The Food Systems program addresses critical social inequities in Mansfield, Ohio’s present system including lack of access and affordability in the city’s most impoverished areas. For the past 30 years, Richland County has experienced the same economic disruptions through loss of factory jobs felt in rust belt communities across the upper Midwest.
Using a multi-disciplinary approach to assembling a local food production system, we intend to create economic opportunity, improve educational outcomes, address diet-related health issues, and provide a foundation of food security for Mansfield and Richland County that can also serve as a model for other rust belt communities.
Natural Resource Management
The Ohio State Mansfield campus woodlands contains 600 acres with unique forests, pine plantations, and wetlands. With the addition of off-campus private housing and growing urban development pressures for the next half century, an increase of suburban neighborhood developments around the woodlands is inevitable.
A natural resource management plan is essential to preserve the woodlands and balance research, education, and recreation with the protection of natural resources. Through the facilitated management of the Ohio State Mansfield woodlands as a multi-use forest, this program intends to train a new generation of urban woodlands stewards and create a showpiece urban forest.
Lifelong learning is an integral part of the Center’s mission, from programs involving school children, parents and teachers, to college students, and adult learners.
The Center provides educational programs to strengthen our community’s understanding of food systems and natural resource management. Through K-12 teacher professional development, interactive activities using STEM-based content and pedagogy strengthen students’ understanding of local resources.
Learning at the college level includes graduate and undergraduate credit classes and degree programs, workshops where faculty integrate the woodlands into curriculum, and research focusing on the university’s Discovery Themes. We welcome others who provide workshops and classes relating to Food Systems and Natural Resources Management.