We recently received this report from Kari Bachman at New Mexico State University Extension about an event hosted by extension agents at a gathering in New Mexico. This was a great idea that would be fun to replicate as a family education night!
On September 27, 2011, 40 Extension family and consumer sciences agents from around the country rolled their sleeves up and prepared a New Mexican feast. The agents were part of a group of 800 who had descended on Albuquerque for the annual meeting of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS). In this in-depth session, eight groups of five prepared two or three healthy dishes under the expert tutelage of ICAN paraprofessional nutrition educator from New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. By the end, the participants had sampled and discussed 20 different dishes, including a salad made with prickly pear pads, posole, chile relleno casserole, and empanadas. The agents left the session with their own supplies of Mexican oregano and dried red and green chile, guaranteeing that they could satisfy their new cravings for spicy food back home.
Such hands-on food preparation activities are a hallmark of NMSU’s nutrition education programs, which include The OrganWise Guys, SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, and the Kitchen Creations diabetes cooking schools. By preparing and tasting healthy versions of traditional favorites, youth and adults gain enthusiasm for improving their cooking and eating habits.
Thanks to Kari and her team for all their work to raise a healthy generation of kids in New Mexico and to Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico for their generous funding that makes so much of this possible! If you’d like some sample recipes, just email Kathryn!