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.
Virtual Home Food Preservation Series for Home Canning
Chattooga County Extension used virtual food preservation workshops to meet the need for home food preservation education in their community, specifically canning food safely during a pandemic. Participants from multiple audiences cited significant knowledge change regarding the science-based practices needed to keep their food safe throughout the food preservation process. The classes included: Principles of Home Canning, Jams, Jellies, Preserves and other Sweet Spreads, Pressure Canning (canning of low-acid foods), and Fermentation of Canned Sauerkraut. The virtual series was advertised on social media platforms and attracted people from 4 states with over 200 people registering for the classes. The classes were delivered via zoom and included content for each topic, a live demonstration, and engaged participants using polls and interactive virtual. <>The most popular class was The Principles of Home Canning Virtual class with 46% of all registrants in attendance. The next most popular topic was Pressure Canning with 31% of registrants. Regardless of the topic, 100% of participants plan to preserve food after attending the workshop. By the end of each class, 98% of participants gained knowledge in the following food preservation areas:
- When to use boiling water canner versus pressure canners - increased by 78%
- The risk associated with improper canning techniques - increased by 42%
- Products recommended and/or available for canning jars, lids, and canners - increased by 63%
- The proper way to handle canned foods during processing and storage - increased by 52%
- Where to find trusted resources on food preservation - increased by 89%.
4-H Through Covid-19
As a result of Chattooga County Extension/4-H efforts, over 700 youth were served during the uncertain times of COVID-19. Chattooga County 4-H turned to the virtual world to involve members. State Competitors submitted their projects in Safety, Poultry, Dairy Food Lab, and Safety and Food Preservation. Senior-level students also competed in a Virtual Poultry Judging and received high honors for the competition. Our active 4-H'ers are the inspiration behind the below projects.
"Grow with 4-H" was a project that allowed the community to receive plant starter trays and seeds to begin their own garden. Participants were able to choose between vegetables and flower seeds. . “I think it is a great idea for our kids to know how much time and work goes into growing your own food. Then they will have the satisfaction of eating what they have grown,” community member from Chattooga County.
The youth that participated in our Activity Kit series with tutorial videos and Virtual Learning Hub. Many of the youth reached were not actively involved in the 4-H Program in previous years. The 200 youth served in the Activity Kit series gained knowledge in Color Theory, Kitchen Safety, STEM, Agriculture, Physical Science, and Earth Science. “These activity kits have kept my child learning and engaged throughout the weeks of summer while we have been at home,” Parent of the youth participant.
Youth that participated during the Virtual Hub were able to complete school work and participate in hands-on programming and leadership development. “This opportunity is great for youth in this county that may not have stable support at home to complete work and have the guidance they need,” parent of attending youth. This program allowed those youth in the Chattooga County School System a safe place to study, talk with others, and participate in programs following COVID-19 Guidelines for Safety