Fall farm festivals are in full swing, and CalAgrAbility connected with farmers at the harvest festival in the Capay Valley, CA, sponsored by one of CalAg's consumers. CalAgrAbility provided Toolbox CDs and other material to farmers interested in modified machinery to improve work safety. The event was jam-packed and put us in contact with many families as thousands of people attended to see cows being milked, sheep getting sheared, wheat being threshed and ground, ice cream getting churned and yes, later trying it!
For Disability Employment Month, CalAg spoke with hundreds of families at rural health and disability fairs in Lodi, Winters, and Davis, CA. CalAg met representatives from Cirugia Sin Fronteras, to whom a CalAg consumer has been referred for free surgery. This nonprofit offers essential surgeries for those who cannot afford insurance.
"Whoa, I've seen her before!" Yes, Temple Grandin, who spoke at an NTW, was featured at the UCD disability health fair with a presentation on ADHD sponsored by the UC Davis Mind Institute (a leader in autism research). The event was part of the UC Davis Community Book Project to foster diversity and promote equity and inclusiveness. This year everyone is talking about her wonderful book and her love and work with farm animals. Her latest book, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, is UC Davis' book project of the year. Be sure to check out the book or the film. Grandin reveals a lot about the traits of persons with autism.
Over 60 Placer County master gardeners attended CalAg's "Gardening and Farming with Disabilities" workshop in Auburn, CA. "It was a treat," said the Foot Hills District Director, Carlotta. She added that participants raved about the presentation as the best program they have had in years.
The California state NRCS office invited staff to conduct a statewide "rehabilitating farmers" workshop. Forty high and mid-level employees attended. The meeting was streamed live online for the 65+ NRCS field offices and service centers. Carlos Suarez, the State Conservationist in California, was happy to train his staff to enhance his efforts for NRCS to reach farmers with disabilities.
The CalAgrAbility team met with our new Ability Tools partner, whose mission it is to connect Californians with disabilities to technology devices, tools, and services to make life easier. Plans are underway for three collaborative webinars and a lending library with small farming equipment and gardening tools for farming and rural families.
Submitted by Maria Ceja