Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2017

Latino Financial Literacy Team Keeps Busy in Southwestern Minnesota

By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

During 2016, the Latino Financial Literacy team reported teaching 106 direct delivery classes and 3 series of classes reaching 1,125 participants in 11 counties in southwestern Minnesota. The majority of participants were Latino (79%) or White (12%), while other participants included Asian Americans (7%), African Americans (3%), Native American (<1%), and other (2%).

The team offers information in both Spanish and English. Class topics included money management, parenting, tenant education, financing higher education, and health insurance literacy.

Are We Mad? March Madness and the Level Playing Field

By Mary Marczak, Director — Urban Family Development and Evaluation

Each year, Brad Rugg, program director in youth development, and I co-manage the Coffey Hall March Madness Pool (translation: the Coffey Hall NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament sports lottery). For three weeks in March, we have a blast chatting across centers about how our teams are doing, how a Cinderella team beat a major university (translation: typically a little school thought to have near zero chance of beating a university with lots of money for athletics), or the feel-good stories told about the young players and their families that the TV networks add to games to keep the interest of casual fans (translation: those who only watch college basketball during March Madness).

Selection Sunday: When casual fans remember they actually enjoy watching college basketball. — Matt Kelsey (@cancermatt2) March 12, 2017 (Translation: The day when the NCAA College basketball tournament participants are ranked and an…

Website Bytes: Scrubbing Harder

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate and Website Coordinator

Since February 15 of this year, Family Development’s web team has archived 120 web pages and PDFs.

That makes me so happy, you guys.

That process of archival was the second phase of the spring cleaning project I introduced last month: to retire content that had fewer than 100 pageviews and hadn’t been reviewed in the last two years. And with your help, I made what I considered significant progress in that phase.

How Do You Achieve Readability on the Web?

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

In the last edition of Word Matters, I discussed readability on the web and why it matters. To recap, readability on Extension’s website is about making online content clear and easy to understand in order to engage our audiences across Minnesota.

Spotlight: Extension Nutritionist and RSDP Board Member Craig Hassel

By Elizabeth Braatz, Student Writer — Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP)

What do the UMN Center for Spirituality and Healing, Inter-institutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (Pennsylvania), Cultural Wellness Center (Minnesota), White Earth Tribal Council, University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition, Woodlands Wisdom Nutrition Project, a medicinal herb network, and Northeast RSDP have in common?

One person: Dr. Craig Hassel. Dr. Hassel is an Associate Professor and Extension Nutritionist at the UMN Twin Cities. Dr. Hassel is extremely involved with connecting community members, and he has worked for, partnered with, or volunteered for all of the organizations listed above.

Southern Minnesota Food Networks Meet Up

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health & Nutrition

In communities and counties across southern Minnesota, diverse partners have been meeting and acting to increase access to healthy food. Though these groups go by different names, they all include volunteers, organizations, and local champions with common goals focused on food and health.

Five such groups were represented at the Southern Minnesota Food Network Meet-up held on March 31 in St. James. This first-of-its kind gathering provided a forum for members of various networks to learn from each other and compare notes on successes and challenges. Participants highlighted the value of the Minnesota Food Charter to their work and emphasized the importance of partnerships, patience, and a commitment to diversity in order to increase access to healthy foods in their communities.

Groups from Marshall, Mankato, Watonwan County, Martin County, and Faribault County were in attendance. The meet-up was made possible by funding from …

Calibrating for Quality

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

Every year at this time of year, I rack my brain to come up with new ideas for the annual spring ritual I plan for my children: the egg hunt.

What’s ‘Fuhdipper’?

By Darlene Collins, SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator

Holly Hunts, PhD, CFCS, is a consumer economist and professor from Montana State University. She has been working with the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR, pronounced fuh-DIP-er), commonly called “commodities.”

The FDPIR food package is put together by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This monthly package gets high scores on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI). HEI is a measure of diet quality that assesses conformance to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Because the high scores seemed unusual compared to the scores for the average American diet and the average diet of SNAP participants, Hunts decided to take a closer look. What she found out was very interesting.

Extension Releases Power of Produce Club Toolkit

By Jessica Norman, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition, and Andrew Doherty, SNAP-Ed Educator

We are pleased to announce that the Power of Produce (PoP) Club Toolkit is now available!

The (PoP) Club is a farmers market incentive program for children. Each week that a participating farmers market is open, children receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The intent of the program is engage children at farmers markets and empower them to make healthful food choices.
University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development is offering a free PoP Club Toolkit for farmers markets and partnering organizations. The toolkit provides all the materials and resources needed to plan, implement, and evaluate a PoP Club program. To access the PoP Club Toolkit, complete the registration form on this web page: