Grassroots Meeting gets high marks

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The class work that was “turned in” at the Pike County Extension Office Grassroots Meeting Tuesday has been evaluated and will be very beneficial in helping the local extension office plan the programming for the year.

Grant Lyons, Pike County Extension coordinator, said the grassroots meeting was an advisory committee meeting and the public was invited to attend.

“We had 34 participants and 11 of those were county office staff and regional agents that support our programs in different ways,” Lyons said. “The other participants were from local agencies, school systems and businesses and volunteers.”

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“Each participant completed a survey that gave us input as to what programs are working well for our county and what programs we need to implement,” Lyons said. “We have complied that information and that feedback will give us direction for this year’s programming.”

Lyons said that food preservation and health and wellness were the top priorities identified by most participants.

“From the feedback, we know that that those areas are ones that we need to focus on throughout the year,” Lyons said. “What we also learned was that, even though fewer kids are involved in agriculture, the participants saw a need to maintain our agricultural and forestry programs. We will continue to do that, especially with cattle program.”

Lyons said that six strategic program initiatives were identified at last year’s initial grassroots meeting and those six initiatives serve as a basis for program planning.

Those six initiatives are health and wellness across the lifespan, workforce development, safe and secure food supply, financial literacy across the lifespan, sustainable agriculture and forestry systems and environmental stewardship.

Lyons said the surveys completed by the participants in the Grassroots Meeting on Tuesday were in line with the initiatives and that’s an indication that the local level programming is on target.

“One of the challenges for our offices is to reach more adults with our programming,” Lyons said. “We are looking at different ways to reach adults, especially farmers and gardeners. And, there’s a lot more interest in food preservation and safety so we’ve got to find ways to get that information out to those who would benefit from it.”

The Pike County Extension Office now has a Facebook page that will help to get its message out.

“Facebook is a great way to reach the younger crowd and keep them informed about what what’s going on with our 4-H programs and all of the other events and activities of the Extension program,” Lyons said. “Adults, especially our volunteers, will find it interesting, too. Just search online for Pike County Extension Office and, when the page comes up, click on ‘like’ and you’ll be there.”