Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
PROMOTING HEALTHY LIFESTYLES
UGA Extension promotes healthy lifestyles for all ages. In Forsyth County, the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agent used community programs, 4-H curriculum and a variety of media channels to deliver information on nutrition, food safety, food preservation, and local foods. To promote safe food preservation practices, the agent offered a summer lecture series, "Basics of Food Preservation," and participated in a weekly Ask an Agent booth at the Cumming Farmers Market, where residents could also have their pressure canner lids inspected and tested for pressure accuracy. The hands-on Put it Up program engaged adults in learning research-based food preservation methods. To provide nutrition education to those on a limited income, the FCS agent piloted the FoodTalk program at the Place of Forsyth County. This program used cooking demonstrations and taste tests to help adults learn to make nutritious food choices. Newspaper, newsletter and website articles allowed the agent to reach additional county residents with up-to-date nutrition and food safety information.
STUDENT USES 4-H CLUB TO GIVE BACK
Through a variety of activities, UGA Extension 4-H provides youth with opportunities to develop life and leadership skills. In Forsyth County, youth may participate in several types of 4-H clubs. Some clubs are initiated and led by 4-H Certified Teen Leaders. Keenan Clark, a ninth-grade 4-H member, has a passion for making crafts and helping others. She combined these passions into the Be Inspired to Give Crafts Club. Each month, Clark teaches younger 4-H’ers how to make a different craft. The resulting products are donated to different groups or organizations in the community. Within the first three months of starting the club, Clark led other 4-H’ers in creating 14 holiday canvases to decorate a local retirement center, 30 holiday cards to send to troops serving overseas, 22 sock cupcakes to provide comfort to patients at Northside Hospital Forsyth and 25 kitchen utensil containers for local families in need.
NATIVE FRUITS FOR PEOPLE AND POLLINATORS
Working with Georgia’s pollinator protection policy, the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent leveraged homeowner interest in edible landscaping to promote the use of native fruit and nut plants in local landscapes. The effort had three objectives: provide clients with sustainable food gardening options; increase biodiversity in developed areas of the county; and reintroduce native food plants to support pollinators. The outreach program included lectures, attended by over 230 people, and a series of newspaper and newsletter articles to make homeowners aware that native fruit and nut plants are highly suitable for landscapes. A community orchard, established in 2014 through Forsyth County Extension’s partnership with other county agencies, allows residents to experience firsthand the aesthetic and food value of several native fruit and nut species. Because these plants are rarely available at retail landscape nurseries, the agent coordinated a plant sale featuring 11 native food-bearing species. Through this sale, county residents purchased over 160 fruit plants, including 129 native plants. In addition to producing fresh food for many years, these plants will provide forage and habitat for several species of native pollinators.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.