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We Dig Ohio! Urban Agriculture & Community Garden Summit

This annual one-day summit explores urban agriculture and community gardening in the Ohio region. What’s happening in the field of urban agriculture and community gardening? Become versed in relevant topics that will expand your gardening expertise. Attend sessions and workshops in a variety of subjects. Network, share and celebrate with individuals involved in projects across Ohio and beyond.

Registration includes admission to the Conservatory, a tour of the newly constructed Children’s Garden, light lunch and refreshments. For more information about the 2018 We Dig Ohio day-of speaker schedule, please view the rows below.

Thank you to the following event sponsors:

2018 We Dig Ohio Schedule (By Location)

The Wells Barn Main Floor

8–9am | Registration

9–9:10am | Welcome Address & Logistics
Jenny Pope, Bill Dawson

9:10–9:30am | Growing Hope, One Garden at a Time
Speaker: Lindsay La Sala of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Listen as The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation team shares inspirational wisdom from its work with hundreds of community garden groups across the country. Hear first-hand testimonials and case studies of impactful garden programs happening near and far.

9:45–11am | Keynote Presentation (Youth Panel)
“Here We Grow!” Growing our next Generation
Panel Participants: Maggie Griffin, Sitiah Hodge, TeLario Watkins II, Nasir Groce

11am–12pm | GRO1000 Small Seeds, Big Impact: National Trends in Youth Gardening
Speaker: Emily Shipman of KidsGardening
Join leaders in the national youth gardening movement from KidsGardening and Scott’s Miracle-Gro Foundation as they discuss national trends in educating and empowering youth through garden-based learning. Topics include research based benefits of gardening with youth and emerging areas of interest. Hear stories of inspiring garden programs and the youth leaders they are growing.

12–1pm | Lunch

1–2pm | Local Food Action Plan: Early Success and New Opportunities
Speaker: Cheryl Graffagnino, Jalisa Dawkins of Columbus Public Health
The Columbus & Franklin County Local Food Action Plan (the Plan) provides common goals and actions to unify efforts in growing, processing, transporting, selling, consuming and disposing of food. The Plan seeks to address the consequences of social issues such as poverty and employment that lead to inequalities in access to healthy food, affordable food and local food. Participants in this session learn about the development of the Plan, successes in the first year of implementation and plans for the future.

2–2:15pm | Break

2:15–3:15pm | Time in Nature = A Healthier You
Speaker: Professor Don Rakow of Cornell University
Multiple recent studies have shown that spending time in nature can positively impact mood, heart rate, cognitive ability, alertness, social connections, overall well-being, and happiness, and that this is as true for 10-year-olds as it is for seniors. Prof. Rakow provides an overview of studies that specifically focus on youth, and will describe ways in which home and community gardens can be designed so that they ‘bring nature home’ for young people.

3:15–3:30pm | Break

3:30–4:30pm | Container and Vertical Gardens
Speaker: Job S Ebenezer of Technology for the Poor
Container and vertical gardening techniques suitable for urban gardens are highlighted as participants are introduced to successful techniques for establishing gardens on roof tops, on chemically treated lawns and vacant lots in urban areas.

4:30pm | Closing & Basket Raffle

American Electric Power Education Pavilion

11am–12pm | Central State University’s 4-H and Youth Development in Urban Communities
Speaker: Lisa Craig of Central State Extension
Outline how Central State Extension is working to facilitate 4-H and Youth programs in urban and diverse populations.

1–2pm | From stems to STEAM: Youth Gardens as Classrooms
Speaker: Hannah Halfhill of Toledo GROWs
Gardens are such a unique place for children to learn and grow. Hannah brings classroom topics into a nature setting with a fun, hands-on flair. Experience how STEAM education components (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) come to life in a garden. Lend your talents to some STEAM in the garden program examples and get to take some of your creative work home with you. Receive engaging curriculum instructions, resources for gardening in the classroom, and a list of grants that schools and youth gardens can apply for. Arrive with your thinking cap turned on and your sleeves rolled up, it’s time to get your hands dirty for science!

2:15–3:15pm | The Learning Garden: A Place to Equip, Heal, and Build Community
Speaker: Nick Stanich of Franklinton Farms
Share in the exciting story of Franklinton Farms’ newest garden site the Learning Garden. Opening early 2018, The Learning Garden is intended to serve as a location for food production demonstrations, educational programs, and community events for the people of Franklinton, many of whom experience food insecurity and other systemic hardships. Details of the multi-year-long development process that Franklinton Farms went through to develop the venue, referencing the diverse funding sources, community partners, and volunteer involvement. Session concludes with details on Live Healthy Kids, the site’s first educational program that has been developed through a unique partnership with a behavioral health organization called Integrated Services for Behavioral Health.

3:30–4:30PM | Highland Youth Garden: Cultivating Community Engagement
Speaker: Jazmyn Benjamin of Highland Youth Garden
Highland Youth Garden has grown from an abandoned property into a highly productive half-acre community hub over the past nine years. HYG relied upon their mission/vision to engage nearby residents, volunteers, and generous partners with creative programming and on-going projects. Join Jasmyn, for her explanation of how to building a thriving and self-sustaining community garden in a neighborhood with few resources, recruiting and retaining knowledgeable and reliable volunteers, and engaging neighborhood participants both children to adults to work, play, and express pride in their garden. Attendees learn how HYG has evolved into a year-round education garden serving 500+ school children annually.

The Wells Barn Lower Level

11am–12pm | School Gardens: Implementing a District-wide Low Tunnel Program
Speaker: Cynthia Walters of Slow Food Columbus
Along with Columbus City Schools Curriculum Coordinators, the Slow Food School Garden Director will present the benefits of utilizing low tunnels throughout the school year. Funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Columbus City School district is currently implementing the Slow Food Low-Tunnel Program to introduce students to outdoor learning labs. Columbus City Schools will share their experiences in establishing curriculum for school gardens and preparing teachers through professional development. Presenters will share highlights of the low-tunnel program which include site visits from Franklin Park Conservatory and Franklin Soil and Water to help individual schools or districts initiate, expand, or reinvigorate a school gardening program.

1–2pm | The Facts, Funding, Fun and Future of Gardening at the Garden of Smiles
Speaker: Kara Houser, Andrea Meek of Grove Patterson Academy Garden of Smiles
Learn how a group of teachers started Grove Patterson Academy’s Garden of Smiles community garden from the ground up. Together they successfully elicited volunteers, materials and support from their local community. Session leaders discuss how the teachers integrate the garden into their lessons and how it is a learning process for all involved.

2:15–3:15pm | Youth Leadership in Immigrant Communities
Speaker: Christine Gall, Emily Shipman of
Christine Gall of KidsGardening she shares best practices and lessons learned in developing a high impact youth program that incorporates garden-based learning with cooking skills, job training, and business planning among immigrant youth in Burlington, Vermont. Christine shares a tested method for doing a school and community needs assessment that allows you to grow the impact of your garden program.

3:30–4:30PM | Buckeye ISA, institution supported gardens and farms in Ohio
Speaker: Casey Hoy of OSU Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation
Casey discusses OSU’s Institutional Supported Agriculture (Buckeye ISA) project, led by the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), and how to get involved. With the support of a three-year $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, InFACT is creating a plan to develop a network of between 100 and 500 low-income families, particularly in communities of color, that could grow food and sell it to Ohio State and other institutions and businesses in the area.

Production Greenhouse

2:15–3:15pm | Start them Right, Vegetable and Annual Production
Speaker: Brian Kocher of Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Greenhouse Grower
Avoid the common mistakes so many people make when starting their own garden plants. Techniques for successfully raising vegetable and annual plants from seed or vegetative cutting in a greenhouse or home environment. Correct containers, soil, fertilization, light and temperature requirements covered as well as the common insect and disease problems.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children's Garden Tours

1pm & 3:30pm | Children’s Garden Walk & Talk Tours
Led by Jenny Pope, Director of Community Outreach & Education at Franklin Park Conservatory
Tours begin at The Wells Barn Main Floor

Be one of the first to explore this world class Children’s Garden prior to the public opening. The education staff from Franklin Park Conservatory discuss the planning process for this 2.5-acre garden space, current construction stage and future programming planned for the space.