WYSO

Renee Wilde

Community Voices Producer

Renee Wilde tumbled into public radio - following a career path that has been full of creative adventures and community service. After graduating from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in photography - she served as the Exhibitions Coordinator for several Columbus art galleries and the Columbus Art League, while simultaneously slinging food and booze  - memorably dropping a glass of orange juice on Johnny Rotten’s bare feet when he answered the hotel room door in just his skivvies (his response, “would shit be the appropriate word?”).

Renee moved on to create the first recycling program for the arts in the midwest in Columbus, Ohio -  based on similar programs in New York and LA - where artists, galleries, non-profit arts organizations, and public art teachers could shop in a warehouse filled with free discarded materials from local businesses. From there Renee went on to develop a city-wide urban beautification program for Columbus, creating seasonal and year-round botanical displays in street containers, hanging baskets and pocket parks along downtown streets.

After leaving the city for rural life on a small farm, Renee heard about the Community Voices program on her local public radio station. She was accepted into the program (class of 2013) and at the age of 49, started another career adventure when she became hooked on audio storytelling. Renee produced 23 stories on her own, co-produced an award winning series, and provided a weekly community on-air spot all as an unpaid producer before the station developed a fund for freelance reporters.

As a station volunteer, she taught storytelling at a women’s prison with WYSO’s former News Director, Lewis Wallace. Renee combined the stories from the incarcerated women into her very first attempt at an hour-long documentary, which won first place for best long form documentary in 2017 by the Public Radio News Directors, Inc.

Renee also had the top highest ranking stories on WYSO.org in 2017 with two pieces she produced for YSO Curious -which is based on the Hearken Model where listeners ask questions and producers find the answers.

Her stories have been bought by the NPR news programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition, Harvest Public Media, 51%, WAMC’s Northeast Public radio, WABE in Atlanta, Georgia, KSJD in Cortez, Colorado and WOUB in Athen’s, Ohio

Renee now helms County Lines for WYSO - a series that takes listeners into the small towns and rural communities of Ohio - which is also available through Ohio Public Radio and the NPR ONE app.

Lucy Enge and Kayla Wise
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Before the coronavirus pandemic, County Lines producer Renee Wilde met with faculty and students at Wilmington College in Clinton County and heard their ideas about rural life and the prospects for a career in agriculture.

Clubs like FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America, serve as both social and educational roles in rural communities. Kayla Wise credits FFA for her decision to pursue an agricultural degree. Kayla also never believed in climate change until she took a class at Wilmington College called Individual and Global Policy.

Corey Cockerill teaches Agricultural Communications. She was interviewed by student Aryn Copeland about the journey from the suburbs to rural life.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Before the coronavirus pandemic, County Lines producer Renee Wilde met with faculty and students at Wilmington College in Clinton County and heard their ideas about rural life and the prospects for a career in agriculture.

Lucy Enge and Kayla Wise
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Before the coronavirus pandemic, County Lines producer Renee Wilde met with faculty and students at Wilmington College in Clinton County and heard their ideas about rural life and the prospects for a career in agriculture.

Corey Cockerill teaches Agricultural Communication at Wilmington College, with her student Lucy Enge.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Before the coronavirus pandemic, County Lines producer Renee Wilde met with faculty and students at Wilmington College in Clinton County and heard their ideas about rural life and the prospects for a career in agriculture.

Wilmington College is a Quaker College founded on the tenets of the Quaker religion -  simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship.

Morgan McFarland, Grace Smith and Carly Fitz are freshman "aggies" at Wilmington College.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Two months ago, before the coronavirus pandemic hit Ohio, County Lines producer Renee Wilde met with faculty and students at Wilmington College in Clinton County and heard their ideas about rural life and the prospects for a career in agriculture.

Agriculture is the largest major for Wilmington students, and surprisingly those AG students are predominantly female.

Renee Wilde / WYSO

Ohio’s stay at home order has led citizens to look for coping mechanisms to stave off boredom and fear over the virus.

County Lines producer Renee Wilde lives in rural Greene County and shares the unique way her husband is dealing with this, and how it parallels what another Miami Valley resident did during the Great Depression.

Renee Wilde / WYSO

Laura Lengnick, soil scientist and the author of Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems For A Changing Climate, says that climate change isn’t a calling out - it’s a calling in for all of us to pull together. 

Pop-up labyrinth in the Oratory
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Just a stone’s throw away from downtown Loveland, Ohio sits a cluster of turn-of-the-century barns and houses. These empty buildings used to be a working farm and spiritual retreat founded by two Dutch women and 16 other U.S. Grail members 80 years ago, in 1940. The Grail is a women's movement that grew out of the Catholic church, and the women of the Grail had a vision for world peace, justice and renewal of the earth.

Along with learning how to collect and save seeds, part of Beth Bridgman's class included collecting the oral history of seeds.
courtesy of Beth Bridgeman

78 percent of the world’s seeds are now owned by three companies, and it’s those companies who decide which ones to make available to the public. 

That’s quite a turnaround from America’s early years, when the U.S. government was giving billions of seeds away for free. But it’s not just the variety of seeds being lost, it’s also the history that those seeds represent. 

Many people, like Rosealie and Katie are opting for locally grown, seasonal flowers for weddings and other special events.
Renee Wilde / WYSO

Jackie Hampton has pulled up to a small, self-serve, farm stand. It houses seasonal produce from That Guy’s Farm and floral bouquets from That Girl’s Flowers. She’s here to buy flowers for her daughter’s anniversary.

“Actually this is my first time. I’ve always bought their produce and stuff.” Jackie says looking opening the door to the small, refrigerated building, “ They have beautiful flowers. You don’t see this kind in the stores.”

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