Story in Brief
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a nationally disruptive event that forced many Extension offices to close temporarily. However, a side-effect of local lockdowns and supply chain interruptions was an explosion in concerns over food security and self-sufficiency. To deliver content during COVID-19 lockdowns, Rockdale Extension pivoted to digital delivery to directly address issues relevant to food security and home gardening during quarantine. This response centered upon the monthly delivery of hour-long lectures on vegetable gardening, hydroponics, organic techniques, water conservation, landscaping, composting and mushroom farming. These webinars were archived and uploaded to allow for repeat viewings hosted on the county website. Registered participants were sent publication packets with relevant resources to the topic, and also given the option to opt-in to a bi-weekly mailing list providing COVID updates from both the county and state offices. These updates included guidance on soil and water testing, upcoming digital events across the state, and guidance on how to support local farmers. Across all live sessions 451 clients participated. A benefit of digital delivery meant that Rockdale Extension’s reach expanded from the local south metro region to other states including Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Illinois. One viewer from England also joined several sessions.