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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

WVSU Extension Service & USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service presents

Agriculture & Gardening Workshops

Every third Thursday of the month from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Dr. Hazo W. Carter, Jr. Integrated Research and Extension Building on WVSU's Campus

Join WVSU Extension and USDA NRCS every third Thursday of the month through Oct. 2023, to promote the usage of gardening resources and agricultural sciences. Workshop subjects will include garden plant seeding, community garden care and management, proper canning and food preservation and more.
 

October 20, 2022 - Build a Gourd Birdhouse

November 17, 2022 - Vegetable Cornucopias Table Piece

December 8, 2022 - Wreath Making

January 19, 2023 - Planting Plans, Create a Garden Calendar

February 16, 2023 - Garden Plant Seeding

March 16, 2023 - Transplanting – Pansy Plugs

April 20, 2023 - Proper Plant Health – Pesticide Management

May 18, 2023 - Planting a Community Garden

June 22, 2023 - Community Garden Care & Management

July 20, 2023 - Community Garden to Table Banquet

August 17, 2023 - Proper Canning and Food Preservation, salsa

September 21, 2023 - Proper Food Preservation – Freezer Corn

October 19, 2023 - Harvesting & Post-Harvest Practices for Quality and Safety

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. John
Dr. John Kessell
Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources
(304) 766-4275
john.kessell@wvstateu.edu
Elizabeth
Elizabeth Moss
Urban Forestry Extension Educator
(304) 204-4065
elizabeth.moss@wvstateu.edu
Eden Clymire-Stern
Eden  Clymire-Stern
Extension Educator
(202) 280-8608
eden.clymire-stern@wvstateu.edu

Hands holding a pile of dirt with a green plant sprouting out of the top. Below the image are the logos for Diversified Energy and WVSU Extension Service.

Free Tree Planting
in Your Community


WVSU and Diversified Energy are partnering to help re-green communities in the state of West Virginia, one resident at a time. Much of our cities’ green space is in our own backyards, and WVSU Extension Service is here to assist you with everything from assessing your planting site to picking the right tree and planting it!
 

Extension Educators will come to your home, talk to you about your yard, what you would like to accomplish with your tree, purchase the tree and help you plant it! We are offering shade trees, flowering trees, fruit and nut trees ­— any tree to suit your needs!
 

Timeline

March 1: Deadline for applications

March 15–31: Extension educators visit individual properties and conduct site assessments to select the right tree

May 1–31: Plantings

Apply for your free tree before March 1, 2023!

Questions?
Call (304) 204-4065 or email anr@wvstateu.edu.

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