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Author:  David Crawford, OSU Extension, Stark County, CED & 4-H Youth Development Educator This five-year USDA/CYFAR grant started in late 2013 and funds the efforts that address local concerns on the importance of active fathering, provides youth participants with hands-on 4-H activities to develop marketable skills,  and the improve nutritional health of targeted youths and adults in Stark, Hardin and Franklin Counties. All 4-H programs focus on active involvement and quality experiences which stimulate lifelong learning of values and skills.  More than 20 fathers and youth participated in a 2014 data collection activity to assist in designing the weGrill© program to meet the needs of participants in Stark. Program curriculum is being developed and piloted. Preliminary formative evaluation occurred during three grilling workshops in 2014 with more than 60 total youth/father participants. Needs assessment data and information gathered from these workshops are being used in the development of the curriculum. The program will be implemented in communities in 2016 after intensive piloting in 2015-2016.
Stark Site WeGrill Edited 2 The program targets adult male participants who are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or step-fathers, and their adolescent youth ages 11-18 years old

The program targets adult male participants who are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or step-fathers, and their adolescent youth ages 11-18 years old. Participants participate in hands on, learning activities, to incorporate the following themes: Awareness, Responsibility, Decision-making and Connection.  Each of the main topics will have a number of themes that are introduced and interwoven throughout.  Topics include compassion, commitment, forgiveness, gratitude, identity, leadership, preparation, responsibility, and respect.  A collaborative effort exists for the success of the program.  Campus researchers, 4-H, EFNEP and ANR professionals have contributed to this effort in Stark County. Our local Stark County community partner is FameFathers ( who assists in participant recruitment, planning, and program delivery/development.
Stark Site WeGrill Edited 1 Stark County, OSUE , OSU and Fame Fathers weGrill Team Members facilitate pilot sessions to evaluation curriculum and activities with youth and fathers at a Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA) site.

“The curriculum is designed as a four session, in-person series, taught by Extension professionals, each session being approximately two hours long. The themes will tie the information for fathers (fatherhood education) and youth (4-H youth development) into an integrated learning package.  Lesson material will be augmented by father/child activity and nutrition cards that can be used during the in-person sessions and at home.  Activity cards are designed for fathers and youth to engage each other in simple activities to build stronger relationships and develop life skills.  Nutrition cards are used to demonstrate grilling techniques, recipes, serving sizes, and dietary health,” shared by Dr. James Bates, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor, Extension Field Specialist, Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension. The 4-H Grilling and Beyond Team looks forward to develop quality opportunities for this program effort to be replicated throughout Ohio and the nation. Reviewed by Mike Hogan, Extension Educator and Associate Professor Reviewed by:  Dr. James Bates, Assistant Professor, Extension Field Specialist, Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension.
The United States has long welcomed people from distant shores. Ohio currently welcomes thousands of immigrants and refugees each year.  According to the Office of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country." In Ohio, most refugees have been resettled in Franklin, Cuyahoga, Montgomery, and Summit Counties. Resettlement agencies, religious organizations, and community groups are critical to helping persons adjust to their new communities by assisting with the most immediate needs of finding homes, developing English language skills, and medical care. These same organizations also assist with long term challenges such as job training. Immigrants are defined as “those who have entered the United States as a lawful permanent resident.” In a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs entitled “Growing the Heartland: How Immigrants Offset Population Decline and an Aging Workforce in Midwest Metropolitan Cities” stated that while much of the Midwest suffered net population loss between 2000-2009, the Akron, OH metropolitan area (Summit and Stark County) gained over 9,000 new residents and 54% of this was due to immigrants and refugees settling in the area. People from this population are starting businesses, buying homes, and increase the local economy. In some counties, such as Cuyahoga and Montgomery, Ohio State University Extension has worked with organizations that help refugees and immigrants develop job skills via agri-businesses, such as farms and compost facilities. Immigrants and refugees are changing the landscape of our Ohio cities, can help reverse population loss, and are becoming vibrant members of our communities. How can we best embrace and support our newest neighbors? For more information: Reviewed by: David Crawford, Educator III Stark County Extension Director & 4-H Youth Development
OSU Extension Farm to School Granville High School Mr. Chuck Dilbone In cities across the country, local food advocates are working to develop capacity for food entrepreneurs (and farmers) to add value to their locally grown fruits and vegetables. The emerging literature on urban creativity and cultural industries makes it clear that the city is now a site of dynamic economic creativity and experimentation (Florida, 2002; Gertler, 2001; Scott, 2000) Right here in Columbus, a local group has opened a non-profit food business incubator called the Food Fort. Their mission is to support local food entrepreneurs in the growth of their businesses.  They state that job creation and increased access to healthy foods are two of their main goals.  (These align with OSU Extension’s mission and work in the local food system arena as well!) The Food Fort offers licensed commissary space to mobile food vehicle (“food truck”) owner-operators. They also operate a licensed commercial kitchen. Similar ACENet in Athens, OH, they provide one-on-one training and technical assistance to help new food-related businesses grow. According to their web site, the Food Fort currently holds these certifications:
  • Bakery Wholesale License by the Ohio Department of Agriculture
    • Allows for production of baked products to be sold to retail locations.  We also have relationships with several local markets and grocery stores and would be more than happy to help you get your products into some of these locations.
  • Frozen Food Establishment License by the Ohio Department of Agriculture
    • Allows for production of frozen foods such as popsicles and frozen (vegetarian) dinners (note: dairy and meat not covered under this license so ice cream and frozen meat production are not permitted at this time).
  • Cold Storage Warehouse License by the Ohio Department of Agriculture
    • In our facility, we have a walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer that are available for rental.
  • Commercial Cannery License by the Ohio Department of Agriculture
  • Risk Level 4 Food Service Operation License by Columbus Public Health
    • Under this license, caterers and bakers can prepare food that they are selling directly to the consumer.  The retail sales are done under our Columbus Public Health license, while product prep for wholesale is conducted under the Ohio Department of Agriculture license.
  • Wholesale Meat and Poultry Production License by Ohio Department of Agriculture (in process – ETA Spring 2014)
So if you are working on expanding opportunities for local food businesses, check out the Food Fort Columbus and get some great ideas on where and how to start. In addition, there is some new Value Added Producer Grant information available at: There is also more information in our new food pub online: Source: Reviewed by: Julie Fox Ph.D. OSU Extension in the City Program Director, and Jacqueline Kowalski ANR Educator, Summit County.
It is commendable that The Ohio State University has identified food insecurity, particularly in urban areas of Ohio, as an issue which must be more vigorously addressed by various units of one of the country’s largest and most comprehensive research universities. In the coming years, tens of millions of dollars will be dedicated by OSU to address this complex issue in Ohio and beyond. If we are to be successful in not just addressing this complex issue, but making real progress towards mitigating some of the phenomena which causes food insecurity in the United States, it will be imperative for us to completely understand the issue. I recently guest-lectured for an OSU class on food justice and food security.  The undergraduate and graduate students in the class were very interested in addressing food insecurity, particularly in urban neighborhoods of Columbus, and asked me how the food system in the United States should be changed to address this issue. Instead of answers, I gave the students more questions.  The discussion went something like this: Me: Why are some residents in urban neighborhoods in Columbus food insecure? Students: Because some families don’t have enough money to buy food. Me: Why don’t some families have enough money to buy food? Students:  Because they are unemployed. Me: Why are some people in Columbus unemployed when we have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and many jobs are going unfilled due to a shortage of qualified applicants? Students: Because some people have not had educational, economic, or social opportunities. Me: Why have some people not had educational, economic, or social opportunities? Students: Many different reasons, including mental health issues, racial inequality, cultural differences, lack of investment in urban neighborhoods, transportation challenges, etc. Me: (somewhat rhetorically) So, what type of changes in our food system do you think are needed to address the root causes of food insecurity in urban neighborhoods??? If we expect to make real progress with reducing the incidence of food insecurity in Ohio, in the United States, or in the world for that matter, we simply must discover, acknowledge, and mitigate the actual causes of food insecurity.  It seems to me that most of these causes are rooted in poverty and a lack of economic resources, not in food or the food system.  While the food system in the US needs to change and is changing, such changes should not be expected to address the real causes of food insecurity. In the United States we have been engaged in a war on poverty since the mid 1960’s, when President Lyndon Johnson first declared war on poverty. Identifying the tactics needed to finally win this war will be the key to mitigating food insecurity in urban neighborhoods in Ohio. Useful documents: Food Security in the US – USDA Healthy Food Systems – OSU Extension  
Posted In: Ag & Natural Resources
Tags: OSU
Comments: 0
columbus Many large universities are located in America’s largest cities. Leaders at these universities recognize their impact on surrounding communities. In many instances, multiple partnerships between cohorts of universities and local communities address key issues and reach large audiences. For example, key initiatives focus on food security, health, and accessibility to higher education. The Ohio State University connects with people living and working in urban communities. OSU is distinct in that it is a: Land-Grant University (LGU) As a land-grant university, Ohio State has campus research centers throughout the state and Extension offices in each of Ohio's 88 counties. Urban Serving Universities (USU) USU members are public urban research universities that are located in metropolitan areas with populations of 450,000 or greater. They demonstrate a commitment to their urban areas. Carnegie-Engaged University OSU was recognized for its extensive engagement programming and how its mission, culture, curriculum and resources are structured to support high-impact community engagement. Member of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) For the past year, administrators and representatives form OSU's 15 colleges have convened to collectively advance OSU's urban mission. More to come... What co-discovery projects are you involved with in Ohio's largest cities? Reviewed By: Julie Fox and Brian Raison Ph.D. Associate Professor, Extension Educator Community Development, Miami County Ohio.
Posted In: Urban Serving Universities
Tags: USU
Comments: 0
Extension Technology in the City Cities have been known as centers for innovation and progress for as long as they have existed. This is especially true in the technology sector, as cities often produce new methods of communicating and living with technology. Technology has become a very integral part of society, having something to do with virtually every aspect of our lives, in urban, suburban, and rural regions. As technology becomes more and more prevalent, the need to keep up with the technological changes grows as well. There are already many ways that Extension uses technology to disseminate information and knowledge, reach a larger audience, facilitate professional development, and communicate more efficiently with their local community (Typhinia 2015). Technology as a Form of Communication Urban Extension programs have the most to gain from maximizing technology use for their various programs due to their large population base (Schneider 2011). There are many innovative ways of using technology to better communicate with residents, and distribute knowledge on a larger scale, boosting Extension’s presence. There is also an opportunity to become more relevant with a younger generation who otherwise would not use Extension’s services (Typhinia 2015). These connections can be made through social media and educational programs that integrate technology. In addition to reaching new audiences, Extension could connect with other programs/partners who are interested in the tech side of youth development (Typhinia 2015). The Digital Divide  

 Mapping digital divide_nofig

According to the Whitehouse Brief, Mapping the Digital Divide (2015), factors influencing those who are often disproportionately limited by the digital divide include age, income, educational attainment levels, community type, people with disabilities, and language. The number of people living in Ohio's largest cities who reflect these demographic characteristics presents an opportunity for OSU Extension in the City. Potential Impact Technology innovations give Extension the opportunity to impact the people, programs, partners, and presence of Extension in urban areas. Technology increases the ability to communicate with socially and ethnically diverse populations, assists in the accessibility of our programs, expands the variety of partners that we are able to work with, and increases the presence of Extension, both by name recognition, and physical locations. Maintaining a strong connection to technological changes will assist OSU Extension in the City to continue to be locally relevant, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Using this to improve marketing, programming, personnel through professional development, and new partnerships is necessary to have the collective impact that we are aiming for, while also laying the framework for years of Extension excellence in Ohio’s urban areas. Interact - Respond to this blog post Without a doubt, you use technology in numerous facets every day. In what ways have you seen technology have a positive impact on your programming? What areas in your programming would you like to see technology use increased?  What do you think is Extension’s role in bridging the digital divide?       Sources
  1. Kudryavtsev, Alexey, Marianne Krasny, Gretchen Ferenz, and Lisa Babcock. "Use of Computer Technologies by Educators in Urban Community Science Education Programs." Journal of Extension5 (2007): n. pag. Extension Journal, Oct. 2007. Web. Sept. 2015.
  2. Mapping the Digital Divide
  3. Schneider, Sandra, Donna-Jean Brock, Crystal Lane, Peggy Meszaros, and Barbara Lockee. "Using Information Technology to Forge Connections in an Extension Service Project." Journal of Extension6 (2011): n. pag. Extension Journal, Dec. 2011. Web. Sept. 2015.
  4. Typhinia, Eli, Robert Bardon, and Laurie Gharis. "Collaborating with Your Clients Using Social Media & Mobile Communications." Journal of Extension1 (2015): n. pag. Extension Journal, Feb. 2015. Web. Sept. 2015.
Metropolitan and rural America are highly connected and interdependent. To succeed, metropolitan America needs a healthy and sustainable rural economy and culture, and in turn rural America needs vibrant, well-functioning cities and suburbs to thrive and flourish (Dabson, 2007). Creating Opportunity and Prosperity Through Strengthening Rural-Urban Connections contains case studies on efforts underway across the country to support rural-urban connection. This issue brief, from The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), was developed and funded by the NADO Research Foundation, through a sub-grant with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If you're interested in urban-rural research and policy, check out Isserman's article in the International Regional Science Review, 28, 4: 465-499 (October 2005), In the National Interest: Defining Rural and Urban Correctly in Research and Public Policy. OSU Extension in the City's newest working group is Sustainable Cities, led by Myra Moss. While there are numerous sustainability definitions and indexes, one thing remains constant -- there is value in exploring the connections between neighborhoods, cities, counties, and states.
Posted In: Urban-Rural Connection
Comments: 0
At the beginning of May, a handful of OSU employees attended the National Urban Extension Conference in Atlanta Georgia. The conference was an excellent experience with representation from 44 states, with the total number of attendees exceeding 300. Through the various speakers, workshops, and networking, one thing became clear; urban Extension efforts are gaining momentum, and more universities are acknowledging the need for strong urban models. Extension educators and administrators from all over the country shared information on how they are able to handle unique challenges and opportunities in large cities. The National Urban Extension Leaders held a special event for attendees to discuss their vision for the future of Extension in urban areas. This added to an already exceptional experience, assisting us in further developing the framework for advancing OSU Extension in the City. OSU Extension professionals presented the following: Leadership in the City - Julie Fox Urban Youth and 4-H: Research-Based Engagement - Janice Hanna Extension in the City - Julie Fox, Laquore Meadows, James Stiving Vacant to Vibrant - Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, Brad Bergefurd, Tony Nye, Julie Fox To see the conference information, click here    
Posted In: Meetings/Conferences, Urban Serving Universities
Comments: 0
On Tuesday, April 7th, there was an urban extension webinar, titled "Delivering Extension Programs to the City". The presentation was given by Dr. Jennifer Tiffany, Director of Outreach and Community Engagement at Cornell University's Cooperative Extension - New York City. The purpose of the presentation was to explain the ways in which Cornell Extension is able to impact a city as large as New York City, and share strategies that Extension in other states can use for their urban programming. New York City, as of the 2010 census, had 8.2 million residents. The estimated population as of 2014 is roughly 8.5 million, and the metropolitan area population exceeds 20 million residents. The amount of people, per Extension staff member, is approximately 1 to 160,000, which is cause for a different approach than might be handled in a rural county. Another obstacle that Extension New York City faces is how far away Cornell is from the population base. Ithaca New York, is a four hour drive from NYC, making "day trips" inconvenient to say the least. All of these barriers have created a need for strategic planning on behalf of the Extension offices in the City. A factor that has been beneficial to Cornell Extension in NYC is the presence of Cornell in the city, as there are multiple colleges within the university that are present, and have partnered with Extension, assisting their programming in a multitude of ways. The motto of NYC Extension is "bridging research and community needs." To do this, they have made a directed effort in creating partnerships, connections, and long term collaborations with local entities and groups. These relationships are often informal, on more of a word-of-mouth basis, but there are also many formal connections. These partnerships extend to proactively address the growing concerns within the city, and have resulted in accessing different groups of people, mostly first generation Americans, that were previously unreachable. By focusing on particular community based localization and specific neighborhoods, they have been able to develop a certain level of trust that enables ling term programming, and diversifies connections. All of these endeavors have been in the pursuit of sustainable Extension work in cities. For NYC, this has been being able to adapt programming, sustain change, and sustain processes of incubation and innovation that can be handed off to well-developed programs and partners when it is time to start a new program. This model has been crucial to the continued success of Extension in NYC, and should been seen as a catalyst for program development in urban areas across the country.

Relevance to Ohio

Comparing OSU Extension to Cornell Extension New York is a difficult task. Both are top 7 states by population, but the similarities end there. New York has the large majority of its population concentrated in one part of the state, which is a significant distance from the Land Grant University, Cornell. Ohio has major cities in three corners of the state, with the largest city in the center containing the Land Grant University. There is still a great amount of information that learned from NYC Extension, especially for the urban areas in Ohio. OSU Extension still has a considerable ratio of educators to people in counties containing major cities. Below are the six counties that contain the largest populations in the state, along with the ratios of people per program staff member (Educator, Program Coordinator, Program Assistant) Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) - 1/75,000 Franklin County (Columbus) - 1/90,000 Hamilton County (Cincinnati) - 1/80,000 Lucas County (Toledo) - 441,815 - 1/49,000 Summit County (Akron) - 1/135,000 Montgomery County (Dayton) - 1/38,000 Although not as extreme as the ratios in NYC, these are still overwhelming to comprehend. Assuming that an employee would reach a substantial fraction of these numbers is unrealistic, but it speaks to the importance of maximizing the potential of OSU Extension within the most populous counties. This is a great example of why partnership based programming is very important. A small group of educators can be extremely productive, and not make a dent on the counties they serve. With partnerships, connections, and an extensive list of dedicated volunteers, they are able to both impact large numbers of people, as well as continue to develop current and future programs. Urban Extension is different all across the country. While there are plenty of similarities within programming, the diversity that every city has eliminates the possibility of a "cookie cutter" approach. By exploring the ways other states manage Extension in their cities, we are able to expand our knowledge of programming, assisting both project development, and professional growth. You can listen to the webinar in its entirety here.     Written by James Stiving, Program Assistant, Ohio State University Reviewed by Julie Fox, PhD        
Every ten years, there is a census which determines the population of places throughout the country, along with the demographics of those populations. A lot can happen in ten years that would affect the size of a city or county. Industry could leave a place, causing the population to plummet, or on the contrary, industry could grow and expand, causing the population to boom. While the official population will stay the same until the next census, there is a yearly survey that monitors the growth of population, although not as extensive. This facilitates the tracking of population growth and decline on a yearly basis, and can be helpful on many levels. The 2014 data has just been released, and there are some growing trends that should be focused on. To see more in depth versions of these statistics, visit Census Quick Facts and The decline of the American rust belt is still in effect in northern Ohio, as Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Lucas (Toledo), and Mahoning (Youngstown) all reported a decline in population over the last year. This should not come as a shock to most, as that region has been declining for close to five decades, and although it seems to be tapering off, it is still an area that will need to be revitalized in the future. It is important to note that the two counties to the west of Cleveland reported growth, which could indicate a lack of investment in the city itself, as opposed to the whole metro area. Columbus and central Ohio continue to be growing at record pace. An estimated 25,000 people moved into the Columbus metro area over the last year, and of that 25,000, 15,000 moved into the city of Columbus¹. Columbus has been the largest city in the state since 1990, and currently has 822,000 people, and continues to rise.² The other region that reported notable growth was the Cincinnati region. While Cincinnati has declined in similar fashion of Cleveland, they were not hit nearly as hard with de-industrialization. The population of Cincinnati proper has almost come to a halt, with a small amount of growth being reported. The counties around Cincinnati are growing quickly, which is causing growth in the region. Below is a map representing the changes in population over the last year in Ohio's counties. population change A lot can be inferred from population shifts, and while in depth, specific data is more useful in assisting Extension programs, this information can still positively impact existing programs. Being aware of what is going on within urban counties can be difficult, given the enormity of the population. By following growth trends in cities, you can determine what to do with the influx in potential clients, or what ways you can better serve the population that is staying in an area that people aren't staying in. Many of these situations are very unique, and relative, but in subsequent posts, we will explain potential issues and options for people working in cities that are growing, shrinking, or staying the same!   Written by: James Stiving Peer Reviewed by: Julie Fox     References 1. U.S. Census Bureau; generated by James Stiving; using American FactFinder; <>; (28 March 2015). 2. Evans, Walker. "Columbus Region Grows by Over 25,000 in Past Year." ColumbusUndergroundcom. Columbus Underground, 26 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015. 3. "All Columbus, Ohio Data." All Columbus Ohio Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.