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May 2017


The month of May will see KY AgrAbility staff meeting with the KY commissioner of agriculture, Ryan Quarles, to discuss ways to help farmers with disabilities remain active and productive on the farm while staying safe. The commissioner has invited members of his staff to the meeting to see how other divisions of the Department of Agriculture can become involved in the goals of AgrAbility. KY AgrAbility has maintained a partnership with the Department of Farm Safety over the years, but bringing others to the table will allow staff to reach into the areas of farm markets, agritourism, health outreach, and education.

Also in May, the staff will be at KY State University working on the accessible garden project at the Research and Demonstration Farm and at the Easter Seals facility at Cardinal Hill, helping with the accessible garden for disabled children and adults. Easter Seals provided a children's pizza garden last year and is expanding the garden this year to include the adult day care program as well as the children attending the day care program. As the school year ends, the staff has the yearly trips to the occupational therapy class at Eastern KY University. The class introduces the OT students to the types of AT available to the agriculture worker that has sustained a life changing injury, illness, or age-related problem.

The main event for July for the KY Staff and its partner, KY State University, will occur at the 20th Anniversary of the Third Thursday Thing on July 20th. The all-day event will mark the anniversary of the nationally-recognized program that is held monthly at the KY State University Research and Demonstration Farm south of Frankfort, KY. Several state VIPs will be attending to recognize the program's impact on the small farm and minority farmer. The third Thursday of the month, the program is held for farmers to educate, demonstrate, or share ideas about agriculture. Ideas on farming practices, organic gardening, pest control, grazing, and many other topics are covered. Each monthly program is different. July 20th will include KY AgrAbility showcasing the accessible garden and several pieces of equipment with AT modifications, alternative farming ideas for those with a disability, and farmer veteran information. The event is free, as are all Third Thursday Thing events, and includes lunch. The July 20th event will conclude with a pig roast and music.

As school gets ready to start, KY AgrAbility will be attending the National Amputee Coalition Conference in Louisville. Staff will help host a display with the National AgrAbility Project. The conference will be held at the Galt House in downtown Louisville on August 3-5. On August 29, the KARRN (KY Appalachia Regional Rehabilitation Network) Conference will be held at Eastern KY University in Richmond, KY. This conference is open to caregivers, educators, students, and those with a disability. For many, it is an opportunity to see new assistive technology, learn about everyday trials and difficulties faced by those with disabilities from the panel discussions, and to ask questions concerning various disabilities.

Submitted by Linda Bokros