WVU Extension Specialist –
4-H Youth Agriculture
Although she didn’t realize it at the time, Emily Perdue’s parents and grandparents were sowing the seeds of her life’s work when they taught her about the importance of education and community as she was growing up. She regularly worked in her grandparents’ five-acre garden in Boone County, learning to grow and preserve food.
It wasn’t until she was much older that she realized the value of small-scale agriculture.
“Everyone needs food—in some places more than others,” said Perdue. “What I have learned through my travels both domestically and internationally is if you want to make impactful change in an increasingly globalized world, it starts at home.”
Perdue sees her role as an agricultural educator as an opportunity to pass on the lessons she learned as a child, and build on them to help today’s youth become engaged, proactive participants in their communities in an increasingly interconnected world.
“For me, it is rewarding to watch a young person learn something new or apply something they have learned to solve a problem,” she said. “Their sense of wonder and curiosity is contagious. More often than not, I learn more from my students and those I work with than they probably learn from me.”
Perdue holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management and rural development and a master’s degree in agriculture, forestry and consumer sciences – both from West Virginia University. She expects to complete a doctorate in agricultural leadership, education and communications from Texas A&M University this spring.
Perdue thrives on the relationships and sense of connectedness that her work as an agricultural educator allows her to build with others.
“I started working in Haiti about four years ago on some small-scale agriculture projects,” she explained. “It was rewarding to know that we were teaching skills that were not only sustainable, but would impact their everyday life. The most rewarding times for me though, was the time I spent with families in their homes. I learned no matter how little or how much you have in life, kindness and love are universal, and a smile goes a long way.”
You can reach Emily Perdue at 304-293-2708 or by email.