West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Fall 2015 E-Brief

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Plentiful Harvests with Green thumbs, Healthy Joints

a photo of a collection of raised gardens

Photos courtesy of the Hardy County Health and Wellness Center

The Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program funded a variety of accessible gardening projects around the state during the 2015 growing season. Nonprofit groups bought and used ergonomic tools and practical gardening methods to help make gardening more accessible for people with arthritis, osteoporosis and joint limitations. Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints encourages community service and volunteerism.

One example of a successful project this season is the Hardy County Health and Wellness Center. The group built raised garden beds at their wellness center, which is next door to a local senior center in Moorefield, West Virginia. They often worked in the morning to help prevent stiffness and beat the summer heat. Participants planted cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, Swiss chard, lettuce, squash, beets and pumpkins. They had a plentiful harvest, and enjoyed eating healthy foods they grew themselves.

The project provided grip sticks and seating to make it easier for the volunteers to pull weeds, as well as stakes and wires to allow the plants to grow so people would not have to bend over. When asked what advice the group would give to others who are thinking about doing a Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints project, they wrote, "DO IT!! It has been great for our community!!"

We appreciate everyone who took part in all of this year’s Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints projects. Thanks so much for your hard work, energy and enthusiasm!

To find out how your nonprofit organization can apply for a Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints mini grant project for the 2016 growing season, call 800-841-8436 or visit www.greenthumbs.cedwvu.org.

Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints is funded by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease.

2015 Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints Awardees (cont.) West Virginia Urban Agriculture Conference

West Virginia Urban AG Conference

The West Virginia Urban Agriculture Conference was held September 17-19, 2015, at West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia. Workshops were offered on topics like horticulture, homesteading, conservation, marketing, livestock and adaptive gardening. Staff from the West Virginia Assistive Technology System, WV AgrAbility and West Virginia University Extension were invited to co-present a session about the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program and adaptive gardening.

The conference had the slogan "Farming: It's so citified", and was planned as a "dynamic gathering of farmers, gardeners and homesteaders". To learn more about this conference, visit www.urbanagwv.com or call 304-720-9887.

New AgrAbility Fact Sheet

West Virginia AgrAbility and Maine AgrAbility, in connection with the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH), collaborated to create a new fact sheet about the safety and health of older farmers. The fact sheet called "Aging Farmers Tips for Your Health and Safety", was designed to share nationwide during National Farm Safety and Health Week (September 20-26, 2015).

The fact sheet offers tips like getting yearly health screenings (e.g., for vision, hearing, balance, muscular range, mobility and skin cancer), using personal protective equipment (e.g., hearing protection, protective sunglasses and sunscreen) and increasing lighting levels in barns and other buildings to accommodate the vision needs of older farmers. To learn more, call West Virginia AgrAbility at 304-771-8747 or 800-841-8436.

a photo of a garden with very neat rows

Nutrient Management Certification Program in WV

To help farmers make sure they apply the right amount of nutrients to the land, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has developed the Nutrient Management Certification Program. This is a "voluntary program available to individuals with the expertise to provide nutrient management technical assistance to the agricultural community."

WVDA has an exam that allows a qualified person to become a Certified Nutrient Management Planner. The person must meet requirements to take the certification exam. To learn more about the certification program and find a list of suggested resources to prepare for the exam, visit the www.wvagriculture.org and click on "Nutrient Management". The exam is generally given twice a year. To find out more about the exam, contact Jerry Ours, West Virginia Nutrient Management Program Coordinator at 304-538-2397.

Lend-a-Hand Cuff

a photo of a person using a rake that is attached at the forearm by a cuff

The Lend-A-Hand is a cuff held in place by Velcro clasps. It can be used to strap a tool handle, like a rake, broom, fishing pole or gardening tool to your arm. The Lend-A-Hand can give arm support, leverage and the option to do tasks one-handed, e.g., raking, sweeping, painting, shoveling, fishing and gardening. When using a tool with one hand or arm, the tunnel of the Lend-A-Hand cuff supports the base of the handle, so the person’s hand can grip further down the handle to control and move the tool.

For more information, www.disabilityworktools.com or call 888-354-3289.

Pumpkin Cookies with Butter Frosting

Cookie Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in pumpkin and eggs. On low speed, add in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoonful of dough for each cookie onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool for about 45 minutes.

In medium bowl, place 3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat; stir constantly, just until light brown. (Do not use margarine because it might burn.)

Pour browned butter over powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Gradually add just enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon milk to make frosting spreadable and creamy. Frost cooled cookies. Enjoy!

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

West Virginia Assistive Technology System
Center for Excellence in Disabilities
959 Hartman Run Road
Morgantown, WV 26505

All materials are available in braille, electronic format, CD and large print. WVU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution. The project described was supported by Grant Number 90AG0011 from the Administration for Community Living. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) WVUCED/WVATS/10/15