Tag Archives: diane smith

Moving into the possibilities at Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Sometimes we have a good idea, it works out well so we branch out and use that same idea elsewhere. Actively promoting our Michigan State University Extension programs at the Detroit Eastern Market proved successful. We had a great reaction and so when the opportunity came to join the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, we were ready and excited to be a part of it.

In the June13 Spotlight, I mentioned plans to house MSU Extension staff in office space in the new indoor market. The plans are now a reality. Community food systems educators Kendra Wills and Garrett Ziegler are officially moved in as of Sept. 1 and are working on site full time. Diane Smith, innovation counselor from the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, joins them one to two days a week.

Our presence at the market is a great opportunity to educate the public and establish relationships with people who produce local food as well as those who buy it. The way I think of it is although market shoppers may not expect to see MSU Extension at the market, when they do see us, they immediately “get it.” In a way, it’s a place where we belong because it’s a place where people are seeking information along with their food, and we can help them whether it’s in providing nutrition, cooking, food safety or gardening information and education. And we want them to associate us with receiving access to dependable, unbiased, research-based information concerning food as well as other issues that affect their families and their communities.

The market has both an indoor market open every day and an outdoor market open two mornings and one evening a week. The indoor market officially opened on Labor Day, Sept. 2. According to WZZM ABC News, nearly 30,000 people showed up for the grand opening.

 We’ve already been active in the outdoor market since it opened May 4, promoting our Michigan Fresh campaign and educating about healthy eating, and safe food preparation and preservation.

In addition, we’ve used the indoor facilities for educational sessions. In the Aug. 15 Spotlight, I wrote about two health and nutrition educators, Jeannie Nichols and Rita Klavinski, who facilitated a ServSafe class to 23 participants.

We intend to continue offering educational programs using the indoor facilities, which include demonstration and teaching kitchens, greenhouses and a commercial kitchen incubator.

Jeannie will hold a Cooking for Crowds session on Oct. 9. Cooking for Crowds is an educational program focusing on food safety for nonprofit groups who prepare food for their members or for the public as fundraisers.

Jeannie and Diane will co-teach “Starting a Successful Cottage Food Business in Michigan” on Nov. 7. The program combines the business and food safety aspects of preparing and selling cottage foods safely and successfully.

Extension educator Glenda Kilpatrick reports that Kent County 4-H program coordinators Kristi Bowers and Christine Mickelson have been offering youth programs on Tuesdays at the market as well.

Expect many more programs to come.

Read more here: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/extension_moves_into_new_grand_rapids_downtown_market

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Study while you work: Colleagues who can do it all

Fifteen Michigan State University Extension academic staff members have made use of the tuition assistance program initiated in 2007 to help them complete a master’s degree while working for MSU Extension. In October 2006, MSUE changed the criteria for employment as an MSUE academic staff member (educator, specialist or program leader) to include a minimum educational requirement of a master’s degree. Staff members already employed by MSUE who did not have a master’s degree were not required to complete a degree, but MSUE initiated a tuition benefit program for those who decided they did want to complete a master’s degree while working full time for MSUE. Staff members are free to choose any accredited institution and graduate program that aligns with their role with MSUE, and many have found online or hybrid online and face-to-face programs that adapted to their work and family responsibilities. The first graduates completed their degrees in 2009, and we still have colleagues making use of the program. Listed below are those taking part in the program, grouped by the year in which they have or will complete degrees:

2009: Lisa Bottomley, Kendra Moyses, Jodi Schulz

2010: Beth Clawson, Diane Smith, Donna Turner, Janice Zerbe

2011: Laura Anderson, Eileen Haraminac, Rebecca Henne, Gail Innis, Stephanie Marino, Jackelyn Martin

2012: Janis Brinn, Kendra Wills

For more information on the tuition benefit program, please contact MSUE HR manager Nancy Axtell. You can find more information on the program in our administrative handbook at http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/revision_id.595847/workspace_id.282708/Tuition%20Asst%20Procedures_01_2011.doc/

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ANR Events Management System goes live

It is with great pleasure that I can announce this week that the new Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Events Management System is now live! After months of hard work by ANR Technology Services and ANR Events Services, the new system has come to fruition, and it’s ready for your use. We are also excited to announce that there are already four programs in the system and ready for use, thanks to Terry Gibbs, John Partridge, Natalie Rector and Diane Smith.

 The ANR Events Management system is available online at events.anr.msu.edu. The initial version has a full array of features, and we plan to offer even broader service applications to the software as we continue in the months ahead.

 In order to access the system, you will be required to log in using your ANR ID and password. If you have not already participated in one of the event management training webinars, I encourage you to attend one. It will provide you with an overview of the system and allow you to learn how easy it is to set up your events. View dates and times for upcoming trainings on the Michigan State University Extension Professional Development website.

 I just want to take a moment to thank Bob Kriegel, Jim Brija, Megghan Honke and Betsy Braid for their initiative and dedication in designing and building this system.

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Donate to MCEA Silent Auction

Every year, the Michigan Council of Extension Associations (MCEA) sponsors a virtual silent auction to support the Professional Development Endowed Fund that awards Michigan State University Extension staff grants for their professional development interests.

 Extension staff and those affiliated with Extension are being asked to donate items for this year’s auction in support of professional development. Donate an auction item and use it as a tax deduction. The deadline for donating items is August 13 at noon.

 To donate, fill out the donor form found on the MCEA website, and email it to Diane Smith at dismith@msu.edu.

 The auction begins August 19, 2010, at 8:00 a.m. and ends September 3, 2010, at midnight. We hope you participate in this worthy cause. The person you help may turn out to be you!

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