KIKI McLAUGHLIN Special for registration and beekeeping
After two years without a gardening agent, the Danville Extension Office hired military veteran and Virginia Tech graduates Cory Riddle.
Riedel plans to work with community gardens in Danville, provide pest safety training, and teach the importance of healthy eating.
A 2016 native of Pennsylvania, he earned a bachelor’s degree in fruits and vegetables while conducting anthropology research. He is currently working in geology at Virginia Tech as well. For his master, he did research in Cambodia and studied sustainable agriculture.
Ridel also served in the military, where he served as a spy. After serving in the Army and National Guard, he built the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research Center in Virginia Beach.
Ridel came to Danville as an extension agent, which he always wanted to do. Danville saw the need for a fruit and vegetable agent and wanted to fill the role. During the first few weeks of its operation, it has been responding to calls for people who have been affected by pests, mainly due to the lack of vegetation.
Riedel encourages people to start their own gardens, and he is working with community gardens and the main gardener association in Danville.
“Everyone should have a healthy diet,” he said. “By bringing my knowledge of how to grow healthy plants to Danville, we hope that people will start their own gardens and always have such food,” he said.