The National Urban Extension Leader's (NUEL) mission is to advocate and advance the strategic importance and long-term value of Extension's work in urban settings across the national Cooperative Extension System and to foster collaborations at the local, regional and national levels that create greater capacity within the Cooperative Extension System to serve urban communities.
Cooperative Extension System (CES) empowers farmers, ranchers, foresters, youth, families, and communities of all sizes to meet the challenges they face, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition and food safety, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and protect our environment. Leveraging the assets of 112 land-grant universities, 35,000 professional staff, the CES operates in all states and territories across 3500 counties including 6.5 million youth participating in 4-H programs. Cooperative Extension translates research into action with funding by state and county governments, USDA-NIFA and other state agencies and foundations.
Urban Extension Program Focus Areas
For over 50 years The Cooperative Extension system has developed educational programming to serve highly urbanized communities around topics like urban agriculture, forestry, gardening, youth development, and economic development, leadership, civic engagement, and foods, health and nutrition. These programs only begin to scratch the surface of the expertise at the land-grant universities that can be engaged to address a wider range of urban topics such as community development, declining workforce preparedness, distressed environment, crime, poverty, water quality, aging infrastructure, illiteracy, and unemployment. NUEL’s programmatic focus areas are:
Urban extension shares the knowledge of the university to strengthen communities by improving the quality of life for residents of urban and suburban areas through economic development, housing, and job creation/training. Our goal is to work with communities to share the knowledge, develop local leaders, and encourage community members to work together in improving the quality of life.
Urban extension shares un-biased scientific solutions for environmental issues. Our goal is to provide technical expertise to support restoration and protection of our water, air, and natural resources. This includes working with communities to identify green infrastructure opportunities to reduce the occurrence of combined sewer overflows (CSOs), increase green space in a highly urbanized community, improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect, and increase environmental biodiversity.
Urban extension extends the knowledge of our community development professionals to improve health and lifestyle. One goal is to help eliminate chronic illness that urban communities are facing such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Another goal is to reduce urban residents’ risk of exposure to contaminants in the environment.
Urban extension provides youth with opportunities to become civically engaged for a brighter future. Our goal is to provide youth with skills that can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities.
Urban extension educates communities to overcome challenges in developing a local food network. Our goal is to provide leadership on establishing urban farming and community gardens to provide fresh produce and promote urban agriculture production sustainability that better nourishes local neighborhoods.