Troup County UGA Extension Office gives update on program

Published 10:00 am Friday, April 8, 2022

Troup County Extension Coordinator Laura Mirarchi gave the Troup County Board of Commissioners an update Tuesday on the county’s extension office’s programs and its plans for the future.

“The goal is to increase agricultural literacy for all demographics, age and otherwise in Troup County,” Mirarchi said.

Troup County’s extension office is an extension of the University of Georgia and offers research programing through UGA through its specialists. Troup County’s extension offers two programs currently specifically— youth and development programs, more familiarly known as 4-H, and agriculture and natural resources.

UGA offers a family and consumer sciences program that the county currently does not have but may be able to incorporate soon, Mirarchi said.

Last year, the extension office moved its operations into its own building, the Troup County Agricultural Center on Pegasus Parkway, after spending several years in the work-release building near the Troup County jail. This new location has given the extension office access to more outdoor space for gardening, which will be instrumental in its future programming, Mirarchi said.

Mirarchi doubles as Troup County’s 4-H agent. She said many of 4-H’s activities involved being outdoors, a feat that still had its challenges in the last two years due to COVID-19. However, Mirarchi said, 4-H was still able to produce several new incentives for the county’s youth

“One thing that has really taken root is our school gardens,” Mirarchi said.

One garden was recently cultivated at Hollis Hand Elementary School where students can harvest and take home the produce they grow. Students also learn about vermiculture and the needed components of making soil healthy.

Other recent programs include a poultry judging team for the 4-H program’s older participants. A coop of chickens is kept at the Agriculture Center and students not only learn how to raise chickens but also how to judge the health of a chicken carcass prior to consumption.

Mirarchi said the extension office is in the early stages of getting a horse and pony club.

“We now anticipant since we have such interests and so many volunteer base that we can offer this from kindergarteners to twelfth-graders,” she said.

The extension office is also starting a rabbit club this fall, and an Ag Explorers club that has already gained a great deal of interest, Mirarchi said. It is also planning an education and demonstration garden for its future farm-to-fork program and is currently working on rebuilding its Master Gardeners program. 

“With all [these programs], we are so excited for the future of agriculture in Troup County,” Mirarchi said.