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Ohio 4-H Highlights: October 2020
4-H Celebration of Youth Pathways to the Future
Since 1998, Celebration of Youth has been an annual fundraiser supporting Ohio 4-H Youth Development programming and operations. The evening celebrates all 4-H has to offer and will be held virtually on Thursday, November 5 at 7 p.m. EST.
This year, for the first time, our virtual event is open to everyone at no cost. The program will celebrate the perseverance and resilience of Ohio 4-H members during this unique year and will include an online auction. We hope you will join us to enjoy the program, bid on auction items, and make a donation.
Funds raised from Celebration of Youth support Ohio 4-H programming and operations. Your support helps us continue to forge new pathways that lead to future success. Our greatest needs include 4-H camp facilities, innovative program development and delivery, and staff support to engage youth across Ohio’s 88 counties.
Please consider joining us for this year’s exciting and unique event. Visit go.osu.edu/COY for event details, sponsorship information, and registration information.
4-H roots lead to Big Apple ag venture
Two boys in two countries, an ocean apart, learned to appreciate animals through their involvement in 4-H. Thanks to fate, years later they connected in New York City and discovered their common bond—chickens.
Eric Tiu grew up in Waverly, a small rural town in southeast Ohio, in the heart of Appalachia. He and his brother, Adam, stayed busy with Ohio 4-H chicken and rabbit projects, their main source of income as young boys.
Jameel Watson was about 1,500 miles away on a farm in Jamaica, raising goats, pigs, and chickens. His 4-H experience mainly came in school, where students learned the importance of agriculture. For Jameel, raising animals meant food on the table. When he was 11, he moved with his family to New York for educational opportunities.
Fast forward to 2020. Tiu, 27, is now a videographer with his own production company in New York City. He and his roommates were looking for another person for their Brooklyn apartment when a mutual friend introduced him to Watson, who works for a tech company. They connected and Watson, 29, ended up moving in.
“We were sitting at the kitchen table, just talking and getting to know one another,” Tiu recalled. “We discovered we were both in 4-H and we both had raised chickens. It was great to share the memories and so fascinating. We grew up in two different worlds, but we were doing the same things.”
That common 4-H experience led to an idea. “We thought, let’s do it again and raise chickens!” said Tiu, an Ohio University graduate. They searched online for plans, came up with an A-frame coop, and started construction.
Luckily, their roommates were fascinated by the idea and were also on board with their plan.
Building a coop in the second largest borough of New York was a bit of a novelty, but the two had a private backyard in their apartment building that was perfect for their chickens. “We also did some research and learned that hens were 100% legal in New York City,” Tiu said. “And no permit is required.”
“Having grown up in Appalachia, it reminds me that there are many of the same problems with urban and rural poverty.” - ERIC TIU
The two former 4-H members also knew it was important for their neighborhood. “There is definitely a need in our neighborhood,” explained Tiu. “We don’t have a nearby grocery to buy good, healthy food. Having grown up in Appalachia, it reminds me that there are many of the same problems with urban and rural poverty.”
They first ordered six chicks, then received a seventh from the hatchery as a bonus. In exchange, they had to promise to donate some of their future eggs, something they had already planned to do.
Tiu and Watson have had to be patient since, on average, most young female chickens start laying eggs around 6 months of age. “The hens are getting big and they’re on track to give us our first eggs late October to early November,” Watson said.
The duo knew that in New York City, there are plenty of community fridges where food is placed to be given out for free. As part of their community outreach, Tiu and Watson will contribute some of their eggs to the fridges. They also plan to sell some eggs and are working out the details on how to best do that.
“People need to do more conscious eating, and this will help,” said Watson, an alumnus of State University of New York at Oswego. “It’s important to know where your food comes from and how it was cared for. The result is better tasting and more nutritious food.”
With no traditional feed stores nearby, they have been able to conveniently order everything needed to raise chickens on the internet and have it delivered right to their Brooklyn front door—including the chickens themselves.
An extra storage closet was used for the brooding phase. “It was occupied for a while by our two-week-old broiler chickens,” Tiu laughed. Although not confident in their abilities to treat a serious poultry medical condition, they do have friends who work in the veterinary field, and there are plenty of veterinarians in the city if the need arises.
When the chickens become too big or too old for the egg venture, the partners are prepared to process them. “We raised four meat chickens for that specific purpose, because we all like chicken. We processed the fryer chickens last week," Tiu said.
Luckily for everyone, Watson is quite the accomplished cook. "We put together a small feast, fully utilizing a beak-to-butt approach of sustainable cooking," he explained. "The feathers were composted and Eric researched an ancient Native American method of preservation with corn meal to preserve the chicken heads, which we will later use to decorate our apartment. We collected the chicken blood from processing and I combined it with some ground chicken breast to make a blood sausage for the four-course chicken dinner. It was then fried and made into blood sausage baos. The chicken quarters were broken down and made into Korean fried chicken and served with coconut rice and Nappa cabbage cole slaw (the entree).The skin scraps from the chicken neck, back, thighs, and butt I baked into a spicy, crispy chicken chicharron which I used to top some lemon basil ice cream using basil from our backyard garden. And the removed chicken spine and all other fatty scraps I used to make a consommé."
“The meat chickens were a great experience, and the meal was everything Jameel described," Tiu said. "We had so much fun, and learned many lessons along the way. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do meat chickens again in the near future."
Besides some home-grown meat and eggs, what has been one of the best things to come out of their urban agriculture project? “Seeing people’s reactions when we tell them about our chickens is the best. And it’s even better when we show them,” said Watson. “It’s such a novel thing to a lot of people, especially in New York City.”
Also satisfying for these two 4-H alumni from different parts of the world is how the youth organization continues to impact them. Watson said, “4-H in Jamaica laid the foundation about the importance of agriculture and using our hands to create food and to help others with your contributions. Those lessons stayed with me and spilled over into other aspects of my life.”
Tiu agreed. “I realize the importance of the values and knowledge I learned through Ohio 4-H,” he said. “It’s a part of me, and I want to pass that knowledge and those skills on to other people.”
And a number of citizens in the largest city in the United States will soon benefit from their venture and the 4-H lessons they learned years ago in rural Jamaica and rural Pike County, Ohio.
The novelty and potential impact of their agriculture partnership is not lost on either Tiu or Watson. “We need to pass on agricultural knowledge and the ability to create food from generation to generation. My grandparents passed that to me, and now we can share it with others,” Watson said. “Few people our age have the experience we had raising chickens. Sharing what we know and love is very rewarding.”
All story photos courtesy of Eric Tiu. Story written by Sally McClaskey and Sherrie Whaley
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Be sure to like our page at facebook.com/OH4HFoundation and be part of the Ohio 4-H alumni community.
Ohio Youth in Action finalist
Ohio 4-H is proud to recognize Maria Lonneman, a 2021 National 4-H Council Youth in Action award finalist. Maria is a Portage County 4-H member who created the Heavy Hugs Weighted Blankets for Autism initiative to raise awareness about Autismand bring youth together to create weighted blankets.
For her efforts, she received honorable mention recognition as a Civic Engagement finalist. In addition, during COVID-19, Maria shifted her sewing efforts to sew hundreds of masks to keep community members safe. You can read more about Maria’s story and the other Youth In Action finalists and winners here.
Fall for Paper Clovers
It’s time once again for the Tractor Supply Company paper clover drive to benefit Ohio 4-H. Purchase your clover at TSC or online through October 18 to support camp and leadership programs in your county.
Visit tractorsupply.com/4h for more details and help create #Opportunity4Allkids.
Faces of Ohio
Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Lisa Peterson, Geauga County 4-H alumnus, past Fayette County extension agent, and current Ohio 4-H Foundation board vice president.
Lisa Peterson was a 10-year member of 4-H in Geauga County. “My entire family was and still is very involved in the 4-H program. My parents were club advisors and all five of my brothers were heavily involved in 4-H. My mom served as a club advisor and 4-H committee member in Geauga County for over 40 years and my siblings continue to be active in 4-H with their children.”
She was involved in 4-H at the state level. “My 4-H years were jam-packed with everything! I was active in three different 4-H clubs as well as Junior Leaders, Junior Fair Board, and as a camp counselor. My projects included sheep, clothing, vet science, and gardening. I attended State Conservation and Leadership camps, Club Congress, Washington Focus, Carving New Ideas weekends, and OFMA conferences.”
“I was also a State 4-H Ambassador. Back then, State 4-H Ambassadors were like social media influencers for 4-H. Each county had a team of teens that were trained in public speaking and sent out into the community to invite people to join and support 4-H. All of my 4-H experiences led to the honor of being selected as the 1986 Geauga County Fair Queen and 1987 State 4-H achievement winner in public speaking. And attending National 4-H Congress in Chicago was the climax of my 4-H career.”
Ms. Peterson’s 4-H involvement wasn’t over after graduating from high school. She said “As a student at the Ohio State University, I was a member of Collegiate 4-H. After my second quarter at Ohio State I decided to change my major to Agriculture Communications and focus on becoming a county extension agent.” And after graduation, she accepted a position as the Fayette County 4-H agent.
The first week on the job was memorable. “My first week on the job was the county fair, where I happened to meet a young man who was coaching the livestock judging team. He eventually became my husband! We’ve been married 28 years, so to say that 4-H had a huge impact on my life is an understatement.”
4-H continued to be an important part of her life after she chose to become a stay-at-home mom. “My husband and I started a 4-H club and raised our kids to have the same passion and love for 4-H that we did. All three of our kids were state achievement winners! Although our kids are now grown, serving on the 4-H Foundation is a great way that I continue to be involved in Ohio 4-H.”
Like most 4-H alumni, Ms. Peterson learned much from her time in 4-H. “It taught me leadership, work ethic, communication, public speaking, time management, confidence, and more. But to me, the most important life lessons learned through 4-H came while watching our kids develop and grow into well-rounded individuals. 4-H taught them the more you put into something the more you’ll get back and that success is not found in winning a blue ribbon but in the lessons learned along the way. I am grateful that 4-H inspired me to help my kids find direction and passion in their own lives. 4-H definitely raises generations of leaders who become capable, contributing members of society.”
Ms. Peterson and her family currently give back to 4-H in several ways. “Serving on the Ohio 4-H Foundation allows me to continue to give back to the organization that gave me so much! I currently serve as Vice President of the Foundation, stewardship chair, and am active in the planning of our annual Ohio 4-H Celebration of Youth event. My husband and I also support 4-H financially at both the county and state levels. But our favorite way to support 4-H is by encouraging our nieces and nephews as they navigate through their own 4-H experiences. We look forward to the day when we can encourage our grandchildren, the next generation, to Make the Best Better through 4-H.”
Ms. Peterson encourages all alumni to stay involved. “In the 4-H pledge, we say, ‘hands to larger service’. We pledge to make a difference, no matter how big or small. That is what 4-H is about, making a difference in people’s lives. I want all 4-H members to live life to the fullest and strive to make a difference along the way.”
Calendar of Events
October – November – Live Healthy, Live Well Fall Email Wellness Challenge (Email) - Wellness is especially important during this time. Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, has the perfect way to take a few moments a week to focus on wellness with the Live Healthy, Live Well fall email wellness challenge. Take a Break! begins October 19 and runs through November 25. Participants will receive two email messages each week with tips and encouragement to take a break for play, rest, creativity, nourishment, hydration, physical activity, family and friends, the holidays, and more! Sign up at go.osu.edu/fall2020franklin.
October 7-18 – Paper Clover at Tractor Supply Company (TSC stores) – To help support 4-H, purchase a paper clover in-store or add a donation at checkout online. Visit tractorsupply.com/4h for more details.
October 16 – Household Food Waste Management: Alternatives to Diaries and Digs (Zoom webinar) – 11 a.m., Few people like to take the garbage out, let alone measure it. This yuk factor creates a significant barrier to measuring food waste in household settings. Direct measurement in diaries and weighing food-waste caddies often relies upon intimate contact between people and unwanted food. This has contributed to a paucity of data on wasted food, which hinders understanding and evaluation. For more information and registration, click here.
October 21 – Embodying Anti-Racism (Zoom webinar) – Offered at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m., OSU Extension Educator Whitney Gherman will share how white people can show up grounded and effective for racial justice. You will learn how to identify psychological, physiological, and social factors that promote self-regulation, as well as gain skills and practices to stay engaged through tense moments. All are welcome and invited to attend. Registration is required by Monday, October 19. For more information and to register visit go.osu.edu/EmbodyingAntiRacism.
November 5 – 4-H Celebration of Youth – Pathways to the Future (YouTube Premiere) – 7 p.m., Join us for an evening celebrating and raising funds for the Ohio 4-H Youth Development program. Visit go.osu.edu/COY for more event details.