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

Listening Session for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) RFA Development Program

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently posted a notice that they are taking stakeholder input to help inform and set priorities for $40 million of grant funding for research, education, and Extension around urban agriculture, indoor agriculture, and emerging agriculture. To respond to NIFA with aggregated and organized comments, the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER), National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL), and a number of local Farm Bureau chapters located in urban counties from across the country are partnering to host four online, interactive stakeholder listening sessions (see below for details and registration).

Listening Sessions: WCMER member institution Michigan State University’s National Charrette Institute has designed and will provide facilitation for the online listening sessions.  The dates/times and registration links for the listening sessions are:

  1. Thursday, May 28 from 2-4 pm EST, 1-3 pm CST, 12-2 pm MST, 11 am-1pm PST
    Registration Link:
  2. Thursday, May 28 from 7-9 pm EST, 6-8 pm CST, 5-7 pm MST, 4-6 pm PST
    Registration Link:
  3. Friday, May 29 from 10 am-12 pm EST, 9-11 am CST, 8-10 am MST, 7- 9 am PST
    Registration Link:
  4. Friday, May 29 from 2-4 pm EST, 1-3 pm CST, 12 pm-2 pm MST, 11 am-1 pm PST
    Registration Link:

Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: The Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research

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

Upcoming Webinar: The 2020 Census and COVID-19: Implications for Communities

This month CURA is launching a series of webinars on “Cities and Regions in the Post-Coronavirus Era,” initiating community conversations on what lesson we can learn from this crisis to create a more resilient and sustainable world.

Join them Friday May 8, 2020 at at 12 p.m. EDT for the first webinar on The 2020 Census and COVID-19: Implications for Communities – Panel Discussion moderated by Harvey Miller.
Panelists include:

  1. Josh Sadvari – Geospatial Information Librarian – University Libraries
  2. Glennon Sweeney – Senior Research Associate – Kirwan Institute for the study of Race and Ethnicity
  3. Aaron Schill – Data and Mapping Director – Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: CURA

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

Virginia State University’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Program Builds 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.

Sourced from: Virginia Cooperative Extension