What’s for dinner? For some, making a quick run to the grocery store for fresh produce is not an option. In Suffolk, Virginia, some families must travel as far as 25 miles to buy fresh produce.
In short, they are in a desert — a food desert.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as “low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food.” Food deserts can be attributed to an absence of grocery stores, farmers markets, and healthy food providers in an area.
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Senior Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent Ruth Wallace (left) stands with a group of children and adults in Senegal. In March of this year Extension and the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture Program traveled to the West African nation to scale up programming in the region. Reggie Morris, 4-H Youth Development Extension agent in Alexandria, is pictured in second row, second from right.
When it was time to take nominations for officers of the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture program in the Senegalese village of Toubacouta, one young woman stood out.
As Aida Nathalie Dieng’s hand shot up almost unconsciously to volunteer for the position of president, she spoke in a determined way about why she wanted to serve as the leader of the club in her village, and toward the end of her speech tears began to run down her cheeks.
“Having the opportunity to be heard is empowering, and even moving,” said Kathleen Jamison, professor emerita and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in 4-H youth development.
Jamison and her team recently took the mission of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture program to the West African nation with the goal of building ties between children, families, and communities to give individuals the ability to live sustainable and meaningful lives that exemplify 4-H mission goals.
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Students who participated in the Reality Store program at Heritage High School were assigned life statuses such as salary, marital status, and family size, but they were also able to draw a chance card which indicated good or bad luck.
Along with college-prep classes like advanced math, foreign language, and English, sophomores at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Virginia, are getting a glimpse into the vagaries of adulthood by getting schooled in personal finances through a Virginia Cooperative Extension initiative called the Reality Store.
The Reality Store is a project for students enrolled in personal finance classes throughout the year. They check in at different tables that represent categories of expenditures such as housing, communications, and vacations for a class period. During the exercise they are assigned jobs, a monthly salary, a designation on whether or not they’re married, divorced or have kids, and, of course, expenses to manage.
Extension runs Reality Store programs in schools that were developed by an independent company in Indiana and coordinates events with partners in school systems. The program relies heavily on community volunteers.
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Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program is excited to announce free resources to help Virginians participate in the Move More, Virginia! campaign.
Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program, in collaboration with the Physical Activity Research and Community Implementation Laboratory of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, is excited to announce the availability of free video resources to help Virginians meet the physical activity recommendations of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The video resources are part of an initiative to help Virginians exercise by providing free video resources that make exercising at home more enjoyable and safe and is part of the Move More, Virginia! campaign.
The collection of exercise videos and online resources being offered to citizens of the commonwealth were developed by certified group fitness instructors and behavioral scientists, and features three levels of intensity. The videos are upbeat, easy to follow, and offer a range of workout style options. Ranging from 10 to 30 minutes, they are ideal for mixing and matching resources to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans’ recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.
The workouts are based on feedback from program assistants and volunteers and work for all fitness levels, with beginner, intermediate, and advanced options in each workout. The resources will offer a variety of workouts, including flexibility exercises, full body workouts, high intensity interval training, resistance band routines, core workouts, and even family-oriented exercises.
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Over 50 speakers will deliver dynamic, relevant, and interactive presentations on opportunities and challenges for agritourism entrepreneurs April 5 and 6.
Economic development staff and government leaders will gather to explore innovative strategies for promoting tourism activities in the agricultural sector on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 5-6, at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in Halifax, Virginia. The event is co-sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Participants can register online for the conference before Friday, March 25, for a one day cost of $95 or both days for $135.
Over 50 speakers will deliver dynamic, relevant, and interactive presentations on opportunities and challenges for agritourism entrepreneurs. Participants will explore agritourism topics including weddings, concerts, social media promotion, marketing, hospitality, regional networks, zoning and conservation, financing and legal structures, wineries and farm craft breweries, bed and breakfast, food and farm safety, farm workforce, and businesses planning.
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