Some people have an image of Old McDonald in their head when they think of farming, but in reality, many farmers defy the stereotype.

Some people have an image of Old McDonald in their head when they think of farming, but in reality, many farmers defy the stereotype.

There are all kinds of farmers, including urban farmers, small livestock farmers and vertically integrated farmers, each of whom serves a certain niche in the population.

Sylvia Zimmerman, Stratford Ecological Center board member, will hold "Meet the Farmer" workshops from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 and 11, at the center, 3083 Liberty Road in Delaware.

The cost is $10 a person per session and will allow residents to meet local farmers and discuss farming while having coffee and cake.

The Sept. 11 session will include "on farm" experience with Stratford's farm equipment and learning about the chores that many volunteers handle on the farm.

There will be different farmers at the sessions, including a livestock and grain farmer, an urban farmer and a large grain and confinement farmer who serves a large population of people.

The sessions are designed to teach adults about the significance of farming in relation to the country's government, economy and ecology.

"Agriculture has always supported cities," Zimmerman said.

"Farming is an integral part of Western civilization, beginning with the Greek hoplite farmer and the Jefferson yeoman farmer."

Zimmerman said she used to visit her aunt and uncle's farm in Athens, which was still farmed using horses. She said she remembers how much she learned as a young girl and is hoping to teach others the value of farming.

Zimmerman said farming was designed as a way for people to be independent and provide food for their family and perhaps their city.

"Farmers learned how to protect their land from robbers and secured for themselves a better way of life," she said. "Everyone was able to prosper from the better food and better health."

At present, there are many people in central Ohio getting back to their farming roots. For example, a number of people have gardens in their front yards in Clintonville, she said.

Zimmerman said many have a desire to be their own boss and make things with their hands.

"Farming is valuable and people want to do it for the same reasons the early Greeks wanted to do it: People want to feed not only themselves, but others," she said.

Zimmerman said she hopes to help people become more familiar with farming words and concepts, because many of the phrases have dropped out of American culture.

She said people will be surprised how much farming is the backbone of the country. "The freedom to pursue happiness is all wrapped up in farming," she said.

To register for the workshops, call the Stratford Ecological Center at 740-363-2548.