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March 2009


During the month of February the Missouri AgrAbility Project was out and about across the state and region.

The Missouri AgrAbility Project participated in the very successful C.H.A.R.T. TEEN TASK FORCE, Health and Safety Fair.  Approximately 576 teens and over 300 adults learned about the rural agricultural health aspects of the Missouri AgrAbility Project and actively participated in hands-on interactive ATV safety exhibit facilitated by Jeremy Griesbaum.

Rural gardeners living on small acreage sat through a lively and interactive “Tools for Comfort” presentation. Twenty-four small acreage participants learned about the necessity of selecting and using ergonomic, enabling, and adapted short and long handled tools while working in vegetable gardens as well as resources and assistance available from the Missouri AgrAbility Project. 

Missouri AgrAbility Project had strong presence at the 29th Annual Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference.  Diana Baldwin, occupational therapist working with the Missouri AgrAbility Project and Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training presented “Using Tools and Our Bodies in a Smart Way” to one hundred conference participants.  The AgrAbility and Agriculture, Arthritis, and Ergonomic exhibits were displayed during the three day conference. Karen Funkenbusch provided resources for 250 conference participants about preventing injuries through the smart use of ergonomic, adapted, and enabling tools during The 29th Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference.  

The Missouri AgrAbility Project exhibited ten of its new agricultural specific health and disability related exhibits at the Health and Safety Round-Up at the 2009 Western Farm Show. This year the Health and Safety Round-Up exhibits were relocated which provided for increased traffic flow and programmatic visibility.  According to Diane Olson, Director of Promotion and Education Programs for Missouri Farm Bureau, “The new health displays were a huge success at this year’s Western Farm Show."

Tom Fowler, Horticulture Specialist from the Northwest region of Missouri exhibited the Missouri AgrAbility Project and Gardens for Every Body Program at the Home and Garden Show. Fowler also demonstrated ergonomic, enabling, and adapted short and long handled tools combined with disseminating AgrAbility and Arthritis resource materials and tips and techniques about vegetable gardening on small acreages. 

AgrAbility information and resource materials were disseminated by the NorthEast Independent Living Services (NEILS) during the Saturday evening Extension County Council sponsored City/Farm Night.  Over 350 rural agricultural participants learned about the AgrAbility Project and the rural outreach services that are provided.

Russell Ramsey, Volunteer and Farmer Liaison, from the Missouri AgrAbility Project assisted our neighboring state-level AgrAbility Project to exhibit the AgrAbility Project at the Southern Cotton Ginners Association Mid-South Farm & Gin Show, in Memphis, TN. This Annual event is coordinated by the Mississippi AgrAbility Project with involvement from Tennessee and Missouri AgrAbility Projects. This year there were over 400 exhibits on display.

Jackie Allenbrand, AgrAbility Rural Outreach Specialist-Northwest Region, Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living, presented an AgrAbility and P.H.A.R.M. Dog program for a women’s sorority group. Jackie also presented an AgrAbility and P.H.A.R.M. Dog in Kemper Arena for the Kansas City “Green” Show which featured organic foods and supplies.

On February 25th,the Vice President of “The Standing Company” was in St. Joseph at the Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living where he provided a demo of the SuperStand Wheelchair at the MERIL office. You can learn more about The Standing Company and SuperStand wheelchair by calling Ed Bell at 1-800-STANDING or at

Submitted by:  Karen Funkenbusch