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OSU Extension Employees Attend and Present at the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) North Central Region ConferenceNUEL NC Banner

Six Ohio State University employees recently attended and presented at the 2023 North Central Region Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The goal of the conference was to offer facilitated purposeful interaction to allow participants to learn and connect with other urban Extension professionals. During breakout sessions, facilitators introduced issues and engaged with the audience in authentic participatory experiences to share ideas and identify solutions.

The following are take-aways from those in attendance.

Solomon Garner’s Reflection

What I enjoyed about the regional NUEL conference is that allowed for intentional connections and supportive relationships to develop. Because it’s smaller than the national NUEL conference, there’s a bit more opportunity to connect with Extension peers through presentations and engagement.Solomon Garner with his visual session notes

Self-care is a topic that is often discussed in Extension yet becomes the forgotten step-child, and there’s no room or changes to the system that allows for self-care to fully exist. At this conference, self-care was a session and not only were we able to talk about self-care and share tips amongst each other, we were provided with resources to encourage engagement with self-care. 

Julie Fox’s Reflection

In addition to the formal and informal experiences I enjoyed with Ohio State colleagues at the conference, I also attended the NUEL Steering Committee meeting earlier that week. Visiting with this leadership group provided opportunities to continue aligning Ohio with national priorities and innovating together to advance the strategic importance and long-term value of urban Extension.

Tim McDermott’s ReflectionTim McDermott at a podium with a screen PowerPoint screen behind him.

At the conference I enjoyed meeting new people. I sat at tables with strangers each time and met new people from Purdue and Illinois. I really enjoyed the luncheon speaker on day one. We both use storytelling a great deal in our jobs, and I learned from her a couple of ways to improve my storytelling to engage my stakeholders.

Megan Arnold’s Reflection

I really enjoyed being with colleagues solely focused on urban Extension and sharing ideas about how we can serve under-represented populations in urban communities. An impactful takeaway for me was that we can champion both urban Extension and more traditional Extension programming simultaneously – it is not a zero sum game where focus on one takes away from the other. I also really enjoyed presenting with Patrice, Julie, and Solomon about the future of Urban Extension. We had a great group of engaged participants who were willing to think outside the box with us.

Patrice Powers-Barker’s Reflection

Both the keynote speakers, Dr. Danielle Y. Hairston Green (University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension) on Leaping and Soaring: The Impact of a Single Story and Dr. Quentin Tylor, director of Michigan State Extension on Leaning into Your Purpose used their time to share about personal and professional adversity and success. Extension Professionals from University of Illinois Extension lead participants through a sample of exercises in Putting “Self” Back into Self-Care.

In additional to the introspective conference angle, there was time to network and excellent sessions on outreach, determining the best analytical frameworks for our work, how to best partner with outside organizations and inspiring ignite talks on fun programming. Dr Tylor describes Extension as a special place that takes on the fabric of the community. This conference offered me time to reflect on the fabric of my urban community and to learn from others in neighboring states.

OSU Extension Presentations

The presentations offered by Ohio colleagues were Megan Arnold and Patrice Powers-Barker, Leaning the Lingo: What “Social Determinants of Health” Mean for OSU Extension; Tim McDermott, Maximizing Urban Engagement by Telling Our Story Through Partnership Marketing; and Julie Fox, Megan Arnold, Patrice Powers-Barker, and Solomon Garner, Urban Extension Unscripted, using deliberate improv as a tool for innovation and problem solving.

Want to Know More?

If you would like to learn more about any of the OSU Extension topics presented, please contact the presenters. Vic Fresh from OSU Extension was also in attendance. Complete NUEL-NC Conference information can be found here.

Developing Urban Food Systems for Sustainable and Resilient Communities

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will host the Urban Food Systems Symposium June 11-13, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio. The symposium brings together 300-400 national and international urban food system professionals. The academic and research-oriented professionals will share and gain knowledge on how to build coalitions to adapt to a changing world and how urban food systems contribute to these solutions. Watch this site for details -

Join the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) for its 2023 annual conference — Resilient Campuses. Resilient Cities. — in Washington, D.C., October 15-18. Presenters and attendees will critically examine how our campuses and cities embrace shared understandings and a commitment to fostering greater resilience across themes important to the future of higher education. Ohio State is a member of CUMU. Learn more and register.

Here are recent CFAES urban-related hires. Some of these hires are part of the RAISE initiative. Through the Race, Inclusion and Social Equity (RAISE) initiative, Ohio State is enhancing its world-class research program on race, inclusion, and social equity. Additional hires are in progress and will be posted soon. 

Several of these individuals will be in attendance at the July 14 Urban Ag Team Meeting in Columbus. Let Michelle Gaston know if you are interested in attending.

The Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE) recently welcomed Assistant Professor Jared Grant. Grant received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics, from the University of Georgia. Grant’s research interests include food accessibility, food security, economics of trust, and behavioral economics. His current work includes creating a variation of the Trust Game that implements a Bayesian game theoretic model that imbeds residents’ trust in government and store operators’ decisions to open and maintain grocery stores in a low income and low food access area.

Dr. Fernanda Krupek will be joining Horticulture & Crop Science (HCS) in August 2023 as an Assistant Professor and Urban Food Systems Horticulturalist. The Urban Food Systems position is new and provides HCS an opportunity to engage with new audiences throughout Ohio. Fernanda recently completed her Ph.D. in Crop Physiology and Production at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her Dissertation focused on Experimentation on Nebraska Farms for Sustaining Soil Health Management (2023). Prior to completing her Ph.D., Dr. Krupek received her M.S. (Thesis: Vine Defoliation Management for Improved Harvest and Storage Quality of Early-Season Fresh-Market Potato) from the University of Florida (2019) and B.S. (Agronomy) from the University of Sao Paulo (2016).