Jackson County local news station JTV interviewed Michigan State University Extension program instructors Jae Gerhart and Angela Maniaci about their partnership with the Jackson County Agricultural Council and the Grand River Brewery in Jackson, Michigan, to put on a community event that took place June 4. Jae is the Washtenaw County food systems program instructor, and Angela is a nutrition and physical activity program instructor based in Jackson County. The purpose of the event was connecting people with local produce and providing examples of ways to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables.
Jae engaged a local farmer to provide produce, and Angela put together and cooked recipes using the local produce for the event held at the Brewery. The tasting event allowed participants to vote and see their selection appear on the Grand River Brewery’s menu for the season.
You can watch the JTV interview with Angela and Jae by visiting their website.
In a recent Spotlight article, I let you know that Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) is entering its fourth season this year. BOTF is a popular event that attracts Michigan residents who want to learn more about how a farm operates, have a delicious down-on-the-farm breakfast and just enjoy a Saturday with family or friends.
The first BOTF took place in Clinton County in 2009. This Michigan State University Extension program guided by a statewide advisory council has held 13 events from 2009 through 2011. This year, eight events will take place in eight counties.
The first 2012 BOTF occurred June 16 at Myers Farms LLC near Scotts in Kalamazoo County, the first time the event took place in southwestern Michigan. Despite the more than 90-degree heat, 2,430 visitors from 71 cities and 8 states got a firsthand look at how farmers care for the environment and their animals, and how they produce a safe, wholesome food supply. Nearly 50 percent of those who completed surveys stated this was the first time they had visited a working dairy farm in at least the past 20 years. Many were impressed with the cleanliness of the operation.
Jackson County’s first Breakfast on the Farm took place June 23 at Choate’s Belly Acres near Cement City. This BOTF set a new attendance record of 2,658 attendees. Long lines did not dampen the interest of the visitors who came to enjoy the pancakes, sausage, eggs, applesauce and yogurt breakfast, and to learn from the more than 200 volunteers about modern agriculture. This family farm uses technology in their dairy and cropping system. The majority of those completing surveys said the event increased their knowledge and changed their perceptions about modern food production, including how farmers care for the environment, how they treat their animals and how they provide comfortable housing for them. They also reported that their participation increased the likelihood that they will purchase Michigan products and increased their trust in milk as a safe food.
MSU Extension agriculture literacy educators Nancy Thelen and Mary Dunckel would like to thank all of the Extension educators, specialists and district coordinators who’ve assisted or will assist in BOTF and the generous statewide and local sponsors and many local volunteers who make the events possible. They say local planning committees are the key to implementing each breakfast.
Enjoy a visit to the Goma Dairy in Sanilac County on July 21 or check the schedule for a BOTF near you.
Michigan State University Extension and a researcher in the College of Nursing are teaming up after being awarded $3.3 million to fund a program that helps low-income obese mothers improve their lives with healthier eating and reduced stress.
The new intervention program, Mothers in Motion, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to improve health by teaching overweight or obese mothers how to eat well, be active and how to deal with stress. Researcher Dr. Mei-Wei Chang will partner with two community-based programs: the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and MSU Extension.
“To have a broad impact on obesity in our state, these partners have joined forces to address the underlying issues that cause weight gain in our target audience of young, low-income, overweight and obese mothers,” Chang said.
It is a great collaboration between Extension and the nursing college, and tackles one of the state’s most pressing problems. And the results from the program will be shared statewide and nationwide to help mothers in other cities and other states as they battle obesity.
The study will enroll 465 young, low-income, overweight or obese mothers 18 to 39 years old from four local WIC programs in the city of Detroit; and Calhoun, Genesee and Jackson counties. Educational interactive DVDs will be distributed, and Extension educators will lead phone discussions during which participants encourage each other’s progress.
Once Mothers in Motion has been studied in Michigan, the program will be disseminated nationally through WIC, MSU Extension and other community-based programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity.
The five-year study is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health. It builds on findings of a previous NIH grant that enrolled 129 participants in a 10-week intervention.