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Showing posts from July, 2014

Consider Applying for an Issue Area Grant

Dean Durgan recently announced a request for proposals for issue area grants to support our cross-disciplinary efforts in key issue areas. Grant proposals are being for projects that advance Extension's work in the following issue areas: promoting youth educational success and food systems.

Successful proposals will add value/impact and contribute to Extension's cross-center collaboration and external partnerships. They may be carried out by diverse teams from across Extension and include other University and external partners.

This effort is designed to increase external visibility and demonstrate Extension's comparative advantage to address these complex issues. Projects must advance Extension's contribution to research, education and value/impact through applied research-based educational programming.
An Extension educator, specialist or faculty member with an Extension appointment must serve as one of the project leaders. Non-Extension personnel are encouraged to w…

Update on Children, Youth & Family Consortium

On July 1, Trish Olson assumed the role of interim director of the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC). As noted in an earlier blog post, Cathy Jordan is moving into a specialist role.

Trish has worked for the University of Minnesota since the mid-1980s in various roles in College of Human Ecology and Extension. She took time out to complete her Ph.D. at the Ohio State University in Family Resource Management. Since the early 2000s, she has served as a program leader in Family Development for Family Resource Management and Family Relations. Since 2007, she has been Karen Shirer's assistant in overseeing the center.

In her interim role with CYFC, Trish supports and promotes the mission of CYFC , the programming conducted by staff, supervises the staff, and oversees the budget. She also will work with Dean Durgan and Associate Dean Karen Shirer on determining the long-term leadership needs for CYFC. You can reach Trish at

SNAP-Ed Plan for 2015 Submitted and 2014 EFNEP Budget Approved

As I prepare this blog post, the SNAP-Ed plan for 2015 has just been completed and submitted to Sponsor Project Administration. Preparation of the plan was led by Renee Obrecht-Como and Trina Barno along with the Extension grant unit (Dianne Sivald, Liz Pukinis and Kerry Marsolek) and Mary Caskey, associate program director overseeing SNAP Education. The team worked diligently over the last six weeks pulling together the plan. Please join me in saying a big "thank you."

We also received word from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at U.S. Department of Agriculture that the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program budget of $1,060,098 was approved for the current year of FY 2014. Although we are deep into planning for FY 2015 and at the end of FY 2014, EFNEP funding tends to lag behind coming late in the fiscal year. We always welcome the funds no matter when we receive them! This funding is what supports the great team that won the Program Showcase a…

Welcome Two New SNAP Ed Educators to Family Development

Leticia Rodriguez joined the southwest region team on July 11 as the new SNAP-Ed Educator located in Nobles County. Letty has worked for the University of Minnesota in various ways since 1996. She worked with the Worthington Community Connectors; the Rainbows 4-H group in Nobles County (first 4-H group for kids of color); and as a CNE in Nobles County for 14 years. She is very involved in her community as a committee member for the International Festival and a member of the Blandin Leadership Program. She is excited to be back on board and looking forward to working with previous groups as well as meeting with new ones.

Debra Bearskin Hawthorne from Puposky, MN has recently been hired as the new Extension SNAP-Ed Educator, with an American Indian program focus. She began her regional position on Thursday, July 10th at the Beltrami County Extension Office. Debra has a degree in Indian Studies & English from Bemidji State University and is currently working on completing a Masters of…

Five Things I Learned at the Family Development/NEAFCS Conferences

On July 16 at the MN Landscape Arboretum, most Family Development staff and faculty participated in a full day of activities designed to promote greater understanding of our work and collaboration with each other. The next day, July 17, another group convened for the professional development day for the National Association of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences. Both days offered a variety of informative presentations and discussions. As I reflect back, there are five very important lessons that I learned:

Metro Food Access Network Success!

The Metro Food Access Network (MFAN) has been hard at work!

ThriveMSP 2040 was created by the Metropolitan Council and is the vision for the 7-county metro region over the next 30 years. It reflects the Met Council's concerns and aspirations, anticipates future needs in the region, and addresses our responsibility to future generations.

The initial ThriveMSP 2040 document had only one paragraph related to food access.

At the February MFAN meeting, the Land Access work group decided to draft and submit a letter to the Met Council outlining the areas of the document where food access should be highlighted. MFAN member organization, West Side Community Organization, lead the campaign to draft the letter. Many MFAN members helped draft the document and even more signed on to the completed copy. This letter was submitted to the Met Council before the deadline for public input in April 2014.