Friday, January 15

SU Ag Center’s St. Helena Farmers Market turns a Food Desert into a Healthier Community

 

Local farmers are providing fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of a food desert through the Southern University Ag Center's St. Helena Farmers Market.


St. Helena, La. –  The small parish of St. Helena is located in Southeast, Louisiana with a population of 10,016 residents. Although the parish is comprised of cities covered in green pastures and rural scenes, ideal for farm life, it is classified by the USDA as an extreme food desert. As a result of the scarcity of nutritious foods, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the health risk of St.  Helena's citizens as severe, due to high percentages of hypertension, diabetes, strokes, and cancer which riddles this small community.

Having only two grocery stores and little to no access to fresh produce, the Southern University Ag Center’s  Agricultural and Natural Resources unit recognized the need for a change and sought ways to bring aid to the community.

Southern University Ag Center Ag and Natural Resources Agent for St. Helena Parish, Burnell Muse met with farmers and various store owners in and around the area. Through these meetings, it became clear that the farmers in this parish produced quite a bit of vegetables nearly all year. Yet, the issue was not a supply shortage of food, but instead a disconnect between growers and consumers.

With this information, the Southern University Ag Center began to discuss how a Farmers' Market could solve the lack of fresh produce in the parish.

Several of the limited resource farmers within the parish had several questions before buying into the idea. Some of the questions at hand were: Would they need a license to participate? Will the market impose a fee? Is there a market for my produce and what happens to produce that doesn't sell at the market?

To answer those questions, the Ag Center partnered with the St. Helena Healthy Community Coalition along with other community partners and received assistance from a healthy community grant to secure a location for the market and waive all fees for the farmers. This helped ease the minds of the growers, which made them eager to participate.

In 2017, three venders participated in the first farmers market and sold all of their produce within three hours of opening.

Since that time, the market has moved to a location in the heart of the town of Greensburg, La. This location is on a major route through town and provides greater visibility. The market has increased to 14 vendors including local farmers, bakers, and craftsmen and provides access to fresh local fruits, vegetables, meats, and homemade canned products. The market also helps to keep food dollars local and provides economic opportunities in a depressed economic community. The weekly customer base has also increased from 35 per week in 2017 to about 160 per week in 2020.

The increase in customers is due in part to the partnerships with the Southern University Ag Center, Louisiana State University AgCenter, St. Helena Cattleman's Association, the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA), and the recently launched You SNAP We Match program. Through the program, for each dollar spent on eligible food purchased using the SNAP/EBT card at the market customers receive free tokens to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The SNAP/Match is supported by a one-year grant from the USDA and allows SNAP recipients to increase their fresh fruits and vegetable buying power by making more nutritious foods affordable.

The SNAP Match program allows members of the community to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at a lower cost compared to the grocery store," said Warner Hall, a vendor at the St. Helena Farmers Market. "It is an opportunity to expand and improve my business while interacting directly with the community."

The St. Helena Farmers Market operates every Friday from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the corner of Highway 10 and Highway 43 in Greensburg, La. The market briefly closed due to concerns about COVID-19, but has since reopened with increased safety measures including a handwashing station and customer guidelines which help provide a safe shopping environment for the customers and vendors.

                                                                                                                     

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Small Business owners invited to SU Ag Center, SBA webinar on PPE & EIDL Programs

 

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. –  The Southern University Ag Center has partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration to host a webinar for small business owners to discuss the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.

 

The virtual event, which will be held at 6 p.m. on January 26, will provide participants with information on the PPP application process, participating lenders, requirements for the first and second draw applicants, and covered periods and loan terms.

 

Participants will also receive information on the EIDL Program’s application period, businesses who are eligible for an EIDL advance, information on how to request reconsideration for the program, as well as information on how to address credit issues.

 

To register for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/2XJVTw8.

 

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Monday, January 4

Members of Congress Deliver Record Levels of Support for the 1890 Historically Black Land Grant Universities during the 116th Congress

Bipartisan HBCU Caucus helps champion Land-Grant Investments in Students and Research

Washington, D.C. – The 1890 Universities Foundation, representing the 19 Historically Black Land Grant Universities, extends its appreciation to the members of the 116th Congress for their continued advocacy on behalf of our 1890 Land Grant Universities. The FY 2021 Appropriations bill supported initiatives that will help our universities respond to many of the pressing challenges confronting the communities we serve. 

Of specific significance to the 1890 community are increases in funding for: Education Grants to 1890 Universities; 1890 Extension programs, Evans-Allen Research, Facilities Improvements, 1890 Centers of Excellence and Scholarship Programs. Also of note is the HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief bill (HR 7380), which will provide $1.3 billion in Capital Finance Debt Relief for our universities. 

“We especially want to thank U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), David Scott (D-GA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Doug Jones (DAL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for their unwavering support and for leading the way to enable these increases in all of our 1890 Land Grant programs. In addition, we thank the Members of Congress who continue to recognize the significant impact of COVID-19 on our students, our research, our facilities and our cooperative extension programs, said Dr. Mort Neufville, President & CEO of the Foundation. 

“Our Universities will continue to face tremendous challenges and opportunities as we rebound from the pandemic and it is important that our recovery efforts also enable us to be better prepared for all future disasters. Again, on behalf of the 1890 community, we thank the Members of Congress for their support during these unprecedented and challenging times. We look forward to continuing our engagement with our elected leaders during the FY 2022 appropriations process,” concluded Dr. Neufville. 

This press release was written by Paul Brathwaite. For more information on the 1890 Universities Foundation visit: www.1890foundation.org. 

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Wednesday, December 16

It's Time to Prepare your Citrus Fruit Trees for the Winter Months

It's important to protect your fruit trees from freezing temperatures. Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash.


Baton Rouge, La. –  As the weather continues to become colder it’s important to take precautions to protect your citrus trees. These trees are frost-tender and are likely to be damaged by freezing temperatures. Because of this, citrus trees are usually grown in hardiness zones 9-11.

When a freeze is coming (temperatures reaching 32°F or below) measures need to be taken to minimize damage to your citrus trees.

The longer the temperature remains under 32°F, the more damage it can cause.

Follow these steps to protect your citrus trees throughout the winter.

Step 1.  Make sure your tree is watered well, this helps insulate the soil and roots. Make sure the bottom of the tree is also mulched well with either pine bark mulch, pine straw mulch, etc.).

Step 2. Cover the tree with a sheet or row cover, this protects the leaves from dew accumulation – which is actually what harms the leaves once the dew turns to frost.

Step 3. If the tree is too large to cover, you can focus on protecting the lower trunk of the tree with a tree wrap, bubble wrap, foam rubber, or Styrofoam to prevent cold damage, this can be placed before the threat of the first frost and left on the trunk throughout the winter.

Step 4. After the temperature rises the next day or so, remove the sheet from over the tree branches.

Step 5. Make sure to glean or remove all mature fruits before the freezing temperatures.

For any questions contact Stephanie Elwood, SU Ag Center Sustainable Urban Ag Trainer for the Enhancing Capacity of Louisiana's Small Farms and Businesses Programs at stephanie_elwood@suagcenter.com.  

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Friday, December 4

SU Ag Center discusses the importance of the Census during a virtual workshop

 

The Southern University Ag Center partnered with the Louisiana Tri-Parish Alumnae (LTP) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to encourage Louisiana residents to complete the 2020 Census.

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center and the Louisiana Tri-Parish Alumnae (LTP) Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held a virtual Census workshop called “Counting Small Towns is a Big Deal.”

 

More than 4,000 individuals viewed the workshop, which was live-streamed on the Facebook pages of the Southern University Ag Center and the LTP, as well as through the Cisco WebEx virtual format.

 

SU Ag Center Community and Economic Development Assistant Specialist, Gerald Williams was the speaker for the August 4, 2020 event. Viewers were provided with information on how data from the Census is used to determine how billions of federal funds are distributed to fund programs and services for the next 10 years.

 

Louisiana residents, especially those individuals residing within rural communities, were asked to complete the 2020 Census to ensure the families in the state’s small towns and communities were counted.

 

The Southern University Ag Center will continue to partner with community and faith-based organizations to provide its clientele with information and services to help them live successful and productive lives.

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Monday, November 30

Dr. Tiffany Franklin appointed to Governor Edwards Juvenile Justice Advisory Board

 

Dr. Tiffany W. Franklin was recently appointed to Governor John Bel Edwards Advisory Board of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
 

Baton Rouge, La. –  Tiffany W. Franklin, Ph.D., has been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve on his Advisory Board of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Dr. Franklin was initially appointed to serve on the board, which assists in the establishment of juvenile justice policy by providing advice and counsel to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, the Louisiana Legislature, and the Governor on ways to facilitate greater juvenile justice system effectiveness, in 2017. She was reappointed to the board by Governor Edwards on October 30, 2020.

“Being part of this advisory committee puts me in the position to propose effective policy changes to our state’s juvenile justice system, serving all youth, primarily those disproportionately incarcerated,” stated Franklin.

She is also a member of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), serving in her second year.

Dr. Franklin is the Associate Youth Specialist and Program Leader of  4-H Youth Development at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. In this capacity, she also coordinates programming to develop School Gardens in food desert areas near Southern University, as well as Prison-Based programs serving those incarcerated, along with their families.

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Tuesday, November 24

Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse Receives 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award

 

Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse, Professor of Agricultural Economics in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded the 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award by the Food Distribution Research Society.

Baton Rouge, La. – The Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) held its virtual conference on October 13, 2020, where distinguished members of the society are honored for more than 10 years of service, and organizational leadership.  This year Dr. Patricia McLean-Meyinsse, Professor of Agricultural Economics (Southern University College of Agricultural, Family & Consumer Sciences) received the 2020 Frank Panyko Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes FDRS members how have demonstrated outstanding service and leadership within the organization, exhibited exemplary efforts in promoting the FDRS, provided outstanding training and guidance to incoming FDRS leadership, and provided outstanding support in mentoring FDRS members.

“I am exceeding grateful to the Society for recognizing my contributions and those of our graduates and for embracing diversity in the organization,” said Dr. Meyinsse. “I am also very proud of the fact that I am the first female from an 1890 institution and one of five women to receive this prestigious award since its inception in 1996.”

Since the mid-’90s, Dr. Meyinsse has served in many capacities for the Food Distribution Research Society and currently serves on the Editorial Review Board. She has been instrumental in recruiting many colleagues at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions to joining the society. FDRS essentially provides a forum for agricultural economists, nutritionists, and food scientists at 1890 institutions to present and publish their research results, to reach a global audience, to interact with practitioners in the United States, and to broaden understanding of some of the real-world issues facing food producers and distributors.

“Dr. Patricia, I know a lot of fine individuals that came through Southern University and you appear to be the connecting dot,” said VP of Logistics and Outreach, Dr. Ronald L. Rainey. “I just want to commend you for all of your support over the years and applaud with you your commitment over the years. You have been a shining light to a number of faculty and the honor is well deserved.”

Dr. Meyinsse stated that her only regret is that the pandemic prevented her from receiving the award in person.

She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Economics from The University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Dr. Meyinsse also earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

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Friday, November 13

SU Ag Center’s Family & Human Development Unit goes Live to Reach Families

 

SU Ag Center Family and Consumer Sciences Parent Educator, Aryn Broussard discusses activities that stimulate development in children during a Facebook Live on October 9.

Baton Rouge, La. – Several months into the pandemic, Louisiana reported the highest number per capita of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country. To assist families within the state, the Southern University Ag Center’s Family and Human Development Unit provided individuals and families with information on “Maintaining Social Ties during the Coronavirus Quarantine." This information was presented to families in churches and organizations in the communities served by the Unit.

 

During this time of social distancing, the Unit utilized Facebook to expand its reach to families. Through this platform, the Unit held Facebook Lives on the topics of Communicating Good Health Practices, Reducing Sodium in your Diet, Budgeting, and Activities that Stimulate Sensory Development in Children.

 

Recently, families throughout Louisiana have endured the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Delta and Laura. To educate the community, the Family and Human Development Unit shared hurricane preparedness tips from the Southern University Ag Center, Louisiana Department of Health, and Healthy Baton Rouge, as well as information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the proper way to wear and remove face masks.

 

The SU Ag Center’s Family and Human Development Unit provides research-based programs that address parenting, childcare, family economic stability, consumer education, and stress. Programs in this area work to strengthen the capacity of families to nurture, support, and guide their members throughout their lives. Programs managed within the Unit include Parents Preparing for Success, Full Circle of Parenting, Child Care, Family Resource Management, Second Chance 2 Recover, and Emergency Preparedness.

 

 

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Thursday, November 12

SU Ag Center set to host Virtual Fall Garden Workshop

 

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center will hold its virtual Fall Garden Workshop from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Monday, November 23 via Zoom and YouTube.

The workshop will highlight Urban/Community, Organic and Small Vegetable Farms, discuss harvesting techniques, Fall Vegetable Selections, and Garden Designing.

The virtual event is free and open to the public. To register, visit https://bit.ly/2JBN7wx.

For nine years, the SU Ag Center has held a Fall Garden Workshop to provide teachers, community garden coordinators, backyard gardens, and individuals interested in gardening with information on how to prepare their gardens for the Fall season.

The Ag Center and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program are co-sponsoring this event.

For additional information about the Southern University Ag Center’s Virtual Fall Garden Workshop, email Zanetta Augustine at zanetta_augustine@suagcenter.com.

 

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Wednesday, November 11

Join the SU Ag Center on Nov. 19 for the Great American Smokeout Day

 

Great American Smokeout Day
Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network (CoC) will host a Facebook Live at 11 a.m. on Nov. 19 in observance of Great American Smokeout Day.

 

The virtual event will provide individuals with educational tips and resources to help them successfully quit smoking.

 

“The Great American Smokeout Day was established by the American Cancer Society in excess of 40 years ago to highlight one single day to encourage individuals to quit smoking or to make a plan to quit,” said Linda Early Brown, Director of the Communities of Color Network. “While most individuals are aware of the negative impact of tobacco usage, this day serves as a reminder to jumpstart making healthier choices.  More than ever, during these unprecedented times, an opportunity to improve your health would be most beneficial,” added Brown.  

The Great American Smokeout Day is observed on the third Thursday of November every year.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

 

“Join the Communities of Color Network at the Southern University Ag Center by quitting, setting a date to quit, or help influence others to be mindful of the importance of Great American Smokeout Day,” urged Brown.

 

The live stream will air on the Southern University Ag Center’s Facebook page.

 

For additional information about the SU Ag Center’s Communities of Color Network, email linda_brown@suagcenter.com or visit https://www.suagcenter.com/page/communities-of-color-network.

 

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Friday, November 6

SU Ag Center set to hold a free Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course

 

Remote Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course Flyer.

Baton Rouge, La. – SU Ag Center will host a virtual Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course from November 16 - November 19, 2020. 

This course is ideal for fruit and vegetable growers and individuals interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires, ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’  

Course participants must be present for the entirety of the four-day course and have equipment with audiovisual capabilities (microphone and camera) to allow for class participation. 

The training is free, but registration is required and seating is limited. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3mXE8nW.

Registration will close on November 6.

The training is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, the Southern Center for Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance to Enhance Produce Safety, the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and the LSU AgCenter.

For additional information or questions, contact Chelsea Triche at chelsea_triche@suagcenter.com or Allison Dumas at adumas@ldaf.state.la.us.  

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Monday, November 2

Brunetta Gamble-Dillard named Vice Chancellor for Finance at SU Ag Center

 

Brunetta Gamble-Dillard has been named the Vice Chancellor for Finance at the SU Ag Center.

Baton Rouge, La. – Brunetta Gamble-Dillard has been appointed the Vice Chancellor for Finance at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Dillard has more than 21 years of higher education experience working with grant management, financial planning, policies and procedures, human resources and federal, state, and local fiscal matters.

As the Vice Chancellor for Finance, Dillard will provide oversight to the SU Ag Center’s Finance Unit and be responsible for managing the Center’s accounting and external reporting functions as well as establishing and managing the implementation of policies and procedures for the Unit.

Prior to joining the Ag Center, Dillard served as the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance and the Interim Executive Director at West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation.

She also served as an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration at West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation and a Business Manager for NGK Spark Plug Manufacturing (USA) Inc.

Dillard is a member of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia State College and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

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Thursday, October 29

SU Ag Center & community partners to hold Hurricane Relief Distribution in Lake Charles

 

Event Flyer

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Ag Center, its partner Ilera Holistic Healthcare, along with Medicis Pharmacy, Good360, Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church, and the Louisiana Home & Foreign Missions Baptist Convention (LHFMBSC) Health Awareness Team (HAT) will hold a Hurricane Relief Distribution in Lake Charles, La.

 

The event will be held on Friday, October 30 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church, 1401 Moeling Street.

 

Participants will receive free blood pressure screenings and health information along with a relief package which will include shampoo and conditioner, sanitary wipes, active apparel, hand sanitizer, diapers, deodorant, toothbrushes, children’s activity kits, CBD bath bombs, and storage containers. The relief package will be distributed while supplies last.

 

 

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Wednesday, October 21

SU Department of Urban Forestry hosts Virtual Administration & Park Management Training for students




Training will provide career readiness information to students

 

Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources will host a virtual administration and park management training from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Oct. 21.

The training, which is a part of the Department’s Career Readiness Virtual Training Project, will be held via Zoom and will cover the topics of Urban Forestry Program Administration at the governmental level and at nonprofit organizations, as well as information on Park Management and Administration.

College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS) alums Beattra Wilson, Lionel Bradford and Dr. RaHarold D. Lawson will serve as speakers during the training.

Wilson is the Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry and national lead for Urban and Community Forestry at the USDA Forest Service in Washington, D.C. She oversees program policy, budget, partnership development and strategic delivery of national, regional and state urban and community forestry programs. Wilson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry from Southern University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University.

Bradford is the President and Executive Director of The Greening of Detroit, a non-profit organization devoted to creating sustainable growth of a healthy urban community through trees, green spaces, healthy living, education, training, and job opportunities. He oversees strategic planning, program development and management, staff supervision, grant writing and acquisition, and management of the organization’s $3 million budget. He serves on the advisory board for the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors at Wayne State (CURES at WSU) and The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) at Michigan Technical University. Bradford earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Forestry from Southern University.

Dr. Lawson is the Director of Park Operations for the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission (BREC).  He provides leadership in carrying out the mission of park operations, which is to efficiently and constantly maintain and provide exceptional parks and open spaces that are safe, functional, and esthetically pleasing.  He is responsible for over 180 parks located through the East Baton Rouge Parish landscape, including conservation lands, recreational grounds, sports fields, neighborhood parks, and BREC’s crown jewel, Community Parks.  Dr. Lawson is also tasked with the functional operation of the $13 million park operations budget.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Forestry in 1999, a Master of Science Urban Forestry in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Urban Forestry in 2018, all from Southern University.

To participate in the training use Zoom Meeting ID: 895 6658 8241 with passcode: 6DMUT8.

 2020 Career Readiness Virtual Training Project

The “Career Readiness through Urban Forest Management and Leadership Skill Training” project is funded by the USDA Forest Service. The project is led by Dr. Zhu Ning, Department Chair of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources and Dr. Renita Marshall, Vice Chancellor/Associate Dean of the CAFCS. The project team members are Beattra Wilson, Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry and national lead for Urban and Community Forestry at USDA Forest Service in Washington, DC.; Dr. RaHarold Lawson, Director of Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission (BREC) and Dr. Brian Watkins, Assistant Director of Park Operations for BREC.

For additional information about the Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Career Readiness Virtual Training Project, contact Dr. Ning at zhu_ning@subr.edu.

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