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.
Clayton County is plagued with many chronic health diseases. Forty percent of adults in Clayton County are obese —10% more than Georgia state averge. Adult obesity can lead to many other chronic health diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Clayton County Cooperative Extension is combatting obesity through many programs including our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education (SNAP-Ed) program. Our SNAP-Ed program offers three nutrition education courses: Food Talk, Food Talk: Better U, and Food Talk: Farmer’s Market. In 2019, our SNAP-Ed program reached more than 500 Clayton County residents, providing them with information regarding food resource management, food safety and preparation, healthy weight management and physical activity. Through our work in the community, we hope to decrease the likelihood of chronic health diseases afflicting Clayton County residents.
CLAYTON FRESH MOBILE MARKET
Clayton Fresh’s mission is to increase awareness of the benefits of a balanced diet, promoting the practice of trying new foods and increasing knowledge of Georgia’s agriculture for Clayton County’s youth. Camp Gracy, a four-day, intensive cooking camp hosted 12 middle school students to visit a local urban farm, prepare meals, and preserve food. The Gracy Series, an in-school field trip for fourth grade classrooms called Learn. Eat. Grow. reached more than 500 fourth grade students. Through a mix of lectures, hands-on activities, demonstrations and songs, students learned about the five main food groups and how to use the MyPlate system. During the UGA Pizza Farm activity, nearly 400 fourth and fifth grade youth rotated through stations representing the various parts of a pizza. With a goal of 3,000 citizens, the Clayton Fresh Mobile Market was able to reach 5,455 citizens in 2019.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The demand for horticulture education in Clayton County continues to grow with an expanding population. With the assistance of Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs), the agricultural and natural resources staff was able to target clients in need of agricultural education. MGEVs attended the Wild Azalea Festival, Wetlands Festival and Clayton Arts festival, where they distributed information about our services and upcoming programs. MGEVs also provided a total of 48 hours of in-person education at the Jonesboro Farmer’s Market Plant Clinic booth and reached 263 citizens. Through this booth, MGEVs answered horticulture-based questions and assisted in solving problems citizens experienced in their landscapes. Overall, the Clayton County MGEVs provided 969 hours of volunteer service to Clayton County citizens, valued at $22,354.
4-H Youth Development
We know that 4-H volunteers are essential to our county offices and our ability to provide learning experiences to youth. Through intense recruiting, the 4-H staff has secured volunteers who share their talents and expertise in a variety of ways. In 2019, the office welcomed a new volunteer leader for the Horse Club, as well as increased community club presentations. Topics for the presentations have included robotics, service learning and healthy living. Additionally, the staff continued in-school fifth grade club meetings. Many schools lack the resources needed for fun, interactive ways to engage and teach these lessons. Clayton County 4-H provided more than 300 classes during 2019.