Live Well Alabama
Anna Cox isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and plant seeds in the ground in the name of nutrition education in Fayette County.
Cox, a SNAP-Ed educator in Fayette and Lamar counties, has had a passion for working with the community garden at Fayette County High School since she began her tenure with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in 2019. The garden itself started a few years ago as part of the school’s agriculture program. Cox said the garden produces two crops — one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring crop consists of tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, and squash, while the fall crops are primarily leafy greens such as collards and turnips.
“We donate the produce from the garden to families in the area,” Cox said. “We also planted a crop of potatoes which we were able to donate to our local food bank.”
The garden has recently expanded to more than a few raised beds to include a 20-foot by a 180-foot in-ground garden used to grow additional crops such as watermelons and other summer vegetable crops.
“This garden has been a big hit in our community, and we are excited about the potential that it has to serve our SNAP-Ed program,” Cox said.
Cox said the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on educators and families throughout the country. As an educator, she said seeing and interacting with students and stakeholders is crucial for the job. She said educators have had to utilize technology to reach their audience and find new ways to instruct students within the classroom.
“It has been challenging, but we are looking forward to implementing several of our programs, such as Body Quest, on a virtual platform this year,” Cox said. “We are also utilizing Google classroom technology. I would say that technology has made it possible for us to carry out our mission.”
Body Quest is an innovative childhood obesity prevention initiative that empowers third graders and their parents to make healthier choices. Cox feels that SNAP-Ed’s role is essential now more than ever due to the large amounts of people staying at home and preparing meals more frequently.
“With many of our students and stakeholders being in isolation or sedentary over the last several months, we must continue our mission of delivering nutrition education to our communities,” she said. “It just goes to show the importance of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and all of the work we do for our community.”
To find more success stories about SNAP-Ed educators, visit LiveWellAlabama.com.