Marion County Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences received a 2020 Community Engagement Program Award from the Office of Outreach and Engagement. “Heal, Repair, Restore” is a case study and story of land reuse and community empowerment. Here is an excerpt: “Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than two percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to healthy food. Marion County possesses no special immunity in this regard.” Follow this link to learn more.
When the 2020 census results are released next year, they will show that America’s population is more racially diverse than ever before, with four out of every 10 residents projected to identify as a non-white racial group. Yet, in the average neighborhood where white residents live, racial diversity will be far less common. Moreover, most black and Latino or Hispanic residents will continue to live in neighborhoods where whites represent a much more modest presence than in their larger community. These likely outcomes of the national headcount are based on an analysis of the 2014 to 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) data released at the end of last year. They show continued broad variation in black and Latino or Hispanic segregation across the country. Yet even in the most racially diverse metropolitan areas, white, black, and Latino or Hispanic residents still live in areas that are not reflective of their entire region’s racial and ethnic diversity. Follow this link to read more.
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.
Anchor institutions are entities that are important, long-term fixtures in a community and take some responsibility for that community’s successful development. They are usually non-profit organizations – such as universities, hospitals, and school systems – but may consist of large corporations, government centers, military bases, or sports teams. We should care about anchor institutions and their role in health because of the power and responsibility they carry. Anchors control large amounts of community capital and can influence the kind of employment options available, the quality of foods that are offered to students and employees, what medical care benefits are provided, or the reach of public transportation. Follow this link to learn more.
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.
Monday morning, assistant director Derickson kicked off Ohio Agriculture Week during a visit to 80 Acres Farms, a state-of-the-art, tech-centric indoor farm that’s housed entirely inside a Cincinnati-area warehouse. 80 Acres Farms is a 100 percent pesticide free, eco-friendly farm that delivers fresh produce to grocery stores across Ohio. “As a dairy farmer in Butler County for many years, I have a sincere appreciation for Ohio agriculture,” said Derickson. “This week recognizes and celebrate the many contributions that Ohio’s agriculture communities make to enhance the quality of life not only in our state, but throughout the country.”
Assistant Director Derickson will continue to celebrate Ohio Agriculture Week with more than a dozen events across Ohio in the coming days, including a stop at Jones Fish Hatchery, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jones Fish is a family owned, industry leader in aquatic resource management, pond aeration, and Midwestern gamefish stocking. Jones has six locations across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and northern Tennessee.
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.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is hosting its 9th Sustainable Urban Landscapes Symposium as part of its Excellence in Horticulture Series of Symposiums. Speakers will tackle various talks under the loose headline of “Success Stories in Sustainable Horticulture.” The lineup this year includes: Peter MacDonagh, an internationally renowned expert in green infrastructure; Dr. Jamie Strange, Entomologist at Ohio State University and an expert on bumblebees; Joe Boggs, Hamilton County OSU Extension; and from the CZBG, Mark Fisher, Steve Foltz, and Scott Beuerlein. The event will be held on Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Registration closes March 6, 2020.