A total of 1,676 family members were impacted by the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). The 297 adult graduates significantly increased knowledge and improved behaviors in diet quality (91 percent), food resource management (85 percent), and food safety (65 percent), resulting in Summit County residents making healthier choices.
A total of 969 youth participated in EFNEP in 2016 in first to eighth grade. After completing six lessons, youth reported significant increases in knowledge and positive behavior changes in the areas of diet quality (81 percent), food safety (41 percent), and physical activity (40 percent).
Obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity disproportionately affect minority and low-income citizens. Of the estimated 541,824 residents living in Summit County, 10.9 percent of families with children live 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 8-lesson nutrition education series to low-income families with children. EFNEP, funded by USDA-NIFA, contributed $80,000.00 this year to our county, funding 3.6 FTE staff in the OSU Extension office.
Chronic diseases are largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle, involving a balanced diet and regular physical activity. More than half of graduates increased their physical activity levels and fruit and vegetable consumption upon completing EFNEP.
EFNEP Success Story: SD is a mother of two and is currently living in a residential facility for homeless women and children. She is currently working on her sobriety in an urban city in Ohio, while searching for work and building her resume. SD has not had a consistent kitchen in a while, and is thankful for her time at the residential facility to begin cooking for her and her children again. After taking several EFNEP classes, she expressed that, "the planning and shopping lesson was super helpful this week! My kids and I went to the store, and I planned out our meals ahead of time like we did in class. I know I saved money, and I know I made healthier choices since I was prepared.”
The OSU Master Urban Farmer class was offered for the first time in Summit County. Eighteen participants improved their knowledge of horticultural production, agribusiness practices, and marketing skills.
In conjunction with Asian Services in Action, the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program area offered basic agriculture training classes to forty newly arrived refugees from six different countries. The objective of these classes was to prepare the participants to develop small-scale farms.
The 4-H Youth Development program serves the people of Summit County through four program areas: 4-H clubs; 4-H school enrichment programs; a 4-H equine day camp, and statewide opportunities. In 2016, we are pleased to have accomplished the following:
This year, there were 27 traditional 4-H clubs, led by 72 trained, screened, and approved volunteers. 4-H members, aged 8-19, selected self-guided and adult supported educational projects that ranged from beekeeping to welding. This year, our 4-H members explored a total of 583 projects, which contributed to the overall learning and experiences of our youth. These projects ranged from animal sciences (including beekeeping), to photography, to leadership development, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Our 4-H alums reported that their 4-H club and project learning experiences enhanced their abilities to secure employment and be admitted to an institution of higher education.
4-H school enrichment programs occur in three Summit County school systems. The Akron Public (APS) City Schools have led the way in this partnership, which began in 2007 and continues today. All APS third graders learn growth and development through 4-H egg embryology study, while all APS fifth graders learn basics of force and motion learning from the 4-H rocketry program. All third graders (84 teachers and 1,640 students) and all fifth graders (54 teachers and 1,531 students) in the system experienced hands-on science education. The Coventry schools have partnered with OSU Extension STEM for more than five years. Currently, all third-grade students (150) improve their understanding of science. The Manchester schools joined this group in 2016, and after participating in a quality, no-cost teacher training, the egg embryology was also offered to their students. The APS science test scores show the positive results of hands-on learning experiences. Their curriculum director reports that test scores have improved by 3 percent in 2016.
The ANR program partnered with the Farm Bureau and the Countryside Conservancy to offer to two educational programs, “Pasture Improvement” and “Farm Safety Modernization Act Information,” topic areas of great interest to our local farming community.
A Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training was held to prepare small growers for Food Safety Modernization Act mandates.
Master Gardener Volunteers significantly increase Extension’s visibility in the county. From January 1 to November 1, Summit County Master Gardener Volunteers performed more than 4,900 hours of service to Summit County via children’s programs, farmers’ markets, classes, and horticultural therapy. Additionally, 105 Hotline calls were answered, providing the community with the most up-to-date research on consumer horticulture issues.
Improving child protection through awareness and reporting has been a mandatory program in OSU Extension across the state for two years. Extension staff, 4-H, and Master Gardener Volunteers are required to participate in child abuse and neglect training. Those with care, custody, and control of youth take this training annually. In this one-hour session, adults become aware of child abuse, how to recognize it, and how to report it. In 2016, 92 4-H volunteers, 120 Master Gardener Volunteers, and all of our staff participated in this training. That is a total of 218 individuals in the county looking out for children who are trained and prepared to report possible child abuse.
The OSU Extension – Summit County Master Gardener Volunteers hosted the 2016 State Master Gardener Volunteer Conference. This year, 360 MGVs attended and increased their knowledge of arboriculture, native plant species, and new plant introductions. In addition, the conference provided thousands of dollars of economic benefit to Summit County via hotel stays and food purchases.
Environmental stewardship is a priority for Ohio farmers, Ohio State University, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. In 2016, 106 area farmers were provided Pesticide Recertification Training and/or Fertilizer Application Certification Training. Farmers now have updated tools to use when making management decisions to protect the environment.
Twenty-five Ohio Certified Naturalist Volunteers were trained and have given 751 of service to Summit County. Project sites include metro parks, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Akron Zoo.
Pest management is a challenge for backyard gardeners and farmers alike. In partnership with the OSU Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and Let’s Grow Akron, a demonstration area was developed to train volunteers and staff in IPM techniques. This year, 10 staff and volunteers were trained in techniques to manage pest issues in urban sites.