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.
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.
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
This presentation will describe the origins of the Census Tract; how it evolved into its present-day form, how it is used, and what types of data are applied at tract level. Participants will be treated to a live demonstration of ways to get tract-level data in data.census.gov. The presenter will also highlight some other websites where tract information is used and visualized. The webinar is being held Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 1-2 p.m. EDT. Follow this link to learn 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.