Each year Alabama Extension conducts a grassroots survey in which it asks anyone to give feedback on programming conducted by your local Extension Office. This feedback is critical in insuring that your needs are being met by the St. Clair County Extension Office.
Please take a minute and go to the following link and complete this important survey.
(l to r) Rod Goode, Farmers Market Steering Committee member and St. Clair County Conservation District Technician; Cori Harris, St. Clair County Extension SNAP-Ed Educator; and Farmers Market Manager, Worth Barham, greet visitors at the Market
Buy Fresh from the Farm at the St. Clair County “Pell City” Farmers Market
The family farm is an American tradition but unfortunately it is in danger of fading away as there are now less than a million people in the U.S. that claim farming as their primary occupation. This represents a loss of almost 5 million farms since 1935. Family farms, exhibiting self-sufficiency, are the foundation of rural communities. Communities benefit from the local farmers when they purchase their goods from local merchants and provide jobs which enhance the local economy. This is a win-win situation for everyone.
A few years ago we started seeing a revival in farmer’s markets as health conscious consumers looked for ways to get the freshest produce possible. This is good news not only for local farmers but for consumers and communities. Farmers markets can enhance our spirit of community by creating a family-oriented gathering spot to reconnect with our friends and neighbors while helping to promote and enhance the economic vitality of local farmers.
Usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested, fruits and vegetables produced locally are fresher and taste better than produce which has been shipped for a long period of time. When eaten at the peak of ripeness, consumers can reap the benefits of the exceptional flavor and nutrients the produce provides.
With the summer growing season now in full swing, virtually any fruit or vegetable you need for your picnic or barbeque can be found at our local farmer’s market. In its 9th year, the St. Clair County Farmers Market is open every Wednesday from 2—5:30 p.m. until August 29th. It is located in the gravel parking lot on Hwy 231 North, just past the post office in Pell City.
Because it a producer-only state-sanctioned market, it qualifies and is a Farmers Market Nutrition Voucher Program redemption site.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit our local farmer’s market yet, we welcome you to stop by soon. Be sure to say hello to Mr. Worth Barham, Farmers Market Manager and Cori Harris, St. Clair County Extension SNAP-Ed educator, who is set-up there weekly offering food tastings, handouts and other special goodies. Also, when you are there, be sure to register for the weekly drawing for your chance to win!
Your support will allow the St. Clair County Market to continue to improve and bring not only the same great products to you next year, but many more new products as well. For updates each week on what will be available at the Market, be sure to join the St. Clair County “Pell City” Farmers Market page. To learn more about all the happenings going on at the St. Clair County Extension Office, be sure to “like” our page too, St. Clair County, Alabama Extension Office.
The Extension Newsletter is published bi-monthly. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email Lee Ann Clark, County Extension Coordinator, or call our the St. Clair County Extension Office at (205) 338-9416.
Lee Ann Clark, St. Clair County Extension coordinator, says the funding, which was secured through the St. Clair County Commission, has enabled her office to continue providing outreach support to the veteran community.
“For more than a century, Cooperative Extension has been about providing effective, face-to-face outreach to people where they live and work,” Clark says. “And for this reason, we think we are especially well-suited to serve our county’s veterans, especially those in critical need of assistance.”
“The partnership between St. Clair County, the state of Alabama, and Alabama Extension, which is directed to assisting active military, National Guard and veteran families, reflects our combined commitment to those who provided our nation’s defense,” Lemme said. “Helping the families of these heroes access Veterans Affairs benefits that they have earned and providing resources to help them cope with the unique stresses of deployment and returning to home life will benefit not only those directly involved but also the entire community.
Veterans Outreach for St. Clair County will be the duties of Wayne Johnson, newly hired to lead these efforts.
“There is a critical need to connect veterans within communities, especially in small communities, to resources that can improve their financial well-being and their employment prospects. In many cases, it can be as simple as putting money in their pockets to tie them over as they make their transition back to civilian life,” Johnson said.
The challenges of transitioning to civilian life often prove even more daunting, if not insurmountable, for those veterans suffering from serious combat-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Among those veterans, timely effective outreach can mean the difference between successful transition to civilian life and one plagued by chronic unemployment, debt and, in many cases, substance abuse.
One of the main goals of the St. Clair Extension outreach effort is to reach these veterans with critical assistance before these patterns of behavior become self-destructive.
“My vision is to get out into the community and find veterans and widows of veterans that we don’t know about. I want to make them aware of the benefits that are available to them and hopes to make all veterans more aware of the numerous services and benefits available to them,” Johnson said.
“I plan to visit all the nursing homes,” he said. “Also, I not only want to talk to the elderly and middle-age veterans, but I also want to reach out to younger veterans.”
Considering the number of veterans in St. Clair County alone — some 7300 — an outreach program that presents veterans with viable treatment options potentially could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This unclaimed assistance not only would benefit the returning veterans but also the local economies where they live and work.
Any questions concerning this program or if you are a Veteran in need of assistance, please contact Wayne Johnson, Veterans Outreach Agent Assistant. He can be reached at the St. Clair County Extension Office by calling (205) 338-9416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agri-tourism can take many forms. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets offer farm-fresh produce and interaction with growers. Farms may open to the public for wildlife watching and hunting. Ag tours, on farm bed-and-breakfasts, and dude ranches give tourists the fresh air, open space, and relaxation of country life.
U-pick operations, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, hay mazes, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting, ag heritage museums, festivals, and fairs all attract visitors.