Focused on improving agricultural production; enhancing the quality of food and feed; ensuring an adequate, affordable, and safe food supply; and maintaining agrosecurity to ensure food security and the basics of nutritional health for a growing global population.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020. “These grant opportunities underscore USDA’s commitment to all segments of agriculture, including swiftly expanding areas of urban agriculture,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “Such projects have the potential to address important issues such as food access and education and to support innovative ways to increase local food production in urban environments.” Follow this link to learn more.
Join Whitney Gherman, Marion County Family and Consumer Science Educator for an online talk show series featuring agriculturalists from around Ohio. New episode every Wednesday at noon beginning May 13. Join at this link.
Community gardens and urban farms seem to sprout up out of nowhere. You can find okra growing at churches, squash at middle schools, and green peppers on apartment rooftops. Urban farming isn’t a new trend, but its appeal continues to cultivate interest across the Commonwealth as more nontraditional farmers look to sow seeds in inner city communities. “Urban farming has experienced a rise in popularity in recent years, and there is a growing need for more academically trained urban agriculture professionals to serve in this sector,” said Dr. Leonard Githinji, sustainable and urban agriculture Cooperative Extension specialist at Virginia State University (VSU).
To fill this need, Githinji leads VSU’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program, which he began with his colleagues at VSU and Virginia Tech three years ago. “This certificate program provides the public access to a university-based curriculum taught by university professors so that graduates can take what they’ve learned and practiced back to their communities to increase access to fresh, local fruits and vegetables,” Githinji said. Follow this link to read more.
Many people infected with COVID-19 show little to no symptoms of the disease, so researchers at The Ohio State University are creating a blood test that could detect the true extent of the pandemic. The researchers have also assisted Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center physicians who have created a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, using the blood plasma of people who had COVID-19 and beat it. Both the blood test for COVID-19 and the plasma treatment for those suffering from the respiratory disease could be critical in understanding and controlling the current pandemic. Follow this link to learn more.
In a study published in Nature Food, academics from the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield investigated the potential for urban horticulture by mapping green spaces and grey spaces across the city. They found that green spaces including parks, gardens, allotments, roadside verges, and woodland cover 45 percent of Sheffield – a figure similar to other UK cities. Allotments cover 1.3 percent of this, while 38 percent of green space comprised of domestic gardens, which have immediate potential to start growing food. The interdisciplinary team used data from Ordnance Survey and Google Earth to reveal that an extra 15 percent of the city’s green space, such as parks and roadside verges, also has potential to be converted into community gardens or allotments. Follow this link to read more.
Last month, CURA hosted organizations from the Cleveland area and from the Dayton and Cincinnati areas. The panelists included:
Marc White one of the co-Founders and Farm Operations Manager from Rid-All Green Partnership, a local non-profit from the Kinsman Neighborhood located in Cleveland, Ohio. Rid-All Green Partnership is a urban farm that helps educate people living in the area about growing local, healthy food.
Michaela Oldfield, Director of Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance. Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance serves as the backbone organization for collective and collaborative impact on creating resilient, sustainable region solutions for all.
Nicole Wasmuth, AmeriCorps VISTA and Registered Nurse of Hall Hunger Initiative in Dayton Ohio. Hall Hunger Initiative works with the Dayton, Ohio community partners to create a sustainable and just food system in the Miami Valley area of Ohio.
Alan Wight faculty at Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the University of Cincinnati.
The event kicked off with presentations by each of the panelists showing the audience what their organizations do for their local communities and how they support food security:
Rid-All Green Partnership in the Cleveland, OH area bring education and training to the Kinsman community about urban farming and healthy food habits. They have several green houses, hood houses, and an aquaponics fishery on site.
Green Umbrella in the Cincinnati area, works within a 10 county area to be the convener of collaboration on food policy and environmental change. Their current projects include: healthy soils, farm to school, healthy eating and healthcare, and zero food to landfills.
Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the University of Cincinnati presentation was on the food mapping efforts they are involved in, in the Cincinnati community. The maps integrate the beauty of art with the sophistication of geographic science to help people in the Cincinnati community understand where they can find local urban farms and edible food.
The Hall Hunger Initiative in the Dayton, OH area showed the link between the health system and food system in American and ways to improve upon it.
The Center for Community Solutions, in partnership with Advocates for Ohio’s Future, will host webinars each Friday at 1 p.m. in which a series of advocates will discuss what COVID-19 means for policy and what potential policy changes could mean to you. This Friday’s webinar will feature three experts, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Policy Matters Ohio. The webinar is being held Friday, April 10, 2020, 1-2 p.m. EST. Follow this link to learn more.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown America into a coast-to-coast lockdown, spurring ubiquitous economic impacts. Data on smartphone movement indicates that virtually all regions of the nation are practicing some degree of social distancing, resulting in less foot traffic and sales for businesses. Meanwhile, last week’s release of unemployment insurance claims confirms that every state is seeing a significant rise in layoffs. And yet, while the public health and economic impacts of the virus are already massive, it would not be right to say that the crisis is evenly distributed. Follow this link to read more.