NACDEP 2018 Conference- That’s a wrap!

NACDEP 2018 logo

What started out as a casual conversation among friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the 2014 NACDEP Conference recently culminated with over 180 Community Development professionals gathering in Cleveland for the 2018 NACDEP Conference. The carefully planned and executed agenda allowed time for participants to enjoy Cleveland, renew old friendships, make new connections, and most importantly engage in an excellent agenda for personal and professional development.

Ben Bebenroth – Chef, Farmer, Founder of Spice Hospitality Group, engages a full house during the closing session.

The program included keynote sessions with thought- provoking speakers, concurrent session presentations by Community Development colleagues from Ohio and from across the nation, poster sessions filled with great ideas, mobile learning workshops which took place throughout Cleveland, and opportunities to informally connect with our friends and colleagues.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I say it takes a complete team to create an exceptional conference. That team included my colleagues from Ohio State University Extension, Community Development.  Many of them worked countless hours to ensure a first- rate experience for attendees. To them all, I say, “Thank you and job well done!”

While I cannot recognize all of them by name here, I would especially like to highlight the conference planning subcommittee chairs:

  • Speakers: Anne Johnson and Myra Wilson
  • Publicity: Alice Hutzel-Bateson and Meghan Thoreau
  • Hospitality: Jared Morrison, Sandy Odrumsky and Amanda Osborne
  • Mobile Learning Workshops/Tours: Amanda Osborne and Lauren Vargo
  • Concurrent Sessions: Cindy Bond and Becky Nesbitt
  • Sponsorship: Kyle White

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not recognize my conference planning committee co-chair, Greg Davis. Greg’s leadership provided an outlet and an opportunity to engage us as Community Development professionals that ultimately created an excellent conference. Thanks, Greg.

See you next year in Asheville (North Carolina), June 9-12!


If you want to learn more about NACDEP 2018, contact:

David CivittoloDavid Civittolo
NACDEP President
Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Community Economics
civittolo.1@osu.edu

The Perks of Scaling Up

Spring greens, onions, strawberries, and more! With the arrival of June, it’s officially farmers’ market season in Northeast Ohio and Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Cuyahoga County is gearing up for another season of offering Produce Perks at local farmers’ markets.

The Produce Perks program offers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers a dollar-for-dollar match, doubling their purchasing power at participating farmers’ markets, farm stands, CSAs, and mobile markets. For every dollar a SNAP customer spends at a participating farmers’ market or farm stand using an Ohio Direction Card, they receive a free additional dollar, referred to as a “Produce Perk,” to use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce Perks allows low-income customers the opportunity to purchase more healthy, locally-grown produce.

The Produce Perks program was piloted in Cuyahoga County in 2010 by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition and is implemented locally by OSU Extension. Produce Perks is now Ohio’s statewide nutrition incentive program, guided by the Ohio Nutrition Incentive Network (OH-NIN).

The Ohio Nutrition Incentive Network

Prior to 2015, regions across Ohio operated independent nutrition incentive programs. In 2015, Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit, received a USDA-FINI grant to build the capacity of nutrition incentive programming in Ohio (among 19 other states).  Over the course of the three years, regional programs came together to form the Ohio Nutrition Incentive Network and to expand and operate one statewide nutrition incentive program, Produce Perks.

OH-NIN is made up of the following organizations:

  • Countryside Conservancy
  • Farmers Market Association of Toledo
  • Farmers Market Management Network
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • Ohio Grocers Association
  • Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County
  • Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, Case Western Reserve University
  • Produce Perks Midwest
  • Wholesome Wave

The formation of this network has provided many perks (pun intended)! One perk has been increased support for local and statewide marketing through new or expanded partnerships with agencies such as Ohio Department of Jobs and Families Services. In addition, with Support from Wholesome Wave and Ohio Department of Health, Produce Perks Midwest has been able to test innovative marketing tactics to help guide outreach efforts. Scaling up has also provided the benefit of increased funding; most notably, OH-NIN was awarded funding from Ohio Department of Health funding to implement Produce Perks across the state in 2018. To learn more about the statewide program impacts in 2017, click here.

Increasing the Match

As of May 1st, OH-NIN increased the match offered through the Produce Perks program to $20. This increase has doubled the SNAP incentive match offered in Cuyahoga County in previous years. OSU Extension and participating farmers’ markets in the county are elated; increasing the match was something we’ve wanted to do for years, but the ability to do so only became possible through the formation and success of OH-NIN. Cuyahoga County saw an increase in demand for incentives and fresh produce immediately after increasing the cap on the matching dollars offered. While most of our farmers’ markets don’t open until June, we have three farmers’ markets in the county that are open year round. When comparing data for May of 2017 and May 2018, North Union Farmers’ Market at Shaker Square has seen a 76% increase in SNAP sales and 104% increase in Produce Perks incentive distribution, increasing sales for small to mid-sized farms. We anticipate seeing similar trends at all markets in the County as the season takes off.

How to Join OH-NIN

In 2018, Produce Perks will be offered at 84 farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and CSAs in 20 counties across Ohio.  The Produce Perks program will also be offered at a select number of grocery retail sites.

OH-NIN is looking to expand its network of participating locations. Any farmers’ markets, farm stands, or CSAs interested in offering Produce Perks can complete an application found here. Ideally, new sites applying to join OH-NIN would be SNAP authorized by the USDA and have accepted SNAP/EBT for a minimum of one year. However, those are not hard requirements and OH-NIN can provide technical assistance for SNAP authorization and accepting EBT.

If your organization is interested in supporting the work of OH-NIN through partnerships, promotion, or advocacy, please send an email to info@produceperks.org

Amanda OsborneTo learn more about SNAP at farmers’ markets, Produce Perks, and OH-NIN contact Amanda Osborne, County Extension Educator in Cuyahoga County.

Beat the Heat, Get Out and Boat

Learn how to boat safely. Photo Credit: Sarah Orlando

As Ohio moves from winter straight to a hot and sunny summer, I dream of days spent out on the water boating. I prefer the hand powered crafts such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to motorboats, but a quick spin on a Personal Watercraft will give me my adrenaline fix for the summer. Boating, whether it be canoeing, sailing, or powerboating is available to all Ohio residents and visitors because of the phenomenal water resources and public access points we have. Lake Erie and the Ohio River provide boating access for 3.1 million residents, and 99% of Ohio’s residents live within 36 miles of a water body large enough for powerboats, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

With these amazing recreational water activities, we must consider our safety and the safety of other people. Each year, more people are paddling, fishing from boats, or taking a day to chill on their pontoon boat. More people on the water means greater risk to water safety. Therefore, as a boater you must take responsibility and learn how to boat safely. Below are some tips to help you in your safe boating endeavor.

Equipment

Types of life jackets. Credit: US Boat Foundation

The type of equipment that is required for your vessel is determined by length, power source, and boating location. These requirements are established by the United States Coast Guard and the local Department of Natural Resources. Although equipment differs by vessel, all boats require the following four items.

  1. Type I, II, III or V type (see image) personal flotation device (PFD) for every person on the boat. If the boat is 18 feet or smaller and the person is 10 years or younger, the PFD must be worn. In all other cases, the PFDs must be on the vessel within arm’s reach. However, it is strongly encouraged to always wear your PFD.
  2. Sound signaling source such as a horn or whistle.
  3. Light signaling source such as a white light for paddle crafts and white, red, and green lights on sailing and motor vessels.
  4. Visual distress signals such as colored smoke flares or bright flags for daytime and burning flares for when it becomes dark.

Rules of Navigation

Rules of Navigation. Credit: safe-skipper.com

On the water, the least maneuverable boat has the right of way. Therefore, a large freighter would have the right of way since it cannot stop or turn quickly. If you see a freighter near your boat, you should give it plenty of space and stay out of its way. If you are paddling on a river that experiences a lot of boat traffic (Cuyahoga River for example) then you should treat it like the road.  Remain as far to the right of the river as you can and look both ways before crossing to the other side.

 

General Safety

Being on the water can take a physical toll on your body. Being in the sun and other elements quickly removes water from our body making it very important to drink lots of water and remember to replenish electrolytes. As a boater, you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times, so substances, such as alcohol, that reduce your ability to operate a vessel should not be used. Also, make sure you check the weather several times before you go out and while you are on the water. Weather can change quickly so it is important you are aware of your surroundings.

Lastly, you should ALWAYS BOAT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Boating alone is very dangerous and should be avoided.

By reading this blog, you have received a basic understanding of safe boating, but I encourage you to learn more to make sure you and your loved ones will be safe on the water. Below are some materials that will help you in your safe boating quest, but taking the Ohio Boaters Education Course would be an important step and is required for anyone in the state of Ohio born after January 1, 1982 if they would like to operate a boat with a motor.

Additional Resources

  1. A BOATER’S GUIDE TO THE FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS AND SAFETY TIPS from the US Boat Foundation https://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF
  2. Links to safe boating websites:
    1. http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/
    2. http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/news/dont-miss-these-2018-safe-boating-campaign-events/
    3. http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/requiredequipment

Endnotes

public access points: ODOR Office of Coastal Management, 2018. Website: http://coastal.ohiodnr.gov/gocoast.

3.1 million residents: Ohio Division of State Parks and Watercraft, 2018. Website: http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/statistics.

Ohio Boaters Education Course: Ohio Division of State Parks and Watercraft, 2018. Website: http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/coursesearch.

Type I, II, III or V type: Boat US Foundation, 2018. Website: https://www.boatus.org/life-jackets/types/.


Jill BartolottaJill Bartolotta is an Extension Educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program.

Doing and dreaming: A good plan makes a space for both

“Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes.” You might be wondering what this quote from Ludwig van Beethoven has to do with community development.  What I hear in the musical master’s words is the process of creating order from chaos; he is crafting incredible harmony from a storm of strong, independent, unconnected notes. To me, that’s an analogy for good planning – strategic planning.

In fact, developing and implementing a good strategic plan can help an organization take control of the chaos and set itself on a path of identifying and achieving its goals. In addition to goals, most successful plans have a few common elements, including a vision and a mission.

Why does an organization need both a mission and a vision? Aren’t they really the same thing? Well, no, they’re not – and they’re both an important part of successful planning and work.

North Star

All the stars of the northern sky appear to rotate around the North Star.

A mission is a concise statement that explains why the organization exists, answering some basic questions: What do we do? Who do we serve? How does that improve things? Tapping into the passion of the employees, volunteers, and partners, a mission statement reflects why this organization and its work is important. Much like the North Star, a mission statement is always visible, allowing the people of the organization to continually realign themselves to remain on the right path. A mission statement expresses the work that the organization is doing today.

A vision is less about doing and more about dreaming. Vision statements outline the desired future, as expressed by the organization. Possibilities, hopes, innovations – these are the lifeblood of vision statements. A vision should be aspirational and reflect a world that is possible (by the good and successful work of the organization) in the future.

Here’s another way to consider mission and vision statements. Think of a missionary. The work of a missionary is immediate, on the ground, working directly with people and communities to improve their situations. The missionary knows his/her purpose and is directing energy into achieving that objective. Conversely, a visionary is someone who focuses on the future –envisioning what could be. While a visionary is aware of the current situation, he/she is contemplating the best-case possibilities that may exist in the future.

Does your organization have some chaos it would like to tame? OSU Extension has skilled facilitators to help your team create a strategic plan that has its feet firmly in the present and its eyes focused on a hopeful future. For more information, visit go.osu.edu/seekexcellence.


Becky Nesbitt is an Assistant Professor and Extension Educator in Community Development with OSU Extension.

Climate Change – What’s the Big Deal?

Find out more during the FREE June 7 Webinar
(Details/Registration below)

 “Few people would be making a big deal of climate change if the changes weren’t making big differences in land, air, water, infrastructure and economies — the ingredients of our daily lives. Climate science offers a wide lens on how ecosystems and social systems affect each other. The science and stories behind each impact present more questions we must now answer to support communities into the future.”

Source:  University of California – Davis
climatechange.ucdavis.edu/impacts/

Here in Central Ohio climate change is often not the first thought on my mind. After all, we aren’t experiencing the most intense impacts – drought, hurricanes, flooding coastlines, massive fires – all destroying property and, worst yet, taking lives – are we?

While we may be spared some of the extremes, our changing climate in Ohio is already having a pronounced effect on farmers, the fishing industry and residents along Lake Erie and other waterways in the state, to name a few interest groups.  Here are a few selected impacts for Ohio from a 2016 EPA report:

  • In the last century, Ohio’s climate has warmed around 1.5 Degree Fahrenheit. This warming trend has accelerated in recent decades, with nighttime and winters showing the greater temperature.
  • Average annual precipitation in the Midwest increased by 5-10% over the last 50 years. This increase is projected to continue, particularly in the Eastern part of the region. As a result, the frequency of flooding is likely to increase in Ohio and surrounding states.
  • Heavy downpours are most likely to occur in the winter and spring, when soil is saturated or frozen, impacting agricultural runoff and water quality. Intense rainfall will also impact urban areas with combined sewer and storm water systems, potentially causing sewage overflow and water contamination.
  • Increased water temperatures in the Great Lakes will likely affect some coolwater fish species and will create favorable conditions for harmful algal blooms.
  • Forests will be threatened by drier conditions, fires, invasive insects and land use changes due to development patterns. As temperatures increase, some tree species are expected to shift their range to the north.

These are only some of the projected impacts Ohio will experience from our warming climate. Land Use Planners, zoning officials and local elected and appointed leaders are, in many locales, increasingly needing to be on the forefront of building resilient communities that will be able to adapt to projected changes in climate. A sampling of such initiatives currently underway in Ohio includes:

GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History: In existence since 1992,  GCBL has been a leader in topics related to sustainable cities and climate change.

Smart Columbus:  In 2016 Columbus competed against 77 cities throughout the U.S. to win the Smart City Challenge, providing over $40 million to achieve transportation and sustainability goals, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center of The Ohio State University: One of the top research programs on the contribution of cold climates to the global climate system, BPCRC’s mission is to “conduct multi-disciplinary research, offer enhanced educational opportunities, and provide outreach activities with the goal of promoting understanding of the ever-evolving Earth System”.

An upcoming webinar hosted by eXtension’s Community Planning and Zoning Community of Practice, a team of researchers, educators and community practitioners from throughout the U.S., will be held in early June to identify community and land use impacts of climate change.  This webinar is free and open to those who seek information on climate change and steps communities can take to mitigate impacts.  Please note that registration is required, and a link is provided in the description below:

 Webinar Opportunity:

Community and Land Use Impacts from Climate Change
Thursday, June 7 at 1 p.m. eastern time for 1 hour

Complete information is available at: learn.extension.org/events/3455

A panel of speakers from three different states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) will discuss how communities’ land use decisions can impact and respond to a changing climate. They will share examples from various communities and may touch on agriculture and food, infrastructure systems, the link with smart growth and sustainability, and environmental protection. In addition, each speaker will discuss how climate change is expected to affect their various states.

  • The first speaker is Thomas W. Blaine, an Environmental Economist with Ohio State University Extension. He has published numerous fact sheets and blog posts about climate change. He will lead off this webinar providing an overview of climate change and what it means for communities throughout the United States.
  • The second speaker is Jim Shortle, a Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Economics and Director of the College of Agricultural Sciences Environment and Natural Resources Institute at Penn State. His talk will focus on water management and recreation and provide examples of what communities can do in these areas.
  • Our third and final speaker is Jim LaGro, a professor in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He will focus on climate change strategies used by communities that also focus on community livability and sustainability.

The webinar will wrap up with an opportunity for questions and answers.

Please register by June 4 at: extension.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7EYOA-K3Tq6T7zSL9iVpIw. “Seating” is limited.

1 AICP CM credit is available.


Myra Moss is an Associate Professor and Extension Educator, OSU Extension Community Development.

The Ripple Effect of Personal Finances on a Community

Do you have a family member, friend or neighbor who recently lost his/her job; had to reduce their number of hours at work due to health issues; pay more than 30% of their income on housing; or lost 50% or more of their income due to the death of a spouse, divorce or unemployment? If so, most of them will probably be evicted, face foreclosure, miss housing and utility payments, receive public assistance, etc. Obviously, it’s important for residents to know that these results not only affect the households of their families, but the community at large.

These problems contribute to an inordinate high number of evictions; food insecurity; infant mortality rates; inability to get prescriptions and medical attention; mental, emotional, social and physical ills; and community development. Revenue from property taxes will decrease if families fail to make their mortgage payments. Neighborhoods will suffer with blight, disinvestment, and crime when properties are left vacant and abandoned, and public assistance budgets will surge.

It’s important that we address these community-wide problems with community-wide solutions. Towards this end, leaders from communities, corporations, colleges/universities, civic organizations, and churches need to unite and help families avoid these issues by developing innovative programs and unique partnerships to strengthen the lives of families and, subsequently, communities.

OSU Extension understands the correlation between personal finances and community development. Towards this end, we work diligently to strengthen the lives of families and build strong communities by educating and empowering residents with the knowledge, resources, and skills essential in helping them take control of their finances and future! To see what OSU Extension is doing to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families in Columbus, visit franklin.osu.edu.


Susan Colbert is the Franklin County Extension Program Director for Expansion and Engagement.

Focus…What?

I recently was asked to facilitate focus groups for a social service agency as a beginning step in their strategic planning process. Focus groups are very familiar to me, but most of the participants of these groups were not familiar with the purpose of focus groups or how they may be beneficial to them or the agency. Some of their questions may also help you when deciding how to gather information.

What is a focus group?

WhatA focus group is in essence a group interview based on a set of questions or discussion points. It is qualitative research designed to explore people’s opinions and attitudes. Focus groups ask open-ended questions and avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no answers. A typical focus group may consist of 6-8 people. A number of focus groups are usually conducted to get an ideal mix of information. Focus groups typically last 1-3 hours.

Why focus groups?

WhyFocus groups tend to take place with a small sample size in an interactive group setting. They create a way to encourage participants to share ideas and express opinions and attitudes and are an effective way to facilitate open discussions and allow participants to express themselves deeper than a less personal survey, and dive deeper into certain issues.

Who participates in focus groups?

WhoThe participants selected must be able to answer the questions and must be familiar with the topic discussed. Participants are selected based on criteria relevant to the organization/concept including existing or potential customers.

If you are interested in conducting focus groups, please contact me at bond.227@osu.edu.


Cindy BondCindy Bond is an Assistant Professor and Extension Educator (Guernsey County).

 

BR&E Program Focuses on Perrysburg, Ohio Local Economy

Perrysburg remains Wood County’s most economically diverse and thriving community and is one of Northwest Ohio’s best magnets for economic and business growth. It remains one of the best places to own real estate in the county and region. When it comes to “economic gardening,” no other community in Northwest Ohio is as successful in providing residents, business owners, and entrepreneurs with innovation-based economic development tools. Downtown Perrysburg Inc. and the Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce help to ensure the City’s B2B (business to business) networks thrive.

The City of Perrysburg sign

The City of Perrysburg – Wood County’s most economically diverse and thriving community.

The facts that support this claim are:

  • Perrysburg’s residential growth has increased 21.7% since 2000, and is the fastest growing community in the region. State average for residential growth in the last ten years was 1.7%.
  • According to a recent study, Wood County was ranked as one of America’s Top Ten Small-Sized Counties (FEC Inc., 2012.). The ranking considers several measures within five areas: Investment, Talent, Sustainability, Place, and Diversity. These five areas serve as a foundation for future economic success.
  • According to Stats America, Wood County has a 10-year per capita personal income (PCPI) growth of 7.3%, the highest in the region.
  • Residents spend $3,500 more per capita on retail items than state average. According to the US Census, per capita income is $37,813, a 32% increase from the state average.
  • Median household income from 2008-2012 averaged $69,341, a 30% increase from the state average, and one of the highest household incomes in the region.
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing is $192,600, a 30% increase from the state average; Perrysburg has one of the highest housing values in the region.
  • Over the last two years, Perrysburg has had more multi-family housing units under development than any other community in the region. This type of housing is extremely important in attracting young professionals and providing businesses with a diverse base of employees¹.

Recognizing the importance of its growing community, the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Ohio State University Extension collaborated with the City of Perrysburg to conduct a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Program. Because of this applied research effort, local leaders are better equipped to assist business needs in the city to achieve their growth objectives and to improve the overall business environment for the City of Perrysburg’s business community.

The seal of Perrysburg.

As a result of the BR&E program, the City of Perrysburg learned that:

  • Forty businesses plan to expand, modernize or renovate their businesses with firms planning to add jobs within the next 12 months. These firms will add between 58-177 new full-time equivalent jobs.
  • 177 new jobs are estimated to represent $101,063 in additional income tax revenue and would contribute an estimated $6,737,505 in personal income to Perrysburg’s local economy.
  • Jobs are projected as being added in the professional services, retail and commercial service sectors. 116 businesses plan to retain up to 2,880 full-time equivalent jobs.

The BR&E program in Perrysburg aims to:

  • Identify and address concerns and issues of existing businesses by creating a value-chain of partners, including local and state government as well as private organizations and enterprises.
  • Identify opportunities to stimulate local job growth, and establish and maintain long-term relationships among public and private entities associated with the Perrysburg local economy.

To learn more about the City of Perrysburg BR&E program, see the final report. Click here to learn more about the Ohio BR&E Program.

 

¹City of Perrysburg website: https://www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us/index.php/economic-development


 

Joe Lucente is an Associate Professor for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Ohio State University Extension.

Battling Blight by Tackling Vacancies in Lima, Ohio

Vacant parcels and abandoned properties are a big problem for many of Ohio’s cities, some that have been shrinking for decades as a result of sustained population loss. Blighted properties that litter the urban landscape can cost cities millions in lost property taxes, foreclosures and demolition costs, not to mention opportunity costs to local economies. A report by Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) in 2008 on eight shrinking cities in Ohio estimated annual costs of city services to these properties at 15 million dollars, and lost property tax revenues from demolitions and tax delinquencies at over 49 million dollars.

Abandoned property

Abandoned property

Lima, the Allen county seat, is an example of a city facing the challenge of hundreds of vacant and abandoned properties. Over the past two years, faculty and students from OSU’s Knowlton School, in collaboration with OSU Lima and the City of Lima Land Bank, have piloted a program, the Ohio Land Exchange (OH/LEX), to address the vacancy problem in Lima. They have surveyed and mapped hundreds of tax delinquent parcels, which, according to Lima’s Mayor Berger, has “provided Lima vacancy patterns and demotion needs, as well as detailed maps of locations, flood plains, and potential reuses” (link). The team also engaged over a dozen local non-profits who have been meeting regularly to explore beneficial ways to reuse the properties.

Reaching a consensus

Reaching a consensus on land reuse priorities

In the past year, Knowlton School expanded the partnership to include OSU Extension, holding a workshop in May 2017 to introduce the program to Extension Educators statewide. Extension is providing the boots on the ground needed to take the initiative from mapping and data collection to project implementation. Data has helped to inform stakeholders about property locational assets or liabilities, including soil conditions or proximity to bus stops, to determine potential forms of reuse and appropriate locations. One of these stakeholders is Activate Allen County, a non-profit organization formed in 2012, tasked with improving the health and well-being of Lima and Allen County residents. The organization conducted a food system assessment which found that 53% of Lima citizens reside in a food desert, the region has the second highest obesity rate in Ohio, and almost 11% of its residents suffer from diabetes. The proposed implementation project is the result of numerous meetings with local stakeholders to reach a consensus on land reuse priorities, including food system improvements.

Funding support has come from a 2017 Connect and Collaborate grant that supported increased and strengthened stakeholder engagement and formulation of a plan for Lima. Another grant, currently under review, would provide support for a phased food systems implementation strategy, to create a temporary “food and entrepreneurship lab” and to conduct a market analysis for a permanent food hub. The second phase, dependent on the outcome of the first phase, is the development of a permanent food hub. The food and entrepreneurship lab includes the design and build of a model urban garden and community space on vacant land near the city center. Concurrently, a market analysis will be conducted to identify the impact, needs and potential uses for a permanent food hub based on existing retail sales data, data gathered at the lab, and surveys of local residents.

As a pilot location, Lima will demonstrate the costs and benefits of the OH/LEX program and its potential value for other cities in Ohio. Do you see a need in your city?


Nancy Bowen is an Associate Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics.

Considering Perspective

My brother Bill’s birthday is approaching. He’s three years younger than I am, but probably 10 years wiser. He’s my best friend… and often keeps me balanced when things get crazy. (Think: overscheduling, kids driving, etc.) In addition, he is really good at bringing perspective.

three dimensional drawing

A three dimensional drawing suggests depth or distance.

Perspective is defined as “a particular way of regarding something.” In drawing or painting, it’s a way of portraying three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface by suggesting depth or distance.

In our often complex Extension work, perspective is a tool that can yield valuable, tangible results if we employ it correctly. For example, let’s say we’re helping a small business, non-profit, or local government agency do some strategic planning. Our very presence brings an outside perspective—an “etic” as defined in the social science research literature (see Pike, 1967). This perspective contrasts with the “emic” (or internal view) that people, groups, and organizations inherently hold. Morris, et al (1999) described the emic/etic perspectives in terms of cultural phenomena. But the construct holds in strategic planning which is, of course, set within an organization’s culture.

In practice, some consultants will (falsely) jump to the conclusion that the emic perspective is clouded by insiders being too involved to clearly see and articulate a solution (e.g., not being able to see the forest because of the trees in the way). But be cautious of this thinking. It can land short. The consultant might advise the organization to abandon “process X” in favor of “process Z”… wreaking havoc at multiple levels.

Instead, I suggest a combined approach. Use your outside etic perspective to gather data, observe systemic processes, and look for solutions to suggest. But first, ask your client for their internal emic view. Then, you can overlay your perspective and co-construct a better overall solution together.

References:

Morris, et al (1999), Views from Inside and Outside: Integrating Emic and Etic Insights About Culture and Justice Judgment. Academy of Management Review. 1999, Vol. 24. No. 4, 781-796.

Pike, Kenneth Lee (ed.) (1967), Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of Structure of Human Behavior (2nd ed.), The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton.

Perspective figure source: Creative Commons https://mrsswansonsclass.wikispaces.com/Perspective


Brian Raison is an Assistant Professor & Extension Field Specialist in Community and Organizational Leadership. Brian Raison