The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer a new opportunity to those interested in growing urban and rural produce in the Greater Cincinnati area to apply for financial and technical assistance for high tunnel systems, commonly referred to as hoop houses. Imagine the delicious taste of baby spinach freshly harvested from your own garden, in Cincinnati, all winter long. Impossible, right? Not anymore. High tunnels make growing vegetables possible long after the first frost. A high tunnel sits over top of the garden. Arch shaped aluminum poles support removable heavy plastic sheets that trap heat from the sun, warming the air. Most have a peak height that allows an adult to stand easily with room to spare. They look similar to greenhouses except plants grow in the ground instead of in pots. Follow this link to learn more.
Join Forward Cities for a chat on the art of facilitating conversations that lead with an inclusive lens and help move communities to action through a more well-informed dialogue. With social distancing in full effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more critical than ever to ensure all perspectives are honored, voices are heard, and buy-in is had.
The webinar will be hosted by Forward Cities’ Senior Director of Learning Networks, Brett Brenton. Featured panelists include Forward Cities’ Director of Talent Development, Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Jamey Stowell of Delta Leadership, Inc. and Forward Cities’ Local Directors Kim Louis (New Kensington, PA) and Gabriel Muñoz (Kansas City).
The webinar is being held on March 31, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET
The Subcommittee on Agriculture – Committee on Appropriations is circulating a letter to food and agriculture organizations to thank them for their work to support a vibrant and sustainable food and farm system and to request sign-on signatures. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 authorized the creation of an Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (Sec. 12302) and an urban agriculture data collection initiative (Sec. 7212(b)); a critical first step in serving this growing sector of the U.S. agricultural economy. For Fiscal Year 2020 the Office was funded at $5 million. For the Fiscal Year 2021 agriculture appropriations bill, it is recommended to include $25 million to continue the work of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production and related activities and $10 million for the urban agriculture data collection initiative. Follow this link for more information on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018.
The arrival of new daily bus service to Warren and other Trumbull County communities isn’t just a boost for passengers looking to get to the grocery store or doctor. It’s finally providing an answer to one of the first questions companies ask when they look at moving into the area. “One of the first things all our economic development agencies tell us that companies look at is transportation. They want to get their people to and from work,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa. “There’s also a health and wellness side. There are so many food deserts, especially in the city of Warren and urban areas. Now, they’ll be able to go to Walmart or Giant Eagle. It’s going to help across the board.” Follow this link to read more.
Even amid a coronavirus outbreak that is prompting fear of a worldwide economic downturn, it’s worth reflecting that the United States has achieved a record-long economic expansion over the past decade-plus. The nation’s GDP has grown in every quarter since the middle of 2009, and the labor market has added jobs in every month since September 2010. However, GDP and job growth on their own are not sufficient markers of economic health. As the annual Metro Monitor illustrates, economic success involves a combination of growth, prosperity (increasing average value of an economy), and inclusion (improved well-being for everyone)—trends that differ dramatically in their trajectory and magnitude across the nation’s major metropolitan areas. This year’s Monitor tracks the performance of America’s metro area economies in these three respects, from the dawn of the Great Recession in 2008 through 2018 (the latest year of available data). Follow this link to read more.
University of Dayton engineering students have helped Mission of Mary Cooperative, a Dayton-based urban farming operation, become the city’s first net-zero energy organization through the New Buildings Institute, a third-party non-profit organization pushing for better energy performance in buildings. The Cooperative produced 52,000 pounds of food last year on its 2-acre campus in the Twin Towers neighborhood, all while operating on 100 percent renewable energy. “By becoming the first net-zero organization in Dayton, Mission of Mary Cooperative hopes to inspire other organizations and residents all while continuing to be a catalyst and partner for urban sustainable development,” says Michael Schulz, executive director of Mission of Mary Cooperative and one of its lay Marianist founders. Follow this link to read more.
Are you looking for a collection of resources pertaining to Evaluation, Urban Extension, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or Opioid Response? eXtension’s eFieldbooks, authored by Cooperative Extension professionals are a great place to start.
eFieldbooks are created with Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning technology and are interactive multimedia ebooks that help establish processes and assist with the delivery of new programs. These books work on mobile applications and can be taken into the field.
Through the eXtension Foundation, these eFieldbooks were created by Cooperative Extension professionals selected by their professional associations and appointed as eXtension Fellows.
New eFieldbooks in 2019 included:
Extension Evaluation Matters, Teresa McCoy, NAEPSDP
Urban Extension, Cynthia Pierfax & Jody Norman, NUEL
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Lindsey Lunsford, Tuskegee University
Design challenges are a frequent, highly visible, and narrative-centric approach to design. This article gives an example of what an analysis through a design justice lens looks like: What story is told? How is the problem framed? Who decides the scope? What values are built in to the designed objects and processes? Who benefits? Who loses?
“It is not that new technologies are useless, that design challenges are a waste of time, or that existing solutions are always sufficient. Instead, we must recognize that wherever there are problems, those most affected have nearly always already developed solutions; that existing solutions that come from those most affected are likely to have the advantage of being based on local materials, skills, and infrastructure; that people who are from, and work directly with, the most affected communities should be included in and control design processes that are meant to benefit them; that sometimes (although not always) external resources can best be used to support, improve, scale, and/or reduce the costs of existing, locally created solutions; that barriers are often not about a particular tool or object, but are social, cultural, and economic in nature.” – Sasha Costanza-Chock.