Tag Archives: garrett ziegler

Tools for employees having controversial conversations surrounding GMOs

corn field

According to a Pew Research Center report, “the way Americans eat has become a source of potential social, economic and political friction as people follow personal preferences reflecting their beliefs about how foods connect with their health and ailments.”

As Michigan State University’s (MSU) connection with Michigan residents, MSU Extension professionals are increasingly engaged in conversations about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But in a survey conducted by our program evaluation specialist Cheryl Eschbach, only 37 percent of Extension survey respondents felt capable of replying to GMO-related questions with science-based information, and only 1 percent felt extremely capable.

Recognizing a need, Ron Bates, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) director, brought together a cross-institute committee to develop a training for MSU Extension professionals. The result was a two-day training, “Getting your GMO Questions Answered 101,” offered January 8-9, 2018. MSU faculty and Extension professionals shared presentations on research and technology as well as communicating with clientele about GMOs with over 100 Extension staff members.

“It was a really great workshop,” Extension agriculture and agribusiness educator Jeannine Schweihofer said. “I think it helped me to hear viewpoints from different aspects and concerns that people have about GMOs. Getting the right information out there so people have it is really important.”

“The GMO workshop increased my understanding, and that will help me to confidently answer consumer questions about GMO foods that arise during my food safety programs,” MSU Extension health and nutrition educator Beth Waitrovich said.

Ron Goldy, MSU Extension agriculture and agribusiness educator and event committee chair, felt the event was successful in opening up dialogue and providing tools to talk to MSU Extension clientele, especially during the interactive activities.

This workshop was designed to be the first of many opportunities to provide MSU Extension professionals with resources and to open up dialogues.

“We’re hoping that people from other institutes will take the idea back, and that institute will develop a program with their clientele’s concerns in mind,” Ron said. “There will be further trainings within AABI, and we’re trying to figure that out as well. As soon as we hear back from the event evaluations, we’ll decide on the next steps.”

Additionally, the committee is working on creating an online space to make the documents and presentations from the workshop available to all Extension employees.

I would like to thank the team of people who made the event possible: Ron Bates, Betsy Braid, Erin Carter, Julia Darnton, James DeDecker, Mary Dunckel, Cheryl Eschbach, Theodore Ferris, Elizabeth Ferry, Ron Goldy, Rebecca Grumet, Courtney Hollender, Rebecca Krans, Joyce McGarry, George Silva, Lisa Treiber, Kendra Wills and Garrett Ziegler. I’d also like to thank all of the speakers and presenters throughout the event.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, communication, Events, Farming, Food, health, Health and Nutrition, professional development, Resources

MSU Extension association reps attend Public Issues Leadership Development Conference

Each year, our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension associations choose a representative to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference held in Washington, D.C. This year, April 10 through April 13, a large Extension crew attended. MSU Extension educators Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and me.

On Monday, we took part in several sessions focused on the conference theme ‒ Innovation: The Story of Extension. One thought that I really want to share is that MSU Extension is an agency that helps people across the lifespan from the cradle to the grave. We have an impact on our communities and our neighbors throughout their lives. It is such a powerful imprint that we are privileged to impart. Through our work, we as individuals and as an organization leave our legacies in the communities that we serve.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet with our senators and congressional representatives, and their staff members and thank them for their continuing support of MSU Extension. MSU Extension receives federal funding through the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established the Cooperative Extension Service, and every year we say, “thank you,” and share the great work that we do because of their investment.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler, Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Gary Peters.

Denise Aungst, Wayne Beyea, Karen Fifield, Frank Gublo, Christine Heverly, Gail Innis, Stan Moore and Garret Ziegler joined Mike Kovacic, Katie Nicpon and Jeff Dwyer with Senator Gary Peters.

A final important highlight for me personally was the opportunity to get to know my MSU Extension colleagues and learn about the work that you’re doing and the outstanding impact that you’re making. In a world where we’re wearing so many hats and sometimes only see the faces of those we share offices with, it is so important to have opportunities to meet each other and get to know each other from all over the state.

 

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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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MSU Extension programs inaugurate Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Previously, I wrote a Spotlight article about the plans of Michigan State University Extension to house staff in a new office at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. This will be an addition to our footprint in Kent County, complementing our county office location. Community food systems educators Kendra Wills and Garrett Ziegler will be based in our new office when the market opens officially in September. In addition to serving clients directly with their efforts to expand access to locally grown foods in institutional settings, they will help to connect clients with other programs MSU Extension offers as well.

MSU Extension educator Jeannie Nichols presents a ServSafe class at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Aug. 14, 2013.

MSU Extension educator Jeannie Nichols presents a ServSafe class at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Aug. 14, 2013.

On August 14, health and nutrition educators Jeannie Nichols and Rita Klavinski held our first official class in the Downtown Market, a ServSafe class that served 23 participants. Some of the participants were vendors with food businesses in the market. They also had several school food service workers and a few participants from the kitchens of local breweries.

Kendra reports that Jeannie and Rita did an excellent job working through the logistics of the new space and working around the ongoing construction. You can view a few photos on my blog that Kendra provided from the class. This was the first class for adults held in the new, state-of-the-art teaching kitchen space. Thanks to Kendra, Garrett, Jeannie and Rita for putting our footprints in the drying concrete.

MSU Extension educator Rita Klavinski presents a ServSafe class at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Aug. 14, 2013.

MSU Extension educator Rita Klavinski presents a ServSafe class at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Aug. 14, 2013.

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Market space will lead to learning

We’ll be part of the excitement when the Grand Rapids Downtown Market indoor section, currently under construction on Ionia Avenue in Grand Rapids, will open later this summer. The market will promote healthy lifestyles and serve as a community gathering space.

We’ve leased office space for two Michigan State University Extension educators Kendra Wills and Garrett Ziegler. Additionally, Extension and MSU Product Center – Food, Ag, Bio staff members will be presenting workshops and demonstrations at the location throughout the year. We’ll share expertise with growers and business owners.

We have a similar agreement with Detroit Eastern Market. The popularity of that program encouraged us to look at other venues that could help connect people with our experts. The Downtown Market presents a perfect opportunity to be in the middle of a growing, thriving regional food system.

The current outdoor market boasts fresh food grown and prepared in Michigan. In the past, MSU Extension had an information kiosk at the market with staff members available at the market to provide information about Michigan Fresh, our educational program that helps people explore our state’s fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals.

Read more in this ANR Communications article: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/msu_extension_teams_with_grand_rapids_downtown_market

Also check out this June 11 MLive article: http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/06/downtown_market_to_provide_hom.html

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