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With a population nearing 900,000, Columbus, Ohio, is the largest municipality in the state and 14th largest in the United States. It is Ohio’s state capital as well as home to The Ohio State University and headquarters for five Fortune 500 companies. Combined with the rest of Franklin County, the area is home to about 1.3 million residents, 12 percent of who are age 65 or older. Columbus joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities  in 2015. Franklin County followed in 2018. The region’s age-friendly initiative is called Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County. The Challenge “When COVID hit the front pages of Central Ohio newspapers, we anticipated older adults would have limited access to resources, resulting in increased social isolation and food insecurity,” says Katie White, Director, Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County. “We also immediately saw that need spanned the entire county, not just Columbus.” The Response The age-friendly group sprang into action, contacting community partners that have a continual pulse on needs, challenges, and opportunities throughout the region. Students, staff, and faculty volunteers from The Ohio State University College of Social Work speak by phone with older adults in the community, providing an opportunity for older people to socialize and get questions answered without the fear of contracting COVID. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Cities Speak
"What’s the point? Have you ever had those moments where you wonder why you’re doing something? You take a moment and think, no one cares, no one wants this, no one notices this. That’s when you have to look inside and ask, why? Is this for you or is it to please others. Now is a great time to stop, reassess, and find compromise. For example, cleaning. For some, there must be balance. To live in filth and disarray makes things chaotic and unhealthy but, there are compromises. Rather than throwing all of your clothes on the floor, maybe you have baskets, shirts in this one, pants in this one, etc. For me, that wouldn’t work, I’d much rather hang my clothes back up but, there is a system that is manageable and functional for all of us. It would be my preference not to have a drawers. I’d rather hang everything. And in my office, I’d rather have cabinets, I find cabinets to be functional." Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Tony Staubach, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Hamilton County, Ohio.
How can you tackle recidivism and serve your community at the same time? Civil Society Fellow Matthew Fieldman and the team at EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute is leading the way. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, EDWINS is ensuring their work bettering the futures of previously incarcerated individuals would not end due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead pivoted their model to meet the needs of their community. The Aspen Global Leadership Network spoke with Matt about the EDWINS model, what it took to pivot, and advice for others looking to serve their communities. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: The Aspen Institute
Join Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, for the next installment in Urban's conversation series, Evidence to Action. During this virtual event, Elaine Waxman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, chief executive officer of Feeding America, will join Sarah to discuss food insecurity during the pandemic and what policymakers and practitioners can do to ensure everyone has access to sufficient food both now and as we begin recovering from the crisis. The webinar will take place Friday, May 29, 2020 at 2 p.m. EST. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Urban Institute
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.
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
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
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
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on until midnight July 6, 2020. “These grant opportunities underscore USDA’s commitment to all segments of agriculture, including swiftly expanding areas of urban agriculture,” Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey said. “Such projects have the potential to address important issues such as food access and education and to support innovative ways to increase local food production in urban environments.” Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips
Flexible routes and schedules, pandemic planning, and more significant relationships with private-sector mobility operations could be some of the lasting effects the coronavirus crisis has on public transit. Moving forward, experts say the novel coronavirus will likely prompt longer-term design changes to transit systems, as well as more immediate stop-gap efforts once these systems begin to resume more normal service routines. These impacts were the topic of discussion during an online Shared Mobility Summit panel discussion Wednesday. “We’ll likely see mask requirements on a lot of systems for the next year or so. We’ll start seeing hand sanitizers placed at train stations and busy bus stops. Longer-term, agency planning is just going to have to take pandemics into mind,” said Chris Van Eyken, a senior associate at TransitCenter. Follow this link to learn more. Sourced from: Government Technology