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Agriculture & Natural Resources

We are committed to providing research-based educational programs and technical assistance to farmers, commodity groups and agribusinesses, and to providing horticultural and pest management assistance to West Virginia. We focus on alternative agriculture; sustainability; urban forestry; cold storage/post harvest technology; and community, youth and adaptive gardening. We offer hands-on workshops throughout central and southern West Virginia, reaching gardeners of all ages and experience levels.

Learn more about our program efforts and check out our upcoming events and workshops below.
 
Agriculture Workshops: Workshops are offered based on needs and requests and may be delivered as a single workshop or developed into a multi-class series, with lectures, hands-on demonstrations and onsite observation to enhance every participant’s education experience. Sample topics include composting, container gardening, reuse, cold-frame construction, irrigation, rain barrels and mushroom production.
 
Community & Adaptive Gardening: Community gardens are gardens developed within a community setting to provide participants with the skills and resources to produce their own fruits and vegetables, while encouraging the adoption of healthy eating habits. Adaptive gardens serve the same purpose as community gardens, but they are designed to meet the needs of the population by taking into account accessibility barriers, as well as other factors that may limit interaction in a garden setting. We work with low-income housing developments, as well as community and professional organizations, to design and implement gardens in central and southern West Virginia.
 
Small Fruit Production: We have developed an educational mini-series covering blueberries, blackberries, fruit trees, grapes, raspberries and strawberries. The primary educational focus is for the backyard gardener to understand small-scale production basics. Workshops focus on disease and insect management and hands-on training of pruning techniques. Participants are also requesting workshops on growing asparagus, rhubarb, kiwi and figs. Urban Orchards are also being established within neighborhoods in Huntington, with these efforts expanding their reach throughout central and southern W.Va.
 
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE): Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. Sustainable agriculture practices address pest management, cultural practices, soil fertility, adding value and farm profitability. At WVSU, SARE funding has been utilized to study sustainable agriculture and provide training opportunities for local agriculture producers.
 
Urban Forestry: West Virginia Tree Minders is a free hybrid online and in-person tree care certification program, presented in partnership with WVSU Extension Service, the WV Division of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry program and WVU Extension. Participants can access online courses through our Canvas learning portal and also inquire about in-person workshops being hosted by WVSUES or our partners.

WVSU also has an on-campus educational arboretum that is open to the public for tours and workshops, as well as a virtual tree tour.
 
Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Program: With a focus on serving our veteran, active military and socially disadvantaged populations throughout the state, this program serves to introduce individuals to agricultural topics that could lead down the road toward future employment. Through partnerships with the West Virginia National Guard and the West Virginia Department of Ag, demonstration and educational facilities are being created in central and southern West Virginia to provide hands-on workshops and trainings to introduce new and innovative trends toward increasing agricultural production.
 
Cold Storage/Post Harvest Technology: This initiative is aimed at providing farmers with post-harvest education. Participants learn appropriate techniques from pre-cooling methods to storing and moving fresh market produce. While still in development, ultimately the program will include access to walk-in refrigerator units, refrigerator trailers and pre-cooling coolers. Through meeting both the educational and infrastructural needs, farmers will be able to reach additional markets with high-quality produce and adapt to the growing demand for fresh local food. 

Sustainable Production Management through Spatial Analysis Online Training

A self-paced course. Additional Details | REGISTER

Ag Talk Tuesdays

A live Q&A the second Tuesday of each month via Zoom. Submit questions early via email to ensure answers during the session: Submit Questions
  • February 8GIS Applications for Landowners and Farmers, Seth Davidson, GIS Specialist, WV State University Extension Service — Seth Davidson will discuss which geospatial services can aid landowners and farmers with management goals. Mr. Davidson will explain the basics of geographic information services (GIS) and spatial mapping for resources management. He will also discuss and highlight some free online tools. Register online.
  • March 8 — Homegrown High Tunnels: Building on a Budget, Norvill Clark and Keith Doverspike, Five Rivers Cooperative.
  • April 12 — [Tentative] Foraging, speaker TBA
  • May 10Appalachian Irrigation: Letting the Landscappe Work for You, Doug Crouch, TreeYo Permaculture — Renowned permaculture educator Doug Crouch, will discuss methods of utilizing natural landscape to aid in the irrigation of various growing spaces in Appalachia. Trained as both a permaculture designer and fish and wildlife manager, Doug has extensive knowledge and experience surrounding landscape planning and food production systems. He has worked on projects in various climates ranging from tropical agroforestry and Mediterranean organic gardening to temperate suburban edible landscaping. Doug is an educator as well as a designer and businessman and maintains his family's Treasure Lake property in Kentucky as an ecological education center.
  • June 14 — [Tentative] Community Engagement, speaker TBA 
Agricultural Resource Guide: A collection of contacts from agricultural agencies from throughout West Virginia. 

Parking Lots & Trees: An urban forestry publication in collaboration with the WV Division of Forestry's Urban and Community Forestry project.

Trees for Urban Landscapes: An urban forestry publication in collaboration with the WV Division of Forestry's Urban and Community Forestry project.
 

Our Team

Dr. Jason
Dr. Jason Hughes
Assistant Program Director for ANR
(304) 373-8956
jason.hughes@wvstateu.edu
Kristie
Kristie Martin
Alternative Agriculture Extension Agent
(804) 482-0178
kristie.martin@wvstateu.edu
Elizabeth
Elizabeth Moss
Urban Forestry Extension Agent
(304) 204-4065
elizabeth.moss@wvstateu.edu
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