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.
Over the past year, Bartow County Extension led the health initiative for revitalization of the Cartersville Farmers Market by forming a partnership with the Downtown Development Authority, the previous stewards of the market. The goal of this partnership was to provide increased access to locally grown fruits, vegetables and other farm products. This community partnership resulted in a jointly-funded part-time farmer’s market coordinator under the direction of Bartow County Extension.
The first year of the revitalized Cartersville Farmer Market has been an economic, agricultural and community success. The market doubled its average number of produce vendors in comparison to the previous year and saw an astounding increase in customer sales. Forty-eight percent of vendors reported that their sales increased by at least 25%, with more than 16% doubling sales. It is estimated that market vendors collectively made more than $115,450. Based on average daily counts, the estimated number of visitors to the market for this season was more than 23,350 people.
Bartow County 4-H created an event to showcase historic downtown Cartersville to teens looking at career opportunities. The small business tour began with the Downtown Development Authority, where youth learned about the challenges in growing a downtown community, including historical preservation, keeping buildings up to code, and creating events and attractions to bring people to the community. The next stop included a farm-to-table restaurant called Table 20. Youth gained insight on starting a business from the ground up in the restaurant industry. The final visits included It’s About Time, Olive Tree and Vine, Cohutta Fishing Company, Southern Muggs Coffee, and Coconut’s Ice Cream. At these businesses, owners discussed the education and training needed for their businesses.
Many students said they learned from the owners that it is important to support local businesses because they support the community. At the conclusion, 89% showed an increased knowledge about the role of the downtown area on community development and could identify skills needed to run a small business; and 100% learned about a new career path.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Bartow County Family and Consumer Sciences continues to support the community with health, food safety and nutrition initiatives. UGA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) offers Food Talk nutrition education classes to enhance healthy eating behaviors including food resource management, food safety, food preparation, healthy weight management and physical activity. In 2019, 188 low-income participants enrolled in the UGA SNAP-Ed Food Talk and Food Talk: Better U programs, while 51 participants enrolled in the Food Talk: Farmers Market program in Bartow County. One student said, “I learned that by taking my time to focus on what I put in my body, I can prolong my life.” In 2019, Bartow County began to expand their reach and conducted classes in surrounding counties including Polk, Gordon and Floyd.
Bartow County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H created and taught Chef Bartow, a holistic three-day summer day camp, teaching youth the basics of cooking, nutrition, food careers, food science and preservation while incorporating physical activity in efforts to improve health outcomes in children. One parent told the extension team, “She had a great time, made new friends and greatly enjoyed learning new things to try in the kitchen. I would highly recommend the cooking camp for kids.”