Webinar: Universal Design on the Farm: Planning for Safety, Efficiency and Independence

Program Description

Maine farmRecorded April 27, 2017 – This webinar discusses Universal design, a method of designing tools, buildings and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. Universal design is based on the premises that:

  • Disability is not a special condition of a few;
  • It is ordinary and effects most of us for some part of our lives;
  • If a design works well for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone.

Getting around independently is a universal need. If places and tools are designed well, they work for everyone. Find out why universal design is good design.

Participants learn:

  • To understand the principles of Universal Design.
  • Three Universal Design tools that you can use in your own environment.
  • To understand how Universal Design helps us to shift our thinking to “It’s a design problem,” instead of “there’s something wrong with me” or “there’s something wrong with you.”
  • How to create an environment to grow and age comfortably.

This webinar is presented by our Partner, Maine AgrAbility, a collaborative partnership between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.

AgrAbility logoMaine AgrAbility works with farmers, fishermen and loggers throughout Maine to reduce physical harm and improve workplace safety.  Our mission is to partner with farmers, fishermen and loggers, their families and the workers with chronic health issues or limitations, to help people gain more control over their lives, continue to farm, fish or log successfully, and live independently.  Maine AgrAbility reaches its goals through direct service, education, and networking. We provide consultative services and technical assistance, such as suggestions for modifying or adapting the operation, buildings and workspaces, equipment, and/or tools. We also work with rural agriculture, rehabilitation, and health care professionals to support these client groups in Maine. This work is possible through the USDA NIFA grant number 2014-41590-22324.


Ketra S. Crosson, OTR/L

Ketra Crosson is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and is a licensed Occupational Therapist with over 26 years of experience in developing and providing independent living options for people with disabilities.  She works for Alpha One, Maine’s Center for Independent Living.  As an Independent Living Specialist she provides such services as access design consultation, independent living skills assessment and training, information and referral, peer support, assistive technology consultation, job accommodation assessments, advocacy, on-farm assessments with farmers with disabilities, consumer directed personal assistance services, and adapted driving assessments.

Jill S. Johanning, AIA

Jill Johanning is a Maine Licensed Architect who specializes in accessible and universal design at Alpha One. As a part of the independent living center at Alpha One, Access Design has been a core service of Alpha One for more than 20 years, providing ADA technical assistance, training, and consulting on designing facilities for universal access. Before joining Alpha One, she was employed as a project designer for a large A/E firm in northern Maine. She has over 10 years of design and construction experience in public and private building projects, with a focus on educational and universal design campus facilities for users of all abilities. Her strong accessibility background developed from working with children and adults with disabilities while studying architecture in college.

Ellen Gibson

Ellen Gibson is a member of the Maine AgrAbility staff, providing information and technical assistance to farmers and gardeners who have injuries, pain, or disabilities. She has a Master of Arts in Social Sciences, Community and Environment, from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Her emphasis was rural community planning. She is trained in Holistic Management practices for managing farms to improve environmental health and economic viability. She applies these techniques on her own farm where she is raising Nubian goats and pastured chickens. Ellen actively supports historic preservation and downtown revitalization in western Maine. She has three grown children.


Maine AEM and Maine CITE recording webinars are now being served using the Kaltura media hosting services of the University of Maine. For participants needing Captioning, we recommend enlarging the video player to full size and use the CART captioning that is embedded in the recording – see additional directions for using captioning.

Please feel free to contact us if you have difficulties viewing this media.


revised: 10/17/2018