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UW Extension Food Team, ACRES Student Farm Grow Partnership

December 23, 2020

A unique partnership was formed between University of Wyoming Extension’s nutrition and food safety (NFS) team and ACRES Student Farm on the UW campus during a time of lockdowns.

ACRES Manager David Burton wasn’t able to host in-person workshops due to COVID-19. When he stumbled across the NFS team’s Facebook Live videos, he thought a webinar series would fill the education outreach void.

Burton asked NFS educator Denise Smith, of Niobrara County, if a food preservation video series could be done for the ACRES student group.

“I did five food preservation videos and, throughout the summer, he made those available to the student group to watch so they would know how to preserve some of the foods they were growing in the gardens,” Smith says.

Burton asked again this fall if the NFS team could create a video series on basic food preparation skills for college students.

Smith created seven videos, and Vicki Hayman, Weston County NFS educator, created two videos. The videos focused on topics including how to use a microwave, cooking in a skillet, making ramen healthier and basic knife skills. They were shared on Facebook pages of the ACRES Student Farm, Associated Students of UW and NFS.

“The students seem to like the videos,” Burton says.

Smith says the team will create more videos in January, to be released throughout the spring semester, based on how to make winter comfort foods, such as chili, easy homemade bread, Instant Pot recipes, quick bread and more.

“I appreciate nutrition and food safety’s partnership with ACRES, and I look forward to doing another webinar series in the spring with them,” Burton says.

The partnership wasn’t one-sided. Burton also created two bulletins for NFS about seasonal produce and how to use some of the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.

“ACRES typically runs a community-supported agricultural program (CSA), and one of the issues that occurs with CSAs is people may not know how to cook with the produce they receive,” Burton says. “So, creating flyers on how to cook with or preserve the food becomes important in the effectiveness of the CSA, because we don’t want people to throw away the food we’ve spent so much time and effort on to grow.”

Smith says NSF reached a new audience it never would have thought to reach before, and Burton has helped add valuable information to the NSF website.

“It has been a win-win partnership,” Smith says.

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