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New Extension Program Encourages Family Meals

The Family TableEating together as a family has many benefits.

Meals eaten as a family tend to be more healthful. They also give families an opportunity to communicate and strengthen relationships. Plus, teens who eat with their family regularly are less likely to get involved in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs.

On Jan. 1, 2017, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is launching “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect,” a program to provide families with tips, meal plans, recipes and conversation starters to help make family meals happen. The team who developed this program includes Extension food and nutrition and family science specialists.

“The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect” website will provide information on monthly topics, such as meal planning, making mealtime fun, cooking basics, buying nutritious food on a limited budget, getting kids involved in meal preparation, and family fitness. The site also will have links to related events in counties throughout the state.

You’ll be able to sign up for an electronic newsletter with recipes and tips, and follow the program on Facebook for more tips, meal plans and ideas for getting conversations going during family meals.

Visit The Family Table website to learn more.

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NDSU Extension FCS Programs Target Prevention

FCS Prevention Programs WorkHealth and wellness are among the biggest challenges facing North Dakota, as well as the rest of the nation.

North Dakotans’ obesity rates doubled from 12 percent in 1990 to 25 percent in 2005 and rose to more than 27 percent in 2012 (the latest statistics available). More than one-third of North Dakotans have high cholesterol and 29 percent have high blood pressure. Also, more than 72 percent of North Dakotans do not eat fruits and vegetables at the levels health experts recommend, and nearly half don’t get enough physical activity.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service is working to reverse those trends with its family and consumer science (FCS) programs. Extension provides educational FCS programming in three areas - family economics, human development and family science, and nutrition, food safety and health - through Extension FCS agents in 32 counties across the state.

Statistics show Extension’s educational efforts such as the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) are making a difference. These programs help low-resource families and youth make healthful food choices, increase their physical activity, get the most nutritious food for the money they spend on groceries and become savvier about food safety.

NDSU Extension's FCS programs are also making a difference in other areas. Read the full story on our Ag News site.

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Extension Agronomist Helps Ethiopian Farmers

North Dakota State University Extension Service agronomist Hans Kandel, traveled to Ethiopia for 2 1/2 weeks in July to share his technical skills and expertise with local farmers.

“Local farmers are hardworking but lack knowledge about some of the essential principles of farming, for instance the utilization of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, recycling of nutrients and proper plant distribution,” Kandel says.

He represented the NDSU Plant Sciences Department and NDSU Extension Service during his teaching assignment, which was part of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) program that promotes economic growth, food security and agricultural development in East Africa. This is the first time CRS has been involved in the 28-year-old FTF program.

Kandel was able to help up to 140 producers in seven villages. Farmers received training from Kandel on how to utilize manure and compost, and how to use legume inoculation with appropriate bacteria to increase dry bean production and quality.

Kandel also trained 15 agricultural development workers, who will follow up with the farmers who participated in the local training sessions.

To read more about Kandel's work, visit our Ag News site.

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