Urban agriculture the focus of June 27 webinar

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Urban agriculture, including its economics, successes and challenges, will be the topic of a free Web-based seminar being offered at 2 p.m. June 27.

The 90-minute webinar is sponsored by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, which is directed by Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"There is a tremendous amount of interest in urban agriculture, especially in the large cities along the Northeast seaboard," said Goetz, who will co-facilitate the webinar. "At the same time, many questions arise about current food production levels as well as future opportunities."

The webinar will feature the following researchers:

-- Carolyn Dmitri, an applied economist at New York University, focuses on food systems and food policy. She currently is studying urban agriculture in 15 cities around the country, as well as food access issues in urban settings.

-- Melissa Poulsen is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she also is a Center for a Livable Future – Lerner Fellow. Her research centers on social considerations of urban farming, and she worked with the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability to develop the city's urban agriculture plan.

The webinar will be moderated by Doolarie Singh-Knights, assistant extension professor of agricultural and resource economics at West Virginia University. As the local and regional foods scholar in the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, Singh-Knights organized the event to help identify current research, teaching and extension efforts that promote practical and profitable responses to urban agriculture challenges.

The webinar is the fourth in an occasional series coordinated by Singh-Knights that focuses on local and regional food systems. The programs are designed for research, teaching and extension professionals and practitioners engaged in work related to the Northeast regional food system.

"We organized this webinar series as part of the Northeast Center's efforts to help build stronger networks among land-grant and related institutions in the Northeast," she said.

Register for "Urban Agriculture -- Economics, Successes and Challenges: Research, Outreach and Education Implications for the Northeast" online. For more information, contact Singh-Knights at 304-293-7606 or dosingh-knights@mail.wvu.edu.

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