Welcome to the Urban Affairs Center
The Urban Affairs Center is an applied research unit of The University of Toledo and a member of the Ohio Urban University Program. Our mission is to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Toledo and its metropolitan region. We strive to make this site useful and accessible to the our community, and we welcome your comments.
Our web site is hosted by the UT Center for Creative Instruction.
UAC Staff Member Named to Mayor-Elect's Transition Team
UAC Assistant Director Sue Wuest has been named to the transition team of Mayor-Elect D. Michael Collins. Ms. Wuest will serve on the Neighborhood/safety/community relations committee. She was one of the 45 people gathered at the Maritime Academy of Toledo on Saturday, November 16, 2013; the meeting was covered by the Toledo Blade.
Current UAC Updates
Click an item title to view/close it. Previous UAC news items are here.
• Finding Food in Northwest Ohio • The Northwest Ohio Food Council • Academy Greenhouse Delivers Produce & Lessons for Students • Toledo-Lucas County Public Library: Economic Value and Return on Investment • Better Together: How the Maumee Valley Growers Came to Be • Urban gardens boost quality of life, expert says • “A State of Inequity in Ohio”: Additional Press Coverage • UAC Staff Edits Book: Local Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions
Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center has completed a study for UAC, one which suggests that improving northwest Ohio's local food system could have a huge impact on the region's economy:
... our analysis of the region's farm and food
economy shows that $3.6 billion leaks out of Northwest Ohio each year as residents farm
and eat, since farmers farm at narrow margins to produce commodities for export, while
consumers eat food imported from far away.
... localizing the food economy will be the most effective way to turn the $3.6 billion leakage into economic opportunity. Already, Toledoans are taking the first steps required to create this transformation. A solid core of growers and consumers have formed a vibrant farmers' market, which helps Toledoans build strong connections while trading in locally produced food.
The study details how local growers are, among other methods, experimenting with "tilling new vegetable farms and testing innovative greenhouse technology that has been developed in Belgium and Holland". Local officials are exploring the possibilities of reclaiming urban brownfields for food production, and "the Northwest Ohio Food Council is poised to create a more strategic vision that will encompass the growth of effective clusters of food-related businesses, more focused attention to the food needs of low-income residents, greater coordination across counties, and more sustained innovation."
(by Paula Ross, UAC Research Associate)
The Northwest Ohio Food Council is a collaborative network of organizations and individuals working together to build a healthy Northwest Ohio food system. Our mission is to promote a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system in the Metropolitan Toledo Area and the Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan Region. We will pursue this mission by fostering a network of collaboration throughout our local food system, initiating, supporting and promoting programs in the above areas, and promoting local and state policies that support our local food system.
It's been a busy and productive 2012, and its easy to see that 2013 will bring many opportunities to continue learning and working together, beginning with:
- Thursday, January 17, 2013: 13th Annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit, "Farmland Preservation: Focusing on Farmers," at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center The Ohio State University, Columbus Campus. See attached flyer for more info.
- Monday, January 28th: Northwest Ohio Food Council meeting, 1pm - 3pm to feature Ohio Farm to School Director Julie Fox
- Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Ohio Farmers' Market Conference, Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. For more info: http://ohiofarmersmarkets.osu.edu/
- March 13, 2013: Ohio Farm to School Conference. (See attached)
Please visit the Council's website http://foodcouncil419.org/ and its "virtual library" of resources we are developing. If you have additional resources to suggest, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also "like" our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/FoodCouncil419?fref=ts; anyone can post and it's a good place to share items of interest. ◊
UAC and the Maumee Valley Growers have provided assistance to a student greenhouse project at St. John's Jesuit High School. This project gives students opportunities to learn first-hand about preserving the environment, green intiatives, and growing cycles of plants. Read the article published in Titan Topics, the SJJHS newsletter. ◊
The UAC and Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) jointly
initiated a study to determine the economic impact and the return on investment (ROI)
of the Libary on northwest Ohio. According to the Executive Summary from the study, TLCPL provides
2.86 Return on Investment (i.e., for every $1 spent, the Library returns $2.86), and
the economic value of public services provided by TLCPL in 2011 is
placed in the range of $118M to $136M per year.
Read the full report and the appendix. ◊
Mr. Ken Dunn, who runs a recycling an urban gardening group in Chicago, believes that "Communities such as Toledo can build value through urban agriculture", according to the Toledo Blade in their April 26, 2012 article. Mr. Dunn spoke at an event co-sponsored by the UAC. ◊
A recent online article in Green Profit magazine recounts the beginnings of the Maumee Valley Growers, an industry-based agriculture producer group committed to working together to strengthen our local greenhouse industry. Read the article here. ◊
UAC's study on Funding and Service Disparities between Municipalities and Townships in Montgomery County, Ohio has garnered more press coverage, this time an online article in The Press asserting that "Township taxes could go up, if state acts on UT study". ◊
Dr. Neil Reid (UAC Director) and Paula Ross (UAC Research Associate) have collaborated with Jay D. Gatrell of Indiana State University in the editing of a new book about local food systems: Local Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions. Published by Ashgate Publishing, this book explores the "explosion of interest in local food systems-among policy makers, planners, and public health professionals, as well as environmentalists, community developers, academics, farmers, and ordinary citizens. The book represents a first attempt to provide a systematic picture of the opportunities and challenges facing the development of local food systems in old industrial regions." Click the above link for more information. ◊