Hands putting two puzzle pieces together

UW Extension food team, UW ACRES student farm grow partnership

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

ACRES manager David Burton wasn’t able to host in-person workshops due to COIVID-19. When he stumbled across the nutrition and food safety (NFS) team’s Facebook Live videos, he thought a webinar series would fill the education outreach void.

Portrait of woman
Denise Smith, nutrition and food safety educator in Niobrara County.

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,” said Smith.

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 like how to use a microwave, cooking in a skillet, making ramen healthier, basic knife skills and others.

They were shared on ACRES Student Farms and Associated Students of the University of Wyoming and the NFS Facebook pages.

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

Smith said they will create more videos this January to be released throughout the spring semester based on how to make winter comfort foods, like chili, easy homemade bread, Instapot 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,” said Burton.

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,” said Burton. “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 shared they reached a new audience they never would have thought to reach before, and Burton has helped them add valuable information on their website.

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

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