Franklin County (2016)

2016 County Highlights
Franklin County
530 West Spring Street, Suite 275, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-866-6900
Laquore Meadows
Health and Wellness

More than 234 Franklin County residents participated in Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen. The interactive online class is designed to help individuals with diabetes and their families learn how to prepare healthy meals and make informed choices. The class consists of 16 different activities including presentations, virtual shopping tours, discussion forums, quizzes, cooking demonstration videos, website links, and app reviews. Class evaluations suggest that for those who completed the class, the course helped them become more effective at managing diabetes with nutrition, and making more informed choices when eating out and grocery shopping.

In partnership with ARC Wellness, more than 50 adults with developmental disabilities participated in hands-on healthy cooking classes.

More than 100 youth learned basic food safety practices and more than 40 adults learned best practices for safe food preservation.

The second year of a produce prescription program provided approximately 30 low-income pregnant women with more than $2,000 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets in central Ohio.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) is a free education program for Franklin County residents who receive or are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Franklin County SNAP-Ed reached 13,690 Franklin County residents through direct education (814 adults and 12,641 children).

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps adults with limited resources make healthier, safer, and more budget-friendly food choices. The program teaches youth and adults about nutrition, food preparation, food safety, and physical activity. In 2016, Franklin County EFNEP reached 281 participants and impacted 1,234 family members. Of the participants, 86 percent of them gained improved food resource management skills, 92 percent improved nutrition practices, and 57 percent developed better food safety practices. Youth EFNEP reached 972 youth through school enrichment and summer programs. Youth improved their ability to choose healthy food by 84 percent; improved their physical activity practices by 42 percent, and improved their knowledge of handling food safely by 37 percent.

Job Skills and Careers

OSU Extension works hard to promote stable communities and has provided 224 residents with HUD certified, home buyer education workshops to first-time home buyers in Columbus, Grove City, Reynoldsburg, and Whitehall.

OSU Extension professionals have developed a Real Money. Real World. curriculum that simulates real-life experiences to help youth achieve financial literacy. In Franklin County, more than 1,500 youth learned how to pay monthly expenses on a fixed income.

Financial literacy is the combination of financial, credit/debt management, and knowledge that is necessary to make financially responsible decisions. These decisions are integral to our everyday lives. In 2016, 121 Franklin County residents actively participated in OSU Extension’s financial literacy workshops.

More than 430 youth practiced resume writing and job placement skills through the completion of county and state award applications.

This year, 52 teens completed 1,573 hours of training in preparation for a week of modeling leadership and citizenship to youth at camp. Post-training assessments of the teens selected to serve as camp counselors revealed that Extension’s educational training sessions prepared them to teach, improved their communication skills, increased their confidence in working with large groups, and enhanced their teamwork skills. College-bound counselors credited camp counseling workforce preparation and skill development on job applications, scholarship forms, and other volunteering pursuits.

More than 860 4-H members learned and practiced 21st century workforce skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership, communication, ethics, lifelong learning, and technology use. Youth learned and practiced these skills through 1,820 4-H projects and participation in monthly 4-H club meetings. Giving back to the community, caring for animals, learning new skills, and teaching others were identified by members as important 4-H experiences. 

Thriving Across the Life Span

Through a partnership with the Franklin County Office on Aging, 1,068 senior citizens attended educational programs designed to strengthen their health and improve their mental outlook. In addition to weekly programs at various locations this quarter, Extension participated in the Ohio Department of Aging “Well Beyond 60” day at the Ohio State Fair. Post-event evaluations showed 91 percent reported they learned new information, and 94 percent were confident in the choices they make based on the information they learned to maintain an active lifestyle.

A total of 246 Franklin County youth developed life skills through 4-H summer camp. More than 50 percent of campers indicated they tried something they’ve never done before at camp and 97 percent responded they felt camp was “Good, Great, or Awesome” on their final evaluation. Youth learned about their environmental surroundings and gained valuable skills in socialization, communication, personal development, and team-building.

This year, 53 Franklin County 4-H members learned communication and leadership skills by participating in the Ohio 4-H Conference with youth across Ohio. Participating youth reported learning how to incorporate new ideas into future 4-H events and how to provide leadership as 4-H camp counselors.

Sustainable Food Systems

Master Gardener Volunteers provided leadership for food gardening projects which donated a total of 10,386 pounds of vegetables to dozens of food pantries and hunger-relief organizations throughout the county. A total of 386 Master Gardener Volunteers participated in seven different Master Gardener Volunteer continuing education workshops taught by OSU Extension.

In 2016, 55 new Master Gardener Volunteers were trained. Volunteers completed a 12-week, 82-hour training program and served an internship by completing a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service at various community gardening projects.

More than 225 individuals learned about hunger and food security in Ohio at three food security workshops taught by OSU Extension.

A total of 55 urban food producers learned how to improve food safety and quality at three Good Agricultural Practices workshops taught by OSU Extension.

Nearly 18,000 print copies of Extension’s 2016 Columbus Local Foods Guide were distributed to Columbus residents. The publication was also accessed electronically by 1,500 individuals.

A total of 44 residents learned how to develop urban farms and food-based businesses by participating in a 12-week Master Urban Farmer Course. Participants indicated they would use the knowledge and skills learned through the course to start a new urban farm or business, to utilize a new marketing system, to produce more food from existing operations, and to produce higher quality, safer food.

More than 200 individuals learned about urban farming at five tours conducted in the Columbus Urban Farm Tour Series.

More than 900 individuals participated in Extension-sponsored educational programs conducted during Columbus Local Foods Week.

A total of 510 individuals learned how to develop, manage, and market urban farms at 10 different urban food system development workshops conducted by Extension.

Engaged Ohioans, Vibrant Communities

OSU Extension is part of a team of consultants which completed a Green Business and Urban Agriculture Strategic Plan for the City of Columbus. The plan is designed to assist city leaders and departments in identifying and implementing policy, code, and practices which can be revised to foster economic growth from urban agriculture and green business development in Columbus. During the process more than 122 stakeholders and 159 public officials participated in Policy Workshops and Stakeholder Workshops taught by Extension.

A total of 210 Master Gardener Volunteers in Franklin County performed more than 10,870 hours of volunteer service at 43 different sites and programs throughout Franklin County. This volunteer service was valued at $236,857 at the current rate of $21.79 per hour of volunteer labor.

Teaching youth the importance of service to others is one of the four pillars of 4-H. Nearly 500 individuals participated in service learning through the 2016 Walk and Serve event, where 32 4-H clubs from around the county dedicated time and skills to 16 nonprofit organizations while preparing almost 2,000 handmade items to be distributed to those in need throughout Franklin County.

Led by OSU Extension, collaborative partners and student volunteers from Franklin County, 4-H CARTEENS seeks to reduce the number of second-time traffic offenders in Ohio by having driver-safety information taught to teens by teens and other professionals. In 2016, 600 youth and their parents participated.

Ohio 4-H enrichment programs are designed to bring 4-H to youth in schools, after-school programs, libraries, and other settings through STEM education and other methods. OSU Extension – Franklin County personnel also coordinate and facilitate teacher education programs, including the fourth annual School Garden Conference, which attracted educators from Franklin County and across the state. In all, 10,500 youth and 65 adults were impacted by 4-H school garden enrichment programs. In 2016, 8,000 Franklin County youth were impacted by 4-H enrichment programs, including more than 1,600 youth who followed the life cycle of a chick through the ChickQuest program. 

Environmental Quality

Master Gardener Volunteers taught 3,104 Franklin County residents how to sustainably manage their home landscapes and gardens through a gardening hotline operated during the growing season, “Ask A Master Gardener” booths in the community, and at other community presentations.

A total of 59 farmers learned how to reduce pesticide use, reduce production costs, and safeguard the environment by proper use of pesticides when they participated in two pesticide recertification workshops.

More than 600 home gardeners learned how improve their home vegetable and ornamental gardens at 17 different home gardening workshops taught by Extension in Franklin County.

Franklin County receives $443,635 in federal funding for nutrition education for low-income people, thanks to Extension’s local-state-federal partnership. Visit for more information.