West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Fall 2014 E-Brief

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A Fruitful Season with Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints

    Anthony Benedetto with the Gateway Industries, Inc. project    

Anthony Benedetto with the Gateway Industries, Inc project


Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints had a fruitful growing season in 2014. The program awarded 13 West Virginia organizations with gardening mini-grants. The funding allowed these groups to garden with people who have arthritis, osteoporosis and joint limitations, while combining community service and accessible gardening practices.

There were many project successes this season. For example, Gateway Industries, Inc. partnered with the Ronceverte Development Corporation and City of Ronceverte in transforming an old pool that had been damaged by flooding into an above ground garden. The pool was filled and raised beds were built. The result was the Ronceverte Community Garden on Island Park. According to Tony Benedetto at Gateway, his favorite moments came from witnessing the personal successes of participants. He shared the example of a 90 year old resident who asked each day when a raised bed would be ready. When it was ready, the man was "thrilled" when "he finally had a garden bed that he could call his own". Tony also shared the story of a woman whose self-esteem improved as she grew vegetables in the garden - "as her plants bloomed, she began to bloom as well".

We would like to thank everyone who participated in this year's garden projects. We truly appreciate your hard work, commitment and enthusiasm.

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints is now taking applications for the 2014-15 growing season. For more information, call 800-841-8436 or visit www.greenthumbs.cedwvu.org.

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints is funded by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health Osteoporosis and Arthritis Program.

West Virginia AgrAbility Awarded Funding

We are pleased to announce that West Virginia AgrAbility (WVA) has been refunded for four years. WVA, established in 2001, is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program.

West Virginia AgrAbility promotes independence and success for farmers and family members having physical or cognitive disabilities from illnesses or injuries including developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions and aging. WVA increases quality of life for farmers by identifying solutions to overcome disability-related barriers on the farm or home through the use of assistive technologies and modified work practices.

Project partners include West Virginia University Cooperative Extension - Safety and Health Extension, West Virginia State University, the Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley (ArcMOV) and West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS). For more information about WVA, call 800-626-4748 or visit www.agrability.ext.wvu.edu.

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints 2014-15 Mini Grant Applications

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints works to increase West Virginians' awareness of joint health through accessible gardening. The program funds mini grants for accessible garden projects that increase awareness and educate West Virginians about joint health, ergonomics and alternative gardening methods. The program is currently accepting applications for innovative gardening plans including raised garden beds or other accessibility modifications for gardens. Proposed projects can take place at senior centers, parks or other community sites.

Technical assistance for creating and modifying gardens to be accessible is provided as well as funding for construction materials and gardening supplies. The funding is intended to bring accessible gardens to public places that can be used as an activity to engage the general public or those your organization serves.


Previously funded mini grants range from service projects to introducing accessible gardens to physical rehabilitation facilities and community centers. Funded project sites have been at senior centers, parks and other community sites available to individuals with arthritis, osteoporosis and other joint limitations.

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints will provide selected applicants with financial support up to $1,000 to help cover material and supply costs for constructing accessible gardens or to modify existing ones. A portion of funding is to be used toward the purchase of ergonomic gardening tools ($150-$275).

Applications are due December 5, 2014. To apply for a Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints mini grant, visit www.greenthumbs.cedwvu.org. If you have questions, please email greenthumbs@hsc.wvu.edu or call 800-841-8436.

Assistive Technology for Loan

Adaptive Hunting Mounts

WVATS has adaptive hunting mounts available for demonstration or loan. Devices include:

  • Finger Control Hand Device - can be used to straighten and add support for pulling the trigger of a gun or crossbow
  • Wheelchair Gun Mount - designed for people with limited hand and arm movement and strength; can be used with hunting rifles as well as crossbows; fits most wheelchairs
  • Bite Trigger - operated by biting down so you can "feel" your trigger; mouth piece mounts to gun with a Velcro strap
  • No-Miss Stretch Gun Rest - puts the weight of the weapon on the gun rest, while freeing one's hands to stabilize and aim; may be used with a vehicle, box blind or tree stand

Vegetable Gloves

Vegetable gloves have a rough surface for scrubbing dirt and pesticides from veggies without using a peeler. The gloves can be useful for people who like to eat the vegetable whole to get as much nutritional value as possible. The gloves can be used to clean potatoes, carrots and turnips, while keeping the vegetable skin intact.

Garden Hod

The garden hod is a basket made of soft wood and vinyl covered mesh. Originally used to gather clams, hods are now used to harvest vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. The mesh bottom may allow you to rinse and drain vegetables more easily. Hods can also be used to carry a picnic lunch or store onions.

For a demonstration of a device, or to borrow one of these items from the WVATS Loan Library, call 800-841-8436 or visit vll.cedwvu.org.

Autumn Recipe from the Cucurbit Family:
Spiced Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkins are members of the Cucurbit plant family, which also includes squash, gourds, zucchini, watermelons and cucumbers. This medium plant grows in warmer climates. We hope you enjoy this pumpkin recipe at your next holiday dinner with family and friends.



  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces cool whip
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dipper tips: serve with apple slices, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers or graham crackers.


Place cream cheese (softened), cool whip and powdered sugar in a bowl. Whip ingredients together with a mixer for about 2-3 minutes. Add pumpkin, spices,and vanilla extract. Whip for 2-3 more minutes, depending on how fluffy you want your dip.

A festive way to serve this dip is using a newly hollowed out pumpkin as a serving bowl. Line a small hollowed pumpkin with saran wrap before pouring in the dip, or` pour dip into a serving bowl and place it inside a large hollowed pumpkin. Happy harvest!