Tag Archives: norm lownds

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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Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens curator receives honorary FFA degree

Dr. Norm Lownds received an Honorary American FFA Degree – Other at the 85th National FFA Convention and Expo that took place Oct. 24–27 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Formerly Future Farmers of America, the FFA works to enhance the lives of young people by developing their potential forleadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The Honorary FFA degree recognizes those who have gone beyond daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students.

Dr. Lownds is an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Horticulture and is curator of the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens, a remarkable resource supported by gifts to the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Congratulations to Dr. Lownds!

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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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