Agriculture and Food

Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply

Registration Open: Let’s Talk GMOs Online Course

let's talk GMOs text on blue and green background

 

 

Are you confused or do you have questions about GMOs?

Do you feel inadequate when discussing GMOs?

Are you given opposing information of GMOs and not sure what is right?

Do you wonder how the misinformation about GMOs spreads like a wildfire?

 

 

UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is offering a new online course, Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages. This course introduces participants to the basics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They will learn how to create consistent communication messages and manage dialogue processes about GMOs with various audiences. The synchronous course begins on February 2, 2021; it has six online modules and three optional virtual sessions with instructors. The optional sessions are on February 9th, 16th, and 23rd at 3 PM EST. The introductory cost is $150. Registration for the course is available at http://bit.ly/LetsTalkGMOs-Register.

Most people have an emotional reaction to GMOs. They either love them or hate them. The majority already have an opinion about GMOs when the topic comes up. Extension educators, land-grant communicators, and agricultural producers will be comfortable sharing science-based information with their audiences after completing this course. Our role is to provide unbiased information that helps our audience form their own opinion and share their information in a non-confrontational manner.

Participants in the course will learn more about the science of GMOs and how to talk about GMOs in small group sessions where those in the dialogue have differing opinions of GMOs. The course instructors and their modules are:

  • Robert Bird, a professor of business law in the Department of Marketing, presents the module on how misinformation spreads.
  • Bonnie Burr, the department head of Extension, presents the modules on public policy and GMOs, and difficult conversations.
  • Stacey Stearns, a program specialist with UConn Extension presents, the module on communication messages you can use and is the course facilitator.
  • Cindy Tian, a biotechnology professor in the Department of Animal Science, presents modules on the history of GMOs and dialogue management.

There are brief introductory and course wrap-up modules in addition to the six core modules. The first three modules take approximately one hour each. Participants should expect to spend two hours on the last three modules.

Registration for the course is available at http://bit.ly/LetsTalkGMOs-Register or you can email Stacey.Stearns@uconn.edu for more information.

Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages is an initiative of the GMO Working Group in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. The group has a multi-faceted outreach campaign to educate the public on the science of GMOs, offering background on the diverse application of GMOs with research-based consideration of the risks and benefits. Visit https://gmo.uconn.edu/ for additional resources from the team.

Rooting for Winter – Put Local on Your Tray

Are you root-ing for winter?
Winter roots include carrots, beets, potatoes, and more! Click here for ideas on how to incorporate these delicious roots into your meals.

Put Local on Your Tray’s “Root-ing for Winter” campaign is working towards connecting schools with local farmers to increase the incorporation of local root vegetables in school meals.

Click to find additional information and resources

PLOYT winter

 

What is Extension – New Video Released

UConn Extension connects thousands of people across Connecticut and beyond each year, with the research and resources of the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. We are comprised of more than 100 educators and a vast network of volunteers. UConn Extension works collaboratively to build more resilient communities through educational initiatives aimed to cultivate a sustainable future and develop tomorrow’s leaders. The work of UConn Extension connects communities and individuals to help make Connecticut a better place to live, and a better place for future generations.

2021 Vegetable Production Certificate Course

vegetables in a greenhouse with vegetable course text on them lettuce with vegetable course text on it

We’re offering a Vegetable Production Certificate Course, beginning on January 20th 2021. It is a fully online course for new and beginning farmers who have 0-3 years of vegetable growing experience or no formal training in agriculture. The participants will learn answers to the basic questions about farm business planning, planning and preparing for vegetable farm, warm and cool-season vegetable production techniques, season extension, identification of biotic and abiotic issues, and marketing. The price of the course is $149. See the course description here.

Please contact the course coordinator, Shuresh Ghimire (Shuresh.Ghimire@uconn.edu, 860-870-6933) with any questions about this course.

Register Here.

Farm Flavor Magazine Features Extension Programs

group of people in masks at a farm
Commissioner Hurlburt doing farm visits to meet with producers to discuss the challenges they faced.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, farmers urgently needed access to the newest information on government compliance, health protocols, federal aid and more. UConn Extension put together its own website for COVID-19-related information for both farmers and consumers on production, distribution and processing. UConn Extension also responded by organizing an initiative that enlisted UConn 4-H members and volunteers to distribute more than 144,000 pounds of surplus milk and other products from Connecticut dairies to 53 food pantries in the state.

Read the full article and the article on the work our Connecticut Sea Grant program is doing.

Eat SMART in the New Year!

Written by UConn registered dietitian-nutritionist Donna Zigmont, RDN, CD-N

 

Goal Setting graphic
Source: Free goal setting clip art

Every January, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to make positive changes in their lives. After a very difficult 2020 due to COVID-19, we are hopeful that 2021 will be more promising for all of us. Many of us have had to put our own health and well-being on pause during the pandemic due to emotional and financial stress, changes in our routine, loneliness, caring for loved ones, or homeschooling our children.

With the start of a new year, it’s a good time to think about making positive changes to improve our nutritional health.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Focus on making small, doable changes in your habits that you can do over time. This is the best way to change behaviors for the long-term.
  • Write your goals down on a piece of paper (or enter them on your computer, tablet, or Smart phone!). This can improve your chances of reaching your goals. It’s like making a personal contract with yourself!
  • bullseye target and goalsEnlist the support of family and friends. Sharing your goals with others makes your goals more concrete or real. Plus, family and friends can provide you with encouragement and help motivate you to reach your goals.
  • Use SMART goals to maximize your success.

What is a SMART goal? SMART goals are much more than simply stating something you want to accomplish. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based.

  • fruitsSpecific – Make sure your goals are very specific, rather than general, in terms of what you want to accomplish. Instead of saying “I will eat healthier,” be more specific as to how you will eat healthier, such as “I will eat more fruits and veggies.”
  • Measurable  Have a way to track and measure your success to know if you’ve met your goals. Include numbers whenever possible! Are you working on trying to eat more whole grains? Set a measurable goal such as “I will eat at least one serving of whole grains daily.”
  • Achievable – Set goals that are realistic – goals you can achieve without setting the bar too high. If you typically eat donuts every day of the week, are you realistically going to be able to give them up altogether? Nor should you. Make a starting goal to cut back on eating donuts to 3 days a week, eventually eating donuts only as a special treat
  • calendarRelevant  Make sure you are working on a goal that makes sense to you and fits in with your other goals. If you’re not motivated to work on including more low-fat dairy foods in your diet, select a different goal to work on.
  • Time-Bound  Set a target date to achieve your goal. Again, use numbers here! Such as, “I will eat seafood at least once a week this month.”

Here are more examples of SMART goals:

“I will eat a piece of fruit for a snack 4 days out of the week for the next 2 weeks.”

“I will try a new recipe with beans this week.”

“I will fill half my plate with veggies at dinner 4 nights this week.”

“I will drink 8 ounces of water with each meal this week.”

“I will try 2 new whole grains this week, like barley and quinoa.”

Now you try it! Record one SMART goal you want to focus on. Check to see that it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive. Ask yourself: What specific part of my diet will I work on first? How will I track and measure my success? Can I realistically achieve this goal? Is it relevant to me and am I motivated to make this change? What is the short-term time frame I will work on this goal? This week, the next 2 weeks, this month?

Once you reach your goal, set another SMART goal to work on. Before you know it, your small changes will add up to HUGE results!

Make it a goal to try a plant-based, meatless meal this week!

Veggie Pizza Pita Pockets – Makes 1 Serving

Ingredients
Veggie Pizza Pita Pockets1 pita, whole wheat (or use whole wheat English muffin)
4 Tbs. tomato sauce, unsalted
4 Tbs. shredded mozzarella cheese, part-skim
2 of the following vegetables: (or use more to increase your veggies!) green & red peppers, sliced mushrooms, chopped broccoli, chopped red onion, chopped spinach

Instructions

  1. Spread tomato sauce on pita.
  2. Sprinkle various chopped vegetable over sauce.
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top of vegetables.
  4. Microwave 35-45 seconds or broil in oven until cheese melts. Slice in half, let cool, and enjoy!​

One Skillet Meal – Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

One Skillet Meal1 package broccoli (10 ounces, frozen, can also use mustard greens, collard greens or spinach)

2 cans stewed tomatoes, low sodium (about 30 ounces)

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 can white beans (15 ounces, rinsed and drained)

Pepper, oregano, basil, or hot pepper (other spices to taste)

Directions

  1. Steam greens in the stewed tomatoes using a small pan, pot, or electric skillet on medium-high heat.
  2. Cook greens 10 to 20 minutes, until they are as soft as you like them. Stir gently.
  3. Add the rice, canned beans, and seasonings; cook until heated through.

For more tasty, low-cost recipes visit Healthy Family CT Recipes:  https://communitynutrition.cahnr.uconn.edu/recipes/

UConn SNAP-Ed logoThis material was funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This institution is an equal opportunity employer.

 

Women in Livestock Business: Marketing for Profit [Online]

New England Women in Livestock Business Winter Virtual Conference

Want to fine-tune your marketing and financial management skills and build a more resilient livestock farm business? Join us for three afternoons in February to learn, network, and share ideas with regional specialists and fellow women livestock farmers. This conference is intended for New England women livestock producers of all experience levels. Breaks and opportunities to network will be provided throughout the day and sessions will be recorded and shared. This is all for free, all you have to do is register.  Link to join the meeting will be sent upon registration.

Tuesday, Feb. 2. 12-3 pm. Mind Your Business: On the first day, we’ll kick-off with a Keynote and dig into details about financial management, learn how to analyze and use your records to make decisions, how to successfully work and talk with grant and loan agencies, and break out your numbers to gain tips to analyze the profitability of your products.

  • Keynote Speaker Author, Consultant, Coach, Rebecca Thistlethwaite: “This Is Our Moment: How Small & Mid-Scale Livestock Producers Can Thrive in 2021”

Wednesday, Feb. 3. 12-3 pm. Strengthen Your Markets: On day two we’ll discuss ideas for how you can strengthen, pivot, or develop your marketing plan. How are you communicating with customers in a virtual world? What strategies have you developed to target your customers, tell your story, and get your products to people? What can we do to amplify quality products, from the farm to the table?

  • Matt Leroux, Agriculture Marketing Consultant: “Strategic Marketing”, learn how a focused strategy and specific efforts can reduce your marketing labor needs and make every step count.
  • Dahlia Dill, Chandler Pond Farm, VT: “What works for you? Communication Through Social Media”

Thursday, Feb. 4. 12-3 pm. Innovation and Collaboration: We’ll focus on innovative ways producers in the region have successfully found their niche for selling meat and milk. We’ll also discuss some of the challenges producers have faced in 2020 in marketing their products and how collaborating for cooperative marketing might work in favor of the typical New England livestock producer. Day three will be closed with a final Keynote to send participants home with motivation and food for thought.

  • Producer Panel: Innovative Ways to Sell Meat and Milk
  • Producer Panel: Collaborating for Cooperative Marketing

Demand for local livestock products is booming this year, don’t miss out on this opportunity to take a look at your business and see how you can better attain your financial goals through strategic marketing that is suited to your business.

When you register for this conference, you will be eligible to participate in part-three of the New England Women in Livestock Business which includes field days in the spring/summer to see other New England farms who are selling in innovative ways and producing top-quality products using sustainable practices,  meet your fellow participants, and learn how you can strengthen your livestock farm business to also be resilient and sustainable!

     

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588.  This program is in partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension, UVM Extension, UMaine Cooperative Extension, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and The Tri-State SARE Project.

Cost: Free!

Click Here to Register

Original Post