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October 2017


Willie Nelson and Neil Young at Farm Aid 201Thousands of festival goers explored interactive exhibits and activities as part of the Farm Aid '17 concert event that took place in Burgettstown, PA, on Sept. 16. Food and farm groups from across the country showcased exhibits, including AgrAbility projects from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert event in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land. AgrAbility exhibit at Farm Aid 2017Attendees tried out assistive technology equipment in raised garden beds, sat inside a modified John Deere tractor, and held ergonomic tools, gloves, and other devices. AgrAbility staff at Farm Aid 2017Lisa Pfeifer (Ohio AgrAbility), Jessi Wright and Doug Cumpston (West Virginia AgrAbility), and Kendra Martin (AgrAbility PA) collaborated to pull together AgrAbility's presence at the event. Farm Aid was thrilled to have AgrAbility as part of the event, and asked about additional resources and information that could be posted to their website, social media, and other materials.
To see more about the event and pictures from the day, click here.

AgrAbility PA Project Assistant Abbie Spackman had the privilege of delivering a Grit Freedom Chair to a Pennsylvania farmer! The chair was donated by Chip Petrea and AgrAbility Unlimited! The donation was greatly appreciated by AgrAbility PA and the farmer and his family. The individual, a vegetable farmer and homesteader, had been struggling to get around the steep terrain of his land in a regular manual chair. Within minutes of transferring to the Grit Freedom Chair he was easily maneuvering around the farm, picking vegetables, and trying out the unique features of the chair. Watch him use the chair on his farm and follow his story on the farm's Facebook page.

Several annual meetings took place in September involving statewide assistive technology resource providers and centers - and AgrAbility PA staff members were present to engage with these organizations that impact access to AT resources. Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) held their statewide annual meeting on Sept. 21 near Harrisburg. Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) was also a part of these meetings. A group of AT professionals in southern PA counties gathered at the beginning of the month to learn specifically about agricultural equipment, modifications, and success stories from an AgrAbility PA staff member presentation.

AgrAbility PA joined national organizations and groups that recognized and raised awareness about farm safety and health during the annual National Farm Safety and Health Week Sept. 17-23. AgrAbility staff works hard to provide safe assistive technology recommendations to the farmers they serve. They also spend time during each farm visit to share information on how secondary injuries can be prevented. The most popular post to the AgrAbility PA Facebook page involved tractor access modifications.

Submitted by Abbie Spackman