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October 2015

West Virginia

WV AgrAbility helped individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn how to supplement their food budget by growing their own produce. WV AgrAbility provided training to attendees during the 22nd annual "People First of WV" Self-Advocacy State Conference held at Jackson's Mill in Jane Lew, WV. Approximately 240 self-advocates and their staff were trained in how to plant salad greens in their homes, and start a backyard or balcony garden with limited resources and manpower. For additional information, visit:

WV AgrAbility provided disability awareness and farm culture training to fifty-four service providers at the statewide institute on children's safety. They were given information on farm culture and disability issues, including answers to questions regarding reasons why a person with a disability would choose to continue to farm. Various assistive technologies were demonstrated which help farmers with disabilities to continue in their agri-business. The institute featured presentations related to the fact that, worldwide, people with disabilities is the fastest growing minority. Discussions highlighted the fact that many WV farm families living with disabilities are sometimes criticized by social service workers for choosing to remain in agricultural production.

The second annual WV Urban Agriculture Conference was held on the campus of West Virginia State University in Institute, WV. It has been said that food is the tie that binds us all together, and the conference provided the opportunity for farmers to learn how to be more resilient and grow food in a sustainable manner, even if the production unit is located in an urban area. WV AgrAbility presented a session on accessible gardening that highlighted programs from three WV AgrAbility partners. Ten individuals attended the training where accessible gardening was used as a portal for public education on arthritis, self-care, and ergonomics. Design ideas and assistive technology were provided as resources available to create an accessible garden in an urban setting. WV AgrAbility provided a display during the two-day event. WV AgrAbility staff demonstrated various ergonomic gardening tools. For more information, visit:

WV AgrAbility provided training on the topics of disability awareness, farm culture, and abuse/ neglect at the Integrated Behavioral Health Conference in Charleston, WV. Workers from WV DHHR Adult and Child Protective Services attended the session. They questioned why children and adults with disabilities are working on a farm and discussed the issues of abuse or neglect. The training session covered farm culture and self-determination for individuals choosing to remain actively engaged in agriculture after experiencing an illness or injury. The training also covered signs and indicators of abuse and neglect, and the use of assistive technology. For more information, visit:

WV AgrAbility participated in National Farm Safety and Health Week by sending public service announcements (PSAs) to all newspapers and radio stations in WV. Both the written and the 30-second audible PSAs highlighted the WV AgrAbility program. The written PSA included information about webinars provided by the AgriSafe Network including: rural roadway safety, confined spaces in agriculture, children's topics, health, and tractor safety. WV AgrAbility teamed up with ME AgrAbility to create a fact sheet on aging farmers used on the ISASH Facebook page during National Farm Safety and Health Week. The written PSA can be accessed by clicking here. For the audio PSA, click here.

Submitted by Janet Della Giustina