But This Year Is Different

— Written By and last updated by

This is the time of year most of us take time to reflect and look to the future. What have we accomplished this year? What are we grateful for? What do we want to accomplish in 2021? What do we want to do differently? More often than not, it is usually an easy task to answer these questions. We can quickly come up with a list of things we are grateful for and the people in our lives we appreciate. It is often very enlightening to look back and see everything that has been accomplished.

But this year is different.

This is also the time of year we at North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, reflect on all the programs and educational opportunities we have provided the community. We try to evaluate how successful they have been. How many youth and adults did we serve this year? How many programs did we provide? How much money did our educational programs save farmers and/or producers? Most years it is easy to answer these questions and get a fairly accurate estimate of our impact in the community. We close out the year writing what we call “success stories” to share with the community and stakeholders to let them know how we are doing.

But this year is different.

As 2020 began, we thought programming would proceed as it always had before – the traditional programs, meetings, committees, training, etc. It soon became evident that 2020 would be different. Like most of the world, Extension had to pause a little to figure out how to proceed in the new COVID-19 world. Like everyone else, we had to stretch ourselves this year. We have tried new ways of reaching our clientele and relied on technology more than ever. We have had to “back up and punt,” as my dad used to say, and try new and different things. We may look a little different as we go into the new year, but we are finding ways to meet the challenges head on.

In 2021, until we can safely provide in-person programming, you will find us using Facebook Live and other virtual platforms to bring research-based information and training to you live and in person. Look for “Digging in with Extension,” our weekly Facebook Live series, for all of your gardening questions. Pesticide training and recertification opportunities will be offered both in-person and virtually. And if you have ever wanted to be a beekeeper, don’t miss our Beekeepers School coming to you in a few months.

A new opportunity will be “Tidbit Tuesdays” with timely tidbits to help with making healthy food choices, helpful hints regarding food prep, and factual food-safety information. There will also be virtual 4-H club meetings, “Cooking with Jo Jo,” and other virtual cooking demonstrations.

Something else to look forward to in 2021 is the launching of the Visit NC Farms App for Robeson County. The app will allow smart phone users to know where to go for local foods, events, and venues related to local farms. There will be more information to come when it goes live!

Follow us on Facebook at North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. You can also check our website for informative articles, links to resources and information, and (once we can gather again safely) upcoming events. For more information, contact Christy Strickland, County Extension Director, at 910 671-3276, by email at Christy_Strickland@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.