July has been a marathon of activities for the KY AgrAbility staff. The residents at the Beacon Apartments for seniors and disabled individuals requested that KY AgrAbility help with accessible garden plans for the facility. The residents request a variety of garden beds for their particular needs. The county ag agent, community leaders, and AgrAbility have worked out a plan for the beds, equipment to maintain them, and the plants and seeds for the variety of vegetables and flowers they want to grow. Providing sessions on gardening, healthy eating and other topics will help the residents utilize this new space.
The highlight of the month was the trip to the ISASH Conference in Nova Scotia. Linda, Mike, and Kevin participated in this event that was informative for each. The conference focuses on safety concerns for the farmers and farm families and includes attendees from all over the world. The theme for this year was "Farm to Sea." The hotel was located on the harbor, and the boardwalk behind it gave the staff the opportunity to enjoy the foods and sights of the area.One of the tours included a visit to a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and a trip on a lobster boat. Safety on the boat was discussed during the trip around the bay. Other tours included the "Grass to Glass" tour of the 825-acre Winding River Farms, which is a dairy and row crop farm where they also grow forage crops for their 300 head of cattle. The poster presentations were varied, covering many topics, and the sessions ranged from keeping children safe on the farm to stress and health. Next year the conference will be held in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mike Lewis and Ryan Creech represented KY AgrAbility at the RESNA conference in Arlington, VA. This conference was titled "#ingenuityATwork" and was "dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions". Mike and Ryan were able to connect with educators and innovators in assistive technology that will work for farmers with disabilities.
On July 21, The KY AgrAbility Project, partners KSU and KY Growing Warriors, hosted a hands-on blueberry cultivation workshop at the Healing Ground Farm in Mount Vernon, KY. While it had rained heavily on the days prior to the event, that Saturday was sunny and bright, allowing for the attendees to venture into the fields for the afternoon. The morning session was dedicated to propagation, fertilization, pest control, and other topics concerning how to cultivate the crop for maximum profit. After lunch, everyone was given the opportunity to learn how to plant blueberries and the basics of pruning and maintaining the area around the blueberry bushes. More of these types of workshops are in the planning stages.
August is back-to-school month, and KY AgrAbility staff will be in contact with various schools to connect with the ag teachers throughout the state to educate the students. The staff will also be at the KY State Fair with the KY Department of Ag, Safety and Education and at the KY Rehab Conference in Owensboro August 28-30.
Submitted by Linda Bokros