AgrAbility News for October 2019

Maine AgrAbility News

Maine AgrAbility is pleased to announce that several new videos have been finalized and added to its website resource list. Three videos were developed specifically to illustrate safe techniques and reminders for stretching, harvesting, and lifting. This resource can be used by anyone involved in agricultural tasks. They were produced in coordination with Master Gardener volunteers involved in gleaning projects in southern Maine. Readers can view them by clicking here.

Additionally, staff have developed three other videos and one summary video to share success stories and the possibilities of working in production agriculture with a disability. The goal was to provide inspiration and illustrations of how farmers and fisherman worked through their limitations and used a network of resources and assistive technologies to continue working in production agriculture in Maine. View them here.
Three Maine staffers (Lani Carlson, Anne Devin, and Marie DeFranca) attended the AgrAbility Regional Training Workshop in State College, PA. Helpful information was shared and all three enjoyed the opportunity to try out assistive technology first-hand.
Ellen Gibson presented “Gardening & Ergonomics” to two separate groups this month: once for Department of Transportation employees at the Maine Safety & Health Conference in Augusta, and also for the Mid Coast Women’s Auxiliary Annual Meeting in Brunswick. She and Marie DeFranca also exhibited Maine AgrAbility information and assistive tools at the Garden Club Federation of Maine annual conference in Augusta.

After many months of prep work, Maine AgrAbility hosted the first annual Educate to Cultivate (E2C) Business Development and Assistive Technology Symposium for Military Veterans in Agriculture in Augusta. The E2C symposium was for military veterans and their partners involved in agriculture or for those veterans who desire to learn more about safely and successfully running their own business in agriculture. The morning events partnered business mentors from SCORE and the Small Business Development Center with veterans for one-on-one sessions. There was a financial cash flow workshop to help understand and deliberately plan for profit with or without E2C groupVA disability compensation payments. The afternoon sessions featured available resources, stretches for stress management, understanding brain injuries and memory issues, and a showcase of assistive technologies. There was also a resource fair featuring organizations that provide services for veterans. Thirty-five veteran farmers and partners and 12 vendors participated in this inaugural event.

Staff developed a new sticker for the E2C to remind people to “Farm Strong” – not only because physical strength is needed for this occupation, but “farm strong” to build strong community networks and create resilience to maintain a safe and productive farm.
Other exhibits this month included a display at Aging Well Living Well-Seniors Plus Expo in Bethel staffed by Brie Weisman, an AgrAbility Display at the Maine Brain Injury Association annual conference in South Portland staffed by Kelley Smith, and a display at the Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation & Forestry joint meeting with UMaine Cooperative Extension in Augusta.



Toolbox Spotlight

The Workshop Ceiling-Track System is designed to keep cords and hoses off the ground or work surface so tasks can be accomplished without their getting in the way. The basic system includes a 4-foot track that houses two rolling trolleys, each of which accepts a ring-hook and a 21/2-inch J-hook onto which extension cords, air-fittings, hoses, etc. can be hung.