Obesity, poor nutrition, and physical activity disproportionately affect minority and low-income citizens. Of the estimated 532,258 residents living in Montgomery County, 20 percent lived in poverty. In an effort to reduce this disparity and improve the health and well-being of Ohioans, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) teaches an eight-lesson nutrition education series to low-income families with children. In 2016, a total of 2,373 families were impacted by EFNEP. The 366 graduates significantly increased knowledge and improved behaviors in diet quality (90 percent), food resource management (80 percent), and food safety (52 percent), resulting in Montgomery County residents making healthier choices.
A total of 1,109 youth participated in EFNEP in grades K-12. After completing six lessons, youth reported significant increases in knowledge and positive behavior changes in the areas of diet quality (82 percent), food safety (54 percent), and physical activity (33 percent).
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education program (SNAP-Ed) funded by USDA and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services worked with 1,663 adults for 126 nutrition lessons. 336 participants completed a series of four lessons. 3,248 youth in pre-K through second grade participated in at least one of 170 in-school and after-school programs. After attending the six lessons, children began looking forward to trying more healthy foods. Parents shared with teachers that the children are making better choices at home.
The local OSU Extension agriculture and natural resources program partnered with Job Corps to provide training opportunities for 15 youth in carpentry and electrical programs. The youth are working at urban agriculture sites building beds and refurbishing production structures.
Working in partnership with the Dayton Public Schools and Edgemont Neighborhood Coalition, the ANR educator organized and presented a five-session training program for 9th and 10th grade students on excess soil nutrients and how these nutrients affect the students’ environment.
The Real Money. Real World. education series was presented to 1,095 students in grades 8 through 12 at seven schools in the county. This curriculum includes a simulation of actually spending a paycheck for monthly expenses based on a career, marital status and number of children. Students realized that creating a spending and savings plan was of high importance after participating in RMRW. Student comments included: “I thought it was great and made me think about where my money goes”; “I learned that money can just disappear as soon as you get it. I learned that kids are something to think about”; “ you have to know how to manage your money.”
Learning about leadership skills were 52 teens who participated in training sessions and volunteered as 4-H camp counselors, counselors-in-training and Junior Fair Board members. This past year focus was on communication skills, teamwork skills, and teaching skills. Teens cited examples of how their increased skills were used as teen volunteers and in school.
Three quality assurance training seminars were held for 153 youth and 116 adults on good production practices and ethical care for their 4-H animal projects. This training is required by the Ohio Department of Agriculture for 4-H members participating in county fairs with market animals and lactating dairy cows and goats.
200 youth participated in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities at three sites during the summer. Youth conducted experiments in Rocketry, Kitchen Chemistry, making chairs from balloons, and other “explosive” and creative hands-on activities. As a result of their participation, youth were more confident in their skills to problem solve and create something from a box of items.
There were 21 programs held on healthy eating, food safety, food preservation, money basics, parenting, coping with stress, and Universal Design to 425 consumers. In classes held for Successful Co-Parenting, Universal Design, ServSafe and Money Basics, 95 percent of 274 participants learned new information and 95.5 percent reported they planned to use that information.
A statewide food safety research study on the prevention of Campylobacter jejuni (food-borne illness from improper storage and re-heating of poultry) involved 14 participants from Montgomery County. The focus of this study was to evaluate learning technologies.
In 4-H youth development programs, youth learn and practice 21st century workforce skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership, communication, ethics, and lifelong learning. There were 452 community 4-H club members who learned and practiced these skills through their 4-H project work, participation in monthly 4-H club meetings, community service activities and completion of award applications and teen volunteer opportunities.
4-H programs touched the lives of 1,840 youth in Montgomery County. This included 452 youth in community 4-H clubs; 755 youth with 4-H in the Classroom, 154 youth at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 96 youth in overnight camping, with the remainder in 4-H after-school programs.
The 4-H educator taught Ohio State child protection sessions and essential elements of positive youth development to 124 adult volunteers. These volunteers worked directly with youth.
The increased demand for fresh locally grown produce was the reason 24 aspiring producers attended the Good Agricultural Practices training. This training provided information on production practices designed to prevent produce contamination protecting both the consumer and producer. One participant stated that they did not realize how easy it was to contaminate produce before harvest.
This year, 15 Master Gardener Volunteers conducted programs for and assisted seven youth and six adult new gardeners to provide fresh produce in identified “food deserts.” The ANR program, in partnership with the City of Dayton, worked with other sites in the City’s “food deserts” to increase production and availability of fresh produce.
Networking with more than 140 agencies and organizations through 10 Montgomery County Coalitions provided many opportunities for OSU Extension to share research-based resources to improve health and wellness across the span of ages. More than 2,050 visitors at 10 community health fairs engaged in conversation related to displays featuring educational resources on money, health, nutrition, food safety, parenting, universal design and stress reduction.
Correct application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers is important to maintaining environmental quality for Montgomery County residents and the residents of watersheds downstream. In all, 86 licensed private applicators were trained in proper application procedures for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. After training, 83 percent of the attendees surveyed said that the program brought them up-to-date on current pesticide related topics, issues, and regulations.
Ohio Law requires that farmers and commercial applicators spreading fertilizer on more than 50 acres be certified by September, 2017. There were 98 applicators that completed Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training taught by the ANR educator. As a result of this program, 73 percent of the program participants stated that they plan to review their soil test and phosphorous recommendations.
A two session program held for homeowners discussed the use of soil testing for home lawns. Evaluations showed that 80 percent of the participants planned on changing their lawn fertilization program and 100 percent wanted more programs on lawns and gardens. More than 200 residents learned more about protecting the environment in three workshops on Soil Health to increase farmer’s knowledge of environmentally friendly production practices and two programs on proper use of pesticides and herbicides for homeowners.