West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Spring 2016 E-Brief

Download a PDF of the Spring 2016 E-Brief

WV AgrAbility Farm-Site Assessments

Newly Constrcuted High Tunnel in Romney WV

West Virginia farmers sometimes use high tunnels to harness energy from natural sunlight, extend the growing season, modify the climate inside and create favorable conditions for growning vegetables and other specialty crops.

West Virginia AgrAbility can conduct farmsite assessments with farmers who have a disability, illness or injury — to help identify barriers to doing daily living and agricultural tasks. Based on the assessment, staff can offer ideas about assistive technology and modified tasks, and provide information and resources on how to help.

AgrAbility staff recently conducted two farm-site assessments with West Virginia farmers who wanted to build high tunnels to produce vegetables and extend the growing season. AgrAbility connected the farmers with rehabilitation services, agricultural agencies and a horticulture specialist to help them explore their options.

For more information about requesting a farm-site assessment from West Virginia AgrAbility, call Inetta Fluharty at 304-771-8747.

Rain-Flo Mini Layer

Rain-Flo Mini Layer is a raised bed mulch layer. This compact machine is designed so farmers can use it in a high tunnel. It can attach to a small 4-wheel drive tractor with at least 40 horsepower. The tool can lay 4 foot plastic with 58 inch row spacing, and it has an adjustable bed height of 3 to 5 inches.

For more information, visit www.berryhilldrip.com or call 800-345-3747.

Rain Bird Watering Timer

The Rain Bird is an electronic watering timer for outdoor use with a garden hose.

You can use this digital timer with a drip irrigation system, soaker hose or hose-end sprinklers so you can set a schedule for watering your plants. The timer allows you to water now or program 1-2 watering times per day.

The device can be useful for watering lawns, landscaping beds and gardens. For more information, visit www.rainbird.com or call 800-724-6247.

12th Annual WV Small Farm Conference

The 12th Annual WV Small Farm Conference was held February 25–27, 2016, at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, WV. The conference included educational sessions and an exhibit hall where West Virginia AgrAbility staff shared an information booth. Sessions were held on topic such as farm management, animal, fruit and vegetable production, specialty crops, agritourism, future farmers and the local food community.

Meals were made from locally grown and prepared food. A fruit and vegetable mobile processing unit was also on display. The event had crowd pleasing activities like live bluegrass music and the "Pop Off", a taste test in which attendees sampled popcorn from several farms.

The annual Winter Blues Market was held Thursday night and made open to the public. The market featured West Virginia products such as maple cotton candy, hot dog chili sauce, meats, vegetables, creams, lotions, jewelry and wool. The market has been so successful over the years that an additional Winter Blues Farmers Market with similar products was held on March 24th at Mylan Park in Morgantown.

For more information about the annual conference, visit the WVU Extension Service Small Farms Center at http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu or call 304-293-2642.

From Academy Award Winner James Moll: Farmland

FARMLAND is a documentary that invites you to "meet the next generation of American farmers." The film shares the stories of young farmers and ranchers in their twenties, who are running their own agriculture businesses. Five of them grew up in farm families and are carrying on the tradition. The sixth became passionate about farming as an adult, and started her own consumer supported agriculture farm.

The documentary was directed by Academy Award winning director James Moll and filmed by Harris Done at farms and ranches around the country. FARMLAND was funded by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. The documentary is available on Amazon and Netflix. To check out the film trailers or learn more about FARMLAND, visit www.farmlandfilm.com.

Did you know?

West Virginia leads the country with the highest percentage of family owned farms. About 95% of West Virginia farms are family owned.

About 20% of West Virginians identify as having some type of disability; that is the highest percentage of disability in the country.

Sources:1. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) at www.nasda.org. 2. Disability in the United States at www. disabilitycompendium.org.

Gearing up with Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints

The Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints (GTHJs) program is gearing up for the 2016 growing season. Since 2007, GTHJs has awarded mini-grants each season to cultivate accessible gardening projects around the Mountain State. Congratulations to this year’s new awardees:

  • Cabin Creek Health Center, Inc. (Kanawha County) plans to use raised bed gardening to grow vegetables along their walking path in their playground area. Area Boy Scouts also offered to build benches so that gardeners and the public can rest and enjoy the garden.
  • Calhoun County Committee on Aging, Inc. (Calhoun County) plans to work with the Mid- Ohio Valley Health Department and WVU Extension office to add flower planters, a raised bed and a garden bench. They want to grow fruits and vegetables so seniors can take home fresh produce.
  • Greenbrier County Commission (Greenbrier County) plans to work with Greenbrier County Master Gardeners, Greenbrier County Extension and Greenbrier County Committee on Aging - to grow herbs and vegetables in raised beds for seniors - at the Committee on Aging Community Center in Fairlea, WV.
  • Homestead Farm Center, Inc. (Taylor County) plans to work with the Disability Action Center to install an accessible raised bed and garden bench at the Homestead Farm Center.
  • Hopemont Hospital (Preston County) plans to work with a local Master Gardener group to build a raised vegetable bed so residents can enjoy tomatoes, lettuce and onions.
  • Mountain CAP of WV, Inc. (Upshur County) plans to work with a local WVU Extension Office to revitalize the residents’ garden and explore using ergonomic gardening tools at Buckhannon Manor.
  • Mountain Terrace, Inc. (Boone County) plans to work with Boone Family Resource Network, WVU Extension Service and United Way, and build garden stations for the residents to grow fresh food at Mt. Terrace Apartments in Whitesville, WV.
  • Pendleton Manor (Pendleton County) plans to work with Future Farmers of America students from Pendleton High School, Franklin Group Home and Pendleton County Senior & Family Services to make raised garden beds to enjoy gardening and harvesting vegetables.
  • Putnam County Aging Program, Inc. (Putnam County) plans to put a raised bed at each of their Putnam County Senior Centers and grow flowers and produce while learning about the benefits of accessible gardening. They want to plant vegetables and herbs for summer salads that will be shared at the center and in home meal deliveries to local seniors.

GTHJs is an accessible gardening program for West Virginians with arthritis, osteoporosis, other musculoskeletal conditions and joint limitations. GTHJs is administered by the West Virginia Assistive Technology System in conjunction with WV AgrAbility. The program is funded by the WV Bureau for Public Health, Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease. To learn more about the application process, call WVATS at 800-841-8436 or visit http://greenthumbs.cedwvu.org.

Blackberry Cobbler


  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups & 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 2 cups blackberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease a 3-quart baking pan with butter.
  3. Combine 1 cup sugar, milk, flour, vanilla, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  4. Mix butter into the batter.
  5. Pour batter in pan.
  6. Place blackberries evenly throughout batter. Sprinkle with &fract14; cup sugar.
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until cobbler is golden brown and bubbly.
  8. With 10 minutes cook time left, sprinkle extra sugar on top of the dessert.
  9. When serving, top with whipped cream or ice cream.

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