Nutrition Considerations for Smart Aging: Webinar

Approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease that directly impacts their quality of life. This webinar will discuss how nutrition affects the quality of life in older adults, and what can lead to poor nutrition in later life. An Introduction to the Aging and Eating curriculum will be presented by Jenny Lobb and Kathy Tutt. The webinar will take place Friday, December 6, 2019. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The North Central Region Aging Network

Disrupting Food Insecurity

An estimated 40 million Americans—including 12.5 million children—struggle with food insecurity, meaning they can’t afford an adequate diet. Federal nutrition programs and charitable meals make up the first line of defense, but solving this challenge will require communities to go beyond food to disrupt the root causes of economic distress. This dashboard equips counties with data about their food insecurity levels and related risk factors, identifies cross-cutting opportunities for intervention, and groups counties by shared challenges. Dive into your county’s data and explore strategies tailored to your county. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Urban Institute

How Aztecs Could Improve Modern Urban Farming

Roland Ebel of the Sustainable Food Systems Program at Montana State University conducted a research project to determine the extent to which an ancient Aztec agricultural technique could benefit 21st century horticultural needs. Ebel examined the use of “chinampas” with the hope of discovering their modern utility. A chinampa is a raised field on a small artificial island on a freshwater lake (usually surrounded by canals and ditches), where vegetables can be produced year round. The irrigation needs of chinampas is low and the productivity extremely high. Chinampas provide fresh produce for a megacity such as Mexico City and are conceivable around many of today’s exploding urban areas. Ebel’s findings are illustrated in the article Chinampas: An Urban Farming Model of the Aztecs and a Potential Solution for Modern Megalopolis “Today, many cities face very similar challenges as Mexico City did 700 years ag – a rapidly growing population, and less and less arable land available for food production. Highly intensive production systems with low resource demand are, therefore, a strategic goal of urban agriculture developers. Thus, while most strategists emphasize high-tech solutions such as complex vertical farms, I think it is worthwhile to learn from the achievements of our ancestors,” states Ebel.  Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips

Photovoice Project Shares Strengths and Struggles of Women in Urban Agriculture

Coordinated by graduate student Hannah Whitley in Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, the Female Farmer Photovoice Project explores how socially constructed identities complicate barriers and opportunities for urban growers and connect to broader institutional inequities that perpetuate these problems. This past spring, 18 female urban agriculturalists were given disposable cameras and asked to take pictures that “tell their story” of urban agriculture. After three weeks of picture taking, participants met for a reflection meeting to share their photos, select which ones they wanted to share with the public, create titles, and write narratives for their photographs. These images and stories now are displayed on the project website’s digital gallery,, and in an exhibition that will travel across Pennsylvania and the Northeast this year. Whitley said she hopes the project will raise awareness of the importance of this kind of research. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips

Think Beyond Summit: Urban Universities + Thriving Communities

Urban Universities + Thriving Communities Communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish.



Communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish. When urban-serving universities and communities join forces, we can confront the complexities of education, healthcare, economic, and human development in order to:

  • Prepare an increasingly diverse workforce to successfully navigate careers through technological, economic, and social change.
  • Assess, treat, and prevent urban health risks for increasingly diverse populations.
  • Create sustainable solutions for continued and inclusive growth that improve the quality of life in our communities.

Join educators, industry, nonprofit, and community leaders at The Ohio State University on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST in the Ohio Union to exchange ideas and reinvigorate the collective efforts toward strengthening and sustaining vibrant, inclusive communities. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Ohio State University 

Crops in the Clouds: The Rise of Rooftop Farming in Space-Starved Hong Kong

At the top of a three-story building in Hong Kong, with car horns blasting on the streets below, Jim Fung teaches a dozen students how to thin out choi sum vegetables. “Always use the resources you have,” the instructor said as he placed shredded office paper into soil-filled plastic crates and wound string around bamboo sticks to make support frames. Fung was coaching the first cohort of students in an academy run by social enterprise Rooftop Republic to teach a new generation of urban farmers as demand for their skills soars. The organization is spearheading a movement to turn Hong Kong’s idle rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the finance hub more livable. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Place

WIC Perks: Expanding Nutrition Incentives Beyond SNAP

This summer, Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) Cuyahoga County piloted the WIC Perks program in partnership with MetroHealth-Cuyahoga County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and local farmers’ markets. WIC Perks is an expansion of the Produce Perks nutrition incentive program, which offers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients a dollar-for-dollar match when shopping with an Ohio Direction Card at local farmers’ markets. Four local markets in Cuyahoga County participated in the pilot program; Lakewood Farmers’ Market, Old Brooklyn Farmers’ Market, North Union Farmers’ Market at Shaker Square, and North Union Farmers’ Market at Van Aken.

Historically, the Produce Perks program has only served families who receive SNAP benefits. However, many families in Cuyahoga County do not fall within 130% of the poverty line and therefore have been unable to access Produce Perks. The WIC Perks pilot program expanded Produce Perks to serve families receiving WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers in addition to SNAP; eligibility for WIC requires families to fall within 185% of the poverty line. By expanding Produce Perks to serve WIC FMNP, recipients we were able to reach new families who may or may not also be receiving SNAP benefits.

The WIC Perks pilot aimed to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for WIC recipients, engage new families, and increase sales at local farmers’ markets. WIC recipients who attended one of the eight select Cuyahoga WIC FMNP distribution dates were given the opportunity to participate in a brief cooking demonstration or educational table activity. In exchange for their participation, families received an additional $20 farmers’ market voucher that could be spent on fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Participants also received culinary tools including peelers, cutting boards, storage containers, dry and liquid measuring cups, and vegetable scrub brushes.

Over the course of the pilot program Ohio State University Extension provided $13,640 worth of farmers’ market vouchers to 682 families. Formal data analysis using farmers’ market redemption data, customer shopping patterns, and follow-up surveys from participants will be conducted in December. Pilot findings will be shared in early 2020. The partners intend to continue the WIC Perks program in 2020. Follow this link to lean more.

Article courtesy of:
Amanda Osborne, Community Development Educator, OSU Extension Cuyahoga County
Courtney Woelfl, Family Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension Cuyahoga County


Will Local Foods and Technical Change Alter the Urban Form Webinar

This webinar is focused on emerging technologies in regards to local foods systems and their possible effects on regional landscapes. We term these technologies “smart implements” and they include advanced farm management systems as well as robotic harvesters and cultivation tools. They can be partnered with other technologies, such as urban greenhouses and vertical agriculture. Through this combination, it may be possible to create automated greenhouses within or close to urban environments. This may allow a reworked urban environment, with food systems becoming increasingly contained within cities, especially for high value crops like fruits and vegetables. Possible consequences include increased urban density, better standards of living, and a new source of economic growth for these communities. All are invited to examine these exciting potential futures. The webinar will be held Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 2 p.m. ET.
Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Michigan State University’s NCRCRD