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Showing posts from March, 2019

Fathers Forever: Minnesota Department of Corrections parenting classes

By Ellie McCann, Extension educator

Five family resiliency Extension educators taught a parenting program at three correctional facilities throughout 2017-2018. Through a 12 session, in person class (2 hours each), 76 fathers completed the full program. Pre and post surveys were administered before and after completion of the program. Session evaluations were also collected that assessed fathers’ experience of each class, what they learned, how they planned to use the information, and what the best part of the class was for them. Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were used to assess pre-post change on the various measures.  

The parenting program attracted a diverse group of participants, representing a range of ages, ethnicity, marital status, and age of children. Of the 121 fathers enrolled, 76% had never taken a parenting class before. This opportunity allowed us to reach a large number of fathers who might never have otherwise signed up for a parenting class. To address this, transition…

Public policy update — State farm to school

By Stephanie Heim, Associate program director (with support from Erin McKee, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)

A farm to school bill (HF811/SF1346) passed a third committee in the Minnesota legislature on Monday. The next step in the legislative process would be inclusion in the agriculture omnibus bill. 

Farm to school and early care has strong bipartisan support. Farm to school benefits urban and rural communities, kids, farmers and communities (Benefits of Farm to School fact sheet). The bill would reimburse schools and early care settings for purchases of local foods (up to a certain amount based on number of meals served). It would also support education around food and farming and expand farm to school and early care practices.

In 2014, after a national conference and as the Minnesota Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network, I began leading state farm to school policy conversations with key partners upon their request. I served as a content expert, convener,…

The big melt

By Jessica Barnes, communications specialist

It is important to be prepared for a disaster and with this month's weather and potential for flooded basements, now is the time to get started. Check out and share this video with tips on how to prepare.

One thing you can do to prepare for and recover from a disaster: create a grab and go file

Lori Hendrickson, Extension educator
We have seen it at every disaster recovery center Extension educators have staffed — people missing necessary records and important papers that could help them in their recovery from a natural disaster. Replacing these important documents takes time and often money that could be used in disaster recovery for other purposes. Everyone tends to think, “This won’t happen to me,” but it could happen to any one of us because disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity over the past decade.

Demystifying school lunches

Andrew Doherty, Extension educator

March is National Nutrition Month. Across Minnesota, University of Minnesota Extension is working with schools to support the continued success of the National School Lunch Program, from providing support for Farm-to-School programs, to training opportunities for Smarter Lunchrooms, to connecting the food served at lunch to the nutrition it provides through education in the classroom.

Welcome Diane Ruonavaara, opioid grant (SAMHSA) team member

On March 4, Diane Ruonavaara joined Extension Center for Family Development as the program coordinator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration Rural Opioid Technical Assistant Grant (SAMSHA ROTA). Diane retired from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2017. Prior to retiring she was the program manager for the Tanzania Partnership Program (TPP) at MSU from 2009-2017. TPP works with marginalized communities in rural Tanzania to promote resilient communities and sustainable prosperity using participatory and appreciative approaches. TPP focuses on improving water access and quality, human and animal health, education, and community empowerment. From 2000-2008, Diane worked as an evaluation and grant-writing specialist with MSU Extension and contributed to the internationalization of Extension at MSU and nationally. Diane has 16 years of experience in international community development, participatory research, and evaluation of Extension and rural projects. She …