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
The demand for local foods is growing in Clayton County. Developing a local food system will address concerns regarding the lack of access to healthy foods.
The existing Clayton County Extension Farmers Market serves as a food hub and informal aggregator. The UGA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) grant fund initiative delivers nutrition education and six food preparation demonstrations at the farmers market using local foods. Through the market, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers made 420 direct and 1,200 indirect contacts with local residents. In addition to 23 urban producers participating in the market, 10 local farmers attended a food-safety workshop. With a total of 49 market days, 93 percent of customers reported they had better access to fresh, affordable foods through the market.
Housing Outreach and Public Education
The Clayton County Extension housing and consumer economics program offered a series of classes called HOPE (Housing Outreach and Public Education) to educate constituents about available support for foreclosure prevention, the home-buying process and homeless placement. During 2017-18, a total of 763 constituents participated. Seven constituents purchased homes in the metro Atlanta area and were provided down-payment assistance through the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program as a result of attending UGA Extension’s Homebuyer Education Course. Twenty-eight homeless families were placed in stable housing for 12 months and 13 families were able to save their homes from foreclosure.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Obesity, poor nutrition and limited physical activity are significant health concerns that often lead to chronic disease. On average, 82,251 Clayton County residents receive SNAP benefits each month. SNAP-Ed offers the Food Talk program, which consists of four to six classes designed to enhance healthy-eating behaviors. The classes cover food resource management, food safety and preparation, healthy weight management, and physical activity. In 2018, Clayton County Extension delivered the standalone “Food Talk: Farmers Market” classes at the Extension farmers market to help promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. Seventy-five low-income participants enrolled in the UGA SNAP-Ed Food Talk: Better U program. A total of 546 participants enrolled in the Food Talk Farmers Market program. Fifty-three percent of participants completed the “Food Talk: Better U” course, totaling 619 hours of classes.
4-H Youth Development
Clayton County 4-H staff led in-school fifth-grade club meetings and assisted counselors and principals in documenting lessons taught for finance and career portfolios for the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). Many schools lack the resources needed for fun, interactive ways to engage and teach these lessons. The 4-H staff delivered the finance lesson activity for “The Spending Game (Your Money, Your Future).” Project Achievement career portfolios helped 4-H students with reading, research, public speaking, career readiness and writing skills. In 2018, all counselors in the Clayton County schools met and discussed the benefits of 4-H and CCRPI. Students in fourth- through 12th-grade career portfolio lessons increased their understanding of finance and budgeting.