KY AgrAbility participated in the Third Thursday event at the KSU Research Farm in Frankfort. While there, students from Stuart Home and School, established in 1963 for those with intellectual limitations, helped build new raised beds for the KY AgrAbility accessible garden. Plans are to get them in place for fall planting.
The following week, the 9th Annual KY Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network Conference was held at Eastern KY University in Richmond, KY. This conference brings occupational therapy students from EKU, physical therapy students from UK, students and teachers from the Human Development Institute, and health care professionals and rural health and development professionals from the Appalachian area. The focus this year was on ways to make equipment accessible using universal design. Other topics included "Assistive Technology for Wellness" and "Music Therapy and Movement". The conference attendance was approximately 230, the largest attendance in the 9-year history of the conference.
Immediately following the KARRN conference, the KY AgrAbility staff left for the KY State Fair in Louisville, KY, where they assisted the KY Department of Agriculture Safety team with the roll-over tractor demonstration. While demonstrating the ability of ROPS to help make a difference in roll-over accidents, the staff was able to talk to many fair attendees about safety and the goals of AgrAbility.
Staff then traveled west to Owensboro, KY, and the KY Rehabilitation Association Conference. The AgrAbility exhibit was manned by Mike Lewis and Linda Bokros. The exhibit offered a chance to talk to rehabilitation professionals from across the state and to make the connections that lead to referrals for AgrAbility. While in Owensboro, Mike and Linda led a lunch-and-learn session with the Owensboro Regional Healthcare Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. After reaching out to the rehab professionals last year with a presentation, KY AgrAbility was invited back to expand on the topic of how agriculture workers can return to farms after illness or injury. The Center extended an invitation to continue the workshop next year. KY AgrAbility received referrals for services after last year's workshop and was able to follow up on those cases with the therapists.
A Labor Day break was greatly appreciated but it is back to work in September. The first week will find the staff following up with the raised bed gardens at the Beacon Apartments south of Lexington. The Beacon Apartments project is a collaborative work of UK Extension, Community Action, and Jessamine County SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Program. Vegetables and other plants grown in the accessible garden will be used in nutrition demonstrations for the residents. The residents will also be given space to grow their own gardens next year.
As the year heads toward fall, staff will be working with current clients, visiting with previous clients, and helping new referrals find a way to stay productive on the farm and achieve a quality of life that contributes to their mental wellness. A meeting will take place with the KY Rural Development Project where they will feature an article about KY AgrAbility in their magazine and will also discuss ways to help the rural population with safety, injury prevention, accessible opportunities after injury, and other problems facing those choosing to live in less populated and/or underserved areas of the state.
Submitted by Linda Bokros