I laughed out loud when I read it.
Thanks goodness no one else was there to hear it.
The headline above the recent story on TheSuburbanite.com, “Green looking for a farmer for the Hartong Homestead,” was so surreal that it was humorous.
The well-written article explained what is going on. For those who didn’t read it, or don’t quite remember the crux of the story, here are the first four paragraphs:
“The city of Green is hopeful to return the Levi J. Hartong Farmstead in Southgate Park to its roots by finding a farmer to live in the farmhouse and tend to the land.
“The city purchased the 205-acre Southgate Park in 2006 and received a $1.2 million land grant from Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC). The 3,523-square-foot farmhouse and farm are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Portions of the home date back to 1883.
“In 2014, the city developed a Request For Proposal document to find someone to utilize the land. The city selected Sasha and James Miller because their proposal was for permaculture for the land surrounding the farmhouse and they wanted to teach residents about how they could have permaculture in their own backyard. The original proposal sought to use 15 acres of land for crops or livestock.
“OPWC reviewed the Miller’s proposal and ruled it did not fit within the restrictions of the grant it provided to the city. Specifically, concerns were cited about how the proposal would change the historic lay of the land.”
OK, so Green is putting it out there that it is looking for farmers. It’s like a help wanted sign: FARMERS NEEDED. INQURE WITHIN.
That image and that headline is the poster-child for how much Green has changed over the years.
For those who now live, or did at one time lived, in or around Green and recall what the area was like back in the 1960s and ’70s, must be shaking their heads and saying, collectively, “Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow!”
Green looking for farmers? That seems absurd. Way back when, 40 and 50 years ago, Green had farmers everywhere. It could best be described as a farming community connected by homes with spacious yards. And, oh, yes, there were apple orchards, plenty of apple orchards. Those farms and orchards drove the local economy – and did a great job of it. Things hummed right along.
Boettler Road, connecting South Arlington Road to Massillon Road (Ohio 241), is really built up now with homes and businesses – so many of them that you can’t even count them all. There is a lot going on there.
But that wasn’t always the case. Boettler used to be home of just the opposite.
Returning home from covering a Green High School boys basketball tournament game at Canton Memorial Civic Center on an early March night in the late 1970s during my first stint at The Suburbanite, I got off Interstate 77 at the Massillon Road exit, turned south on Massillon and then west on Boettler. It was extraordinarily foggy, probably the worst fog in which I have ever driven. As long as I was around the interstate exit, I was OK. But when I got onto Boettler, it were as if I had entered the abyss. The fog was so thick that I couldn’t see a thing. Worse yet, there were only a few buildings and homes on Boettler then, and with that, there were hardly any lights to use as points of reference.
I didn’t know what to do. I had to get home, but I didn’t have a solid plan to get there. I finally came up with an idea. It wasn’t a good one or a safe one, but I opened my front driver’s-side door and, while going only three or four miles per hour, which is what I thought was a safe speed, used the courtesy light on the inside of the door to shine down on the double-yellow stripe in the middle of the road. I knew Boettler was a straight shot, so I figured that if I kept just a foot or so right of that stripe, I wouldn’t end up in the east-bound lane or in a ditch on my side of the road. Fortunately, there was no other traffic on the road. No one else was stupid enough to be out on such a night.
I knew I had gotten to Arlington only because the yellow stripe stopped. There was no traffic light there – just a stop sign – so, after looking and listening for traffic, I very carefully made the turn south onto Arlington and then continued to inch my way safely home.
That Green doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t for quite a while. That’s both good and bad.
It’s good in that Green is growing and growing and growing by leaps and bounds, with no end in sight, but it’s bad, at least in this instance, in that within all that growth, no one is planting seeds for farmers anymore.