During the pandemic, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a digital presence like never before, allowing it to fulfill its statewide mission with its thousands of constituents of all ages. Last spring in response to COVID-19, UMaine Extension quickly moved its workshops, classes and events online. As a result, its impact on K–12 learning, business and economic development, innovation and food system security has been unprecedented.
New online resources included COVID-19 support for Maine farmers, livestock producers, U-pick operations, cut flower and seedlings industries and consumers.
Weekly Zoom meetings allowed producers to share what was happening on their farms.
New “Learn at Home” resources provided educational opportunities for parents, teachers and youth.
Horticulture and food preservation videos, webinars, interactive forms and virtual office hours provided answers to an increased number of questions from home gardeners.
With the closing of state and county fairs, the first-ever Maine State Virtual Fair recognized 4-Hers for their efforts on projects they completed and skills they gained in the past year.
The popular Ask the Expert online form received 346 questions from Maine home gardeners
between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, nearly twice the number during the same period in 2019.
Nearly twice as many new publications were published last year specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 42 included “Finding New Markets for Maine Farmers.”