Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

Often times, it is not a high priority for seed companies to engage with or consider the unique needs and preferences of organic farmers and their customers during the plant breeding process. To ensure success, organic farmers need varieties bred under organic conditions in order to select for traits including weed competitiveness, disease resistance, organic nutrient management and stress tolerance.

 

Organic customers demand superior flavor and culinary attributes and have an appreciation for uniqueness, quality and novelty. Incorporating chefs, farmers, produce buyers and other stakeholders into the plant breeding process gives breeders deeper insight into preferred traits. It also promotes awareness and understanding of organic plant breeding to a broader audience.

 

In 2012, the Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) was formed to convene breeders and these stakeholders to discuss and identify traits of culinary excellence for vegetables and grains. The Variety Showcase is an annual CBN event. Its goal is to increase communication in order to develop more relevant and desirable cultivars for all parties. Attendees have the opportunity to taste commercially available cultivars, provide feedback on breeding populations, and exchange ideas and perspectives with breeders.

 

OSU faculty involved in CBN include:

 

  • Nick Andrews, Senior Instructor and Small Farms Extension Educator
  • Pat Hayes, Professor, Barley Breeding & Products, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jim Myers, Professor, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Heidi Noordijk, Education Program Assistant—Small Farms
  • Lane Selman, Faculty Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Alex Stone, Associate Professor, Horticulture Extension – Vegetable Cropping Specialist

 

Impact

 

Community partnerships are essential to the success of the CBN and the Variety Showcase. Partners include: Organically Grown Company, Oregon Tilth and The Sage Restaurant Group.

 

Event attendance has more than tripled from 2014 to 2016 and attendees have been exposed to more than 150 commercially available cultivars and 135 breeding lines of vegetables and grains. Seed companies report significant sales increases because of the Variety Showcase events. Creating a venue for the interactive exchange of specific needs has resulted in a greater understanding of what consumers want from breeders. For all other participants, the event creates a greater understanding of the important role breeders play in the food we eat.

 

Engaging with chefs and buyers through qualitative sensory evaluations like the Variety Showcase to assess cultivars and breeding lines sets this work apart from standard quantitative sensory panels.

 

The Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence Honorary Mention on April 17, 2017.

Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon. Photo: Ashlei Edgemon.

Designed to meet various community needs, Alternative Break trips meet community needs while providing compelling learning and civic leadership development opportunities for students.

 

In June 2016, nine students and one staff member worked with the Warm Springs Extension Office and nine community partners on several environmental, cultural, and health and well-being projects during a week-long Warm Springs-based learning trip sponsored by OSU’s Center for Civic Engagement.

 

The students participated in community-based service learning to gain increased cultural understanding and intercultural connections, complete projects that met community-identified needs, and explore policy issues impacting the Warm Springs community. In total, the group contributed 78 service hours and participated in 176 educational hours. Projects included assisting in landscaping work, invasive species removal, and grass planting.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper

“I have formed new relationships with incredible people, have been inspired to be more independent, walked away with knowledge about life on reservations, and a commitment to make a positive influence in my community.” Student quote

 

Through educational sessions, community events and direct service work, the group explored cultural programming and events, tribal policy and governance, community services and resources, education, healthcare, and hydroelectric energy that all impact the cultural preservation and celebration and health and well-being of the Warm Springs area.

 

“The trip reinforced my desire to work in public health and brought to light more public health disparities than I was aware of prior to embarking on the trip. [It also] increased my awareness of the health needs of tribal communities.” Student quote

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Clearing ground and planting grass seed at the Museum at Warm Springs. Photo: Julianna Cooper.

Educational sessions covered a wide range of topics related to tribal life, challenges, and solutions. The group discovered various factors impacting community health and well-being in Warm Springs by exploring elements of food sourcing, tribal ceremonies, community and cultural activities, and outdoor recreation.  The group visited extensively with faculty and staff at the Warm Springs Extension Office to learn about the services and programs put on by OSU Extension for the community and the role of OSU Extension in the Warm Springs community.

 

“I’ve been impacted immensely by this trip. I always knew I wanted to do community work no matter what field I ended up in, but seeing it with my own eyes really solidified my future plans for a career in activism.” Student quote

 

Students also learned about Native traditions, customs, the history of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Pauite tribes and the Treaty of 1855 through their conversations with tribal members and visiting the Museum at Warm Springs. By spending time with tribal members, trip participants explored and learned about the tribal customs and issues impacting tribal communities today through personal narrative and story sharing.

 

OSU units, tribal government agencies, and local nonprofits are all a part of this program to co-create environments for students to learn about social issues and contribute to addressing community needs each year. Partnerships are foundational to this program, the content is cross-disciplinary (public health, ethnic studies, environmental science, education), and the result is transformational learning for OSU students.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper.

“I am amazed, intrigued, and humbled. I will forever hope to continue to grow and open my mind in the way I did on this trip.” Student quote

 

Community Partners

 

Creating the Alternative Break program relies on community and staff partnerships to co-create experiences that are rewarding for the students and valued by the Warm Springs:

 

  • Carol Leone, Executive Director, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Tamera Moody, Education Coordinator, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Kacey Conyers, Community Health Dietitian, Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center
  • Alyssa Macy, Chief Operations Manager, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Jefferson Greene, Director of Youth Development, Warm Springs Culture & Heritage
  • Jim Manion, General Manager, Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises
  • Ken Kippley, Tribal Police Officer, Warm Springs Police Department
  • Frank Smith (Footer), Elder, Tribal member
  • Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement, Oregon State University
  • Rosanna Sanders, OFNEP Nutrition Education Program Assistant , OSU
  • Beth Ann Beamer, County Leader at Warm Springs Extension, Family & Community Health Coordinator, OSU

 

The Warm Springs Student Alternative Break Program will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence on April 17, 2017.

 Adapted by Ann Marie Murphy from an Oregon EFNEP impact report and a national EFNEP website

 

2015 EFNEP Impacts, pg 1

Chronic disease and poor health disproportionately affects minority and low-income audiences. Since 1969, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has successfully addressed critical societal concerns by employing paraprofessional staff and influencing nutrition and physical activity behaviors of low-income families, particularly those with young children. Through a community-based, relationship-driven, hands-on educational approach, EFNEP has directly impacted economic, obesity, and food insecurity challenges that hinder the health and well-being of the U.S.

 

The Sandy Vista Apartments located in Sandy, Ore., are a migrant farmworker community. During the school year, EFNEP Extension educators provide a series of nutrition education classes to adults in this Hispanic community and offer several classes to their children during the summer.

 

Two brothers, Juan, a ninth grader, and José in sixth grade (not their real names), asked an EFNEP Extension educator for a series of classes for older youth. The boys wanted to learn to cook to help their family improve their eating habits and so they themselves could lose weight. They have three younger siblings, their diabetic father spends all his time working, and their mother, who has high cholesterol, only speaks an indigenous dialect, not Spanish.

 

In response to their request, Juan, José and friends received a series of eight Kids in the Kitchen classes. When asked what changes their family has made since taking the classes, Juan and José said their mom no longer cooks with lard, the parents are now buying low-fat yogurt and milk, and their father now understands that he needs to change his eating habits by cutting down on soda and tortillas.

 

Both Juan and José have served as Extension volunteers with a younger youth group since bringing their siblings to the course.

 

2015 EFNEP Impacts, pg 2

EFNEP is a Federal Extension (community outreach) program that currently operates through the 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) in every state, the District of Columbia, and the six U.S. territories – American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

 

The program uses a holistic nutrition educational approach. Participation should result in individuals and families experiencing improvements in four core areas:

  • Diet quality and physical activity
  • Food resource management
  • Food safety
  • Food security
Based on a blog post by Hayden Bush

 

Editor’s note: Powerful partnerships are growing across Oregon’s landscape and the Partners for Rural Innovation Center is a prime example. Collaborations are focused on building community vitality in Tillamook County by supporting “innovation, entrepreneurship, job readiness and post-secondary degree attainment for citizens of Tillamook county. It is a shared commitment and investment in long-term economic vitality and the educational needs of Tillamook County.” (Source: Tillamook Bay Community College) As Scott Reed, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement and director OSU Extension Service, says: True partnerships create what cannot be done otherwise. The opening of the facility will be celebrated March 6, 2017.

The Third Street corridor of Tillamook has a different landscape, thanks to an exciting partnership of community groups.  The Partners for Rural Innovation Center is an 11,000 square foot, multi-use facility housing OSU Open Campus, OSU Extension Service, Tillamook Bay Community College’s Agriculture and Natural Resources degree program, the Small Business Development Center, Tillamook County Economic Development Center, and the Visit Tillamook Coast tourism team.

The project was funded by a matching bond from the Oregon state legislature, a variety of grants, and local community donations.

The Partners for Rural Innovation Center will help small businesses in Tillamook County thrive by fostering a more deliberate team effort between the Small Business Development Center, OSU Open Campus, and OSU Extension. Business owners who are seeking technical advice and assistance with growth opportunities, and help with agronomic and production practices will be able to find answers and support in one location.

Central to serving citizens will be a large classroom space for students in 4-H youth programs, community education, and post-secondary learning. Additionally, the space will serve as a community convening space for after-hours activities. The facility boasts a computer lab designed to assist students completing distance education though OSU.  The Open Campus education coordinator mentors citizens striving to further their education.  In addition, the Juntos program offers new and unique opportunities to serve our county’s Latino population.

Read more about OSU Open Campus  the by visiting the Open Campus blog and website.

Based on a press release by , Oregon Sea Grant
Joe Phillips, of fishing vessel Triggerfish, shows off an albacore tuna during Oregon Sea Grant’s Shop on the Dock tour in Newport.

Engagement takes many forms, and in this case wears the dual banners of education and economic development.

In Newport, Ore., Oregon Sea Grant created a consumer seafood education and shopping program called Shop on the Dock.

Shop on the Dock is an opportunity for coastal visitors and residents to learn what seafood is in season on the Oregon coast, meet the people who catch the fish and learn how to tell when the seafood they buy is of high quality. Oregon Sea Grant staff lead the tours, describe the fisheries and help those who want to navigate the process.

The 90-minute tours have taken place for the past four years on several dates in July and August. The tours are free and on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours again will be offered in 2017.

Those who plan to buy seafood direct from the fishermen are asked bring cash and a cooler with ice. Comfortable shoes with good traction are important, as the tours cover some distance on working commercial fishing docks.

Newport-based Kaety Jacobson, a Sea Grant fisheries specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, compares the tours to “going down to the docks with a friend who knows the seafood – and knows the fishermen.”

Don’t forget about the Oregon Sea Grant app called Oregon’s Catch. The app identifies locations along the entire Oregon coast where people can buy fresh and frozen seafood caught by Oregon fishermen.

Jeff Sherman and Lindsey Shirley
Photo and video by Jill Wells

Community vitality and whiteboarding—yes, it is a real verb—come together in the February First Monday Video. Lindsey Shirley, associate provost of University Outreach and Engagement and associate director of OSU Extension Service, and Jeff Sherman, assistant director of University Outreach and Engagement, demonstrate their collective innovation and problem-solving process. They want your input into their community vitality process and outcome.

Share the projects and ideas you are whiteboarding, or invite Jeff and Lindsey to join you in a whiteboard session, in the comment section below.

The University Outreach and Engagement blog features stories about the vast variety of ways OSU and OSU Extension Service offer meaningful outreach and engagement to support healthy communities, healthy planet and a healthy economy.

 

Written by Amy Jo Detweiler, associate professor, Horticulture Faculty for Central Oregon

 

Codling moth damage in Gravenstein apples. By Richard Wilde via Wikimedia Commons

Edible landscaping and backyard food production continues to gain popularity with gardeners. With this trend, there has been an increasing number of people inquiring about control of their “wormy apples” (a.k.a. codling moth) in Central Oregon.

Codling moth is not only a pest of apple and pear trees in Central Oregon, it is a serious pest on both a statewide and national level for backyard and commercial fruit tree growers.

One of the most critical components for effectively managing this pest is timing . . . and the use of integrated pest management strategies (IPM).

In an effort to help clients with management decisions, Project Happy Apples was initiated in 2015 (a soft launch) and officially launched in 2016.   A Project Happy Apples website was setup, which includes a place for clients to opt-in to receive timely emails for codling moth management specific to Central Oregon.

Project Happy Apples emails include timely photos and suggestions for various kinds of research-based management. Emails also contain simple instructions on exactly when to do what, a supplies list, associated costs, and where to buy supplies locally, or online. Suggested management strategies include both organic and more traditional types of management so that clients can make informed decisions. All of the email notes are available with additional pest information on the Project Happy Apples website.

Currently, three hundred gardeners receive the emails. A survey was sent to clients in December to assess the value of the project and measure impact. Ideally clients will make informed decisions that will allow them to be more effective in controlling the pest, reduce or eliminate pesticide use, and produce edible apples and pears. They will also be taking an active role in suppressing the pest population statewide in an effort to protect the commercial tree fruit industry in Oregon.

 

Written by Pat Kight and Tiffany Woods for Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Confluence

 

[Editor’s note: Involving youth and teachers in citizen science evolves into interests in natural resource careers, stronger connections to the natural world, and fuller student experiences. Oregon Sea Grant offers many opportunities for citizen scientists, as this story exemplifies, and it also exemplifies community engagement.]

 

A dozen fourth- and fifth-grade Girl Scouts splash in the shade-dappled shallows of Rock Creek, southwest of Corvallis, trying to scoop up tiny aquatic insects with small dip nets and deposit them into plastic dish tubs.

They’re learning about their watershed—and getting a taste of what it’s like to be a scientist—thanks to Oregon Sea Grant’s StreamWebs program.

The statewide program provides educators with field equipment, data sheets, lesson plans and training so they can teach students how to collect data about the health of waterways. It also provides an online database where students can enter and analyze the information they gathered.

“What’s special about StreamWebs is it’s a way for teachers to extend students’ field experience into the classroom,” said the program’s coordinator, Renee O’Neill.

Between August 2014 and July 2015, more than 350 students participated in the program and more than 70 educators were trained on how to use the resources that StreamWebs provides, O’Neill said. During that same period, StreamWebs loaned scientific testing equipment 650 times to educators.

The equipment, contained in plastic totes, can be checked out online and picked up from the Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) office in Corvallis or the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Each tote—called a kit—addresses specific learning objectives.There’s a kit with equipment to measure the temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen of water. There’s another with measuring tapes, ropes and soil augers so kids can document the vegetation in a designated space and characterize the soil along riparian areas. Tubs of rubber boots and clipboards can even be checked out.

Lesson plans and handouts for recording data are available on the StreamWebs website, as are two new videos produced by OSG that show how to use the kits for studying water quality and macroinvertebrates.

The kit the girls at Rock Creek are using is the one for collecting macroinvertebrates, such as caddisflies, mayflies, crayfish, snails and water striders. The girls are being instructed by Guillermo Giannico, a fish ecology and watershed specialist with OSG Extension and a researcher with Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. They bring their catch to a card table propped among the streambank rocks, and use hand lenses and an identification sheet to name what they’ve caught.

“I got a stonefly nymph,” one girl exclaims, pointing at the tiny animal’s distinctive tail appendages—and then: “I got another stonefly! I am the queen of stoneflies!”

Once back at a computer, students can upload their findings onto the StreamWebs website so that they and others—including the public—can analyze the health of various watersheds over time.

“The site makes it more like doing real- life science,” said Emmet Whittaker, a science teacher at Lebanon High School who uses StreamWebs in his classroom. “[Students] see how the data can be used over time [and] how they can be shared with other scientists.”

On the website, an interactive map of the state pinpoints where data have been collected. For example, clicking on the pinpoint for D River shows that students at Taft High School in Lincoln City recorded an average pH of 5.9 on Nov. 18, 2014, and 6.76 on May 23, 2016. Site names are also listed alphabetically from Agate Beach to the Zigzag River.

Since the program’s inception, 850 people have created accounts on the website, O’Neill said. Between August 2015 and July 2016, about 120 people contributed data, 503 data sheets were uploaded, and 41 new locations were entered, she said.

 

Based on a press release written by Kym Pokorny, August 2016, and edited by Ann Marie Murphy

 

Morghan Gifford forgoes unhealthy food for watermelon after helping to promote healthy snacks. Photo: Kelly McLaughlin.

My best friend and I would head to her house after school for a clandestine snack: a frozen Twinkie –maybe an occasional Ding Dong – and grape juice. Neither were in my family’s pantry, so it always felt like an extra special treat. 4-H kids in Union County would not approve of my youthful snacking habits and they likely would try to persuade the younger me to switch to healthier foods.

As part of a project for their 4-H club called Students Now Advocating to Create (Healthy Snacking) Zones, or SNACZ, club members wanted to create healthy “snack zones.” The students worked with six “corner stores” to have some chips, candy and other high-fat, high-sugar foods replaced with nutritious foods.

The SNACZ program provides youth with leadership opportunities. In the process, the kids:

  • Promote healthy snacking among their peers and parents
  • Advocate for changes in school policies and practices to support healthy snacking
  • Collaborate with local food store owners to promote healthy snacks in the stores

“In light of the obesity and diabetes crisis in this country, we felt like this was an important role for the kids to play, especially in our rural communities,” said David Melville, Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H program coordinator in Union County.

The kids, who are in fourth through eighth grade, work with their schools to encourage healthy snacks at fundraisers, classroom parties and concession stands. Unlike school cafeterias, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks in Schools nutrition guidelines don’t apply to those situations.

Led by 4-H leaders and program staff, the students spoke to teachers, store owners and at school board meetings to get the project up and running. They promoted the program with coupons, tastings, giveaways and contests.

“We wanted to be involved, to do something for the kids’ sake,” said Robbyn Ludwig, co-owner of Elgin Store where one of the SNACZ zones was installed. “A lot of junk goes out with kids, so it’s nice to have the stores involved in trying to get them to eat healthier.”

Nancy Findholt, professor at the Oregon Health & Science University school of nursing, has been researching the factors that influence childhood obesity in Union County for 12 years. She’s found that the corner stores, which are close to schools, were frequently visited by students during breaks and after school to buy unhealthy snacks.

“Schools and nearby stores have a strong influence on kids’ eating habits, said Findholt, who heads up the project that’s funded by a grant through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “We wanted to turn it around and make those habits healthy, so we decided to get the kids involved in outreach and try to bring about changes.”

Snacking has become increasingly common among children. In the 1970s, children consumed an average of one snack a day, according to Findholt. Today, they are consuming nearly three snacks a day, and snacking now accounts for about 27 percent of children’s daily calories. Not all snacking is bad, though. Young children should eat small amounts throughout the day to keep up their energy level. The same holds true for active older children.

“Unfortunately, most of the snack foods and beverages that children consume are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, but low in in nutrients,” Melville said.

Though she is in the earlier stages of measuring the program’s impact, Findholt has already found promising results. Surveys of teachers showed a trend toward healthier snacks as classroom rewards, and their knowledge of nutrition has increased compared to schools in a control group

“We were hoping to see improvements in classroom rewards, but hadn’t anticipated the effect on teachers’ nutrition knowledge,” she said. “It was exciting to see that teachers had learned about nutrition from their students’ advocacy efforts.”

Healthy snacks are promoted by Union County elementary and middle school students in Cove, Elgin, Imbler, North Powder and Union. The program wraps up this summer.

Adapted by Ann Marie Murphy

 

cc-graduation
Left to right: OSU President Ed Ray, Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Elfering and Association of Oregon Counties Executive Director Mike McArthur. Photo was taken at the 2013 County College graduation ceremony that took place at the AOC annual conference.

The Oregon State University Extension Service, in partnership with the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC), once again has put together a series of courses to assist Oregon’s commissioners, judges and other elected officials in learning the ins and outs of county government.

County College is a bi-annual continuing education opportunity for county commissioners and other county elected officials. Beginning in 2006, OSU Extension and the Association of Oregon Counties have designed the program to help newly elected and experienced county officials successfully navigate government systems, issues and programs.

Developed at the request of commissioners wanting a comprehensive curriculum dealing with county issues, the course is voluntary and participants receive a certification of completion. The practical outcomes are a better understanding of the responsibilities and legal obligations of elected officials, professional development, increased effectiveness as a leader, and building a network of experts.

County College consists of 18 instructional blocks, each four hours long. At least fifteen blocks must be completed over the course of a year to receive certification. Each session focuses on a different aspect important to the success of county government. Subjects range from the structure of county government, government ethics law, managing and avoiding risks, leadership and management, human services, public safety, county finance and community development to learning about how counties work in partnership with the OSU Extension Service to better serve residents.

The first three-day session will be held at Oregon State University beginning January 19-21. Five additional sessions will to be held throughout the year tentatively scheduled for Salem, Yamhill County and Wasco County.