Strategic Plan of Work in Ohio’s Urban Communities – June 1-2 Meetings

During the January 29 Summit on Extension in Urban Communities your colleagues, along with some external partners, began drafting goals for urban Extension for the focused strategy areas of Positioning, Programs, Personnel, and Partnerships (Ps).

In the last few months, a Plan of Work for Extension in urban communities has been under development with guidance from a steering council. The summit planning committee formed this steering council to keep the momentum going and further focus next steps. The four strategy group leaders have each taken ownership of one of the priority areas to summarize the context; clarify goals, drafts action steps, and suggest internal partner connections; and consider linkage between the other Ps.

Now that the goals have been initially drafted, we would like to invite others to work with the strategy groups to further develop action steps, timelines, measures, connections, and resources.

You are welcome to join any of the following meetings on June 1 and 2.
Personnel in Urban Communities – Strategic Plan of Work group meeting on June 1, 1-2 pm
Positioning in Urban Communities – Strategic Plan of Work group meeting on June 1, 3-4 pm
Programs in Urban Communities – Strategic Plan of Work group meeting on June 2, 9-10 am
Partnerships in Urban Communities – Strategic Plan of Work group meeting on June 2, 11 am-noon

Feel free to invite others. If you have questions or are interested in attending any of these Zoom meetings, please contact for the link to the Zoom meeting.

USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Announces Grants

The 2018 Farm Bill required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish an Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. In authorizing the Office, Congress recognized that farmers in urban communities may not fully take advantage of USDA’s resources and may need extra focus. USDA recently created this office within the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the office has been busy implementing the farm bill’s urban agriculture provisions.

The office has a number of responsibilities and will administer two grant programs. The first, the Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Competitive Grant Program, is currently open for applications. This program will fund both planning and implementation grants for tribal governments, local governments, nonprofits, and schools to support and increase urban agricultural producers. The second grant program, the Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project Cooperative Agreements, is accepting applications from local governments, including conservation districts, for projects specifically focused on compost and related urban conservation. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: National Association of Conservation Districts

Disparities Intensified Between College Bound Urban and Rural Students

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disparities between urban and rural students who go off to college may intensify. Historically, rural populations have been underrepresented in college completion rates. From 2000 to 2015, the number of four-year degrees earned by urban residents grew from 26% to 33%, whereas degrees earned by residents from rural areas increased from 15% to 19%. Will the coronavirus impact how many rural youth go to college in 2020? May 1 traditionally is National Decision Day, when high school seniors make the choice about which institution they will attend in the fall. However, COVID-19 has pushed this date to June 1 for many schools, and the pandemic threatens to upend this process even further into the calendar year. In reaction, some students are considering a gap year, but others are rethinking whether to enroll at all. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Forbes

How Technology is Helping Dayton and Louisville Respond to COVID-19

Local leaders, like many of their residents, have had to adapt to a new normal in the wake of COVID-19. From stay-at-home orders to transitioning to virtual meetings, municipalities across the country are adjusting to ensure they stay connected to their residents. The result, in the age of social distancing, is that municipal leaders are finding their residents more engaged. Cities, towns, and villages are seeing all types of engagement, including higher turnout for live-streamed meetings and increased questions from constituents. In some cities, this is making history. Follow this link to learn how Dayton, Ohio made history during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sourced from: Cities Speak

Virtual Gardening Classroom Connects Experts to Growing Audience

Ohio State University experts, unable to hold in-person gardening classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are using virtual classrooms and a high-tech approach to support local gardeners. The Franklin County office of OSU Extension operates a virtual garden classroom to offer advice and answers as interest in gardening picks up. Timothy McDermott, Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources, is leading the way. “I wanted to make sure that I continued to provide the service of assisting backyard growers, community gardeners, teacher educators or urban farmers with their production needs,” he said. “With the digital online format, I wanted to make sure that I could still provide that content.” Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Ohio State University

Growing Food Justice

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.

Follow this link to learn more.

2019 City Highlights Report Now Available

Every year, the OSU Extension Strategic Initiatives and Urban Engagement unit publishes a City Highlights report showcasing the urban impact from Ohio’s 15 largest counties. This year, a PDF highlights how urban counties address priority areas and a story map allows users to click an interactive map to view stories about OSU Extension’s presence across the state. Both versions can to be used as tools for a resource, presentation to stakeholders, or to promote urban Extension.2019 Highlights Report Sceenshot

If you would like to add updates from your county in 2019, it is not too late. Please contact Amelia at with any photos or impacts you would like to share. Follow this link to learn more about City Highlights.

Follow this link to view the 2019 City Highlights Report.

Follow this link to view the interactive story map.

National Urban Extension Leaders North Central Region Network Virtual Conference

The NUEL North Central Region Network Conference planning team invites you to join your urban colleagues for two-half days (May 18-19) of engaging learning experiences presented by urban Extension professionals. The conference will be held via Zoom and include more than 20 presentations highlighting the work of your North Central urban Extension colleagues.

Conference Goal: To build a network of Urban Extension professionals in the North Central Region that leverages the knowledge and life experiences of the participants.

Conference Objectives:
• Provide an affordable and high-quality professional development experience for Urban Extension colleagues in the North Central Region.
• Showcase Urban Extension models that are successful.
• Leverage the knowledge and life experiences of Urban Extension professionals to improve work in our respective urban communities.

Follow this link to learn more and to register for the $20 Conference.
Registration deadline is May 8.

Sourced from: NUEL