AgrAbility News for September 2020

Maine AgrAbility News

woman with mask and AgrAbility logo vestAlthough the summer in-person activities have been canceled, working remotely hasn’t slowed Maine AgrAbility down. The summer has flown by and we’ve been busy!

two farm workers in field

We’ve been continuing to work with existing clients and reaching new clients as they navigate available resources and look for recommendations on ways to continue to work successfully and safely. Veterans from the Boots-2-Bushels class are continuing to gain hands-on experience at Chase Stream Farm.

Outreach Activities

  • On July 21, Ellen Gibson presented a program on AgrAbility and small changes or accommodations for backyard gardeners to 21 AARP members via Zoom. This format allowed for follow-up questions and information sharing between the presenter and audience in real-time.
  • UMaine Extension has created a bi-weekly Victory Garden for ME video series – short pre-recorded videos geared towards Mainers growing their first vegetable garden. On August 13, Ellen Gibson and Leilani Carlson presented ‘pain-free gardening’ sharing information about how to plan your day in the garden, proper stretching and lifting techniques, selecting ergonomic tools, adapting existing tools to improve their ergonomics, designing your garden to match your abilities, and much more.


  • With the pandemic limiting in-person activities, Maine AgrAbility’s BrieWeisman (OT), recognized the need for OT students to gain experience. We developed a Level 1 virtual experience for OT students. It is a list of educational activities and opportunities available to students that can be conducted virtually with guidance from an AgrAbility professional. We’ve worked with one student so far and gotten positive feedback.
  • Richard Brzozowski has started a Factsheet Working Group comprised of SRAP members from across the US. The goal of this working group is to work collaboratively to create a fact sheet collection with a searchable library of relevant topics for AgrAbility audiences.
  • We’ve taken this “down” time to reconnect with our larger network of partners to learn more about specific topics to enhance our programming. So far we’ve had presentations from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with a special focus on veterans issues, and a presentation from Jade Integrated Health with a focus on chronic pain and management techniques.

News & Information

Maine AgrAbility routinely shares news posts and articles on its website, blog site, and social media accounts.

  • Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farmer well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s farm coaching team.
  • Staff finalized a few new fact sheets on hiring farm workers with disabilities and beekeeping skills and assistive technology.
  • Gotta Lotta Living to Do” is a blog series that deals with issues surrounding aging, farming, and quality of life. There are five recent posts on AgrAbility staff spotlights, clients, and assistive technology options.

National AgrAbility News

The inaugural AgrAbility Virtual State Fair starts in just over two weeks! Follow the fair on Facebook and Twitter; “like” and share the posts. The schedule of SRAP days and weekend special topics is available. More

NAP welcomes the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) as a nonprofit collaborating partner for the 2020-21 project year. Headquartered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations mobilized by the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it will work with NAP to reach rural audiences with arthritis resources.

Toolbox Spotlight

man operating a mini-skid steerWith a range of models to choose from (e.g., stand-on vs. walk-behind, tracked vs. wheeled, telescoping- vs. fixed-arms, various rated operating capacities), Mini Skid Steer Loaders are ready to take on a host of tasks around the farm.
6 photos of mini-skid steer attachments
With the affixing of adapter plates, dozens of Mini Skid Steer Attachments are available for attaching to most any mini skid-steer make or model. Some of the main categories include auger attachments, backhoes, booms, brooms, brush cutters, buckets, cement mixers, concrete breakers, dozer blades, forks, graders, grapples, hitches, mowers, snow removal systems, sod rollers, soil conditioners, stump grinders, tree shears, tree shovels, trenchers, vacuum lifting tools, and vibratory plows.