CFAES Give Today
Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Cooperating for Sustainable Development

Nov 10, 2020, 10:00am - 11:15am


Cooperatives are uniquely positioned to address today’s grand challenges, from growing wealth inequality, to climate change, to the increasing divide between America’s rural and urban communities. Co-ops are driven by member problem-solving and innovation. They build wealth through ownership and champion concern for community. Join this program to learn about the Richland Gro-Op cooperative approach to solving environmental, social, and economic challenges. Our goal is to share the ways that cooperative businesses can drive sustainable development.

Program Partners: CFAES Center for Cooperatives and Sustainability Institute at Ohio State


9:55 a.m. -- Waiting room opens

10:00 a.m. -- Jeff Sharp, PhD, director, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ryan Schmiesing, PhD, vice provost for outreach and engagement, The Ohio State University, and Cathann A. Kress, PhD, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) provide welcome remarks

Special guest Doug O’Brien, president and CEO, National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International provides additional remarks

10:20 a.m. -- Richland Gro-Op cooperative, featuring Matthew Stanfield, board president, Richland Gro Op, and Walt Bonham, founder, gardener, farmer, and chef, The Food Lab. This conversation will be facilitated by Kip Curtis, PhD, associate professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University

11:00 a.m. -- Audience Q & A

11:10 a.m. -- Closing comments from Tom Worley, PhD, director, CFAES Center for Cooperatives, and Dr. Sharp



headshot of Matthew Stanfield

Matthew Stanfield, board president, Richland Gro-Op

Mr. Stanfield, along with his wife Amanda, owns and operates GrowFourth Urban Farm on half an acre in Downtown Mansfield, Ohio. GrowFourth is a founding member of the Richland Gro-Op and part of The Ohio State University Mansfield Microfarm Project. He is the Principal Architect and Owner at FiELD9: architecture that helps clients rest easy knowing the spaces they occupy will be comfortable and healthy for the life of the building while doing its part to restore the environment and our communities. He received his Masters in Architecture from The Ohio State University and Bachelor of Science from Kent State University. 


black man smiling in front of raised garden beds

Walt Bonham, founder, gardener, farmer, and chef, The Food Lab

Mr. Bonham is an urban farmer, Mansfield, Ohio native, and operator of @TheFoodLabLLC with a passion to build, grow, and feed his community. With a Bachelor of Science in business, minor in economics from Wittenberg University, and a Master of Science in management from Ohio Dominican University, his educational background drives his grassroots work, while much of what he knows he learned through hard work and dedication outside the classroom. He serves as a board member and one of the founders of the Richland Gro-Op. He has been dedicated to addressing food insecurity in the most sustainable way, by Urban Farming and creating more farmers. Walter Bonham simply wants to help build his community, by encouraging them to eat local, support local farms, and be more aware of what they eat and where it comes from.


headshot of Kip Curtis

Kip Curtis, PhD, associate professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University

Dr. Kent (Kip) Curtis specializes in Environmental History and Studies with research and teaching focus on mining, environmental ideas, and food systems. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern United States history and environmental history and offers independent studies in environmental history and the environmental studies and sciences. He is currently Principal Investigator on a $2 million Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research “Seeding Solutions” grant, which began implementation in 2019. Dr. Curtis received his PhD from the University of Kansas.


We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Nicole Jackson ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.