Wake County Cooperative Extension:
In today’s modern world, not everyone knows what Cooperative Extension is and what that means here in Wake County. Carol Mitchell, a registered dietitian with NC Cooperative Extension, an AHA partner, explains. “Extension’s mission is essentially to educate and empower citizens and help them find solutions to improve their lives,” Mitchell said.
Rooted in Abraham Lincoln’s day, the Cooperative Extension system was created when land grant universities were founded as hubs of research. States created outreach networks, where the knowledge and expertise from the universities were extended to citizens throughout their rural areas.
“So Extension has an agricultural role by tradition, but as times have changed, Cooperative Extension too has changed,” Mitchell commented. Extension stays current to meet the needs of each community it serves. Wake County’s Cooperative Extension office is a bit unique, given the county’s urban landscape. It gives residents easy access to the resources and expertise of NC State University and NC A&T State University.
Through educational programs, publications, and events, Cooperative Extension faculty at the Wake County Center deliver unbiased, research-based information and is ready to assist citizens on a wide range of topics. One of Extension’s current efforts to promote healthy eating, for instance, is through a project with Smart Start
to help child care centers begin gardens. As part of this effort, Extension is providing technical expertise and a “how to” kit on child-friendly raised garden bed construction and maintenance that soon will be available to child care centers.
Family and Consumer Science
Making healthy choices isn’t always easy. Wake County educators help citizens sort fact from fad, providing research-based programs that promote a lifetime of good health. Many of Extension’s programs provide families with research-based answers to their day-to-day challenges. Programs cover a broad spectrum, from healthy eating and physical activity, community and backyard edible gardening, creating healthy environments in community settings, the NC 10 Percent
local foods campaign, shopping for healthy foods on a tight budget, and food safety and preservation.
The Extension Master Gardenersm program is an educational program designed to enhance public education in consumer horticulture. It provides educational assistance concerning lawns, fruits, vegetables, trees, and ornamentals through the utilization of a trained and supervised volunteer staff. Cooperative Extension increasingly utilizes trained Master Gardenersm volunteers to meet the constant demand for consumer horticulture information for gardeners in our county.
Through 4-H, young people in North Carolina learn new skills and serve their communities each year. 4-H offers clubs, special interest programs, summer camps, school enrichment and after-school child care. Guided by North Carolina Cooperative Extension educators and adult and teen volunteers, 4-H’ers gain knowledge, skills and experience that help them become responsible citizens and leaders.
Despite the changing landscape in Wake County, tobacco, soybeans, corn, cotton, peanuts, forages and small grains are still found across the county. Wake County Agriculture educators provide growers with the latest research-based information and recommendations on the best varieties and production practices for the local conditions. Extension also helps growers comply with changing regulations, investigate new higher-value opportunities, develop solid business plans and explore marketing options.
Extension Serving You!