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September 2013

North Carolina

NC AgrAbility is off to a busy start to the Fall. Summer student projects wrapped up at the beginning of August with an IRB-approved survey and evaluation of Garden Scooter 1.0. Twenty participants drove the garden scooter through a garden-simulating obstacle course, completing harvesting tasks, then filled out a survey describing their experience and the effectiveness of the device. NCSU Ag Engineering students will use these results to design and build a new and improved Garden Scooter 2.0. The students received an undergraduate research grant for this project and will compete against other NCSU projects in Spring 2014. The Garden Scooter is a simple motorized device designed to assist with mobility in the garden or row crops. The device has been a popular attraction for NC AgrAbility statewide.

The Garden Scooter as well as last year’s NC AgrAbility senior design awards have been published in the NCSU CALS newsletter, website, and the College’s Perspectives Magazine. They were also recently featured on the NCSU BAE website. Three more NC AgrAbility design projects have been selected by teams at NCSU and ECU to be explored and completed in Spring 2014.

NC AgrAbility recently completed three new informational resources that will be available in September 2013. Generated due to multiple requests from farmers and rehab professionals, these packets are compilations of many of the assistive technology devices and related articles based on a specific disability or limitation. One of the developed packets focuses on mobility and vehicle access on the farm; the second focuses on products and solutions for farmers with upper extremity amputations or limitations. All materials from other sources are clearly labeled and credited from their sources or original producers. These will be available in print as well as on CD. The third resource developed was a large print version of the NC AgrAbility brochure, as requested at a number of events.

As fall sets in and temperatures cool, North Carolina's show season is already heating up. NC AgrAbility was featured in a booth at the 2013 NCATSU Cooperative Extension Agent and Staff Training Aug 16-18, with attendees from across the state. The NC AgrAbility tool kit and materials were on display at the 2013 NCATP/NCRA Training and Exhibitor Show in Concord, NC August 29. A wide variety of approximately 150 professionals and advocates for people with disabilities attended the conference. Future shows include the NC Mountain State Fair September 6-15 as well as the NC State Fair October 17-28.

Submitted by Michele Proctor