For those who are unfamiliar with Ohio State University Extension, it began as part of The Cooperative Extension Service system in 1862, and is known as a “land-grant university” today. OSU Extension provides educational programs across Ohio, combining expertise of University faculty and staff with professionals in the field. OSU Extension is dedicated to empowering and bettering the communities it serves through education.
The four major OSU Extension program areas are family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, community development, and agriculture and natural resources. These programs are designed to be accessible to local community members, and provide practical and realistic advice. I have the opportunity to work within each of these program areas in Cuyahoga County this summer.
Thus far in the internship I have worked with the urban agriculture team on producing a video presentation called “Cultivating Our Community: A How-To Guide for Community Gardening,” to be posted on the OSU Extension website. This guide features information on the steps for starting a community garden and highlights testimony from established community gardeners across Cuyahoga County. In addition to the video presentation, I will also be revising the community vegetable garden start-up guide for publication.
As part of the Community Gardening Program I will assist in assuring participation in the gleaning process, providing local emergency food providers with fresh produce from community gardens. I am also teaching a program that combines nutrition and horticulture, called “To The Garden We Grow,” which encourages healthy eating habits and helps kids understand where their food comes from through gardening.
Ohio State Extension in Cuyahoga County is an integral partner in Greater Cleveland’s movement to expand local food production and consumption. It is extremely exciting to be at the center of a green and sustainable future for Cleveland. I have already learned an immense amount in my short time here and look forward to rest of the summer, certain to be full of valuable learning experiences. View the “Cultivating Our Community: A How-To Guide for Community Gardening” video.
Each week we will use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences. Taryn Higgins, a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University, is placed at Ohio State University Extension (OSUE), Cuyahoga County.