2018 Mecklenburg County Program Impact Report

Approved: January 25, 2019

I. Executive Summary

In 2018, the staff of Cooperative Extension in Mecklenburg County, in partnership with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, addressed community needs through 4-H Youth Development, Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program, Local Foods, Food Safety, and Horticulture programs. Program delivery mechanisms ranged from face-to-face contacts to newsletters and newspaper articles to workshops and seminars, including online webinars and training. In 2018, Cooperative Extension Staff provided face-to-face educational opportunities serving 26,182 Mecklenburg County Citizens (with duplications).

Four-H Youth Development staff provided training and youth appropriate curriculum to Horticulture Program volunteers. She helped guide the planning process for youth horticulture program opportunities and, when needed, put together curriculum kits for the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGVs) to use when conducting 4-H plant science programs with various audiences. Volunteers reported feeling more prepared to fulfill more youth related program requests. One volunteer worked with a group of 35 youth with special developmental needs and was able to provide an accommodating and inclusive plant science program that she otherwise would not have had the resources to provide. Thirty-seven schools, a home school co-op, and one Recreation Center participated in 4-H Embryology, a hands-on program focusing on life cycles, reaching over 6,000 youth. Leaders surveyed indicated 2+ points 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 in 4 rounds.

The Mecklenburg Family and Consumer Science/Local Foods Extension Agent recruited and trained 6 new citizens to join the Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program. Volunteers completed 30 hours of training, which included a hybrid instructional model of face-to-face, live online webinars, and self-guided lessons. Volunteers reported an overall increase in knowledge of the food system and Cooperative Extension. Four EMFVs began leading autonomous projects. One EMFV taught an elementary-age group about gardening and the food system. Collectively, EMFVs in Mecklenburg contributed 123 hours to reach 239 citizens. To raise awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the local FCS/Local Foods Extension Agent, provided diversity training to volunteers. While EMFV trainees receive this training as a part of their core training, it was not required for EMGV trainees. The 2018 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, as evidenced by 91% knowledge gained in completed evaluations. Many volunteers also verbally stated that the training broadened their perspective about diversity.

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 2018, 1,159 volunteers (with duplications) donated 8,177 hours to support Cooperative Extension educational programs in Mecklenburg County at a dollar value of $201,890. EMGVs provided educational programs to community groups through the Speakers’ Bureau and reached over 400 citizens. EMGVs reached around 1600 adults and 330 youth at local festivals, shows, and community events, and interacted with over 11,000 at the Spring Home and Garden Show.

II. County Background

With Charlotte as its county seat, Mecklenburg County is the most populated county in North Carolina. The latest population estimate (2016) is 1,054,835. Ninety-six percent (96%) of the county's population lives in urban areas. Just over 14% of the county population is reported living below poverty level.

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

Producers will increase sales of food locally to more agriculturally aware consumers through market development, producer and consumer education, and new farmer and infrastructure support.

Value* Outcome Description
12Number of producers who gain skills or knowledge to increase production for local markets.
736Number of adults (including producers, food business owners, etc.) who improved knowledge of local food and agricultural systems.
92Number of individuals who gain knowledge or acquire skills related to vegetable/fruit gardening, and if also reporting under Urban and Consumer Agriculture Objective, divide up the reported number appropriately between the two objectives to avoid duplication.
184Number of producers who improve local food marketing skills or knowledge.
84Number 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.

Agricultural producers, workers, food handlers and consumers will adopt safer food and agricultural production, handling, and distribution practices that reduce workplace and home injuries/illnesses, enhance food security, and increase the quality and safety of food that North Carolinians prepare and consume.

Individuals and groups will acquire leadership and decision making capacities needed to guide and actively participate in local and state organizations.

Value* Outcome Description
168Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
64Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
372Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
2Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
126Number of adults increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
64Number of adults assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
2Number of youth increasing/improving knowledge, attitudes, skills, and/or aspirations regarding leadership
2Number of youth assuming new/expanded leadership roles in the community
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Youth and adults will address community issues and/or challenges through volunteerism.

Value* Outcome Description
152Number of adult participants acquiring the skills needed to serve as a volunteer
78Number of adult participants reporting aspirations to serve in new or expanded volunteer roles in community
166Number of hours adult volunteer training conducted
36Number of hours youth volunteer training conducted
28Number new volunteers recruited
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
976Increased number of hours contributed by trained adult volunteers
72Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles within Extension
4Number of adult volunteers serving in new or expanded roles beyond Extension, including community boards and task forces
14Number of adult volunteers recruiting and/or training new volunteers
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Community members, organizations and local government will engage in collaborative dialog and decision-making to build economically, socially and environmentally resilient communities. This will be done through inclusive engagement, partnership building, and/or community planning.

Value* Outcome Description
10Number of participants developing skills in leading community, economic, and/or disaster planning and change
780Number of residents that increase their knowledge in disaster preparedness planning, mitigation and recovery
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Parents and caregivers will effectively use recommended parenting, self care practices and community resources.

Futures that Work: School to Career Pathways

Value* Outcome Description
292Number of teachers trained in 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum
15194Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
6578Total number of female participants in STEM program
600Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
154Number of adults increasing knowledge of career/employability skills
166Number of youth (students) increasing knowledge of entrepreneurship
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
242Number of teachers using 4-H STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum in their classrooms
17872Number of youth (students) gaining knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
600Number of youth (students) gaining career / employability skills
114Number of adults gaining career / employability skills
166Number of youth (students) gaining entrepreneurship skills
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Consumers and communities will enhance the value of plants, animals, and landscapes while conserving valuable natural resources and protecting the environment.

Value* Outcome Description
1504Number of participants improving knowledge, attitude, skills and aspirations regarding gardening and landscape practices including plant selection and placement, turfgrass management, soil management, growing food, water conservation and water quality preservation, storm water and erosion management, green waste management, pest and wildlife management
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.
Value* Impact Description
1504Number of participants who use extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
29400Total cost savings from the use of extension-recommended best management practices in landscapes, turf, and gardens, including pest (insect, weed, disease) management, fertility management, water conservation, water quality preservation and pruning techniques
1504Number of participants who use extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
15040Cost savings from using extension-recommended pest management practices in homes, public facilities, businesses or in community pest management programs
1504Number of participants selecting appropriate landscape plants (adapted, drought tolerant, appropriate size, etc.)
1504Cost savings from the appropriate selection of landscape plants
45120Number of participants growing food for home consumption
174Value of produce grown for home consumption
174Number of participants adopting composting
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

Youth and adult program participants will make healthy food choices, achieve the recommended amount of physical activity and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases.

Value* Impact Description
510Number of youth increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption
510Number of participants increasing their physical activity
* Note: Values may include numbers from multi-county efforts.

IV. Number of Contacts Made by Extension

Type of ContactNumber
Face-to-face* 52,066
Non face-to-face** 46,780
Total by Extension staff in 2018 98,846
* 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 $860.00
In-Kind Grants/Donations $26,670.00
United Way/Foundations $0.00
User Fees $0.00
Total $27,530.00

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: 654 1,716 7,044 $ 43,638.00
Advisory Leadership System: 64 88 0 $ 2,238.00
Extension Community Association: 0 0 0 $ 0.00
Extension Master Gardener: 1,570 14,378 3,648 $ 365,633.00
Other: 30 172 28 $ 4,374.00
Total: 2318 16354 10720 $ 415,882.00
* The number of volunteers reflects the overall number of volunteers for multiple events.

VII. Membership of Advisory Leadership System

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


Family and Consumer Sciences Volunteerism
Reggie Singleton
Tari Cottman
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: Candice_Christian@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: The overall goal of the Area Specialized Agents (ASAs) in Consumer & Retail Food Safety is to support FCS Agents in delivering timely and evidence-based food safety education and information to stakeholders in North Carolina.

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

Bill Lord
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Water Resources
Phone: (919) 496-3344
Email: william_lord@ncsu.edu
Brief Job Description: Water quality education and technical assistance

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.

Currey Nobles
Title: Area Specialized Agent, Food Safety
Phone: (919) 515-9520
Email: canobles@ncsu.edu

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

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) 250-1112
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