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All are invited to attend a Zoom meeting on March 2, 2-3 p.m. EST. The meeting will pull together attendees from January’s Summit as well as others across the state who are interested in the future of Extension in Ohio’s Urban Communities. The goals generated from the Summit along with a Plan of Work will be explored during the session. If interested, please add the meeting to your calendar and join us on March 2. Zoom Meeting: One tap mobile +16468769923,,6142920456# US (New York) Phone +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) Meeting ID: 614 292 0456 Follow this link to learn more about the Summit on Extension in Ohio’s Urban Communities.  
Join National Urban Extension Leaders on May 18-19 for the NCR Network Conference to engage with colleagues from your region. The conference will be held at the Pyle Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus located in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin. 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 the urban Extension professionals to improve work in our respective urban communities.
Follow this link to download the Conference Agenda. The NUEL Steering Committee will meet on May 20 & 21 following the NCR Network Conference – All are welcome to attend! Be sure to register for the steering committee if you plan to attend. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: NUEL NUEL
Last month, CURA hosted a panel discussion on Food Security & Healthy Communities. This was the first in a series of events centered around the theme of Food Security & Healthy Communities. The panel consists of experts from the City of Columbus - Cheryl L Graffagnino, Franklin County - Brian Estabrook, OSU Extension - Karima Samadi, and the College of Engineering, Knowlton School of Architecture - Kareem Usher. Nearly 11% of the world’s population are food insecure or malnourished, and it may get worse: by 2050 farmers will need to produce almost 60% more food than currently. In Franklin County Ohio food insecurity is affecting Columbus neighborhoods. The type of food that is available to residents in these neighborhoods also plays into food insecurity. People who live in areas that do not have easy access to supermarkets tend to rely on stores that sell nutritionally-deficient or more expensive food. Transportation services, sidewalks, and the availability of crosswalks are also variables in residents’ access to healthy food options. Follow this link to learn more. Follow this link to watch the recorded panel discussion. Sourced from: CURA

Celebrating Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Day on Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS): the field of study focused on the science and art of living and working well in our complex world. Family and Consumer Sciences Educators: career title of individuals most often found working in secondary, post-secondary, and Extension programs. Who should celebrate Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Day? Anyone who wants to:
  • celebrate Family and Consumer Sciences Educators
  • share the story of FCS education's relevance in today’s society, and effectiveness in addressing modern life needs within our United States
  • encourage students to consider careers as FCS educators
I am a Family and Consumer Sciences educator in an urban county. In many ways my programming looks similar to my colleagues in rural counties but there are some differences. While I feel self-conscious about taking a day to promote my work, I’m starting to understand the importance of FCS Educator Day. When I look at the inspiring work that my colleagues are doing across the state, in urban, rural, and suburban communities I realize that it’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight the stories and work of FCS Educators. The theme for promoting FCS careers is: Making a Difference Through Family and Consumer Sciences. I’m confident my FCS colleagues would be making a difference, no matter what their field of work. When I think about this group of individual professionals, working in different communities across the state, there are notable commonalities. One specific trait I notice in my peers is that every one of us is a Problem Solver. We certainly don’t look at everything the same way, act in the same way, or solve problems in the same way; but I cannot think of an example when my colleagues weren’t willing to jump in and help create solutions. The problem solving is not limited to just offering advice. My colleagues actively help work on and contribute to solutions. Occasionally, challenges are easily identified and then fixed. More often, especially when working with people and families, there is no one right answer. Sometimes it’s even difficult to determine the specific dilemma. Most solutions take time and require dedication and effort. My colleagues don’t shy away from a challenge. Because we work in various counties across the state, most of us do not see one another on a regular basis. We rely on technology to call, zoom, and share resources. Even without working together in the same physical space, FCS educators often work as teams and therefor are good at co-creating solutions. For FCS Educator Day,
  • If you are a problem solver and you’re considering your best career path, learn more about Family and Consumer Sciences. It’s a field of study that benefits a variety of careers.
  • If you are reading this and thinking, “I know an FCS Educator,” take a moment to let them know what you appreciate about them. If someone is comfortable being in the spotlight, please share their story widely. If someone prefers working in the background, it’s a good time to recognize what they contribute to this field. Send a note, post a message, or share a picture of the professionals that contribute to strong families and communities.
  • If you are reading this and thinking, “I wish I knew an FCS Educator” check out your local schools and Extension office. Occasionally, FCS is not given the recognition it deserves. While FCS Educators could be spending more time promoting the work they do, my guess is that most of my peers will spend FCS Educator Day, similar to other workdays. They will be building a better community, working with one person, family, or class at a time and not necessarily seeking accolades.
Follow this link to learn more about FCS Educator Day. Article courtesy of Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County, Ohio FCS
A Growing Team sharing about their experience A Growing Team sharing about their experience

Good Natured Garden Partners (GNGP) is a program that allows a collaboration between OSU Extension, Mahoning County, and youth programs throughout the Mahoning Valley. The groups in the program are called “growing teams.” The growing teams that participate have at least one adult facilitator and as many youth that want to take part in the garden. GNGP usually ranges from 10-15 growing teams per year. Growing teams are allowed to be sponsored by an organization, but do not have to be. The goal of these growing teams is to plant and care for a garden throughout the summer. Youth learn the importance of hard work, dedication, and responsibility through this program, while learning where their food comes from and how to provide for themselves.
Youth at the End of Summer Garden Party Youth at the End of Summer Garden Party

At the end of the program GNGP have an “End of the Summer Garden Party” where the participants come together for fellowship and a friendly competition. The competition is for the growing teams to bring in the products of their gardens. There are categories for vegetables such as; best plate of peppers, best plate of tomatoes, biggest zucchini, best plate of cucumbers, other vegetables, vegetable oddities, best basket of vegetables, and dress up the vegetable. There are also categories for herbs and flowers such as; largest sunflower, best bouquet of flowers, and best bouquet of herbs. The youth participants receive ribbons and prizes during the competition for all of their hard work. During the garden party the growing teams are asked to come forward and tell about their time in the garden throughout the summer. Follow this link to learn more. Article courtesy of Kristen Eisenhauer, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mahoning County, Ohio.
If you live in a place with both cars and snow, chances are you’ve witnessed first hand the annual salting of the roads. Since at least the 1940s, Americans in the snowy states have salted annually, often many times a year, in an effort to make our roads safer. Ask anyone who has spun out while driving, or unwittingly hit a patch of black ice: slippery roads are nothing to scoff at, and salt can be a necessary, even life-saving, tactic for winter road warriors. Today, shutting down a state’s roads due to winter weather can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, says Michael Smith, technical training specialist with Bay State Roads at the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center. For example, shutting down the roads of Massachusetts (as happened statewide during a 2013 nor’easter) can cost between $300 and $700 million dollars per day, Smith says. And so, as a nation, we dump 22 million tons of salt every year on our roads. Fish, animals, insects, plants, and algae have changed their behavior in response to the current levels of road salt washing into their habitats. Some species of frog are, incredibly, changing sex as a result of these massive doses of salt. High enough doses can kill them and other wildlife. For the naturalist, folks who like to fish or otherwise enjoy nature, and for locals who rely upon natural tourism, salt’s side effects can’t be ignored. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Next City
Cover crops are a critical tool for improving soil quality on farms of all types and at all scales. Urban farms and gardens deal with unique challenges while growing in urban spaces that cover crops can help address. Urban soils can be heavily degraded when topsoil is removed for construction. Sites that previously hosted buildings also have heavily compacted soils. Compacted soil makes it difficult for crop roots to penetrate and access water and nutrients and limit water penetration which can cause flooding or standing water. Cover crops can also help address non-soil-specific problems, such as create forage for pollinators, reduce weed pressure, and prevent soil and nutrients from running off into waterways. The Michigan State University Extension cover crop team is releasing several tools to help urban growers incorporate cover crops into their soil management practices. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips