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Selma native returns to help area farmers

Danielle Smith, a Selma native recently hired as a Sustainable Food System Resource Specialist for West Alabama by the Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension (TUCE), is now working out of the Dallas County Extension Office on Lauderdale Street, where she will assist area farmers in a variety of areas.

“Throughout Alabama, outreach is happening, yet TUCE’s primary target areas are clientele in the Black Belt region of the state,” Smith said.

The TUCE launched in 1906 with the appointment of Thomas Monroe Campbell as the first extension agent in the country and today continues the tradition of leadership started by Booker T. Washington and the original Integrated Research and Extension work of famed scientist Dr. George Washington Carver.

According to Smith, that tradition still guides TUCE’s “cutting-edge approaches to 21st Century problems in Alabama.”

Smith noted that TUCE’s education and outreach services are broken down into six program areas – global food security; natural resource conservation, environmental sustainability and climate change; community resource development; family, home and youth; nutrition and wellness; and food systems and food safety.

“My specialty is post-harvest technology,” Smith said. “I will work with limited-resource farmers and in food safety.”

Smith added that, as part of her work, she will provide assessments and reports on food systems in the Black Belt for county and local leadership.

Additionally, Smith noted that another key focus of her work in the area will be to “support the coalition of growers, markets and consumers around sustainable solutions to food insecurity.”

Further, Smith hopes to build on her experience developing youth programs to teach students about environmental science, food waste and food systems for TUCE.