Tag Archives: becky henne

Getting the word out to Flint families

On Tuesday, April 26, MSU Extension participated in the Flint Farmers Market event held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and attended by representatives from state and local agencies, the media and the public. The event raised awareness about the nutrition assistance programs and guidance resources available to Flint residents.

During the press conference, speakers from many organizations and programs such as the Fair Food Network, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan joined USDA speakers to share about nutrition and program information. Erin Powell, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator, spoke at the press conference, highlighting MSU Extension resources and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ‒ Education (SNAP‒Ed).

After the press conference, participants interacted with program staff during activities and demonstrations, and at informational booths. Our MSU Extension team provided a cooking demonstration, a Cooking Matters class and a Discover Michigan Fresh tour. They also set up a “fender blender” bike for participants to ride to create a healthy smoothie and taste the results of their efforts. The MSU Extension booth showcased our nutrition education curricula, fight lead brochures and class fliers.

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The event provided accurate information, brought partners together who support the efforts in Flint and delivered a cohesive message. The USDA took sounds bites and video footage to develop public service announcements for future use to reach out and educate more of the public about the important resources available.

Thank you, Dawn Contreras, Deanna East, Erin Powell, Lynette Kaiser, Rich Ashley and his son Gabe, Liz Josaitis, Maha Khrais, Shane Jackson, Nancy Latham, Becky Henne and Tom Cummins for your efforts to provide meaningful activities and content, and for representing MSU Extension at this successful event.

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Filed under Children and Youth, communication, Events, Flint Water, Food, Health and Nutrition, Nutrition, Partnerships, Publications, Resources

MSU Extension educators to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Education for smarter school lunches

Michigan State University Extension will be collaborating with the Michigan Department of Education on the recently awarded 2014 USDA Team Nutrition grant. MSU Extension educators across the state will be working directly with 50 schools to conduct Smarter Lunchroom Assessments in the school’s cafeterias. Schools that participate will receive a small financial incentive to complete 10 activities in the cafeteria. The MSU Extension staff members that are leading this partnership include Dawn Earnesty, Sheilah Hebert and Becky Henne.

The evidence-based activities are designed to equip schools with tools that improve children’s eating behaviors, and improve the cafeteria environment and food offerings. Thirty-five of those schools will also be given the opportunity to receive additional support from MSU Extension staff to implement a Healthier School Environment Toolkit. The toolkit will include resources on Coordinated School Health Teams, Healthy School Action Tool Assessment, Local School Wellness Policies, Smart Snacks legislation and other evidence-based strategies such as taste testing, working with student teams, healthy meetings, and adult and peer modeling and coaching to make healthy choices.

MSU Extension staff will receive specialized training on conducting Smarter Lunchroom Assessments, a program designed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

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Filed under Accomplishments, Nutrition

Michigan Fresh has even more to offer

In a March 27 Spotlight, I mentioned how our Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh program educates on fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals as well as food safety, food storage, food preservation and gardening. In addition to this long list of important subjects, the Michigan Fresh work team is also busy on many other projects.

Extension educator Eileen Haraminac took over the coordination of the Michigan Fresh team upon Kathe Hale’s retirement.

Extension educator Joyce McGarry is busy heading up new fact sheet development. The team consists of Mary Dunckel, Michelle Jarvie, Ronald E. Kinnunen, Amanda Knox, Laurie Messing, Jeannie Nichols, Jeannine Schweihofer and Rob Weber. Team members arecompiling information on meats: pork, lamb, poultry, beef and fish. In the future, they will compile information for fact sheets on dairy products. Michigan Fresh fact sheets have been available at many of the farmers markets throughout the state as well as online. The fact sheets are also available in Arabic and Spanish. Find them on the Michigan Fresh website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/mi_fresh

Other future fact sheets will focus on Michigan chestnuts (Erin Lizotte, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute) and growing hops (Greening Michigan Institute Extension educator Rob Sirrine).

Extension program instructor Stephanie Bruno heads up the team that’s developing recipe cards. The team consists of Jennifer Berkey, Becky Henne and Connie Kurple. These new recipe cards will be distributed at several farmers markets to encourage consumers to purchase Michigan-grown food to use as simple ingredients.

 Kristine Hahn and Eileen Haraminac as well as Sean Corp and other MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications staff are collaborating with the Eastern Market Corporation to promote a new product ‒ Michigan Fresh Frozen fruits and vegetables. The group is working on recipe cards to be distributed at Detroit Eastern Market and through the Peaches & Greens mobile produce trucks. The cards will promote both the Michigan Fresh program and the new Eastern Market Corporation Michigan Fresh Frozen products.

Eileen said, “We want to encourage people to choose nutrient-packed frozen fruits and vegetables when fresh are unavailable. Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing are processed at their peak ripeness ‒ time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient packed.

Extension associate program leader Becky Henne heads up the social media team. Team members are busy working to build a smartphone app and to develop additional videos. They hope to have the app ready to roll out for the 2015 season. This group is working with Dr. Dru Montri, executive director of Michigan Farmers Market Association; Colleen Matts, farm to institution outreach specialist with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems; and Dr. Norm Lownds, curator of the 4-H Children’s Garden. Additional team members from both the Health and Nutrition Institute and the Greening Michigan Institute include Julie Darnton, Joanne Davidhizar, Dawn Earnesty, Kristine Hahn, Sheilah Hebert, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills.

Dr. Cheryl Peters, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills have been working with the Michigan Fresh team to develop a common evaluation tool for Michigan Fresh cooking demonstrations offered at the Detroit Eastern Market and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. These cooking demonstrations benefit the promotion of the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and videos. The free, public demonstrations are designed to inspire people to purchase and consume more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables. The evaluation tool will gather information from cooking demonstration observers. Recipes used in the cooking demonstrations come from the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With coordination from Extension educator Terry McLean, MSU Extension will staff a kiosk at the Flint Farmers Market this spring.

Michigan Fresh is a great collaboration not only between our own institutes but between local organizations and farmers markets as well.

If you are interested in promoting the Michigan Fresh campaign materials at your community farmers market, please contact Eileen Haraminac (haramin2@anr.msu.edu) for more information.

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Filed under Food

Extension to host food security team in May

On Feb. 27, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan held a press conference at South Dakota State University to announce federal grant funding for the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Food Security project. Teams at 21 universities received more than $75 million in grants for research, education and extension activities to ensure food security in the U.S. and worldwide.

May 29 to 31, Michigan State University Extension educator Becky Henne will take the lead in hosting the six-state team of partners that includes MSU Extension. Extension partners from Purdue, the Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of Missouri and South Dakota State will meet in Michigan with MSU Extension colleagues to get started on research focusing on food security particularly regarding food policy councils.

Becky has played a large role in this collaborative, helping to assemble the initial grant and coordinating meetings.

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CV-CAT will help Extension educators integrate climate change into programs

Excuse the pun, but climate change is a hot topic. Increasingly, our stakeholders and our funding partners look to Michigan State University Extension as a trusted source of information on how to slow down, adapt to and communicate about the changing climate. The long-term impacts of climate change and the shorter term effects of climate variability vary widely, ranging from changes in precipitation, pests, water and air quality to storm water runoff, forest ecology and species migration. And, as we’re all aware, the topic can be controversial. That’s why Julie Doll, MSU Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research Program outreach and education coordinator, and Claire Layman, public policy education specialist in the Greening Michigan Institute, embarked on a listening tour to discover what one group of stakeholders – those involved in field crop agriculture – thought MSU Extension should do to help farmers prepare for the changing physical and policy climates.

 Julie and Claire brought their focus group results to field crop educators in March 2011. They paired delivery of the focus group results with a workshop on climate science, led by Dr. Jeff Andresen, state climatologist and associate professor in MSU’s Department of Geography. At the conclusion of the two-day workshop, participants came to agreement that MSU Extension should increase the climate literacy of its educators and their clients.

 As a result, the Climate Variability and Change Action Team (CV-CAT) formed with members across all of our institutes and from other Extension affiliates. Current members of the team include Julie and Claire; Dr. Andresen; Jake DeDecker and Brian Wibby, Children and Youth Institute; Becky Henne and Brenda Long, Health and Nutrition Institute; Chuck Pistis, Sea Grant; and Dennis Pennington, George Silva and Marilyn Thelen, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.

 The CV-CAT has sponsored three fact sheets available at the MSU Extension Bookstore: (Greenhouse Gas Basics, Field Crop Agriculture and Climate Change and Frequently Asked Questions about Climate Change). In addition, they are co-hosting a face-to-face session at Fall Extension Conference on climate and water. Panelists and individual speakers will provide overviews of the water and climate systems, lead a discussion on how climate variability and change may affect Michigan communities, land systems and agriculture, and consider how to find common ground on this politically polarizing topic. Read the summary for the FEC11 session, “Climate and Water: Implications for MSU Extension Programs,” here. The live face-to-face session takes place Oct. 12 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

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1st MSUE cohort in human development and family studies graduates

The first cohort of Michigan State University Extension staff members to graduate together with Master of Science degrees in human development and family studies: community services attended a reception for graduates at Cowles House April 26 at the invitation of President LouAnna K. Simon. This was the first time MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) offered this degree targeted at MSUE staff. Previous participants in this online degree program from MSUE completed as individual students without the benefit of the cohort experience.

 As a cohort, the women started as a group and finished together, connecting during the learning process through face-to-face and online meetings, and phone conferences.

 Said Extension educator Becky Henne, “I truly enjoyed the experience that much more because of the cohort design.”

 The group made the commitment to work hard to get their master’s degrees while working full time, and they did it in an area that will have great benefit to MSUE and the Children and Youth Institute. I’m told they did some pretty incredible work for their capstone projects that will bring great benefits back to our organization.

 The group included eight members: Laura Anderson, Kristina Bowers (former MSUE student intern), Andrea Caron, Eileen Haraminac, Becky Henne, Gail Innis, Lisa Myers and Michelle Warczinsky.

MSUE cohort graduates with Dr. Simon

MSUE first cohort members attend reception at Cowles House with President Simon. (Left to right) Shelly Warczinsky, Lisa Myers, Becky Henne, Eileen Haraminac, Dr. Simon, Andrea Caron, Laura Anderson and Gail Innis.

 This online degree was an important collaboration between the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and MSUE. Dr. Barbara Ames directs all of the graduate majors within that department. Many faculty members within HDFS contributed to this major. Retired Extension specialist and professor Joanne Keith and Health and Nutrition Institute director Dawn Contreras, whose overall role was advisor to the cohort, also taught courses.

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Kids continue to learn about gardening through the virtual farmers market

Back in March, you may remember I told you about my experience in the virtual garden.

Michigan State University Extension, the 4-H Children’s Garden, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and KidsCom partnered to develop the virtual garden piece of the MyGarden initiative, part of the Idea Seekers Universe on KidsCom.com. Around the world, anyone with a computer can access the garden. Since its inception, more than 16,800 kids have started a garden; 32,467 seeds have been sold to plant in the garden; and 29,245 crops have been harvested. After harvesting their crops, kids “cook” a healthy meal using USDA recipes and then have a party and play games to celebrate. That’s all virtual seeds and crops, of course. But in this virtual world, kids are learning to think healthier and to understand where their food is coming from.

 Associate program leader Becky Henne oversees the MyGarden project development and coordination, while Dr. Norm Lownds, curator of the 4-H Children’s Garden, has presented four learning labs on KidsCom.com that were well attended by kids. Dr. Lownds is the celebrity avatar on the site and kids are able to ask him questions about issues involving plants and gardening.

 Fox Business News interviewed Jori Clarke, CEO of Circle One Network that created KidsCom, about the virtual garden and MSUE’s and Dr. Lownds’ role in it: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4168692/teaching-kids-to-eat-right/

 Last week, the partners launched the KidsCom Farmers Market. In this experience, kids strengthen their food recognition skills and learn how to make purchases and sell fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s just another creative way to get kids learning. And it’s another great example of success through partnerships.

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