As Americans, we see transportation as freedom. Give us a car and the open road, a bustling transit system, or bike lanes for miles. Transportation connects us to people and opportunity—and good infrastructure can make our lives better. This notion doesn’t end at the modes that move people. Freight trains are often the forgotten side of rail infrastructure, chugging day in, day out across our cities to deliver goods we rely on. Everything from consumer products to food to energy resources moves by rail. As infrastructure sits top of mind for policymakers at all levels of government, and we approach re-authorization of the federal highway program in 2020, it’s useful to reflect on our strengths. Privately funded freight rail is one of these strengths, an infrastructure asset that delivers stronger economies, more jobs, less congestion, and cleaner skies, all of which impacts municipalities. Here are five ways trains are driving cities forward. Follow this link to learn more.
Coordinated by graduate student Hannah Whitley in Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, the Female Farmer Photovoice Project explores how socially constructed identities complicate barriers and opportunities for urban growers and connect to broader institutional inequities that perpetuate these problems. This past spring, 18 female urban agriculturalists were given disposable cameras and asked to take pictures that “tell their story” of urban agriculture. After three weeks of picture taking, participants met for a reflection meeting to share their photos, select which ones they wanted to share with the public, create titles, and write narratives for their photographs. These images and stories now are displayed on the project website’s digital gallery, www.thefemalefarmerphotovoiceproject.org, and in an exhibition that will travel across Pennsylvania and the Northeast this year. Whitley said she hopes the project will raise awareness of the importance of this kind of research. Follow this link to learn more.
Communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish. When urban-serving universities and communities join forces, we can confront the complexities of education, healthcare, economic, and human development in order to:
Prepare an increasingly diverse workforce to successfully navigate careers through technological, economic, and social change.
Assess, treat, and prevent urban health risks for increasingly diverse populations.
Create sustainable solutions for continued and inclusive growth that improve the quality of life in our communities.
Join educators, industry, nonprofit, and community leaders at The Ohio State University on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST in the Ohio Union to exchange ideas and reinvigorate the collective efforts toward strengthening and sustaining vibrant, inclusive communities. Follow this link to learn more.
At the top of a three-story building in Hong Kong, with car horns blasting on the streets below, Jim Fung teaches a dozen students how to thin out choi sum vegetables. “Always use the resources you have,” the instructor said as he placed shredded office paper into soil-filled plastic crates and wound string around bamboo sticks to make support frames. Fung was coaching the first cohort of students in an academy run by social enterprise Rooftop Republic to teach a new generation of urban farmers as demand for their skills soars. The organization is spearheading a movement to turn Hong Kong’s idle rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the finance hub more livable. Follow this link to learn more.
Across the country, local leaders are recognizing the benefits of reaching across jurisdictions to address climate issues. While regional collaborations of any kind can be challenging, elected officials and their staff know that social, economic, infrastructural, and ecological systems transcend city and county lines. Local leaders are partnering with academic institutions, nonprofits, regional planning councils, and other metro-regional stakeholders. Currently, there are at least 17 regional climate coalitions in the U.S. In early 2019, Council Member Lindsey Constance of Shawnee, Kansas, and Mayor Mike Kelly of Roeland Park, Kansas, took up this challenge, initiating The Metro Kansas City Climate Action Coalition with the goal of assembling elected leaders from the bi-state region to “draw down greenhouse gases, improve climate resilience, and generate corresponding economic, social, health, and quality of life benefits.” Follow this link to learn more.
The Coalition for Urban and Metropolitan Universities Conference (CUMU) was held in Philadelphia on October 20-23. CUMU is one of the nations largest and long-running organizations committed to serving and connecting the world’s urban and metropolitan universities to address the unique challenges faced in urban environments. The Ohio State University is a member of the coalition. The conference brought together many high-level partner universities, city governments and non-profit organizations to discuss how community engagement can be leveraged to serve our collective client residents. Learning about the different perspectives was a valuable experience for me as an attendee. I enjoyed seeing how Extension can provide outreach and education to serve the Land Grant mission of Ohio State while learning how other stakeholders address their own client needs. I highly recommend this conference as a unique and valuable experience to gain insight on how other partner institutions address the challenges that are faced in urban and metropolitan environments. Follow this link to learn more.
The Ohio State University Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), the Sustainability Institute (SI), University Libraries, and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) are hosting a three-day series of events for World Food Day. Events on October 16-18 will highlight World Food Day’s aim to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. Follow this link to learn more.
This handbook is for staff providing training and technical assistance (T&TA) in immigrant and refugee farmer-training programs. This foundational and practical handbook provides basic explanations of certain teaching theories, as well as tips for applying them in the design and delivery of T&TA. This handbook was developed by Dani M. Scherer with the Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED Solutions). Twelve refugee farmer training programs across the country provided feedback on the content of this guide. Follow this link to learn more.