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.
Family and Consumer Services (FACS)
The DeKalb County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) program consists of education based on health, food, home, finances and family. FACS provides the Expanded Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), which is an interactive educational series that teaches low-income families how to stretch their food dollars, improve nutrition practices and prevent food-borne illnesses. During the 2022 fiscal year, the DeKalb County Family and Consumer Sciences program provided 27 educational classes, ranging in topics on health and wellness. These programs reached almost 600 adults and children. Through social media, the FACS program circulated related media to over 8,800 individuals. The DeKalb County EFNEP program provided 1,328 educational sessions which served 329 adults resulting in 151 graduates and indirectly reaching 1,374 family members. To graduate from the 8-week EFNEP Food Talk program, participants must attend at least 6 of the 8 sessions. Adults who completed our educational series Food Talk reported measurable improvements in health behaviors in diet quality, physical activity, food safety, and food budget.
Fresh on Dek
With funding from the DeKalb County government and the DeKalb County Board of Health and collaboration and partnerships with various departments and community organizations, The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in DeKalb County completed the eighth season of Fresh on DeK (FOD), a mobile farmer’s market. In 2022, Fresh on DeK Mobile Farmer’s Market visited 16 different food desert locations around DeKalb County over the course of 16 weeks providing education and fresh produce to DeKalb residents. Throughout the 16-week 2022 farmers market season, Fresh on DeK Mobile Farmer’s Market provides a total of 11,030 bags of produce. The number of participants increased from last year’s farmers market season. This equates to the distribution of approximately 71,700 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables at 16 community sites around DeKalb County. Fresh on DeK continues the educational outreach through weekly 1-hour healthy living classes on Zoom and Facebook Live online platforms for 16 weeks and educational extenders given to participants who attended weekly. Increasing by over 100 participants from last year, Fresh on DeK Healthy Living classes had 639 online participants through various topics such as physical activity suggestions, how to eat healthy while dining out and creating S.M.A.R.T Goals.
Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR)
The Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) program is here to serve residents, green industry, and agriculture clients in DeKalb County. We reach out to all our clients through informational programs, social media, and in person or virtual guidance. We offer a hybrid system for programming. We have in-person programs of different topics at various places throughout the community and virtual programs offered during the day and night. Last year 23 programs were given virtually and 10 in-person programs at libraries, senior centers, and garden clubs. The total of participant for the 32 programs was 501 citizens. These programs range in various subjects such as, turfgrass, vegetables, ornamental plants, community gardens, school gardens, trees, pollinators, fruits, etc. Social media reached 188,020 individuals through 47 media posts about timely horticulture topics. For example, the post about proper pruning of crape myrtles reached 159, 662 people. Our mission is to serve people in DeKalb and the state of Georgia through research-based information.
The Agricultural and Natural Resources program manages our Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program in DeKalb County. This program is made of volunteers that live in DeKalb. Every year new volunteers are selected for a 12-week training educating them on topics like soils, plant physiology, landscape design, trees, vegetable gardening, etc. After the training they then volunteer 50 hours in the county to become certified. After your first year you need to volunteer 25 hours to maintain your certification. The DeKalb County MGEV’s volunteer at our 16 project sites, community events, and green spaces and parks in the county. In 2022 our volunteers did 10,620.35 volunteer hours valued at $307,093.72. They are such a great asset to our county and our ANR program.
4-H Youth Development
The 4-H Youth Development Program in DeKalb County serves youth from 4th to 12th grade. UGA Extension and 4-H work to help the students of Dekalb County reach their full potential. DeKalb 4-H strives to reach youth in both public and private school settings, as well as parks and recreation centers, libraries and a variety of community and homeschool environments. We teach classes both virtually and in-person. 4-H offers a variety of youth and STEAM programs which provide confidence in the areas of public speaking, writing development, workforce preparation, leadership skills, and healthy living. 4-H members also engage in community service projects, as well as activities such as yoga that provide avenues of managing stress. 4-H encourages personal growth and guidance for members to become contributing members of society.
In 2022, we accompanied 13 students at 4-H Day at the Capitol, where students met their elected representatives and legislators from around the state. Participants learned about the political process and the role that citizens play in shaping legislation in their communities and beyond. In Summer 2022, 4-Her’s attended Cloverleaf and Junior Camps. Campers took part in team-building activities, canoeing, archery, hiking, and learned about nature and the history of 4-H. In September, students took part in 4-H Tech Changemakers. Students participated in digital skill-building workshops aimed at assisting adults in increasing digital know-how. In October, we took students to Little Creek Horse Farm where they learned to groom, tack, and feed horses. They also participated in horseback games such as relay races and pole weaving. In September, students took part in 4-H Tech Changemakers at Rock Eagle. Students participated in digital skill-building workshops, where they were empowered to teach digital skills to adults in their community, thereby closing the digital divide and increasing employability.