History of Farming in the Cuyahoga Valley 

There are nearly a dozen farms in Cuyahoga Valley National Park conserved through the Countryside Initiative program. These Park farms are committed to sustainable agriculture, and work with their park partners to be good land stewards. To learn more about these farms, click here.

Countryside’s History & A Unique Land Use Model

Countryside was established in 1999 as a private nonprofit organization whose primary mission was to assist Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in the creation of the Countryside Initiative program. The Countryside Initiative program was created to preserve the fading rural character of the Cuyahoga Valley. This innovative land use program rehabilitated farms and farmland within the park and leases these restored farmsteads to be farmed and cared for by private farmers.

Click here to learn more about the Countryside Initiative.

The History of Farming in the Cuyahoga Valley & Ohio

The Cuyahoga Valley has a long and rich history in agriculture that spans thousands of years. Prehistoric people cultivated the landscape of the Valley at least 2,000 years ago. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, hundreds of farmers settled here because of the lush vegetation, access to the river, and use of the Ohio-Erie canal after its completion in 1832. However, the mid 20th century led to significant movement away from career farming and most small farms disappeared. Today there are still a couple dozen scattered throughout the park boundaries on both public and private land. To learn more about the history of farming in CVNP,  click here.

Just like the Cuyahoga Valley, the rest of Ohio shares a rich and significant agricultural history, which has led the state to become a leader in agribusiness. The Ohio agribusiness industry has an annual economic impact of over $105 billion, with 1 out of 7 Ohioans employed in agriculture. To learn more about the history of agriculture and farming statistics in Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Agriculture, OSU Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center or Ohio Farm Bureau for links.