Jennifer Smith Takes on a New Role…

Jennifer teaching a class in the garden; she was right at home in this role and venue!   photo by Paul Goebel

Jennifer teaching a class in the garden; she was right at home in this role and venue! photo by Paul Goebel

Douglas County Extension Horticulture agent Jennifer Smith has taken a new job with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Jennifer worked with the Master Gardeners here along with many other duties.

She came to Douglas County Extension in July of 2007. I met her in August of 2009 when I joined the EMG class here in Lawrence. She has been a dynamic, dedicated teacher and advocate, in my opinion. Here’s a brief summary of her years here and a look at her new role at KDA.

Her initiatives were building local food systems, Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities, and Extension Master Gardeners. She provided education and support to specialty crop producers and to consumers through local media, workshops, and seminars. The Horticulture Program Assistant and Douglas County Master Gardeners extended her program efforts in the area of consumer horticulture. Some accomplishments included -Evolved the Garden Calendar news column (written by Extension staff and Master Gardeners since the 70’s) into a feature section with photos
-Grew the Master Gardener program from just under 100 volunteers to about 155
-Grew the annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour from an event attracting about 1000 people to one that attracts about 2500.
-Developed an environmental education program for the county and then chaired a committee to adapt the program to the entire state, to create what is now the Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities program. KHYC features about 200 YouTube videos of Extension agents teaching good horticultural practices and offers a checklist people can use to gauge their current practices.
-Worked with Prairie Park Elementary, New York Elementary, Boys and Girls Club, and the Douglas County Conservation District to provide educational programming to youth on the water cycle. About 750 kids participated in a 5 year span.
-Worked in various aspects of creation and advisement for community and school gardens in and around Lawrence
-Led creation of http://www.douglascountycommunitygardening.org, a toolkit for future garden development
-Instrumental in providing education to local growers in Good Agricultural Practices and Post-Harvest Handling techniques to ensure best practices for food safety
-Co-author on KSU publications “Growing Veggies in Pots” and “Fertilizing Kansas Lawns”

Smith’s new role at KDA is the KC Metro Area specialist in the Plant Protection and Weed Control division of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. This division works to ensure the health of the state’s native and cultivated plants by excluding or controlling destructive pests, diseases and weeds.

We are greatful to her for her dedication and hard work and wish her good luck!

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