2019 Mecklenburg County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 24, 2020

I. Executive Summary

In 2019, the staff of NC Cooperative Extension, Mecklenburg County Center, in partnership with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, addressed community needs through 4-H Youth Development, Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), Local Foods, Food Safety, and Horticulture programs. Program delivery mechanisms ranged from face-to-face contacts to newsletters and web articles to workshops and seminars, including online webinars and trainings. In 2019, Cooperative Extension Staff provided face-to-face educational opportunities serving 17,010 Mecklenburg County Citizens (with duplications).

Four-H Youth Development staff arranged visits from the Innovation Station, the mobile makerspace of Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, for two Title I schools to support and enhance their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. The bus brought STEM education activities, including Video Game Design and 3D Printing & Modeling, to almost 300 Mecklenburg County youth in the fall. Youth have challenged their minds and tested their creative abilities through interactive and hands on tasks, while learning valuable skills to guide their futures. Sixty-five classrooms and a home school co-op participated in 4-H Embryology, a hands-on program focusing on life cycles, reaching over 6,000 youth. Leaders surveyed indicated improvement in student science skills, ability to work in teams, and improved behavior. Incubators and equipment donated by Mecklenburg Farm Bureau enabled the program to be conducted more efficiently.

The Mecklenburg Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS)/Local Foods Extension Agent designed an online food safety course, adapted from Penn State Extension's "Cooking for Crowds", to address the need for food safety training for staff and the general public teaching both youth and adults about food preparation. The course provides information on understanding food-borne pathogens, safe food handling, proper storage, and preparation. Evaluations indicated all participants gained knowledge with 61% indicating that they will implement the skills learned in the course in their work. Over 70% reported that they will share the information with others. To raise awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the local FCS/Local Foods Extension Agent, provided diversity training to volunteers. While Extension Master Food Volunteers (EMFV) trainees receive this training as a part of their core training, it was not required for Extension Master Gardener Volunteer (EMGV) trainees. The 2019 training cohort of EMGVs learned about Extension's vision for diversity and civil rights requirements, in addition to definitions of terms and the impact of implicit bias. Participants reported increased knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and many volunteers verbally stated that the training broadened their perspective about diversity. EFNEP enrolled 106 families and 95% reported improved dietary intake, 84% reported daily physical activity, and 92% reported better food resource management.

Volunteers help to expand Cooperative Extension educational efforts and are vital to our outreach efforts. They lead groups, teach workshops, conduct service projects, staff educational exhibits, and support numerous activities. In 2019, 823 volunteers (with duplications) donated 8,239 hours to support Cooperative Extension educational programs in Mecklenburg County at a dollar value of $209,508. EMGVs provided educational programs to 40 community groups through the Speakers’ Bureau and reached over 200 citizens with 11 talks and workshops at library branches. An EMGV leads a horticulture skills program for inmates with 50 graduating the 2-week course in 2019. This program received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties in 2019. Sixteen library branches display and distribute horticulture information in a new program started in fall of 2019 and 24,800 pieces of educational literature have been distributed already.

II. County Background

With Charlotte as its county seat, Mecklenburg County is the most populated county in North Carolina. The latest population estimate (2017) is 1,076,837. Ninety-six percent (96%) of the county's population lives in urban areas. Of the total county population, 11.4% is reported in poverty.

Agriculture in the Charlotte Region takes place against a metropolitan backdrop. Charlotte is the state's largest city and the nation's second largest financial center. Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, accounts for nearly half of the twelve-county region's 2.1 million people.

According to research, it is believed Mecklenburg County's population growth will lead to an increased demand for local, natural, and organic foods and we see the potential for direct marketing to commercial establishments and consumers, especially in natural and organic niches. Citizens are showing an increasing interest in farming and food production which is supported by local government, other agencies, and consumers. Traditional agriculture continues to shrink as the increasing demand for development competes for available land. Rapid development has impacted the quality of natural resources, but County Government has an aggressive campaign to regulate this impact.

Mecklenburg County Government has a Strategic Business Plan that focuses funding and support into specific program areas. Elements of this plan and objectives from North Carolina Cooperative Extension were used to develop a survey instrument to identify priorities for Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County. The County Extension Advisory Council and staff identified five major areas for programming based on resources available: Improving Health and Nutrition; Environmental Stewardship; Natural Resource Management; Increasing Educational Achievement; and Local Food Production and Safety.

III. Objectives to Address the Cooperative Extension Long Range Plan

Our family and consumer sciences programs improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Value* Outcome Description
992Number of adults increasing their knowledge of community resources
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
492Number of people accessing programs and implementing strategies to support family economic well-being
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our plant production programs improve production, profitability, and sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Our community development programs build strong and thriving communities.

Value* Outcome Description
574Number of participants who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems
30Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our 4-H youth development programs grow the skills young people need to succeed in life and career.

Value* Outcome Description
84Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
21044Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
10512Total number of female participants in STEM program
21044Number of youth increasing knowledge of life skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
68Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our consumer horticulture programs teach families and communities about environmentally friendly methods for gardening and controlling pests.

Value* Outcome Description
1846Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
156Number of individuals who grow food in community gardens.
156Number of individuals who begin home food production by starting a vegetable and/or fruit garden
1300Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease, wildlife) and soil management
656Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
546Number of participants growing food for home consumption
278Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Our food safety and nutrition programs create a safer and more sustainable food supply and improve the health and nutrition of individuals, families, and our communities.

Value* Outcome Description
318Number of participants who increase their knowledge of safe home food handling, preservation, or preparation practices
68Number of food handlers who increase their knowledge and skills in safe food handling practices
332Number of individuals who learn how to prepare local foods, including through use of home food preservation techniques.
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
254Number of adults increasing their fruit and vegetables consumption
226Number of participants increasing their physical activity
254Number of participants who consume less sodium in their diet
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 34,020
Non face-to-face** 64,544
Total by Extension staff in 2019 98,564
* Face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make directly with individuals through one-on-one visits, meetings, and other activities where staff members work directly with individuals.
** Non face-to-face contacts include contacts that Extension personnel make indirectly with individuals by telephone, email, newsletters, news articles, radio, television, and other means.

V. Designated Grants Received by Extension

Type of GrantAmount
Contracts/Grants $0.00
Gifts/Donations $3,222.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $100.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $3,322.00

VI. Volunteer Involvement in Extension Programs

Number of Volunteers* Number of Volunteer Hours Known client contacts by volunteers Dollar Value at 25.43
4-H 220 3404 8952 $ 86,564.00
Advisory Leadership System 36 78 0 $ 1,984.00
EFNEP 22 204 0 $ 5,188.00
Extension Master Gardener 1,368 12792 5270 $ 325,301.00
Total: 1646 16478 14222 $ 419,036.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

County Advisory Committee
Carrie Winter
Sandy Roork
Joyce Trott
Barbara Locklear
Heidi Pruess
June Hood
Marilyn Gore
John Leonard
Robin Emmons
Karla Robinson
Robert Robinson
Diane Podolsky
Reggie Singleton
Rick Winiker
Reggie Singleton
Stephanie Frisbee
Tim Turton
Bill Sloan
Nadine Ford

Family and Consumer Sciences
Reggie Singleton
Tari Cottman
Demetria Cox
Dr. Jenn Mart
Nanette McLellan
Janet McGrant
Michelle Miller
4-H Youth Development
April Jones
Angela Paul
Lucy Sams
Chris Simeral
Bernard Singleton
Stephanie Tuckman
Sam Nelson
Taivon Sams

VIII. Staff Membership

Nelson McCaskill
Title: County Extension Director
Phone: (980) 314-1401
Email: nelson_mccaskill@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Administration and Community Development.

Shane Alston-Daniel
Title: County Extension Administrative Assistant
Phone: (980) 314-1408
Email: sdalston@ncsu.edu

Steven Capobianco
Title: Extension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture
Phone: (980) 202-1449
Email: sjcapobi@ncsu.edu

Jenny Carleo
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Grain Crops
Phone: (704) 873-0507
Email: jscarleo@ncsu.edu

Candice Christian
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Consumer and Retail Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9148
Email: cadescha@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to provide North Carolinians with technical food safety information and to support Family and Consumer Sciences agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders.

Catherine Daniels
Title: 4-H Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (980) 314-1407
Email: catherine_daniels@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Manages the 4-H volunteer system. Supports 4-H programming through clubs, school enrichment, summer programs, and special interest groups.

Kristin Davis
Title: Extension Agent, Local Foods/FCS
Phone: (980) 314-1403
Email: kristin_davis@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Kristin Davis is the Family & Consumer Sciences Agent with NC State University's Cooperative Extension Service in Mecklenburg County. She leads the Family & Consumer Sciences program including programming in the areas of local foods, food literacy, food safety and volunteer development. She also serves as the local foods coordinator for the NC 10% Campaign in Mecklenburg County. In 2015, "The Sustainable Living Series" received Charlotte Magazine's Best of the Best (BOB) award, a program she created to meet citizens' needs. Kristin holds a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences, a Bachelor or Arts in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is also licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in NC.

Marti Day
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8202
Email: marti_day@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Responsible for educational programs for dairy farmers, youth with an interest in dairy projects and the general public with an interest in dairy foods and the dairy industry.

April Dillon
Title: Area Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 482-4365
Email: april_dillon@ncsu.edu

Richard Goforth
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Poultry
Phone: (910) 893-7530
Email: richard_goforth@ncsu.edu

Marissa Herchler
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Animal Food Safety (FSMA Programs)
Phone: (919) 515-5396
Email: marissa_herchler@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marissa is an Area Specialized Agent for animal food safety, with emphasis on the new Food Safety Modernization Act rules, as they apply to feed mills in North Carolina. Please contact Marissa with any FSMA related questions, or PCQI training inquiries.

Stacey Jones
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Commercial Nursery and Greenhouse
Phone: (704) 920-3310
Email: stacey_jones@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: I work with commercial greenhouses and nurseries to help them with growing related issues. These issues range from pests (insect, disease, and weeds), substrates, nutrition, and other miscellaneous topics.

Craig Mauney
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Commercial Vegetables and Fruits
Phone: (828) 684-3562
Email: craig_mauney@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provides educational opportunities, training and technical support to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, agents, and industry in Western NC. (My office is located at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center not the Henderson County Extension Center as is noted by IT on this website. Please do not contact the Henderson County Extension Center as I am not located there.)

Rachelle Purnell
Title: Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Phone: (704) 336-2082
Email: rapurnell@ncat.edu
Brief Job Description: 4-H Youth Development

Ashley Robbins
Title: Area Specialized Agent - Dairy
Phone: (919) 542-8203
Email: ashley_robbins@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Marti Day and I are the Area Specialized Dairy Agents - the county-based arm of the Cooperative Extension Dairy Team. We are out here in the counties to help you set and reach your farm, family and business goals. We have collaborative expertise in the areas of Waste Management, Udder Health, Cow Comfort, Nutrition and Forage Management with specialties in (Ashley)Reproduction, Records Management, Animal Health and (Marti)Alternative Markets, Organic Dairy, Grazing Management, and On-farm Processing. We hope to provide comprehensive educational programs for our farmers, consumers and youth for every county across the state. We are here for you by phone, email or text and look forward to working with you!

Elena Rogers
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Food Safety - Fresh Produce Western NC
Phone: (828) 352-2519
Email: elena_rogers@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Provide educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to Agents and growers in Western NC.

Augusta Washington
Title: Program Assistant, EFNEP
Phone: (980) 314-1405
Email: awashin2@ncsu.edu

Mitch Woodward
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Watersheds and Water Quality
Phone: (919) 414-3873
Email: mdwoodwa@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: NC Cooperative Extension's Goals include: - NC's natural resources and environmental quality will be protected, conserved and enhanced. - NC will have profitable, environmentally sustainable plant, animal and food systems. Protecting our environmental resources, particularly drinking water quality, is a top priority in NC. NC Cooperative Extension is a leader in teaching, researching, and accelerating the adoption of effective water quality protection practices.

IX. Contact Information

Mecklenburg County Center
1418 Armory Dr
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: (704) 336-2082
Fax: (704) 336-6876
URL: http://mecklenburg.ces.ncsu.edu