Celebrating Ohio's Cities
Story by Alayna DeMartini
Video by John Rice
Ohio State University Extension is celebrating “Urban October,” a worldwide campaign the United Nations launched to focus on the opportunities and challenges created by the fast rate of change in cities.
The theme of Ohio’s monthlong campaign is “Celebrating Ohio Cities—Where We Live, Work, Play, Learn, and Serve.”
As part of that service, Ohio State students, staff, faculty, alumni, volunteers, and families will be involved in providing free meals to those struggling with food insecurity. In an effort led by Ohio State’s Office of Student Life, more than 100,000 meals will be packed and then distributed through OSU Extension and local community partners in northeast Ohio. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
“OSU Extension is often associated with rural farms, fairs, families, and 4-H. While this is a valued and important part of our mission, we’re here for the well-being of all Ohioans, which includes contributing to healthy urban communities.”Julie Fox, director of strategic initiatives and urban engagement for OSU Extension
“As a land-grant university, Ohio State is grateful to be a consistent part of Ohio’s diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities through OSU Extension and local community partnerships,” said Jackie Kirby Wilkins, associate dean and director for OSU Extension.
In Ohio, more than half of the residents live in 10 of the state’s 88 counties: Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Summit, and Stark counties. But among Ohio’s urban, suburban, and rural areas, there’s a lot of movement.
“Many people live in a rural area and commute to a metro area or live in a city and play in a rural community,” said Julie Fox, director of strategic initiatives and urban engagement for OSU Extension. “There’s easy access to the full richness of the state from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.”
“OSU Extension is often associated with rural farms, fairs, families, and 4-H,” Fox said. “While this is a valued and important part of our mission, we’re here for the well-being of all Ohioans, which includes contributing to healthy urban communities."
Working with Ohio residents across the state, OSU Extension faculty and staff help people start urban farms and community gardens, instill leadership and job skills in youth, teach stress-management and parenting to adults, offer health-related classes for the elderly, and provide many other services as well.
“We engage throughout the year and take this time in October to celebrate with our metro areas and foster urban, suburban, rural relationships,” Fox said.
This is OSU Extension’s first year participating in Urban October. In the coming years, the Extension team looks forward to collaborating with additional university and community partners to build on this foundation and foster local, state, national, and global connections.
For more information about Extension’s Urban October efforts, visit go.osu.edu/urbanoctober.