Our State Shines Spotlight on Extension Programs Statewide

Volunteers and community participants take part in an Extension gardening demonstration inside of a greenhouse

With more than 1,000 experts and 101 local centers in every county and the Qualla Boundary, N.C. Cooperative Extension generates $2.1 billion in economic impact for North Carolina every year. In short, Extension grows our state. 

And now, as it turns out, Our State is growing awareness of Extension. Our State, a popular award-winning monthly magazine, has recognized Extension’s indelible impact across the state in a series of features in its May 2023 issue.

NC State Extension professionals worked closely with the Our State editorial team over a period of months to identify timely topics that both spanned the state and represented Extension’s vast array of local programming. From nurturing the next generation of leaders and promoting public green spaces to helping farmers blaze new trails and preserving the state’s foodways, Our State’s stories shine a spotlight on Extension’s efforts in communities across North Carolina.

Extension Features in Our State Magazine

  • From Soup to Knots
    Local Extension experts preserve cherished recipes and introduce kids to the thrill of summer camp — and that’s just a taste of what they provide to their communities.
  • A Pole Bean Revival in Ashe County
    An Extension agent and several optimistic farmers are helping bring back a crop that was thought to be extinct.
  • North Carolina’s Agent ‘Cue
    There is no shortage of barbecue experts in our state, but only one hosts the NC State BBQ Camp.
  • Raleigh’s Temple of Blooms
    The director of NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum is North Carolina’s Indiana Jones of plants. He travels to some of the world’s most remote locations, braving treacherous landscapes and dangerous beasts in search of rare species to bring back to his shrine of flora.
  • North Carolina’s New Breed of Beer
    Thanks to researchers with NC State Extension, North Carolinians can now enjoy beer made with local hops, ushering in a new era for the farm-to-glass movement.
  • Farmer 911: Tropical Storm Fred
    In August 2021, Tropical Storm Fred devastated a farming community in Haywood County. Extension responded with resources tailored to its residents’ needs.
  • The Recipe Keeper of Eastern North Carolina
    In Lenoir County, one Extension expert has made it her life’s work to rescue the region’s rich food traditions from obscurity — including some of her own family’s recipes.
  • Where the Wild Campers Are
    At a 4-H camp in Rockingham County, children from all walks of life learn how to live together on the land, build teamwork skills, take on leadership roles and forge lifelong friendships.
  • Bloom Where You’re Planted in Durham
    Bright perennials beautify a busy urban gathering place. Leafy vegetables provide sustenance for underserved communities. In Durham County, NC State Extension Master Gardener volunteers are taking their expertise to the streets.
  • Beyond the Boundaries
    In the mountains of western North Carolina, Cherokee foodways have endured for centuries, an integral part of the tribe’s identity. Extension works to ensure that those traditions are not lost.
  • The Bug Man of Raleigh
    Don’t know whether a creepy-crawly is a friend or foe? Or what’s ailing your azaleas? Extension’s Matt Bertone and his team probably have the answers.

N.C. Cooperative Extension is a strategic partnership comprising North Carolina’s two land-grant universities, NC State and N.C. A&T State, along with local, state and federal governments. 

Extension experts from each university offer educational programming to connect North Carolinians with research-based knowledge and resources that address a broad range of subject matter and issues, including agriculture and food production, natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development, among others. NC State Extension is housed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University.

Shared History, Similar Stories

Although they’re two entirely unique entities, Extension and Our State have followed similar story arcs. 

Established by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 as a means to help “extend” agricultural research to farmers and rural areas, Extension has expanded and evolved over its 100-plus years of service. In the 21st century, Extension maintains a pipeline of knowledge and innovation unlike anything else in North Carolina, including a statewide network of local centers and partners, hundreds of websites and over 25,000 educational programs. Collectively they promote cutting-edge technologies, STEM education, natural resource conservation and industry-leading advancements in food science that benefit millions of North Carolinians each year.

First published in 1933, Our State’s narrative follows a similar path. From humble beginnings as a weekly news magazine publishing 2,500 copies that cost a dime apiece, Our State has grown to encompass a monthly readership of over 1 million people, and boasts the largest paid circulation of any North Carolina magazine. Today, Our State continues to reflect the best of North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast, through stories and photography.

While North Carolina is in a constant state of change, both Extension and Our State’s pivotal roles in the state’s heritage, celebrating its culture and impacting the lives of millions of North Carolinians have never wavered.

This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.