‘Living Well’ is the focus of University of Minnesota Extension Educators across the state

Crookston Times

    “Living Well” is the program focus of University of Minnesota Family & Consumer Science Extension Educators across Minnesota. Extension educational programs focus on raising kids, healthy and safe food, spending smart and living well. The Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, both at the national level and in Minnesota, promotes the Living Well Campaign, celebrated in March.

    “Minnesota Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science professionals work through the University of Minnesota Extension program to offer education and resources to help families and communities achieve a positive healthy lifestyle to live well,” says St. Cloud Regional Extension food safety educator, Suzanne Driessen, current president of the Minnesota Affiliate. “Whether you are trying to stretch your food dollar through meal planning, make decisions about financial planning, or need tips to start a home-based food business, Extension has a research-based answer,” she added. Here are just some of the educational programs and resources developed and taught by University of Minnesota Extension family and consumer science educators to help Minnesotans live well:

    ● Extension educators quickly shifted programming efforts to help families and communities live well during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Building Family Resiliency during the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar Series offered 51 webinars on topics from how to avoid COVID-19 scams to budgeting to mental wellbeing. The research-based webinars addressed challenging issues for families and communities, particularly underserved populations, helping them thrive and successfully navigate life’s transitions. Register for the 2021 sessions here.

    ● Food safety educators, Kathy Brandt (Marshall) and Suzanne Driessen (St. Cloud), educate Minnesotans how to handle food safely to prevent foodborne illness. For example, Extension’s seven-part 2020 Summer Food Preservation Webinar Series educated 541 home preservers on how to safely preserve garden produce. 52% of course participants were new at preserving. You can view the webinar recordings on Extension’s YouTube Food Safety Channel, Preserving playlist.

    ● Associate Professor Joyce Serido (St. Paul) helps first generation college students discover the benefits of budgeting, planning ahead, and smart shopping in managing their own finances. 96% of students reported benefiting from the PEER$ program that uses a fast-paced budgeting simulation and would highly recommend participation to their friends.

    ● Educators Donna Anderson (Park Rapids) and Megan Hruby (Crookston) were able to continue virtually teaching nutrition education throughout 2020. Participants of their classes reported increased confidence in budgeting and meal planning, as well as developing new skills to save money while eating healthy.

    ● Educators Anna Sneltjes (St. Cloud), Mary Schroeder (Marshall), Donna Anderson (Park Rapids), and Kate Welshons (St. Paul) helped implement a virtual series of the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease (WwE) program to teach individuals how to incorporate walking and stretching into their routines. 69% of participants were extremely likely to recommend the WwE program to others.

    Visit UMN Extension at https://extension.umn.edu to find these and other programs to help you live well.

    Extension Family and Consumer Science professionals are part of a nationwide educational organization funded through the Land Grant University System and United States Department of Agriculture. Local Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professionals provide practical, relevant, unbiased, research-based information.