Ashland University Environmental Lecture to Focus on Urban Agriculture

10/1/12 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series continues its series on “The Ecology of Urban Living” with an Oct. 11 lecture by Dr. Parwinder Grewal, distinguished professor and director of the Center for Urban Environment and Economic Development at Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.

This lecture, which is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium, is titled “Urban Agriculture, Food Security, and Ecological Footprint of Cities.” This lecture is free and open to the public.

Although cities occupy less than 3 percent of the earth’s land surface, they consume over 75 percent of total global energy and produce 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Daily needs of cities for food, water, energy and other materials are met almost exclusively through importation of goods from distant places, often across continents.

Urban agriculture offers a comprehensive framework for local self-reliance and resilience and a means to reducing the ecological footprint of cities. Interest in urban agriculture has escalated recently due to the accumulation of vacant land particularly in post-industrial U.S. cities and motivation to address food insecurity and childhood obesity issues in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods.

Urban agriculture can revitalize affected neighborhoods and cities by generating new employment opportunities, increasing access to healthy food and sustaining cities by forming closed-loop ecological systems with vacant spaces, waste water and solid waste as potential resources.

Dr. Grewal will focus on the potential value and hurdles in developing sustainable urban agricultural enterprises.

Other lectures in this year’s series include: 
-- On Jan. 31, Terry Schwarz, director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, will speak on "Urban Obsolescence and the Adaptive Values of Cities."
-- On March 21, Dr. Stanley Gehrt, associate professor of environmental and natural resources for The Ohio State University, will speak on “Ghost dogs: Urban ecology of coyotes.” 

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Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University. Past series have been supported by Ashland University and grants from the GTE Foundation and the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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