Around the world, farmers share a special bond with their land that involves faith and stewardship. Beginning with American Indian peoples 1,500 years ago, generations of Cuyahoga Valley farmers from diverse backgrounds have raised the crops and livestock necessary for survival.
Throughout the last 200 years, both agriculture and the landscape significantly changed as cultural influences brought new ideas and technology to the Cuyahoga Valley. Farming greatly expanded during the Canal Era (1827 - 1850) because this interstate system gave farmers access to new markets. The Ohio & Erie Canal and later the railroads were important forces that helped subsistence farmers play a larger role in the market-driven economy. The canal also influenced the development of farm-related industries, such as cheese factories and grist mills.
After the national park was established in 1974, many of the remaining farmers sold their property to the federal government. This was often an unhappy decision. For some residents, breaking this bond with the land created a sense of loss that has lasted for decades. For others, love for the land has kept them farming, despite hardships and outside pressures.
In Their Own Words
Click the topics to hear stories about Cuyahoga Valley life.
Loving Farm Life (16 seconds)
Earl Foote of Valley View talks about why he became a farmer.
Life Outdoors (24 seconds)
Daniel Greenfield, of Greenfield Berry Farm, describes the rewards of his job.
Managing a successful farm involves making daily decisions about what products to grow, how to sell those goods, and how to overcome numerous challenges. Click the links to the left to learn about how past and present farmers made their living in the Cuyahoga Valley.
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Last updated: December 10, 2018