Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
• Small Steps Curriculum
Seven Family Nutrition Advisors for EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) and one FNP (Family Nutrition Program) Assistant teach a series of nine lessons addressing food resource management, nutrition and food safety. Lessons are presented in individuals homes and at various churches and community centers.
• Youth Family Nutrition Program
Three Youth FNP (Family Nutrition Program) Assistants teach the Professor Popcorn series of five lessons to children in schools with 50 percent or more of their students receiving free or reduced lunches. Students across Lake County in grades three through six learn about nutrition and food safety while engagin in physical activity.
After completing the adult curriculum, 307 EFNEP graduates reported making the following improvements to help save food dollars expenses for their families:
• 55 percent more often planned meals in advance.
• 43 percent more often compared prices when shopping.
• 54 percent more often used a prepared list for grocery shopping.
They also made the following changes to improve the nutritional health of their families meals:
• 66 percent more often used the Nutrition Facts on food labels to make food choices.
• 57 percent more often thought about healthy food choices when deciding what to prepare.
• 40 percent reported that their children ate breakfast within two hours of waking.
Three hundred and twenty-two additional homemakers took at least two or more EFNEP lessons, but are not considered graduates unless they complete six of the nine lessons. During the 2008-2009 school year, 1,578 students in grades three and four completed Professor Popcorn.
• 13 percent more often practiced one or more healthy food selection habits on most days.
• 9 percent said they increased their amount of physical activity.
• 11 percent tried a new food for the first time.
Of the 458, fifth and sixth grade students:
• 12 percent said they practiced one or more healthy food selection choices.
• 2 percent increased the amount of physical activity they practiced on most days of the week.
Consumer and Family Sciences
• RECIPE for Growing Healthy Children
A review of Child and Adult Care Food Program menus documented a need for an increase in the variety of: fruits and vegetables; whole-grain products; and lean meat/meat alternate selections. To meet this need, child care foodservice staff must have the necessary knowledge and skills for planning and preparing healthy and appealing meals and snacks.
What Have You Done?
Indiana received a USDA 2007 Team Nutrition Training Grant to implement a statewide plan to train child care food service staff on planning and preparing meals and snacks that comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid. The Indiana Department of Education partnered with Purdue University to address these needs. Lake County held two workshops for 62 child care food service staff members. Staff were motivated and inspired to create a total environment that recognizes the role of quality nutrition education and positive adult role modeling for children to build lifelong healthy beliefs and behaviors. Ideas were presented for encouraging children to consume more fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, and lean meat and lean meat alternatives. Participants who attended the workshops enhanced their knowledge and skills in the areas of child nutrition, menu planning, recipes, food preparation and food safety.
There was significant improvement in knowledge of dietary regulations for whole grains, allowing children to monitor their own eating by serving themselves, understanding that preschool aged children should serve themselves, and increase in knowledge of benefits of family meals. Initial comments from workshop participants have been positive and indicate goal-setting to improve their food service environment and menus. One participate stated that “We have already changed our menu to include several of your suggested recipes with our children.”
• Home Food Preservation 101
Gardeners often are faced with an overabundance of produce. Of course they can give some of it away, but there is a way they can enjoy that fresh, homegrown flavor well beyond the growing season. Many home-grown vegetables can be frozen. However, proper preservation techniques must be followed in order to enjoy peak flavor. Improperly preserved home-preserved foods are a common source of botulism food poisoning. Eating foods that contain the botulinum toxin will lead to food poisoning. There is a need to teach participants to preserve food so that food can be safely eaten at a later date.
What You Have Done:
Consumer and Family Sciences Educator coordinated and taught five - six hour classes in food preservation. Lecture, dialog learning, videos, demonstrations and hands on methods of teaching were used. The following subjects were covered with each lesson:
• Food Safety and Freezing Foods
• Boiling Water Bath
• Pressure Canning
• Pickling and Dehydrating
• Jams and Jellies
Participants responded to the question, "What was the most important thing you learned?" as follows: Steps to avoid botulism; how to use the boiling water canner and pressure cooker safely; the reinforcement of food safety was the most important piece; how to prevent the contamination of food when preserving; how to preserve in a very safe way; food safety; canning procedures and techniques; using hygienic procedures in kitchen; new safety guidelines in canning; how to pressure can; how to dehydrate. Participants responded to the question, "As a result of this course, what food preservation techniques have you used?" as follows: freezing, boiling water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, pickling. Participants responded to the question, "Comments" as follows: The amount of knowledge that we gained from this program will be used to help teach family members and friends food preservation.
• Dining with Diabetes
This program is targeted to diabetics or those at risk for diabetes and their caregivers.
• Food choice
• Diet planning
• Healthy cooking
• Portion control
• Medical indicator awareness
• Healthy activity levels for those with diabetes
Participants also have the opportunity to watch food preparation presentations and taste test as well as take copies of recipes home with them. This multi-session program was designed to educate participants on practical ways to lessen the health risk posed by diabetes. Four two-hour sessions were taught weekly by Consumer and Family Sciences Educator at St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago and also at Purdue Calumet in Hammond.
Statistical analysis of this program revealed that participants:
• Feel more empowered and confident that they can take good care of their diabetes or the diabetes of a loved one.
• Exercised more.
• Ate more fruits and vegetables.
• Checked blood sugar levels more often.
• Practiced more healthy diet habits after the program when compared to pre-program habits.
Eleven questions on the pre-post test also queried the participant’s knowledge of foods and healthy food choice. Participants demonstrated a significant gain in knowledge. Multiple positive comments included learning about the “Idaho Plate Method” of eating.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
• Illiana Vegetable Growers School 2010
Indiana vegetables had sales over $78 million in 2007 and over 1,300 farms spanning over 35,500 acres, accounting for 2.3% of the farms in Indiana. Opportunities for production of these crops in the state continue to increase as consumer demand increases for locally produced fresh produce. Current and new producers will benefit from access to research-based information on profitable and environmentally responsible production, post-harvest, and marketing practices; as well as from opportunities to network with one another and others with experience in the industry. Producers also need a resource of information when new diseases, insects, or other environmental factors affect their crops.
What have you done?
Extension Specialists and Educators organized this educational program for vegetable growers, called the Illiana Vegetable Growers School. This is a one day program hosted annually where specialists and educators present timely information on vegetable crops in order to advise growers on best practices for improving yield and quality without excessive costs and labor. Growers are able to come and receive credits for licensing that is required for pesticide applications as well as learn from other valuable presentations. A trade show is also available to offer new services and products to the growers from Indiana and Illinois.
Vegetable farmers know more about producing and marketing their crops. Attending farmers worked a range of 0-500 acres over the last year with a high percentage of them farming 14 acres or less and a gross annual income of less than $1,000. Of the attending farmers, 19 percent were Illinois residents and the Indiana residents ranged from Lake County to Marshall County. Many producers plan to change their production or marketing practices based on knowledge they gained at the program. Over 70 percent of the people who returned a survey about the program reported that they planned to make a change in their operation. Along with that, almost 91% stated that they feel the information they received was valuable to their practice. The program that was valuable to 100 percent of famers and inspired 80 percent to change their practices was the ‘Top Fungicides for 2010’ session. Examples of other planned changes included trying new varieties and pest management programs for cutworms and aphids. As a result of the changes, we expect that vegetable producers will improve the profitability and efficiency of their operations, increasing their long-term viability, contributions to the local economy, and the availability of locally-grown produce in the region. From the 2010 evaluation, we found out that three people made the following changes as a result of their interactions with Extension in 2009: cover crops in pumpkin production, continued development of a grower cooperative, and increased sales and visibility to customers and learned how to use the internet in marketing.
• Pinney Purdue Field Day 2009
Crop producers need fact-based information in order to remain productive and competitive in agriculture. Researchers and Extension specialists need a forum at which to share their practical research with farmers who can then benefit from adoption of the results. A field day at one of Purdue’s Ag Centers provides an opportunity to meet both needs. By hosting a field day that encourages specialists to share their latest research on various crop production activities or pest management practices with local farmers and others through field tours and concurrent sessions, an efficient means of getting results to a multitude of those who can benefit from them is attained.
What have you done?
The Pinney Purdue Field Day is an annual event that is a collaboration betweenPinney PAC, Area Educators, Purdue Extension Specialists, and some outside partners. Besides a full morning of presentations, a health fair is sponsored by Northwest Territory RC&D, a sponsored meal is catered by Birky Family Farms and served by Porter County Farm Bureau members and Porter County Master Gardeners. After lunch is served, a noontime speaker provides a presentation. Those who attend can also receive credits for their private (PARP) or commercial pesticide applicator licenses (CCH) and Certified Crop Advisers can get continuing education units (CEUs). Besides the daytime field day, a scaled back evening program is hosted for folks that work during the day. The primary purpose for the evening program is to offer PARP credits.
Pinney Purdue Field Day participants who responded to a survey during the daytime program (124 respondents) said that they raised a total over 107,000 acres of crops or trees in northern Indiana, including 55,300 acres of corn, 45,400 acres of soybean, 2,300 acres of wheat, 1,500 acres of alfalfa, and lesser amounts of seed corn, popcorn, cucumbers, green beans, Christmas trees and timber. With very little variation between topics, over 95 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had gained knowledge from the presentations that they heard at the 2009 Pinney Purdue Field Day (range was 90.8 to 98.3 percent). As a result of the Field Day over 92 percent indicated that they would make changes or use the information gained in their crop production or pest management practices (range was 75.6 to 100.0 percent). As for reasons why participants attended the Field Day, the category with the most responses for the first or second reason (out of 6 possible reasons) for attending was to hear the presentations from the Purdue Extension specialists (91 responses). The category with the second most responses as the first or second reason for attending was to achieve Private Applicator Recertification Credits toward the renewal of their private applicator licenses (65 responses).
• Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing Program 2009
The Beginner's Guide to Grant Writing Program is a statewide effort of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, pairing campus-based specialists with county-based Extension professional to deliver via distance learning a 16-hour grant writing program offered in multiple counties across the state. County Extension professionals complete a one-day training covering all aspects of program delivery and content.
What have you done?
Campus based specialists provide curriculum materials and administer the training including the allocation of Continuing Education Credits for Indiana Certified Teachers, Indiana Public Accountants, Indiana Social Workers, and Law Enforcement officers. Cost recovery via gifts, scholarships, and registration fees support general operating administration of a professional development mini grant program for county based Extension professional facilitating on-site training. Educators market the program locally, assist with the delivery of the program, and provide follow-up services to participants.
After completing the workshop, participants feel more confident in their grant writing skills, understand how to develop a project idea into a proposal, and know where to find information for available funding. Participant reports of funds awarded to program participants indicate over $6.0 million in funded proposals. Grants have supported building renovations, infrastructure development, school-based programs and equipment, small business funding, environmental protection projects, health and human resource projects, programs to enhance computer and health education projects, youth programs, and general operating dollars supporting organization growth and sustainability.
• Advanced Master Gardener Training, Taltree Series 2009
Once Master Gardeners finish their initial training course, they involve themselves in their community. This initial involvement may come from a topic that may have always been their interest or it may be a new idea they learned during their training. Either way, continued education becomes necessary in order for them to serve their purpose successfully. As most County Master Gardener Coordinators from across the state will agree upon, Master Gardeners cannot come out of the Master Gardener Training knowing everything. Master Gardeners need a chance to have knowledgeable presenters with research based information to make sure they are getting the facts they need to support their interests as well as to be able to offer sound advice to other citizens in their communities. Granted, there are many presentations that either libraries or garden clubs can offer, but these may not always cover the depth of information that can be offered through a Purdue sponsored program.
What have you done?
Over the past several years, there has been an advanced training series at Taltree Arboretum and Gardens in Valparaiso, IN. This is commonly held three times during the summer for approximately four hours each time. A County Master Gardener Coordinator will work with the staff at Taltree. The dates and time are set in advance so that speakers can be arranged. Some of the speakers may be from the local area whereas others may come from across Indiana. The presentations also vary from a sit down lecture style to a hands-on activity or to a learning hike around the gardens. The series are always very well attended by the participants as the class usually is near capacity if not actually requiring a waiting list.
During the 2009 summer, there were two sessions of the Summer Advanced Master Gardener Training held at Taltree. The first event was well attended, but an evaluation was not given to participants. At the second meeting on August 5, 2009, there was an evaluation. This event was attended by 30 individuals that came primarily from the counties of Lake, Porter, and La Porte. The presentations during this training were Backyard Bug CSI: Who Killed my Petunias?, A Case for Shrub Roses, Recording Master Gardener Hours Online, and What Was Hot in 2009. On all of these presentations, the 21 participants that answered the evaluations gave each one at least 4.3 out of 5. The most useful presentation was the Bug CSI with 79% of the individuals finding it very useful and it was followed by the Roses with a 74 percent. When asked if the participants would make a change in their gardening practices after hearing this presentation, 83percent of them noted they would make changes with most responses saying they would be willing to give roses a chance in their gardens once again and a few noted how they would stop using as many pesticides in their garden. Overall, the program was a success with other general comments of how the Master Gardeners loved the program and look forward to next year’s series.
Last year volunteers in the 4-H Chicken Embryology Program delivered more than 3,000 eggs to be hatched in incubators in classrooms throughout the county. Students learned hands-on animal science skills that are in direct correlation with state academic standards. In-service training and educational materials were provided for teachers.
More than 1,000 children attended the annual Agriculture Awareness Days at the Lake County Fairgrounds, where they learned firsthand how important agriculture and food and fiber production is to our nation’s food supply and food security.
Lake County currently has 36 4-H clubs, where youth learn important life skills, such as leadership, decision-making, public speaking, and team-building, with the guidance of adult volunteers. We had 787 youth participate in 4-H last year and expect more than 1,000 in 2010.
Since 2007, the enrollment in Lake County Junior Leaders has consistently increased and we are still getting new members. The Junior Leader Organization is a great way for 4-H members across the county to come together and participate with many community service projects as well as going on trips and having a lot of fun. Youth develop leadership skills, including responsibility, collaboration, time management, planning, and conflict resolution.