals. “West Virginia agriculture is good for health, good for our citizens, good for the environment and good for the economy.”
The commissioner spent the primary portion of his visit touring Blue Stream Farms and its David and Linda Payne Educational Center at 3236 Main St., assembly with CEO Dan Spickard, COO Joe Edmiston and Executive Director Doug Velegol.
Blue Stream Farms operates a sequence of develop beds which produce microgreens and varied different herbs and greens via each hydroponics and aquaponics.
Pointing to 1 mattress, Spickard famous they’re able to program the lights overheard to simulate the each day photo voltaic cycle, offering a special degree of sunshine relying on the time.
“That changes throughout the day,” Spickard mentioned.
Some of the beds are also used as a part of instructional outreach packages with a number of space colleges, aiding with classes in science, expertise, writing, engineering, arts and arithmetic.
Blue Stream Farms at the moment is within the means of growing a commercial-grade kitchen space to help cooks and eating places who’re simply starting their endeavors.
Leonhardt beneficial they contemplate providing the kitchen to these within the cottage meals industries, as properly, resembling those that produce their very own jams, jellies, breads and different home-grown merchandise.
The group additionally took time to have lunch, utilizing meats and produce supplied by Birch Creek Farmery of Burgettstown, earlier than Leonhardt joined proprietor Teddi Maslowski at a former submit workplace within the metropolis’s north finish to find out about plans to transform it into an agricultural market.
Maslowski, a fourth-generation farmer, introduced the plans in March, saying all the things featured on the market could be grown and produced domestically.