Recent Blog Posts

Traditionally, it has been assumed that cultivating food leads to a loss of biodiversity and negative impacts on an ecosystem. A new study from researchers at multiple universities, including The University of Texas at Austin, defies this assumption, showing that community gardens and urban farms positively affect biodiversity, local ecosystems and the well-being of humans that work in them. Read more.

Sourced from Morning AgClips

Aftab Pureval, mayor of Cincinnati, sees opportunity for building back the strength of our democracy through local offices. As the former Hamilton County clerk of courts, he honed his skills of persuasion, bridge building and collaboration in a smaller, less scrutinized public office. He improved his ability to be risk tolerant; failure, he notes, is necessary for understanding improvement and innovation. Another discovery: It’s more powerful for a leader to say, “I don’t know” and to engage the team around him or her to get to the best answer. All these nuances of leadership in City Hall give him the opportunity and platform to improve the lives of Cincinnatians. Go to the podcast.

The USDA 1890 National Scholars Program is available to high school seniors entering their freshman year of college and rising college sophomores and juniors, who pursue degrees in one of many agriculture-related disciplines while attending an 1890 land-grant university. Major efforts have been made to develop an electronic application platform for Students to apply. Students can learn more, access the applicant guide and apply online at USDA/1890 National Scholars Program. (

The application deadline is Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

USDA is making available up to $7.5 million for grants through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects.

As more of our daily activities take place online, we believe it’s time to consider how this may eventually play out; if tomorrow’s city dwellers prefer the metaverse to brick-and-mortar stores and other urban amenities, what will it mean for cities and what purposes will cities ultimately serve? Read more.

Sourced from The Conversation

You are invited to join your regional urban colleagues June 7-9 at the 2023 North-Central NUEL Regional Conference. The conference will be held at Memorial Union on the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, located in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin. The organizing committee of this year’s conference is committed to providing a conference experience that presents opportunities for you to grow as an Urban Extensionist through purposeful interaction.

To achieve this, we’re breaking from the traditional conference experience. We’ll still have great keynote speakers, your Ignite Presentations, wonderful food, and plenty of time for networking. We’re looking for a new take on the conference breakout session. To engage the audience more authentically, we’re asking you to facilitate breakout sessions in a new way.

As a nod to the Community Development acumen we believe all Extension Professionals should have, we want our breakout sessions to introduce an issue/idea/concept and then work on it - collaboratively. This format will allow for a more participatory experience for attendees and provide an opportunity for collaborative issue identification and resolution.

Facilitated Discussion Sessions will be 75-minutes in length. Facilitators are encouraged to name co-facilitators and/or scribes to document the work of the group during their sessions.

Submitting Your Proposal Is Easy
If you’re ready to submit your proposal for a Facilitated Discussion or an Ignite Presentation, visit this link by January 31, 2023. We’ll notify you on February 10, 2023, if your proposal is selected.

Need inspiration for crafting your proposal? We’re looking for sessions that highlight hot Extension topics, elevate urban outreach, or broker conversations on critical issues. You might consider framing your proposal within one of NUEL’s Program Areas of Strengthening Communities, Protecting the Environment, Improving our Health, Enriching Youth, and Feeding the Future. Additionally, here are some themes that the organizing committee has brainstormed.

If you have questions or want to run an idea by the committee, feel free to reach out:
Durriyyah Kemp -
Michelle Cox -
Marlin Bates -

The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future with Ben Green

Smart cities, where technology is used to solve every problem, are hailed as futuristic urban utopias. We are promised that apps, algorithms, and artificial intelligence will relieve congestion, restore democracy, prevent crime, and improve public services. Hear warnings against seeing the city through the lens of technology; taking an exclusively technical view of urban life will lead to cities that appear smart but under the surface are rife with injustice and inequality. The webinar is January 27 at 12 p.m. Learn more and register.

Sourced from Ohio State's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA)

The vast majority of the state of Ohio is growing older, losing population, and losing workers — a trend offset only by growth happening mostly in Columbus and surrounding areas, a new report shows.

From 2000 to 2020, the state of Ohio saw its population grow by 3%, but if the city of Columbus and surrounding areas are removed from the equation, the rest of the state experienced population loss of about 1%, or 100,000 people, according to a new study from the nonpartisan nonprofit Greater Ohio Policy Center. Read the complete article.

Sourced from Ohio Capital Journal

Each of the 88 counties of Ohio houses an Ohio State University Extension Office. One of these resourceful offices is located right here in the heart of the Columbus campus on the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory. Among the many great people who work out of the Franklin County Extension Office is, Tim McDermott, who specializes in urban agriculture and Local Food Systems. Recently, one of Tim’s ventures has taken his focus all around the state of Ohio. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: The Ohio State University CFAES Department of Horticulture and Crop Science News

NUEL’s North Central Regional Conference will be held June 7-9, 2023 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Join you colleagues and be a part of a conference “shift” to cultivate spaces to discuss hot Extension topics, discover creative ways to elevate urban outreach, engage in thoughtful dialogue about critical issues, and participate in think tank sessions. They are currently seeking facilitators to help lead this dynamic, non-traditional conference experience. If you want to be a part of the change, sign up to attend one of our informational sessions and learn how you can be a part of the conference culture shift!

Call for Facilitators - Informational Session Dates (follow the links to register)
Thursday, December 1, 2022, 1:00 - 2:00 (EST)
Monday, January 9, 2023, 2:00 - 3:00 (EST)