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Urban Ag & Local Food Staff Exchange between OSU and CSU Denver Extension  

Posted by | January 2, 2018


Brian Kleinke participated in an urban staff exchange program between Ohio State University (OSU) and Colorado State University (CSU) as part of the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER)’s formal Staff Exchange Program. Brian Kleinke visited Denver and met with the Denver Extension County Director, Rusty Collins, and the Denver Horticulture Agent, Dan Goldhamer. An urban ag tour was conducted where Brian met some of Denver Extension’s key partners in the urban ag and local food community including ReVision (a local coop), Denver Urban Gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Growhaus. Brian Kleinke shared the details of his roles and job at OSU and CSU shared information about the local food system, organizational partners, delivery of daily programs, and plans for the future.

Download Report (.pdf)

Denver Urban Ag Tour Itenerary

Exchange Information


The exchange will take place over a two-three day period.

Host Program:

  • City: Denver Urban Agriculture/local food systems
  • Staff Name(s): Rusty Collins, Denver Extension Director, and Robert Franklin, Denver 4-H Agent


 Visiting Staff:

  • City: Columbus
  • Program Area: Urban Agriculture/local food systems
  • Staff Name(s): Brian Kleinke

Prior Exchange

Program Change

Taking away information from Denver, Colorado and how their urban ag/local
food systems programming works, will be beneficial to give new avenues for
thought and processes that can be implemented in Columbus, Ohio.

Before the exchange, Rusty Collins expected to network, establish avenues of collaboration and thought exchange on how the Center can work together to solve urban food system issues.

Objectives & Goals

  1. Expansion of colleague network
  2. New avenues for collaboration
  3. New avenues for thought exchange, program planning, and evaluation
  4. Learn more about Denver local food systems and CSU involvement
  5. Meet supporting organizations and non-profits

Post Exchange

Actions & Activities

Goal 1:  Meet with community leaders

  1. Engaged in conversation with grass roots non-profit organizations who are deeply engaged leaders in the community of urban agriculture.
  2. Exchanged ideas and conversation with Denver Extension


The outcomes from this exchanged are as follows:

  1. Learned about how a local food system is being assessed and implemented in Denver, Colorado.
  2. Met with various non-profit organizations to learn about their involvement, goals, and objectives within the local food system.
  3. Learned and compared the similarities and differences of urban
    agriculture between Columbus, Ohio and Denver, Colorado.
  4. Formed a deeper understanding for how Cooperative Extension operates in both states.
  5. Assessed and compared the similarities and differences of community
    members needs in the vastly different urban settings.

Resources Developed & Aquired

The sharing of resources has been discussed more post visit, then during the visit. Rusty supplied his CSU colleagues with portfolios that displayed his work, and the work of Franklin County as a team.


This was a very worthwhile experience. To have the ability to meet with
colleagues not just different extension services (i.e., state, county, etc.) but to
understand their constraints, strengths, and weaknesses with regard to
community challenges, environmental challenges, funding challenges, etc.
will allot the Center to begin to form a more “global” view of extension, the Western Center’s work, and how to best collaborate with colleagues.

Urban agriculture in Columbus, Ohio is booming with a lot of community interest and support. The food system in Columbus is building in to what is common place in Colorado. Local food systems in Colorado are the norm, seeing very few fast food restaurants, yet, an abundance of “slow food” restaurants.

Both cities working toward the same goal, to build resilient, sustainable, local food systems, but coming from two very different schools of thought. The OSU Extension Franklin County is the standard for fact based resource information and education to the urban farm community simply because OSU Extension Franklin County was the key driving force behind urban agriculture in Columbus.

CSU Denver Extension is in quite a different position. With aged grass roots organizations that have been around for decades and with the inherent tradition of local foods in Colorado, CSU Denver, is one of many
working urban agriculture education.

There is a lot that can be shared, learned, and collaborated on between the two extension services in the future.