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April 2010


The Missouri AgrAbility Project supported the Washington University-St. Louis, Missouri, Department of Occupational Therapy Program, “people with disabilities who are successfully employed” research project by disseminating over three hundred informational letters to encourage Missouri farmers and ranchers with disabilities to participate in this study.  The purpose of the study is to identify people with disabilities who are employed and find those factors that contribute to their successful work careers.

The Community Food Pantry in Northwest Missouri provided a half-day workshop where participants learned ways of reaping their harvest by raising their own produce. Participants also learned how to prepare a garden spot and how to plant, tend, and harvest vegetables they raised. Michelle Johnson, pantry coordinator and organizer of this event disseminated AgrAbility brochures, AgrAbility health identification cards, and resource materials such as, the “Help Yourself to a Healthy Home” booklet to participants. 

During the month of March, Karen Funkenbusch presented four, two hour seminars about the AgrAbility Project and “How to Use Tools & Techniques for Easier Gardening” to sixty-five women from faith-based organizations. Using an interactive, hands-on approach, farmwives discovered the benefit of using ergonomic, enabling, and modified tools as well as explored tips on how to successfully navigate the Missouri AgrAbility Program, University of Missouri Extension, Centers for Independent Living, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Farm Service Agency so they could successfully reap the benefits these organizations.

Deanna Thompson, MS, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian, Patient and Community Education Coordinator at St. John's Clinic, Erin Thompson, owner of Show-Me Scapes Garden Center, and Karen Funkenbusch presented an AgrAbility Gardens for Every Body, “Tools & Techniques for Easier Gardening” program in Mountain Grove, Missouri.  Fifteen Silver Sneakers had a great time discovering ways in which tools can be used to help them get down into the garden with more ease and comfort. 

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

Russell Ramsey, Volunteer and Farmer Liaison and his wife, Wanda distributed AgrAbility information and resource materials to local agencies throughout the Southeast region of the state. Russell and Wanda also visited with several farmers and ranchers throughout the Southeast region to discuss AgrAbility services and provide direct on-the-farm assessments.

Submitted by: Karen Funkenbusch