Why it’s important: Some 36 million people in the region don’t have enough good food to eat, and degraded soils play a role in it. Success, Lal says, will mean “we can eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the region, and we can protect the natural resources that are now being degraded.”
Last year, Ohioans working as Master Gardener Volunteers grew nearly 80,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables—equal to the weight of a fully loaded 18-wheeler, or about 65,000 meals—which they donated to some 101 food pantries across Ohio to help people in need.
Mike Hogan, an OSU Extension educator who facilitates the Master Gardener Volunteers program in Franklin County, said the need for such donations “significantly increased this year due to the pandemic.”
Master Gardener Volunteers are plant lovers who donate their expertise and time serving the public. CFAES’ outreach arm, OSU Extension, runs the program, which gives training and has volunteers in most of the state’s counties.
CFAES animal sciences major and Eminence Fellow Elena McGoey recently shared details about a new Ohio State student organization. Called Cultivate Columbus, the group “aims to connect Ohio State students with local communities to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for food justice in Columbus.”
The group’s mission, she said, “is to promote sustainable practices, nourish communities, and enhance food security.”
Eric Tiu, left, and Jameel Watson came together by chance as roommates, found they shared a common experience as former members of 4-H—Tiu in Ohio, Watson in Jamaica—and used that experience to dive into raising backyard chickens in New York City. Result: fresh local meat and eggs for themselves as well as for people in need.