Purdue Extension seeks to build community resilience after natural disaster

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Extension continues its role as administrative lead for the Extension of the disaster education network (EDEN) and the expansion of educational disaster response across America. EDEN, a multi-state collaboration of land-grant extension services, including 1862, 1890, 1994, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Sea Grant programs, aims to reduce the impact of disasters through education based on research.

Since 2003, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has provided EDEN with funding to support coordination, communications, and resource development. Principal Investigator Jason Henderson, Director of Purdue extension and Senior Associate Dean of the Purdue College of Agricultureand co-principal investigators Michael Wilcox, program leader of Purdue Extension Community Development Programand Abby Lillpop, National Coordinator of the EDEN Project, recently received additional funding to advance agrisecurity and community resilience through extension program innovations.

As part of its national coordination of EDEN, Purdue Extension has set new goals to ensure its effectiveness and long-term success. The first goal is to protect American agriculture and food systems during all phases of disasters by expanding Cooperative Extension’s educational resources and programming. Second, Purdue plans to expand the possibilities for Extension to engage and improve the quality of life in underserved communities by strengthening the capacity of the current 1890 Extension system to deliver disaster programs.

“Rural communities and agriculture are disproportionately vulnerable to natural disasters, as damage is often not covered by risk management agencies. Through partnerships at the grassroots level, EDEN is essential in helping communities recover from disasters,” said Henderson.

Purdue Extension invested in the development of Community Disaster Active (COAD) organizations to prepare communities to respond quickly to weather-related disasters, resulting in coverage of nearly 75% of Indiana’s 92 counties . In partnership with the University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and Washington State University, EDEN is prioritizing the development of COADs across the country to partner with local emergency management and non-profit organizations.

“From responding to the catastrophic Mississippi and Missouri floods in 1993 to launching educational programs to protect our country’s food supply after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Purdue Extension has been a driving force in the evolution of EDEN. Our ability and strength to serve communities effectively and quickly when needed is key to meeting the challenges of agrisecurity,” said Lillpop.

WriterEmail: Abby Leeds, [email protected]

Source: Abby Lillpop, [email protected]

Agricultural communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Head of Department, [email protected]

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