April 2013 archive

Kent-Sussex Master Gardeners open application process for Class of 2013

Master Gardener logo

Master Gardener logo

The application period is open for Master Gardener training in Kent and Sussex counties. Master Gardeners enjoy gardening, have gardening experience, want to learn more about gardening and have a desire to help others in their community. Following an intensive twelve-week training program with day-time classes alternating between the two county Extension offices, the trainees volunteer a minimum of 45 hours during their first year before becoming official Master Gardeners. Training is held every other year in the fall. Classes for the Class of 2013 will begin in September (right after Labor Day and completed before Thanksgiving.

Master Gardeners are working volunteers and are supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension offices.Master Gardeners are part of a vibrant community of individuals dedicated to growing a greener Delaware, with a more bio-diverse and sustainable environment. They extend the home garden outreach of Delaware Cooperative Extension, staffing garden “hotlines” for much of the year, offering information at events such as community fairs, festivals and farmers’ markets, talking to local civic groups and working with youth groups and schools. Many provide workshops on favorite garden topics and are available through a speakers’ bureau to make presentations for community groups upon request. A dedicated group of puppeteers in Sussex County perform an educational version of “Peter Rabbit” to the delight of children of all ages.

There are many opportunities for volunteers. On May 4, for example, Sussex County Master Gardeners will have an information table at the Antique Market at Silver Hill to be held at the Parson Throne Mansion, 501 NW Front Street, Milford; another information table as well as a display of Accessible Gardening tips and tools at the Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale at the James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; and will present their award-winning Peter Rabbit puppet show at Crossroad Community Church’s annual May Fair at 20684 State Forest Road, Georgetown, where there will also be a presentation on Vegetable Gardening in Containers.

Tracy Wootten, horticultural agent for Sussex County, said, “Without these wonderful volunteers, Cooperative Extension would not be able to provide the impressive amount of outreach that is being offered to local Delaware communities.”

The training program includes formal lectures, discussion sessions, tours, workshops, and problem-solving sessions. Advanced training opportunities include state, regional and national workshops, lectures at monthly business meetings, special training sessions, and the shared experiences of a group of skilled, experienced gardeners.

The application can be found online at http://extension.udel.edu/lawngarden/master-gardener-volunteer-educators/become-a-master-gardener/
Send completed applications to: Kent County Extension Office, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, 19901.

All applications must be received by June 1, 2013. Class size is limited. All applicants must attend a reception on June 20, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kent County Extension Office. If accepted, you will be notified by letter and will receive further information about classes. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age or national origin. The Delaware Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is provided in coordination with the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.

For more information, contact Tracy Wootten or Tammy Schirmer in Sussex County, (302) 856-2585, ext. 544 or Maggie Moor-Orth in Kent County, (302) 857-6426, or  the University of Delaware Paradee Center Kent County Extension office at (302) 730-4000.

Arthritis and Agriculture

 

Arthritis affects approximately one-third of all adult farm operators and is considered one of the leading causes of disability by customers of the USDA AgrAbility Project. With the average age of the American farmer now above 57, increasingly more farmers will find the tasks difficult to complete.  For example arthritis can cause significant impairments to one’s mobility, dexterity, capacity to lift heavy loads and emotional well-being due to unmanaged pain and other factors.

Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 diseases that can affect the joint and surrounding tissue. Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, gout, and fibromyalgia.

Arthritis is considered one of the most disabling conditions a farmer can face and is the leading cause of disability of farmers in the Mid-Atlantic area.  Arthritis affects approximately one-third of all adult farm operators.  As work tasks become more difficult, many farmers and agricultural workers may not even associate the pain with arthritis.  Signs and symptoms of arthritis include the following:

  • Persistent pain
  • Stiffness, swelling, redness or heat in the joint
  • Difficulty in moving the joint
  • Possible fatigue, weight loss and nausea

Arthritis is especially detrimental to farmers and farm workers because of the nature of their work.  Many farm chores such as mounting tractors, baling hay, feeding livestock, harvesting vegetables, milking cows, operating equipment, cleaning out broiler houses require strength, dexterity, and mobility, which are lessened by the effects of arthritis.

According to medical professionals there are benefits of exercise for farmers with arthritis.  Exercise can help you manage arthritis pain and reduce the disability as well as increase energy levels, help with sleep and decrease depression and fatigue.  Exercise is also considered very important for healthy joints.  Moving your joints helps keeps them fully mobile and strengthens the surrounding muscles which help support the joints.

Since there is no known cure for arthritis, education and awareness of pain management techniques are considered the best practice for treating the disease.  This includes but is not limited to joint protection, work simplification and stress reduction.  A few solutions that can be implemented to help control joint stress and pain in farming include the following:

  • Wear quality, non-slip footwear
  • Use appropriate assistive aids such as automatic couplers, mobility devices, hydraulic lift table, shop hoists, powered cordless caulk guns and more
  • Adhere to proper posture when sitting for long periods of time in tractors
  • Use large muscle groups to complete a task.  For example use the legs instead of the back to lift.
  • Avoid gripping and grasping for long periods of time.
  • Simplify jobs and tasks
  • Pace yourself throughout the day

Arthritis is a debilitating disease, but it is manageable.  You will be able to farm productively and safely.  The Mid-Atlantic Agrability Project and the Arthritis Foundation are willing to help in any way that we can.  We promote technologies and given your tenacity and willingness to try, you can preserve your livelihood on the farm.

For more information on arthritis please visit Mid-Atlantic Agrability on the web at http://www.mid-atlanticagrability.com or visit the Arthritis Foundation at http://www.arthritis-ag.org.   You may also call Mid-Atlantic Agrability toll free at 1-877-204-FARM (3276) for a DVD titled Gaining Ground on Arthritis in the Agricultural Workplace and a brochure titled “Arthritis and Agriculture”.