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Youth global engagement: World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute

On May 12, Michigan State University hosted World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute (WFP MIYI). During the one-day event, youth in grades 8 to 12 presented research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges by giving short speeches and taking part in small group discussions with local experts. They had the opportunity to connect with other student leaders from across Michigan to share ideas, identify solutions to problems and build friendships. They also interacted with global leaders in science, agriculture, industry and policy as well as innovative researchers, professors and college students working to improve food security around the world. Youth participants took part in educational sessions and interactive panels to explore current research and issues in international development and life sciences.

Several youth shared about their experiences with WFP MIYI:

“World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute has opened doors for me to a network that few organizations have the ability to do.”

“Through participating in WFP MIYI, I am more confident, learned so much and feel that I can make a difference.”

“My experience at the Michigan Youth Institute has given me skills in leadership and confidence, and has inspired me to think about others around the world.”

“My experience here not only helped me learn how to do research, write a paper on that research, and present it. It also exposed me to all of these global issues and to some wonderful experts and peers who are active in solving that.”

“The experience of participating in the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute has helped me prepare for a huge goal that will be to fight and conquer hunger.”

The WFP MIYI is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Michigan FFA. MSU Extension 4-H educators Makena Schultz and Brian Wibby lead the collaboration and organization of WFP MIYI.

“The WFP MIYI directly engages young people in what could be one of the most significant challenges ever to face humanity: How will we provide access to a sufficient, nutritious and sustainable diet for each of the 9 to 10 billion people who could be inhabiting our planet later in this century? The WFP MIYI helps young people to develop an understanding of the interconnected nature of the many factors that are related to global food security, and creates a space where youth can develop the knowledge and skills needed to create effective solutions to this wicked problem,” Brian said.

Makena feels that the most meaningful takeaway from the event is that young people have a chance to take action in their passion for helping others.

“The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute offers a lens for young people to do that, so they can explore their passion, through the lens of global food security, which is really exciting,” she said. “Young people have really innovative ideas, they’re very creative, they think outside the box, and very often they come up with great solutions to problems that maybe adults or other members of the community might not see so easily.”

Interested in hearing more about World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute? Kraig Ehm of MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Creative interviews Makena and participant Raegan Gembarski on the World Food Prize edition of In the Field on the Spartan Podcast.

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth, Food, Resources, Student Presentations, Youth development

MSU Extension Communications Team cleans house for ACE awards

Congratulations to our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Communications Team! They will be given prestigious awards and recognition at the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) Annual Conference coming up in June in Memphis, Tennessee. The ACE Critique and Awards program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The MSU Extension Communications Team will receive three gold awards.

They will receive a gold award in the special reports category for their work on the MSU Extension and AgBioResearch Legislative Report, coordinated by Sean Corp. Others on the Legislative Report team who contributed to writing, designing and editing included Patricia Adams, James Dau, Katie Gervasi, Nichole Hersch, Cindy Hudson, Marian Reiter, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape, Jamie Wilson and Holly Whetstone.

In addition, the team of Nichole Hersch, Beth Stuever, Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will receive the gold award in the issues management category for their work on Avian Influenza Epidemic: Managing Tough Issues Across Multiple Audiences. Others contributing to the avian influenza project include Patricia Adams, Alicia Burnell, Kraig Ehm, Leslie Johnson, Rebecca McKee, Samantha Proud and Marian Reiter. As a bonus, the project also won an Outstanding Professional Skill award, given to the entry that rises to the top of all the gold award winners.

Beth Stuever will receive the ACE Pioneer Award, which recognizes communicators who demonstrate exceptional leadership as well as technical skills, and make significant contributions to ACE during their first 10 years of ACE membership. Beth received the award for her service in many leadership positions contributing to the excellence of the profession, actively presenting at multiple conferences and engaging with ACE Learning Communities. Additionally, Beth supported colleagues and team members in their engagement with ACE and provided resources for them to participate at the annual conference.

The MSU Extension Communications Team is also highly engaged in the conference itself ‒ presenting three sessions. Mindy Tape and Jamie Wilson will partner with Iowa State’s Egg Industry Center to offer a session on avian influenza regarding stakeholders, timelines and actions. Beth will partner with her former supervisor, former MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications director Ruth Borger (now the vice president of communications at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) to present a session on time management. Mindy and Tom Cummins will present a session on keys to increasing productivity.

We are extremely proud of our MSU Extension Communications Team and and how the caliber of their work and the work of others involved is being recognized at a national level. Please join me in congratulating them on their awards.

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Making It in Michigan Conference honors entrepreneurs, director

The eighth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show took place Nov. 10 at the Lansing Center in Lansing. This year’s theme was “Ingredients for Success – Components and Processes for Safe, Sound and Smart Product Development.”

The Michigan State University Product Center hosts the conference. The Product Center was established in 2003 with funds from AgBioResearch and MSU Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors.

Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, is the center’s director. Dean Fred Poston presented Dr. Peterson with a tribute letter sent on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder. In the letter, the governor expressed deep appreciation for his years of dedication through his work with the Product Center.

MSU CANR Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Fred Poston (left) reads from the tribute letter presented to Dr. Chris Peterson, MSU Product Center director, (right) on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder at the Making It in Michigan Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich., Nov. 10, 2015. Photo credit: Kraig Ehm

The letter said in part, “On behalf of the people of Michigan, thank you for your dedication and commitment in helping Michigan businesses develop and commercialize goods in the food, agriculture, and bio economy industries. Utilizing the talent that Michigan has to offer is key to our comeback and reinvention. I am confident our state and countless individuals will long reap the rewards of your positive contributions.”

Product Center innovation counselors regularly assist entrepreneurs in making critical marketing, business and product decisions. As you view the following videos of Making It in Michigan award winners, you’ll get an idea of just how important the counselor-client relationship is. Watch as winners talk about the help and guidance they received from the Product Center. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications television producer/director Kraig Ehm and Matt Birbeck of the Product Center produced the videos.

Click on the embedded links in the award title to watch:

Director’s Award: Mary Safie, president and CEO, Safie’s Specialty Foods

Barrier Buster: Joseph Oginsky, baker and business manager, Town-to-Town Gourmet Pastries

Value-Added Agricultural: Bonnie Steinman, public relations, Hop Head Farms

Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Rudolph, co-founder, Banza

Start-Up to Watch: Jill Bommarito, president and founder, Ethel’s Edibles

 

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ANR Communications staff member named CANR Staffer of the Month

Kraig Ehm, Michigan State University Extension television producer/director in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications, has received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Staff Advisory Committee October 2015 Administrative/Technical Staffer of the Month award.

The award goes to a member of the CANR support staff who has done something special or noteworthy within his or her college or unit.

Eileen Gianiodis, communications manager in ANR Communications, nominated Kraig for his outstanding work on a series of videos, which highlight CANR faculty members. The videos will help draw high school students into CANR majors, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math.

Eileen said, “The project was a quick turn-around, with less than two weeks to shoot, edit and finalize three long-form videos (2‒3 minutes) as well as three :30 spots. His willingness to go above and beyond to meet the deadline at the same time producing a quality product makes it easy to recommend him for this award.”

Congratulations, Kraig! Thanks, Eileen!

You can view the videos below:

Jade Mitchell full:

Jade Mitchell 30 second:

Dawn Reinhold 30 second:

Dawn Reinhold full:

Lisa Tiemann 30 second:

Lisa Tiemann full:

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News segments raise awareness of Extension and the work we do

As I mentioned in several articles in this Spotlight, the MSU Extension website continues to be an effective medium to get the word out to folks about our great programs. Another avenue excels at communicating about our organization and the fantastic work we do. ANR Communications is producing two-minute news segments focusing on our programs, research and major initiatives. Marketed under a series titled “Did You Know?” the segments began airing last month, directly before Tim Skubick’s public affairs program “Off the Record” on WKAR Channel 23.

The video segments were developed to raise the public’s awareness of Extension and all it does. In addition to appearing along with “Off the Record,” they are also posted online, providing us with additional exposure and opportunities for sharing.

ANR Communications multimedia production team leader Steve Evans said, “We’ve strategically placed these videos ahead of ‘Off the Record’ because we believe key decision makers and those in major agencies in multiple areas of government watch the show.”

The videos have focused on Firewise, which offers resources in home and community fire protection, and Stepping Stones, a program that provides urban youngsters with outdoor education experiences. Another video featured Extension educator Marilyn Thelen discussing the 2012 drought. Future videos will spotlight 4-H Discovery Camp and 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp. Another will highlight senior Extension educator Dennis Pennington discussing the feasibility of using marginal lands for energy crop production.

Steve co-produces the videos with video producer and director Kraig Ehm. If you have a story you’d like to submit for consideration, send your ideas to Steve at evansst@msu.edu or Kraig at ehm@msu.edu.

View the videos here.

Another venue that features work of MSUE colleagues is the Greening of the Great Lakes, a website and radio feature hosted by retired MSU Professor Kirk Heinze. Kirk recently hosted Rick Foster, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Food, Society and Sustainability and former director of MSUE’s Greening Michigan Institute. You can read and hear the interview with Rick on the MSU initiative to foster development of the metropolitan food system and related industries in Detroit.

Kirk’s radio productions are broadcast on Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR. He often highlights innovations underway by MSUE scientists and educators.

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Kent County 4-H’er joins the Revolution of Responsibility

In a recent Spotlight article, I talked about the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility, National 4‑H Council’s movement for positive change, challenging kids to make a difference and take responsibility for community problems and issues.

 Nate Seese, a 4-H’er from Byron Center in Kent County, is taking on responsibility in a big way right in his own community. Nate raises and shows sheep and hogs as a 4-H project. Usually, a 4-H’er involved in this type of project would auction off the animals at fair and then keep the profits. But Nate saw a need to help hungry people in his community and stepped up to do something about it. He put together a buying group consisting of local business owners and community members to buy the animals at auction. The group lets Nate keep the animals so he can donate the meat to the Buist Community Assistance Center, a local food pantry. After taking the animals to Byron Center Meats (the company donates its time and services to process the meat), Nate was able to donate 500 pounds of lamb and pork to the center this year.

 Nate says, “4-H has taught me that we can’t just sit back and wait for somebody to take the lead. We have to take the lead if we want to make a change.”

 Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is also taking the lead in the revolution, developing responsible leaders for the future.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members Kraig Ehm, Steve Evans and Michelle Lavra created a video featuring Nate’s story. View the video:

 The video was shared at the 2011 NAE4-HA (National Association of Extension 4-H Agents) Conference held Oct. 24–28 in Nebraska. The video will be posted on the National 4-H Revolution of Responsibility site.

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Webinar trains food entrepreneurs in following Cottage Food Law

Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, enacted in 2010, allows individuals to manufacture and store certain types of foods in an unlicensed home kitchen. It’s intended to support farmers markets by allowing certain value-added products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed commercial kitchen.

 The Michigan State University Extension Food Safety Team made a teaching webinar in order to meet the needs of Michigan residents in relationship to food safety pertaining to the Cottage Food Law. The webinar was the most efficient and consistent way of providing educational information to this audience. Led by food safety co-chairs and Extension educators Jeannie Nichols and Jan Seitz, the Food Safety team members include Jennifer Berkey, Robin Danto, Diana Fair, Eileen Haraminac, Jane Hart, Linda Huyck, Pat Joyce, Joyce McGarry, Laurie Messing, Lucia Patritto, Janet Rathke, Christy Rivette, Phil Tocco, Lisa Treiber, Chris Venema and Beth Waitrovich.

 Jeannie stated, “For us as educators, it meant learning about developing a professional, interactive and interesting site.”

 The team developed “MI Cottage Food Law Food Safety Training/Webinar” with support from Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications team members Laura Probyn, Steve Evans and Kraig Ehm. Laura edited and revised the initial script. Laura and Kraig voiced the project, and Steve edited the PowerPoint that was the basis for the webinar and built quiz and evaluation modules for the project.

 According to Jeannie, the quiz at the end of the webinar evaluates the knowledge that participants gain as well as their intent to use the information from the webinar. Once a participant completes the quiz with 70 percent accuracy, he or she can purchase a certificate to display at a farmers market booth. Farmers markets customers would then see that the vendor had taken the initiative to take some extra food safety training in relation to cottage foods.

 Food Safety Team members conducted face-to-face presentations throughout the state using the curriculum to validate its content and usefulness before it was made available online. To help with this project, the team applied for and received a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) grant that allowed the production of this webinar including marketing materials.

 You can view the webinar here: http://vimeo.com/24282676

 Plans are underway to add the webinar to the governor’s weekly video feature rotation and to be placed on the MDARD’s YouTube channel.

 This is a great illustration of what the new MSUE is all about and how we’re embracing technology to achieve our mission. And it shows the interlinkage among work teams and institutes. Some of the greatest demand for the webinar is likely to come from individuals and businesses who sell homemade products at farmers markets, which are among the assets that we try to support through the community food systems group in the Greening Michigan Institute.

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