A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Food insecure in Kentucky? Not if UK Cooperative Extension has a say in battle against hunger

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the state, sickening people, shuttering businesses, closing schools and temporarily crimping the food supply, a lot of people found themselves suddenly wondering how they would be able to feed their families. Without any warning, more Kentuckians than usual found themselves among the “food insecure.” To be food insecure...

UK plant virologist known as ‘Veggie Man’ zooms to Kenya, helps to bridge cultures from Lexington

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky “Connection” is arguably Professor Michael Goodin’s favorite word. Whether it’s through his University of Kentucky coffee class, his research into plant diseases, his passion for food or his blog, The Green Orange Café, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment plant virologist is always looking for the connection that links everything or everyone. It...

UK leads national team studying pandemic’s effect on local food systems; USDA partners in research

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services Division is partnering with the University of Kentucky, Colorado State University and Penn State University on a $1 million cooperative research agreement to conduct a national study on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on local food systems. Co-principal investigators Lilian Brislen and...

Walk Across Kentucky, a new video experience, allows everyone to journey the Bluegrass from home

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky There’s the long way to walk across Kentucky, striding 449 miles from Hickman on the Mississippi River to Ashland on the West Virginia border. There’s a shorter route, taking the two-mile trail through The Arboretum’s Walk Across Kentucky. And there’s the shortest route: staying at home and taking a virtual walk while watching a new video about the...

UK Cooperative Extension agents help as Kentucky’s farmers markets open with an eye toward safe sales

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky In the United States, about 40 percent of farmers are 65 or older, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s census. Kentucky reflects that demographic, so when the coronavirus started to emerge in the state, some farmers who were in the elevated risk category and typically sell through farmers markets were a little concerned about how they would...

First-generation students can find support to overcome obstacles during college journey

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky For students returning to school or just starting their college careers, the fall semester may look different than they were expecting. Yet, for many of those students, the first in their families to enroll in college, the opportunities for success are still out there, and professors, administrators, staff and even nonprofits are available to help them succeed. Though...

Late frosts in weekend forecast for much of state could provide challenges for Kentucky gardeners

By Carol Lea Spence UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Unseasonably cold temperatures are putting the kibosh on the spring dreams of many Kentucky gardeners, who are itching to plant young annuals or vegetables or may already have done so. Though it is late in the season for frosts and freezes, especially in Western Kentucky, there is the potential in the short-range forecast for multiple...

KSBDC, Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offices to advise businesses during pandemic

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky If there’s a direct pipeline in Kentucky’s counties for the transmission of research-based, pertinent information to the people who need it, it’s Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Recognizing the ties extension agents have to their communities, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center is working closely with county extension offices during...

UK Extension Homemakers contribute to community safety by making personal protective equipment

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Necessity is the mother of invention. Bourbon Community Hospital in Paris took that old saw to heart when they, like so many other hospitals and medical facilities in the state, were contemplating how to acquire extra personal protective equipment to prepare for a possible onslaught of patients with COVID-19. The solution turned out to be in their own surgical...

Earth Day celebrates 50th anniversary amid COVID-19; UK water specialist gives eco-friendly advice

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Earth Day is 50 years old. It has a distinguished history, contributing to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to the Earth Day website, the day “is marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human...

UK Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development agents partnering with teachers on ‘home work’

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Schools may be shuttered, but instruction goes on, albeit in a nontraditional way. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development agents, who have worked closely with teachers in their classrooms, have shifted their traditional classroom enrichment programming to provide classes with projects and tools for remote, nontraditional instruction. Mackenzie...

Think before flushing, plus other tips for protecting yourself and Kentucky’s water resources

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The coronavirus has forced people to either retreat into their homes or get out and explore the natural world more. Either way, water is a big part of everyone’s daily lives, and it’s important to protect Kentucky’s most valuable natural resource. For many Kentuckians pushed inside by COVID-19 social distancing practices, sanitizing anything that doesn’t...

UK extension service offering free ‘Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays’ to bring spring into your home

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Stuck in the house and dreaming of spring and gardens? The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is offering free “Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays” on a number of topics. Participants will glean information they will need as the days grow longer and they spend more time “social distancing” outside in their gardens. UK specialists and...

Public-private partnership helps shore up local farms during uncertain times of COVID-19 pandemic

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky When the University of Kentucky sent its students home to continue their classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of that decision rippled out beyond campus to the local farmers who supply UK Dining Services with food. Suddenly, producers lost a valuable market for their products. Aramark Corporation, UK’s partner in dining services, The...

Support, resilience could be bright lining to dark cloud hovering about small businesses in Kentucky

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Katie Startzman, owner of Native Bagel Company in Berea, is going to ride out the upheaval brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and come out stronger on the other side. She’s sure of it, because of the strength and support she is receiving from her peers, customers and local resources. Mae Suramek feels the same way, as she puts in the long hours to save...

UK’s Rosalind Harris inducted into George Washington Carver Hall of Fame

Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The University of Kentucky’s Rosalind Harris recently was presented with the George Washington Carver Public Service Award and inducted into the Hall of Fame during the 77th annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference at Tuskegee University. The award recognizes an individual whose work mirrors the philosophy of George Washington Carver, as reflected...

Statewide climate consortium empowers Kentuckians to be well-informed environmental stewards

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky A new statewide consortium headquartered at the University of Kentucky is developing interdisciplinary climate research and teaching collaborations to empower people to become well-informed stewards of the environment. The mission of the Kentucky Climate Consortium is to act as a catalyst for climate research and education in the state by providing networking...

UK to hold Kentucky Maple Day on Feb. 1; local syrup product dates back to region’s first settlers

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky There’s something sweet bubbling up in the forests of Kentucky: maple syrup production. Through the first Kentucky Maple Day on Feb. 1, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension and the Kentucky Maple Syrup Association want to introduce folks to local maple syrup, with a history that goes back to the region’s first settlers. “We have a long history...

UK Extension Service to offer Woodland Stewards webinar series on how to improve forest health

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will offer a series of free, web-based woodland seminars on five successive Thursday evenings in February and March. The goal of the webinar series, Getting to Know Your Woodlands: Next Steps, is to empower woodland owners to promote environmental and forest health through increased awareness, experience...

For past 25 years, UK Extension Homemakers have spread ‘Joy of Giving’ during Christmas season

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Before the tables were arranged, before the cookies were spread, before the doors were opened, residents of Pine Meadows Post Acute were lined up in the hallways, happy anticipation lighting their faces. Inside the activities hall, Fayette County Cooperative Extension Homemakers were preparing for the annual Joy of Giving, their county-wide gifting project...