Making A Difference in Our County
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
UGA Cooperative Extension in Barrow County offers an Agriculture and Natural Resources program committed to providing resources for gardeners, farmers and school and community garden coordinators. The program’s initiatives include a focus on improving the skills and efficacy of school garden teacher, and supporting the local food system.
In Barrow County, 80% of schools have a school garden that is part of Farm-to-School programs. The Agriculture and Natural Resources agent partnered with the UGA Grow it, Know it program and worked as a part of the local Farm-to-School Boosters to provide professional development for teachers, reaching 45 educators through these programs. For the school garden association, 80% of participants responded to a follow-up survey. Of the participants, 100% indicated that they learned something useful to take back to my classroom, felt that the event was worth their time and that the event contributed to a sense of community for school gardens/Farm to School programs. For the Grow it ,Know it program, participant confidence increased across all topic areas.
Multiple informal conversations and the input of the agriculture and natural resources advisory committee indicated a need for a local farmers market. To validate the anecdotal desire for a market, the agent conducted a consumer interest survey that had more than 1,000 responses supporting a farmers market and indicating preferences for market times, locations and products. Borrow County Cooperative Extension identified members of the community and agriculture community interested in developing a farmers market, forming the Barrow County Farmers Market board. Using information from the interest survey, the board created a plan for a local market. The agent, with assistance and input from the board, was the lead author on a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotion Program grant that was awarded to the Barrow County Board of Commissioners and will be implemented by the Barrow County Farmers Market Board from into 2020. The grant will allow the board to establish a local market with innovative programs that will benefit the local community and local farmers.
BARROW COUNTY 4-H
For the last six years, Barrow County 4-H and Barrow County Schools have partnered to offer a high school FIRST Robotics Competition Team, an effort which has grown to include FIRST Lego League Teams for middle school students. Through this partnership these teams have excelled in competitions and students have reported not only learning new skills in robotics, but also leadership and teamwork.
In a recent survey, 100 % of students reported that they learned new things about robotics, 90% agree or strongly agree that they would like a job that involves using robotics or engineering, and 90% understand how robotics can be used to help solve everyday problems.
Quotes from students included, “Without the robotics program, I wouldn’t have learned the leadership or technology skills to progress in my future,” “One of the most important things I have learned in 4-H Robotics is how to solve a problem given to me and various building and engineering techniques,” “I joined the 4-H robotics team because I love the idea of taking something so complicated like building robotics and making it yours by using creativity,” and “The most important thing that I have learned from being in robotics is learning how to work with a team.”