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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding Assets in Earwigs

By Beth Labenz, SNAP-Ed Educator

This is my first year growing my very own garden. This is also my first year with University of Minnesota Extension. It is not a coincidence that both of those firsts occurred at the same time.

Last September, I decided to accept a position as a SNAP-Ed educator and move back to my rural, Southwest Minnesota farming community. That meant that I was moving back as a single twenty-something (yes I can still say “twenty-something” for one more year), back to my family farm and into my parents’ basement. After discussing so many community garden projects at various community meetings, I decided to embrace farm life and start my own garden. I had space. I had seeds. I even had some know-how, thanks to Extension’s Garden website. I had everything I needed to begin this journey of becoming a gardener.

Or so I thought.

Lowering Walls and Welcoming Each Other

By Emily Becher, Research Associate — Family Development

Creating company culture in the workplace isn't just about adorning your walls with the company logo or painting everything in the same brand colors. It's about creating a unique yet unified environment that will reflect your company and its team.

This summer, the office space that Family Development’s Applied Research and Evaluation Team calls home, Room 495 in Coffey Hall, underwent a dramatic transformation.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Courage to Converse: ‘The Girls All Seem Happy’

By Alica Whitmore, SNAP-Ed Educator

How do I fully do my job in a community? A community in southwestern Minnesota that I enjoy, and where I recently purchased a home, but in which I still feel like an outsider?

I feel it when people ask at the hardware store, “Where is your husband? Are you picking up supplies for his next project?” I was tired and had my Extension polo on, so I smiled and walked away.

Consulting with the Community

By Evalyn Carbrey, Regional Coordinator — SNAP-Ed

The Urban Farm and Garden Alliance (UFGA) and University of Minnesota Extension are partnering to build community and consult with residents of the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods in Saint Paul.

Founded in 2014, the UFGA is an alliance of eight urban and community garden in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of Saint Paul. This group meets regularly to discuss issues such as land access and land tenure, host workshops, support each other in gardening through sharing of resources, and seek out grant opportunities.

Extension Partner Receives Two-Year Grant to Design Healthy Eating Spaces

By Hannah Jastam, Communications Associate

Last week, Abi Asojo, Ph.D., professor of interior design at the University of Minnesota College of Design received word that her application for a two-year grant from Extension to redesign the dining hall space at a Saint Paul elementary school was approved.

Over the past year, University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) and the College of Design’s interior design program have been working in partnership with Bruce Vento Elementary School in the Saint Paul Public Schools district to create environments that foster student learning and well-being.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Considering Historical Trauma When Working with Native American Children and Families

By Mina Blyly-Strauss, Research Assistant — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

I came to my CYFC graduate assistant position as an educational professional whose early work was with Native American teenagers. This is a demographic group often noted for some of the largest educational and health disparities in the state of Minnesota. More recently, I have focused on early childhood as a critical time to interrupt cycles of recurring disparities and to start healthy developmental trajectories.

What We Know

Historical trauma has been defined as a "cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences" (Brave Heart, 2007, p. 177). For Native American populations, examples of such massive group trauma experiences have included being pushed off homelands, massacred, and forcibly confined to reservations. Often in collusion with law enforcement and child welfare agencies, children as young as three years old were forced to attend government-sponsored boarding schools where they were separated from familial caregivers for extended periods of time. The goal of these schools was, as Richard Henry Pratt of Carlisle School is often quoted, to "kill the Indian, save the man."

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