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A living, vertical salad bar in the employee break room is more than just a novelty at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center at Dallas. It is a small, and delicious, sign of the comprehensive urban agriculture research ramping up at the center in 2020. The purple-glowing installation arrived at Dallas with Genhua Niu, Ph.D., and Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor of controlled environment agriculture. Her research team represents one component of an overarching push by Texas A&M AgriLife to realize sustainable production of nutritious food within cities, the next frontier in commercial agriculture. Niu’s research is in urban horticulture specifically. This can conjure images of community and backyard gardens, or rooftop and balcony plant installations, but her focus is producing quality food in controlled environments. Her studies are especially relevant in Dallas, of which certain communities are urban food deserts and they carry promising implications for agriculture industries across rural Texas, too. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips
The Meeting of the Minds Behavior Change Project features 12 case studies comprised of international, cross-disciplinary change initiatives that have been successful because their leaders intentionally worked to change human behavior in their field. The 12 pieces are informed by interviews with thought leaders and change agents from Meeting of the Minds’ international network of urban sustainability, mobility, energy, and health practitioners. The Behavior Change Project applies the theoretical frameworks from behavioral economics to understand how each organization moved the needle in their given focus area. Each case study offers a summary of a given change initiative, its intended goals and outcomes, and a brief analysis of the effort involved in advancing behavior change among a particular target audience. Regardless of specific context, these case studies show that behavioral economics is an important tool for driving change by: 1. Gaining insights about human behavior; 2. Using those insights to develop change strategy; and 3. Implementing those strategies to change feelings and behaviors among actors in a system. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Meeting of the Minds
A critical element for truly eradicating extreme poverty (meaning bringing it below 3 percent of the population in each country—the tolerance level of our measurement systems) is understanding where poor people live and how to develop virtuous circles of market-led growth among cities, towns, and rural areas. It is surprising that there is no official cross-country dataset that distinguishes between urban and rural poverty. The World Bank only provides such a breakdown for China, India, and Indonesia. Rural poverty often stems from limited access to markets, education, quality infrastructure, employment opportunities, health, and financial products. Urban poverty is often marred by weak or hazardous living conditions related to sanitation, employment, and personal security. Understanding the difference between the two is fundamental for a national poverty alleviation strategy. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Brookings
"Whilst the how of entrepreneurial learning has attracted much attention, less is currently known about the specifics of what entrepreneurs learn and this research gap applies to venture failure. Drawing on an established entrepreneurial learning framework, this paper provides a thematic analysis of the content dimensions of learning from failure. I highlight that entrepreneurs not only learn much about themselves and the demise of their venture, but also about the nature of relationships, the wider environment, and the “pressure points” of the entrepreneurial process." Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Jason Cope, The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde
Smoke from incense swirled around the porch. Herbs and a lavender plant waned from the summer heat. The rocking chairs beneath us creaked as neighbors came and went, some stopping by only briefly to exchange meals and others staying longer to share stories from around Stark Court. Throughout the summer we talked about dilapidated properties and the city’s disregard for ward five. We discussed barriers to having the first African American getting seated on city council, the effects of climate change, the prison industrial complex, gender-based violence, and most notably, food apartheids and the devastating consequences of an unequal food system.

In Marion County, Ohio the per capita income is just over $40,000. Many neighborhoods that were once middle class are now rundown (14%). Black children are 4 times more likely to experience poverty compared to their white peers (71% and 22% respectively). This, combined with high levels of adult obesity (36%) and food insecurity (15%), paints a picture of a struggling community. As an Extension educator, I knew one initiative could not easily address decades of community neglect and disinvestment. I understood that to a few, I would be seen as an outsider as a middle class, white woman who lived 30 miles south of town. Among some of my peers, my pedagogy was met with criticism. Nevertheless, I persisted. The most prominent program was a 15-week series aimed at developing multi-cultural, leadership capacity at the grassroots level. Community Voices’ central premise was that when voices are raised in unity, we can enact positive change. After only the first few meetings the cohort increased urgency around Marion’s food ways. With a historically black church, a city council representative, two farmers, and disability rights activists, we acquired land bank properties to transform them into accessible community gardens. My responsibility was to organize and link resources that could provide starter plants and seeds, water tanks and rain barrels, small tools and equipment, soil testing, and picnic tables. Together we sponsored Community Planting Days, taste-testings at the garden, educational events, a farm tour, and at the end of the season, initiated the development of a neighborhood association. A year later, we continue to assert land cultivation as a significant part in the fight for freedom. There are several lessons learned from my experience. To start, as a system, we need to uphold the promises made in the Extension Professional’s Creed by prioritizing civic participation (i.e. “people’s ability and power to enlarge their lives and plan for the happiness of those they love”). Secondly, an anti-racist agenda has to be explicit to be relevant to the needs of historically neglected populations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. OSU Extension can evaluate the characteristics we consider norms and standards, but haven’t been pro-actively named or chosen by the groups we serve. Last but not least, we can do what we do best and cultivate belonging. When all people are included and where everyone is at the decision-making table, transformation becomes really easy to access and there’s enough support to yield healing for everyone. From our front porch to yours, we are rooting for you. Follow this link to learn more about Marion County Extension.


Article courtesy of Whitney Gherman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, SNAP-ED, Marion County, Ohio.

Urban Universities + Thriving Communities Communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish. On January 28, 2020 Educators, industry, nonprofit, and community leaders at The Ohio State University gathered to exchange ideas and reinvigorate collective efforts toward strengthening and sustaining vibrant, inclusive communities. It was made evidently clear that communities flourish when everyone within them has the opportunity to flourish. Through thought-provoking presentations by world-renowned speakers and thoughtful discussions, summit attendees learned that when urban-serving universities and communities join forces, they can confront the complexities of education, healthcare, economic, and human development. Follow this link to watch the presentations. Sourced from: The Ohio State University
NUEL Share your successes and lessons learned by submitting your proposal for the NUEL North Central Regional Network Conference. Proposals are due Friday, February 28, 2020. The conference will be held May 18-19, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. The five themes for the conference were chosen through NUEL NC Region’s listserv and are listed below with the highest-ranking theme listed first. These themes are intentionally Extension specific, to promote presentations highlighting cross-disciplinary work, and will also serve as presentation content areas.
  • Program Delivery in Urban Areas
  • Systemic Equity/Cultural Competency
  • Resources
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
Format: Presentations will be innovative, interactive sessions in which participants learn about or use tools, techniques, and approaches applicable to their work. Presentations must involve participants, using formats such as; role playing, simulations, practice sessions, tool application, case studies, success/failure stories, and discussion to spur thoughts. Breakout sessions will be one hour and fifteen minutes in length to allow time for post presentation discussion. Presentations can be 30 or 60 minutes in length. Thirty-minute presentations will be paired in the same room with another 30-minute presentation discussing the same theme. Sixty-minute presentations will not be paired. Team presentations are encouraged for 60-minute presentations. The deadline for Submission is Friday, February 28, 2020 Follow this link to learn more. Follow this link to submit your presentation proposal. Sourced from: NUEL  
Cuyahoga County tree canopy assessment update details lossesCuyahoga County’s newest urban tree canopy assessment, released last month, shows the Clifton Park neighborhood has suffered one of the highest levels of tree losses in the county over the past decade. Clifton Park is a snapshot of what tree advocates are calling an emergency for climate resilience, natural habitat, property values, and human health. Lakewood topped all 59 Cuyahoga communities with an 18.5% loss in its tree canopy, according to the assessment, which analyzes data gathered in 2017 to determine rates of change since an earlier report based on 2011 data. Follow this link to learn more. Follow this link to access the Urban Tree Canopy Viewer. Sourced from:
The most powerful leaders are those who can exercise humility. This past month I was at a conference at The Ohio State University for Urban Serving Universities. The messages from all the speakers were robust and powerful but none more than a panel I attended on issues of poverty, race, class, and discrimination in our education system. The leaders on this panel all had different perspectives and views, but no one could deny the reality that humbling one’s self and exercising humility did the most to foster a mutually respectful and academically successful system. My own experiences mirror this realization. As an educator I have found that bonds between the student and teacher should never be forged as a hierarchy. Rather the success of the student and teacher are linked in the ability to be vulnerable with each other. To share perspectives and thoughts. This great success has been modeled throughout history and is often replicated in higher education. It is not a mentor role (thought that does happen), it is not rooted in paternalism. It is a true bond of teacher and student. The reality is that we are all teachers and students at different times in our lives. It isn’t a secret that I have learned a great deal from my students, I have probably learned more from them than they have ever learned from me. To teach is to love success. I am thankful every day for the amazing work of teachers, but also of the 4-H advisors, volunteers, and parents who humble themselves and exercise humility in their attempt to serve our youth as positive adult role models who foster a culture of success and service. Thanks, Tony Staubach Learn more about Hamilton County Extension Below: Partner Highlights: Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County: The public is invited to take part in a series of free workshops on the ins and outs of being a landlord. This nationally recognized program discusses crucial issues related to managing a rental property. Topics discussed at each training include applicant screening and avoiding fair housing issues, crisis resolution and the eviction process, property maintenance and working with Code Enforcement, and the importance of a preventive maintenance schedule, fire safety and prevention. Dates and locations: Wednesday, February 26th, 9am-2pm: Main Library Monday, March 9th, 6-9pm: Main Library Wednesday, March 11th, 6-9pm: Main Library Saturday, April 18th, 10am-3pm: Clifton Branch Friday, May 15th, 10am-3pm: Corryville Branch Tuesday, August 18th, 3-6pm: Pleasant Ridge Branch Thursday, August 20th, 3-6pm: Pleasant Ridge Branch Monday, September 21st, 6-9pm: Main Library Wednesday, September 23rd, 6-9pm: Main Library Saturday, October 17th, 10am-3pm: Corryville Branch Monday, November 16th, 1-6pm: Oakley Branch Follow this link to learn more. Cincinnati Museum Center: Grab your lunch and join us! Our popular Brown Bag Lecture Series take place at the Forest Park Senior Center. With an emphasis on Cincinnati history, these informative and exciting lectures will inspire you to be more curious about the community around you. Brown Bag lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, but space is limited. Lectures all take place at the Forest Park Senior Center, located at 11555 Winton Road, Cincinnati, Ohio. Lectures run from noon to 1 p.m. on the third Friday of the month. 2020 Lecture schedule: February 21: Union Terminal March 20: Cincinnati and the Presidents April 17: Up & Away to Mt. Auburn May 15: Emery Family Legacy June 19: USS Cincinnati Commissioning Foundation July 17: The Cincinnati Story, 1788 to 1925 September 18: Cincinnati and the Miami & Erie Canal October 16: Historic Hauntings November 20: Industries that Built the Queen City December 18: Architecture - The Art Deco Era – 1920 to 1940 Follow this link to learn more. Hamilton County Farm Bureau: Hamilton County Farm Bureau has multiple scholarship opportunities for students pursuing post-secondary education including FFA students. Application Deadlines: • Active Member Agricultural Scholarship – April 1, 2020 • Community Member Agricultural Scholarship – April 1, 2020 • FFA Scholarship – April 1, 2020 If you have any questions, contact 513-831-5870 or via email at Hamilton County Community Fair:  Thank you must continue to be extended to the Hamilton County Community Fair for their ongoing support of Hamilton County 4-H. Hamilton County 4-H has removed the county wide membership fee. 4-H members interesting in exhibiting at the Community Fair will have the choice to purchase a Community Fair membership which will admit them to the fair every day and provide them with other benefits throughout the year. Be on the look out for more info soon! Volunteer Needs: Looking to volunteer with Hamilton County 4-H? We are looking for adults to serve as club advisors at our afterschool sites. Follow this link to learn more about the job description. Chick Quest: It’s that time of the year. Classroom Teachers can sign up for ChickQuest. This year we are asking for a $25 donation (or whatever you can afford) to support the program payable by cash, Credit Card or Check to OSU Extension, Hamilton County. The basic kit includes, eggs, incubator, teacher manual, a cardboard brooder box, and a light. Workbooks for students cost $5 each or $50 for 25 books. Eggs will go out the first Wednesday of each month beginning in February and continuing through April. Follow this link to learn more or to sign up. Donate: Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Nancy and Colonel David Bull, we can enhance the impact of the 4-H program for generations of youth to come through the establishment of an endowment to be used exclusively for 4-H programming in Hamilton County. Nancy and David Bull have a deep sense of the community of philanthropy. They would like to leverage their gift of $50,000, half the amount needed to fund the $100,000 endowment, as a challenge gift to other donors who are interested in establishing support of Hamilton County 4-H. Their gift will match dollar-for-dollar to the first $50,000 raised to establish the Hamilton County 4-H Endowment. Follow this link to learn how you can donate. Events: Follow this link to view the Hamilton County 4-H 2020 Calendar. Auricle courtesy of Tony Staubach, Extension Educator 4-H Youth Development, Hamilton County 

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences charts a worrying global shift towards more-sprawling and less-hooked-up street networks over time. In their interactive online Global Sprawl Map, the bluer the area, the more compact its streets tend to be. The redder, the more sprawling. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: City Lab Across the Globe, Urban Sprawl Is Spreading