Extension TodayNews from and about the 1890 Land-Grant Extension System
Message from the Chair
Vonda Richardson Extension Administrator, Florida A&M University
Thank you to all those who joined us in Orlando, Florida, for a successful and fulfilling conference, where we were able to network, collaborate and evolve the work that we do in Extension.
Much of that impactful work is highlighted in the Extension Today newsletter, with this issue focusing on community development and outreach efforts. As you read throughout this month’s edition, 1890 Cooperative Extension meets the needs of their communities by providing them with resources and training sessions to prepare for disasters, overcome barriers, address environmental issues and food insecurity, and improve the quality of life.
Furthermore, through partnerships, Cooperative Extension professionals offer programs to help build viable neighborhoods so they can thrive economically. Thank you for reading and stay safe.
CRD planting entrepreneurial seeds
Community Resource Development (CRD) provides education and resources that empower marginalized communities to overcome barriers and achieve equity, resilience and mobility. CRD also addresses complex social, economic and environmental issues. Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University’s CRD program area focuses on creating economic opportunities with people-centric approaches.
CRD at work
In the past year, the CRD team trained 511 Alabamians in small business development. After completing the Business Modeling 101 series, 74 percent of participants felt ready to design profitable business models compared to 24 percent prior to the class. The CRD team also piloted the Birmingham Community Incubator, a collaborative project that involved six weeks of education and coaching, micro-grants and the opportunity to network among women business owners of color. After attending this class, 100 percent of graduates continue to grow their businesses.
In addition to offering other dynamic programs, the CRD team delivers a newsletter and manages the Small Business Café, a Facebook group for entrepreneurs. Contact Extension Assistant Director Kimberly Sinclair-Holmes at (256) 372-4941 or visit the CRD website for more information.
CSU Extension Community and Economic Development offer PRiMR: Disaster Management Education
Disasters can happen in anyone’s community and Central State University Extension (CSUE) Community and Economic Development now offers PRiMR: Disaster Management Education as a free program across Ohio to organizations, businesses and farmers.
The classes are offered by CSUE educator Ambrose Moses III, Esq., who works directly with businesses and organizations prior to a disaster to highlight the three “Rs” of a disaster: records, relationships and relief (recovery).
“In an effort to better prepare Ohio small businesses, agribusinesses and organizations for natural and economic disasters,” says Moses.
A disaster is defined as a serious, hazard-related disruption of the functioning of a community causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected community to cope using its own resources.
The PRiMR Disaster Management Education Program, he adds, addresses the steps for and managing disasters, including preparedness, response, innovation, mitigation and relief. The program will assist businesses in developing a business continuity plan to aid in the case of a disaster and will focus on:
- Prepare and create a plan.
- Define the objectives of the continuity plan.
- Identify and prioritize potential risks and impact.
- Develop business continuity strategies.
- Define teams and tasks.
- Test the continuity plan.
For more information or to learn how to arrange educational sessions, contact Moses at amoses@CentralState.edu.
FAMU Extension provides community assistance for disasters
Disasters start and end at the local level. Each year, communities may be affected by both natural and human-made disasters such as a hurricane, flooding, fire, pandemic or crisis. Disasters and emergencies affect every aspect of life. They can cause devastation and are challenging for the people directly affected, especially vulnerable populations.
Therefore, partnerships and local collaboration with Cooperative Extension is necessary. Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension is positioned to support communities before, during and after disaster strikes to address their needs.
FAMU Extension supplies educational information through workshops and social media relevant to impending emergency threats to ensure residents are prepared to respond and be self-sufficient after the disaster until help can arrive. FAMU Extension takes part in various community events to distribute preparedness information and survival kit items. FAMU Extension also partnered with FAMU Student Health Services to supply a pandemic preparedness guide at their COVID testing site.
Widespread disasters cause power outages and disrupt the supply and distribution chain. To alleviate some stress in the community, FAMU Extension supplied hot meals to individuals and school supplies to youths in impacted areas. Extension educators also supply technical aid to help disaster survivors navigate the application process for recovery aid. FAMU Extension serves as a member of long-term recovery groups to find communities’ unmet needs and secure resources compared to ongoing recovery efforts.
FVSU partners with Albany State University to develop community gardens
By ChaNae' Bradley, Senior Communications Specialist
Fort Valley State University and Albany State University are partnering to combat food deserts and chronic illnesses in southwest and middle Georgia.
To address this concern, both universities received approximately $700,000 from a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grant called “Developing Healthy Communities by Eliminating Food Deserts in Rural Counties in Middle and Southwest Georgia.” The collaborative agriculture community grant provides funds to establish community gardens in select locations. Funding will be used to establish and maintain the gardens, as well as provide training to youths and adults.
FVSU will develop two gardens. One will be located at Flint River Community Farms in Macon County. The second will be located on FVSU’s campus. FVSU Extension personnel will manage the gardens on campus and assist with the gardens located in the Flint River Community. Students will also assist with gardening. ASU will partner with Pretoria Fields Collective, a farm that has land in Albany and Camilla.
“The goal of this project is to educate youths about healthy eating, the value of farmers, and to learn the life cycle of crops and how to grow your own food,” said Dr. Mark Latimore, associate dean for FVSU Cooperative Extension. The FVSU administrator said planting is scheduled to begin fall 2022.
The objective of the community grant is to eliminate food deserts by enabling community members to grow fresh fruits and vegetables on their own, engage them in outdoor physical activity through gardening and educate families about healthy lifestyles.
Kentucky State’s CRD team helps community prepare for disaster
Kentucky State University’s Community and Resource Development team has been hosting disaster preparedness workshops for small farmers and others in the community.
With the recent flooding in eastern Kentucky and the tornadoes in the western part of the state in December, preparing for disasters is all too relevant. Gill Finley Jr. and Nilima Mishra have led two workshops in 2022 to help people prepare for the worst.
In March, a tornado preparedness workshop helped attendees build an emergency kit and make a plan for a tornado emergency. In July, Finley and Mishra led the workshop, Heat Stress: “Too Hot to Handle.” During the time period of extreme and potentially dangerous temperatures, attendees learned how to protect themselves in hot and humid conditions.
Langston University Extension's networking impacts historically Black communities
Langston University Cooperative Extension & Outreach Program (LU-CEOP) continues strengthening networking opportunities within the 13 remaining Oklahoma's Historically Black Towns.
The Historically Black Towns Mayor's Advisory Board was organized after the inaugural mayors' summit in 2021. The board is instrumental in fostering relationships that build on impacting the town's economic, physical and social outcomes.
“Through this ongoing partnership, LU-CEOP has connected the community to economic opportunities offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),” stated James Arati, program leader of agribusiness, management and community sustainability at LU-CEOP. In 2022, LU-CEOP helped the towns of Taft and Boley to plant community gardens and teach the members about plasticulture techniques for controlling weeds and conserving the water resource. In addition, Micah Anderson, horticulture specialist at LU-CEOP, trained community members on utilizing hoop houses for crop season extension.
Langston University had the privilege of hosting Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, deputy secretary of the USDA, as the 2022 commencement speaker. During Bronaugh's visit to Oklahoma, she had the opportunity to meet with Oklahoma's Historical Black Towns representatives. LU-CEOP organized a follow-up meeting between the USDA state directors and the Black town mayors to discuss specific resources available to rural towns. The USDA rural development community facilities grant/loan program will address specific needs presented by the Black town mayors.
Community working together to ensure water safety
Two Lincoln University Cooperative Extension collaborations that are effectively reaching out to the community are Family Swim Safety, offered through 4-H Positive Youth Development programming, and Blue Tiger Pride and Good Nutrition, offered through Human Nutrition and Health programming.
The 4-H Positive Youth Development area teaches youths about leadership development, youth health and wellness, academic enrichment, workforce development, entrepreneurship, social justice and equity. Community partnerships enhance outreach efforts. A current collaboration seeks to teach life-saving swimming skills to families and children in partnership with Catholic Charities and the YMCA to ensure the safety of minority youths at local pools and water parks.
The Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Human Nutrition and Health (LUCEN) staff work diligently to provide basic nutrition education and healthy hygiene as a part of programming. Through Blue Tiger Pride and Good Nutrition, LUCEN has worked for three years to build trust, relationships and partnerships with multiple agencies, non-governmental organizations and constituents, focusing on the positive impact nutrition and physical activity have on mental, economic and environmental health of the communities it serves.
Community Voices offers a pathway for change
For several years, Jason Spriggs wanted to serve his community as an elected official. But, it took a notice in the local newspaper to put him on a path that would help him in his quest to become a member of the Henderson City Council.
“It was one of those moments when you see something and say, ‘That’s for me; that’s the perfect fit,’” Spriggs recalled. “The timing of the program was perfect.”
The program that caught his eye back in the spring of 2019 was Community Voices, a series of eight classes aimed at limited resource and nontraditional leaders. Created by Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T, Community Voices helps citizens develop the skills needed to solve community problems. Most participants are new to public service, and the program introduces them to the fundamentals of local government and volunteerism so they can work for change in their communities.
During Community Voices training, participants learn to work as part of a team to address a community issue. The course’s modules focus on the issues and skills used by successful leaders, including leadership styles, adopting a shared leadership approach, communication and consensus building.
PVAMU’s Darden-Caldwell LeadHERship Summer Camp
By Aricie Piton, Communication Specialist, PVAMU Wellness in Houston
Prairie View A&M University's Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center (TJCPC) hosted its second annual Darden-Caldwell LeadHERship Summer Camp.
The purpose and mission of the Darden-Caldwell LeadHERship series are to provide opportunities for young girls to meet professional, empowered women of color as they navigate life from adolescence to adulthood. Susan Frazier-Kouassi, Ph.D., Grady Paris and Phyllis R. Darden-Caldwell are the pioneers of this camp series.
The camp series is named after Darden, who served as a member of the college's Advisory Committee. She also established a legacy gift for TJCPC, a bench that sits in front of the Memorial Student Center, recognizing her contributions to the university. Darden serves her community by supporting, mentoring and teaching youths. Her passion for this commitment is displayed in her genuine interactions.
Twenty-three professional women participated in the camp this year as workshop presenters, soft skill presenters and roundtable leaders.
Dr. Jeanette Callahan, a general pediatrician, practicing in Boston, Massachusetts, presented a workshop that defined wellness. Callahan provided tools to "help young Black and brown women, in particular, get a better sense of who they are as opposed to ‘focusing’ on what they do. They do not have to be something to do something; they already are." She focused on showing that wellness starts with the individual's sense of self.
The LeadHERship Summer Camp concluded with an early morning brunch and roundtable discussions. It allowed the young ladies to network and counsel with the professional women who gave their time, knowledge and resources to the camp.
SC State 1890 program aims to reduce childhood obesity in Chesterfield, surrounding areas
In February 2022, SC State University 1890 Research & Extension and the Chesterfield Family YMCA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to combat childhood obesity in the area by implementing a nutrition health program for families.
Shawn Smith, family nutrition and health Extension agent for the Pee Dee region, signed the MOA and is leading the Family Nutrition and Health Program for after-school participants in the area. In April, she participated in the organization's Healthy Kids Fun Day to promote healthy eating at an early age.
"Working with the Chesterfield Family YMCA has been a rewarding experience," Smith said. “My goal is to make activities fun, exciting and engaging for the kids so they can learn new things about nutrition and share it with their family and friends.”
Chesterfield childcare director Jamie Denham says the partnership with 1890 aligns with the YMCA's mission and provides resources for staff and community members to improve their overall health.
“Thanks to the 1890s, the Chesterfield Family YMCA was able to expand its mission to nourish the minds, bodies and spirit of the Chesterfield community,” Denham stated. “I appreciate Shawn and the entire 1890 program for providing information in a digestible way that keeps our youths engaged while enjoying a nutritious meal.”
Chesterfield Family YMCA after-school program serves approximately 15-20 area youths. As part of the health program, students learned about food groups, calorie and sugar counts, as well as ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Community development through collaborations
Community development is a cornerstone for creating and sustaining resilient communities. Further, it is a task we take very seriously in the Cooperative Extension Program at the Southern University Ag Center.
We have recognized the benefits of innovative programming, while also understanding that a collaborative approach with community organizations helps us to yield a bigger impact. Through partnerships and collaborations, we have determined that many of our missions and goals for communities are intertwined and we can utilize shared resources to accomplish our objectives.
Recently, Dr. Krystle Allen began working with the Scotlandville Community Development Coalition (SCDC) to collaborate on a Scotlandville Beautification Program, North Baton Rouge Economic Development, and the community-based Healthy Eating Initiative (Geaux Get Healthy) sponsored by a grant from the mayor’s office.
“Collaborating with local organizations allows me to expand my professional network and reach, build relationships within the communities we serve and increase my impact,” said Allen.
For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s community development collaborations, contact Allen.
Resources, economic development vital for communities
By William Taylor, Extension Agent, Community Resources & Economic Development, Dyer County, Tennessee
My area of expertise lies in Community Economic Development and Agriculture Natural Resources. Due to the growing number of limited resource groups and organizations, studies show increasing needs for organized groups to take greater action to improve conditions within their communities. Group studies and school data show an ever-increasing need for child nutrition programs. Survey studies and needs assessment information show a need to assist homeowners and small farmers and producers with horticulture information.
Community Economic Development recognition programs are needed for limited resource organizations, nutrition and feeding programs for youths. Master Gardener and small farm programs are necessary for both amateur and professional producers.
Due to organizing community organizations, these groups better understand how city and county government work. They also offer resources within their communities that provide a better quality of life for their citizens. Ongoing nutrition programs help children receive nutritious meals and make better food choices. Master Gardeners create beautification projects that showcase city and county parks and recreation programs. Small farmers learn information to help with record keeping and improving their farm production.
EPA, Tuskegee University’s Carver Integrative Sustainability Center partner for environmental justice
By Robertha Richardson
As climate change continues to be a driver of political and economic concern around the globe, some of the most vulnerable communities are suffering from its quick and intense impacts with no assistance from government agencies or institutions. For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Academy is in a historic partnership with Tuskegee University to address this very need.
This partnership will provide an economic development and environmental justice training for community leaders, students and Extension agents who have a shared interest in improving the overall quality and well-being of their community. Through a series of nine modules, participants will actively work on community group projects while also learning how to structure and teach future classes. Trainings will also include how to best utilize external stakeholders to assist with project activities. The training modules are created for everyday people ages 17 and older and community, nonprofit and environmental leaders who are engaged and active in their communities.
The benefits of participating in the EJ Academy are numerous. Skills will be cultivated to successfully identify economic and environmental challenges and encourage collaborative problem solving with government agencies, academic institutions and industry to create a shared vision among different stakeholders so that all who are a part of the community can have a voice.
Upon completion of the trainings, participants will have created a plan that will guide organizational activities that will assist in securing funding, identifying partners, describing community resources and challenges and establishing credibility amongst stakeholders. For more information, contact Raymon Shange.
UAPB extends outreach during youth enrichment summer cooking experience for children
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Cooperative Extension Program hosted three free, fun-filled summer cooking sessions to encourage children ages 7 to 11 to eat healthier meals and snacks through hands-on cooking experiences.
The sessions focused on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate dietary guidelines, kitchen safety, identifying cooking tools, food safety and physical activity. Children cooked their own lunch daily. They also experienced the 4-H Yoga for Kids and robotics activities, learned about different reptiles, created personalized stationery cards, and participated in line-dancing and gardening activities.
“Since COVID-19 stopped all summer youth programming the last two years, offering these summer cooking sessions was a great way for parents to get their children involved again,” Teresa Henson, Extension specialist-program outreach coordinator for UAPB, said. “The children learned basic cooking skills and how to eat new and healthy foods. Initially, we only offered two sessions, but because of an overwhelming response, we added a third session.”
Henson said parents of the 46 participants praised the camp for its engaging activities that had children looking forward to the next day’s activities. When asked if they had noticed any changes in their children, one parent said, “Yes, she is more confident socially and with her knowledge of cooking and animals. She now thinks she knows more than me.”
MD Food Bank, UMES Extension pilot program benefits food pantries, ethnic crop growers
The Eastern Shore Branch of the Maryland Food Bank (MFB) and UMES Extension are involved in a pilot program this summer to provide fresh ethnic crops sought after by their clientele. At the same time, the partnership opens new opportunities and income to explore for Delmarva farmers facing rising costs.
According to the charitable organization, “Recognizing that hunger looks different in Western Maryland than it does in Baltimore or on the Eastern Shore, we take a regional approach to our food distribution efforts.” Last year, MFB’s Eastern Shore Branch distributed more than 8 million meals to community members in Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester, Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. Two of the counties, Somerset and Wicomico, are among the most food insecure in the state. It does so with the assistance of 62 partners and 189 distribution points in the region.
Burton along with five collaborating farmers have created an aggregate to supply 1,000 pounds of produce per week to Rebirth Inc. in Salisbury and Aaron’s Place in Denton July through October to add to their weekly distribution. The goal, Burton said, is to test the supply and demand chain.
The hope, Burton said, is that the project proves viable enough for expansion—a win-win for farmers and those in need in our community.
Virginia State University’s community assessment is one more step toward addressing local food insecurity
The Harding St. Urban Ag Center in Petersburg, Virginia, has one mission: to address existing food deserts in the city of Petersburg by building a sustainable food production system and distribution hub. This includes educating the community about indoor food production operations, marketing and entrepreneurship. To help further this mission, Virginia State University’s (VSU) Extension Program is spearheading efforts to change the policies behind some of the local problems of quality food access.
VSU’s Dr. Marcus Comer held a series of listening sessions with the community and various stakeholders and is analyzing an audit of current policies that will inform the new policy recommendations.
“This food policy audit looks at land use policy, food policy and health-related issues in municipalities, everything that ties into a vibrant urban agriculture system,” says Comer.
Virginia Cooperative Extension extends the resources of Virginia's two land-grant universities, Virginia State University and Virginia Tech, to solve problems facing Virginians every day.
WVSU EDC creates exercise program to increase physical activity in community
West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Service’s Economic Development Center (EDC) has created Let's Move!, a community exercise program that aims to improve the health of Charleston residents and keep them active. The Let's Move! group meets weekly and performs a variety of stretches, aerobic exercises and muscle strengthening activities.
“Our main goal is to provide an opportunity to enhance physical activity and knowledge about exercise,” said Kaysha Jackson, WVSU EDC director. “This program is a part of our promotional plan to tie the community to the EDC and its benefits. We also plan to start a health series that will educate residents about career choices and options in the health industry.”
Let's Move! has had nine participants, all of which were interviewed every three weeks about mental and physical health levels. All of the participants have reported that exercising regularly and continuing to stay active outside of the program has had a positive impact on their mental, physical and social health.