AgrAbility eNote banner
April 2018

West Virginia

WV AgrAbility will participate in the #GrowThisWV campaign and provide networking and education activities through that social networking farm site for WV.

The purpose of the #GrowThisWV campaign is to promote and support home gardening, and people who sign up receive free seeds for WV AgrAbility's "targeted crops". Last year was a pilot and 160 people participated in the campaign. This year, there are already 280 registrations and it has only been "live" about 3 weeks. During last year's program, it was noted that many of the participants had limitations which limited their gardening. Therefore, as part of the registration process #GrowThisWV asked, "Do you need special accommodations to garden due to a disability?" Over 40 to date have indicated that they have limitations and require assistance. WV AgrAbility will participate to assist and demonstrate tool and assistive technologies for participants and to provide technical assistance.

WV AgrAbility members met with the director of veterans education and training for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Discussions regarding educational opportunities for veterans and Board of Regents programming, including the Regents Bachelor of Arts and Pathways to Master's programs related to the GI Bill, took place. The GI Bill helps veterans pay for college, graduate school, and training programs. Under this bill, qualifying veterans and their family members can get money to cover all or some of the costs for school or training. Learn more about these benefits and how to apply for them here. If on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. Please see the following websites for further information:

Ninety-three individuals with disabilities, their families or caregivers, service providers, nursing students, and community members attended a training sponsored by The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley where WV AgrAbility staff was the featured trainer. The topic of the training was abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities. While the training focused on the types and signs of abuse, and how to report abuse, WV AgrAbility staff brought a unique perspective to the topic. Additional information was cited concerning the fact that, while people with disabilities are at a higher risk of abuse and neglect than the general population, many rural farm families who have recently been faced with illness and injury or the decline in production leading to financial hardships may be subject to abuse and neglect and not know where to turn. This eight-hour training provided participants the tools to recognize abuse and neglect, to report an incident, and the services available for coping.

WV AgrAbility was represented at the 2018 AgrAbility National Training Workshop by four members of the WV AgrAbility team. WV AgrAbility was part of the team that presented a session on "Harmonizing at Farm Aid 2017" and was part of the National Training Workshop Planning Committee.

"Ergonomics - Working Smarter Not Harder" was the topic presented by WV AgrAbility staff at the Greenbrier County Master Gardener meeting. Master Gardeners, Extension personnel, and interested community members attended the meeting. Attendees learned how using body mechanics and ergonomics can help in avoiding an injury and in assisting with task completion after an injury. Participants evaluated various pieces of equipment and garden tools to understand the differences, and a discussion was held about how to refer a person to WV AgrAbility.

Submitted by Inetta Fluharty