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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Community Development

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Community Development

Advancing direct marketing in Ohio involves a variety of facilitators and community leaders.  The Direct Marketing team provides resources to support those who provide leadership and assistance to connect consumers, producers, markets, and communities.  Ohio is rich with diversity in 88 counties; 1,308 townships; cities and villages; metropolitan and micropolitan areas; and local neighborhoods. 

For more information, visit the Ohio State Univeristy Extension Community Development program.  

Learn more about Urban Food and Agriculture

Ohio's Landscape

With 11.5 million people (2010 Census), Ohio is rich in diversity with a lakefront region to the north, rural Appalachian communities to the southeast, and a landscape of urban, suburban, exurban, and rural areas. Demographic and economic criteria provide a basis for definitions of urban and rural area (Tacoli, 1998). The Census Bureau, using census track or county area parameters defines the following:

  • Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people (metropolitan statistical areas)
  • Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people (micropolitan statistical areas)
  • Rural encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. The Economic Research Service provides additional information on rural classifications (

Each metro or micro area consists of one or more counties and includes the counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the urban core. The term "Core Based Statistical Area" (CBSA) is a collective term for both metro and micro areas (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013,

Ohio’s #1 Industry - Agriculture & Food

The food and agriculture cluster is the largest sector of Ohio’s economy (farms, processing, wholesaling, retailing and food service).  Ohio’s food and agriculture cluster contributed $105 billion to Ohio’s economy every year and accounts for 14% of Ohio’s employment or 1 in 7 jobs (Sporleader, 2012 OHFOOD model). 

Food systems are intentional, collaborative efforts between consumers in cities, decision makers, and food producers in a region to build more locally-based, self-reliant food economies—where sustainable food production, process­ing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health (Feenstra 2002).