Indiana AgrAbility was very active at the 2015 Indiana State Fair with three exhibits. The primary exhibit was in the FFA Pavilion courtesy of Indiana FFA. The display included Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest information, a mobile Life Essentials lift, AgrAbility popup banners, Arthritis and Agriculture publications, Back on the Farm publications, Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services brochures, Toolbox product examples, News Notes, and the AgrAbility Harvest. This area was staffed by Purdue staff, nonprofit partners, consultants, and volunteers.
A second Indiana AgrAbility display was in the Purdue Extension/Horticulture Building. This display was included with the Purdue Extension displays where Purdue Extension educators and specialists were available to answer questions concerning multiple programs. Indiana AgrAbility was included in the scavenger hunt conducted within the display area every year.
The third display was included in the Indiana Young Farmer Building supplementing the grain bin safety display. The display included an AgrAbility popup banner, a farm fatality map, and grain bin posters and engulfment examples.
As a partner in the Purdue Extension New/Beginning Farmer grant, Indiana AgrAbility hosted a veteran farm tour at Blue Yonder Organic Farm. The event was moderated by Cindy Chastain, Indiana AgrAbility and National AgrAbility Veteran Outreach Coordinator. The event included a brunch, presentations by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Farm Credit. It was highlighted by Sara Creech, a military veteran, giving her story to 39 veterans and their families, followed by a tour of her farm, Blue Yonder Organic Farm.
Indiana AgrAbility was represented at the Battlemind to Home VI Symposium by Cindy Chastain, Veteran Outreach Coordinator, and Steve Swain, Rural Rehabilitation Specialist. The event is an opportunity for professionals who work with military veterans to obtain additional training in those areas of interest. It also presented a time when organizations who work with veterans were able to have an exhibit and answer questions from attendees about their organization and the services they provide to veterans. Attendees included Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services counselors and supervisors, rehabilitation hospital professionals, Veterans Administration counselors, other government representatives, and military veterans.
Indiana AgrAbility staff conducted a veteran farm tour as part of Purdue University's Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program grant. Thirty-six veterans and family members attended the event, which included breakfast, presentations by FSA, NRCS, Farm Credit, and Purdue Extension; then a tour of veteran-owned-and-operated Blue Yonder Organic Farm. When the tour was announced and advertised, it filled up to capacity within 5 days, demonstrating the need in the community for more beginning farmer programs for veterans.
Submitted by Cindy Chastain
Southern Indiana coordinator Linda Tarr spent a lot of time at the Indiana State Fair booth this month. She also served on the planning committee for, and attended, the Arthritis, AgrAbility, and Rural Health conference in Knoxville, TN. The conference was very informative and provided a great networking opportunity.
Submitted by Linda Tarr