Gathering Urban Concerns

This light map shows the population concentration in urban areas. 

Oregon State University Extension staff will play a major role in creating a research-based guide that could help  urban communities   across the nation address poverty, hunger, social justice issues and homelessness.  
OSU Extension Regional Administrator to the Metro Region Patrick Proden and 4-H Outreach Coordinator Stacey Sowders will continue the work they put into the Rural Community Issue Guide - which identified problems rural residents face in their communities - extending their research to urban areas. In partnership with universities in Alaska, Washington, Colorado,Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, OSU is leading the project where Extension will hold concern gathering sessions, conduct surveys and knock on doors in the Portland metro region asking residents about the problems they face in their they work to find solutions to their communities most pressing and 'wicked' challenges.   As issues are named and framed, a guide is developed which will lead to further follow-up deliberation and dialogue in each urban community in each of these states. 
The Kettering Foundation -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to researching social issues and making democracy accessible to all people -- will publish the work.
"People are dissociating from civic engagement and discourse," Proden said, which makes their efforts to engage all people paramount.   
Proden and Sowders will use creative ways of garnering participation - one of the greatest challenges to conducting thorough research but essential to gathering accurate information. This includes walking through neighborhoods to talk with residents and reaching out to new partners. In addition to OSU Extension's traditional allies like the Oregon Food Bank, they'll also be working closely with arts and humanities organizations and local nonprofits to reach a wider variety of people. 
"People know what they're their burning issues are but they don't always know where to go," said Proden. These upcoming community forums will help communities "convene and identify leaders within their communities."
OSU Extension staff will lead discussions to help communities will define their problems and figure out what they need to solve them, Proden said.
Not only will the effort help communities come together to identify common goals, OSU Extension staff members will also identify voids they can fill.
While conducting community discussions for the rural guide in Corbett where OSU Extension's work is primarily centered on 4-H, for example, residents communicated they wanted more help with community urban agriculture, focused on markets and small businesses, along with mediation. These are areas OSU could help with considering the Extension's extensive community agricultural programs such as the Master Gardener courses and personal development offerings such as their financial literacy classes.
"It's all about having conversations which lead to action," Proden said. "And introducing democracy to people who may have never before had an opportunity to participate.  
Enjoy Tangy Cabbage and Apples 
Cabbage isn't just for sauerkraut. Try out this holiday favorite. The recipe calls for dutch red cabbage, onion, apples, vinegar and seasonings. The festive dish will add a pop of color and nutrition to your table. 
Find the recipe here. Use Food Hero to make healthy food choices this holiday season! 
Learn to Make Jams, Applesauces, Salsas
Preserve@Home is a six-week online class for adults. The  University of Idaho and Oregon State University Extension offer Preserve@Home to teach adults how to safely preserve a variety of food products. Participants learn how to produce high-quality preserved foods and the science behind food preservation and food safety. Individuals with little or no previous food preservation experience are welcome.  Students progress through lessons at their own pace.   $55 for 6 weeks of on-line classes and final lab.  Enrollment deadline: Jan. 13.  Class starts: Jan. 19. 
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Quick Links  

Check out Food Hero website, your go-to for quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips. Discover more about Food Hero and sign up for the Food Hero Monthly magazine.  

Become a Master Gardener! Registration for the Master Gardener classes in 2017 is now open. Classes start in February at three locations in the Portland Metro area. Click here for more information. 

Care about (dairy) cows? Check out our new dairy extension blog, Dairy Bearing. Here is a clickable way for us at OSU to share research, results, techniques, resources, announcements and other items that might be of interest to anyone involved in dairy production.