WHEN – Wednesday, February 21st, 6:15 PM,
The first meeting of the year Rachel Suits will facilitate a discussion centered around what YOU (member or attendee) would like to see in 2018. This is your CLUB – as such – your needs should be heard.
- What YOUR interests are
- What YOU would like to see CGBA do for YOU and the
- How YOU might like to help
OSU Extension Education Program Assistant Rachel Suits didn’t know a lot about the extension service prior to attending graduate school at North Carolina State University.
But something clicked while studying for her masters in entomology. “I worked with extension specialists as a grad student,” Suits said. “Both my advisors were extension specialists, so I worked with them to put on different programs, and put on programs myself.”
But she found the extension service combined two of her loves: Insects, and educating people about how to grow and eat healthy foods. “I really liked it because it allows you to have that personal relationship with the people you’re educating,” she said. “The social and the hard science part uses both sides of my brain at the same time.”
Suits has been at the OSU Extension Office since June 2014, and is involved in three different programs: She’s coordinator for Master Gardeners in Hood River (and provides support on the Washington side of the river); works with outreach and education in both Hood River and Wasco counties; and teaches nutrition education to low-income families, with some farm-to-school and school garden work.
Suits is a Certified Apprentice in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. She is also a Mentor within the program as well as a qualified instructor.
Another aspect of her job is outreach to small area farmers. She’s done a number of tours and given feedback “on the various aspects of what I’ve seen, but part of my job is to do research and make connections with those farmers to give them more access to resources,” she said, such as helping farmers apply for grants.
To that end, she’s putting together a program called Growing Farms, a holistic farm planning curriculum that she hopes to debut in February. She will co-facilitate the class with Gary Stevenson from OSU’s Center for Small Farms.
Suits grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in California, and was a high school science teacher in Seattle from 2006 to 2010 before entering the graduate program at North Carolina State University. She moved to Hood River last year after landing the education program assistant job.
“I wanted to head north,” she said of moving to the Pacific Northwest. “I wanted to be in a place that was greener than California.” But the “dark and dreary” Seattle weather eventually convinced her it was time to move on.