On May 9, the NC AgrAbility Partnership organized a visit to the Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden (VEBCOG) located in New Bern, NC. The visit was a networking opportunity provided to a new client who is a veteran farmer interested in turning his vegetable production into an organic production. The director of the garden, Lovay Singleton, is also a veteran who has been helping veterans for many years. The mission of the VEBCOG is to assist disabled and homeless veterans in acquiring transitional employment and job skills, and to provide Craven County with certified organic produce.An additional goal is to assist veterans who are looking to farming as a career by providing workshops and networking opportunities with agricultural agencies and local farmers. Lovay gave staff a tour through the garden, showed them the layout of the garden, and shared the philosophy of organic gardening. She has many garden beds in an area that was originally a tennis court, which is very convenient for wheelchair users. There is also a garden in the ground, many compost bins with worms, and rain water barrels.
On May 16, in Fayetteville, NC, Beatriz Rodriguez presented the NC AgrAbility Program at the "Farming Resources for Military Veterans Workshop." This workshop gathered around 20 people, among whom were veterans and resource providers for the Eastern area of NC. At this event participants had the opportunity to learn more about AgrAbility and what the program does for veterans, and they listed their names to receive periodic information about the program, technology available, educational opportunities, and events throughout the state.
On May 26, Beatriz Rodriguez presented an introduction about AgrAbility and "Work Smarter, Not Harder" to the Latino Growers Academy. This group is a collaborative work between the NC Cooperative Extension, the NC Association of Community Development Corporations (NCACDC) and the Association of Mexicans in NC (AMEXCAN), with the goal of developing the first phase of a centralized urban-based farm incubator training and education program providing education to the Latino community and helping them to continue to grow fresh food for their families and possibly generate additional income. The group would benefit from receiving practical production, business, and marketing information, among other things. At the safety session of the workshop, the Latino growers learned how to use ergonomic solutions in the garden and be aware of the importance of keeping good positioning and good posture, planning for the work of the day, exercising at the beginning and the end of the work day, taking breaks, and keeping hydrated. The participants were able to try the ergonomic tools to determine how each tool will help in easing their work in the garden while being more efficient.
Submitted by Beatriz (Betty) Rodriguez