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Simply Good Cooking

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Extension educators developed the Simply Good Cooking (SGC) curriculum with participants' preferences in mind.

Two female participants prep mushrooms.

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The Simply Good Cooking curriculum embraces hands-on activities and interactive learning theory.

Health and Nutrition programming reaches audiences that are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We listened to them when they said they preferred to learn about nutrition through hands-on cooking in a fun, social, and interactive setting. And we developed and piloted a curriculum with over 20 lesson choices to meet their needs.

Featured Partner: VEAP

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VEAP: Meeting Basic Needs. Building Stronger Communities.
"I know firsthand that VEAP is a place that offers help and hope," says Rick Rector of Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP). Rick is a champion at inspiring his co-workers to give back through VEAP, an organization that provides a range of services to help low-income people meet immediate needs and reach long-term stability.

Rick says his approach is simple: "Let's do a food drive and have some fun at the same time."

VEAP's hundreds of volunteers work in the food pantry and warehouse, perform administrative duties, greet clients, transport the elderly to medical appointments, plan special events -- the list goes on. With incentives like wearing jeans to work and catered lunches, Rick's team of co-workers collected more than 18,000 items in their first back to school drive and 800 pounds of food in a period of just a couple months. Rick's boss appreciates the positive impact his efforts have had on the company, improving overall morale among employees.

But Rick's VEAP story began long before the food drives. When the perfect storm of divorce and unemployment hit Rick a number of years ago, he struggled to meet the needs of his family. Then he saw a poster for VEAP.

CNE Deb Dilley at the Boys and Girls Club

Bemidji, MN - The Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area held the 4th annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 10th at the Club. This event is a celebration of family and food. Eighty-three Club, family and community members were fed a meal made primarily from fresh produce from the Club's garden-high tunnel. The garden is now in its 9th growing season and first full season for the high tunnel.

Deb Dilley, a community nutrition educator, spent on average 3 afternoons per week alongside the Club members throughout the gardening season planting, weeding, harvesting and teaching about food nutrition and preparation. Deb organized the harvest dinner using fresh produce from the garden-high tunnel with the help of Club members, volunteers and staff. Club members dedicated to managing the garden throughout the season assisted in meal preparation and serving. High tunnel tours were given throughout the evening. Pumpkins donated by Terry Nennich were also given away to attendees.

I CAN Prevent Diabetes!

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Dawson ICPD2 cropped.jpgCommunity Nutrition Educator Lynn Lokken helps folks in Dawson, MN make lifestyle changes. And she's not alone.

Four CNEs, trained as Lifestyle Coaches in the Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes© (I CAN Prevent Diabetes or ICPD) program, are teaching classes for people at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

These classes are part of the Western Minnesota ICPD pilot project that launched this February. ICPD's evidence-based curriculum helps participants improve food choices and increase physical activity.

Understanding the ways we are making a difference

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Full length of Rosie

Who we are and what we do are relevant in the lives of over 70,000 Minnesotans. School-aged children to older adults connect with our county-based Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs). Together, they engage in one of 4,000+ interactive, research-based educational offerings annually through the SNAP-Ed program. Our program aims to improve the health and well-being of our participants by developing positive attitudes and skills around healthy food and lifestyle choices.

In order to understand the program effects and determine its impact, in 2011 we began to explore the program components that contribute to participant change. What are some ways, besides a participant survey, that program impact can be determined? Is our program able to create long term behavior change in those we serve? Can an educational program based on successful nutrition education implementation and programming be helpful in making these long term behavior changes?

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