Hi, I’m Molly Taylor, and I’m finishing up my last two weeks as an Extension intern in Hood River and Wasco counties, working in the Family and Community Health Program. Over the course of my internship, I’ve had many opportunities that have helped me develop skills for my future career, no matter what path I decide to take.  

A woman in a black Food Hero apron stands at a table filled with trail mix ingredients.
Molly Taylor providing DIY trail mix at a day camp in Hood River.

Some of my favorite experiences have been assisting and carrying out a 4-H cooking camp – where I got to do food demonstrations and teach kitchen skills and safety – providing snacks for local day camps and putting together recipe books for the SNAP-Ed program using Food Hero recipes. Throughout all of these experiences I’ve been able to build communication and teaching skills, planning strategies, and problem-solving methods that will benefit me in my future endeavors. 

Over the summer, I’ve enjoyed working with different programs like Family and Community Health, 4-H and Open Campus/Juntos. I’ve been able to see all that Extension does in the community and how it truly makes a difference by getting people involved and excited about learning how to better themselves and the area they live in. Throughout all of these programs, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot with kids and it’s been especially fun to see their excitement to learn and to then take their new knowledge home to their families. This showed that not only do Extension teaching programs support adults who are trying to make a difference, but also has that impact on younger generations which makes a lasting difference.  

With my internship coming to a close, for the last two weeks I will be finishing up the recipe books that will be handed out at local schools in the fall by the SNAP-Ed program in Wasco County and potentially doing something at the Wasco County Fair. I look forward to taking all the things I’ve learned from Extension and applying them to the rest of my schooling and future jobs and leave having an extra appreciation for the work and impact that Extension has on communities like mine.  

Hey there, my name is Molly Benjamin, and I am currently working with the OSU Extension SNAP-Ed program in the OSU Extension office in Eugene. I live here full-time, and I am close to receiving my bachelor’s degree in family and human services from the University of Oregon. I have always been passionate about working with people, but in the last two years I have found a niche that I quite love: cooking, food and nutritional education.

Growing up, cooking has always been close to my heart. My mom went to culinary school and she now runs a catering company, so I was often around to learn and help. Over the years, my interest in cooking has grown exponentially, and I am so thankful that she has gifted me an appreciation for fresh food and taught me just how nourishing it can be to make your own meals. I was much pickier than the kids I have been working with this summer, however. From the ages of 9-16 I turned my nose at things like raw onions, beets and tomatoes. I have been so pleasantly surprised to see how willing the kids have been to try new foods. I think that growing your appreciation for delicious, fresh veggies can open a whole new world of food and remove the negative connotations that children may have with vegetables in particular.

Vegetables in paper containers on a table.
Preparing fresh vegetables to make Farmers Market Salsa at the Bethel Farm Summer Camp.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) has truly been a perfect opportunity to get real-world experience in teaching cooking lessons and the importance of eating a diverse and nutritious diet. So far, my fellow intern Ivan Gonzales and I have worked for a few weeks at the Bethel Farm Summer Camp, and I recently finished teaching at Riverbend Elementary School in Springfield. I loved the opportunity to teach knife skills, measuring techniques, and food etiquette because I believe they are lifetime skills. After working at the Bethel Farm Summer Camp, the leader Jessica told us that multiple parents had reported that their kids showed more interest in cooking and trying new foods. That alone was so gratifying to hear!

I loved working with Extension this summer, and I hope to find some good ideas for next year’s interns!

My name is Ivan Gonzales, and I am an intern this summer in the OSU Extension SNAP-Ed program in the Extension office in Lane County. I am majoring in family human services at the University of Oregon in Eugene. I am 21 and have recently discovered a passion for healthy living. I love getting my daily physical activity though a variety of different activities and I even teach physical education through the YMCA. I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years for health, ethical, and environmental reasons.

Two people standing in the shade at an outdoor work station
Ivan Gonzalez (left) and fellow intern Molly Benjamin.

There are very clear expectations about how to present and perform at this internship. There were many online training sessions to prepare us, as well. My fellow Extension intern Molly Benjamin and I have taught three groups of kids three different recipes at the Bethel Farm Summer Camp in Eugene. The recipes were fresh garden salsa, vegetable wontons, and smoothies with a super-secret vegetable ingredient. Bethel Farm Summer Camp is an amazing experience that is completely free for Bethel School District students entering fourth and fifth grades. At the camp they have cooking, gardening, beekeeping, arts and crafts and nature exploration. All of the kids were taught measuring skills, knife skills and kitchen safety.

After teaching at the camp we transitioned to teaching cooking at Riverbend Elementary School in Springfield. We had two sessions of kindergartners at Riverbend and then incoming fourth-graders. The kindergarteners learned measuring skills and handwashing skills with a trail mix recipe while the fourth-graders learned knife skills and other basic kitchen skills with the fresh garden salsa recipe.

We are now transitioning away from teaching cooking and more into office and community work. The office work mainly consists of organizing and planning for our community work. We are planning to go to some local food banks and hand out samples of some of Extension Food Hero zucchini recipes and give information about healthy eating and answer any other questions individuals may have. I am excited to see what other community programs we will get involved in as well such as farmers markets and food donation sites.

Hi all! I’m Brady Monteith, reaching out from sunny Klamath Falls. I’m on a bit of a different schedule down here at the OSU Extension office in Klamath County, and I’m quickly approaching the end of my time here before I pack up and head down to Arizona. It’s been an eventful 12 weeks, and I’m so grateful for all the learning opportunities I’ve had.

My main project this summer has been Double Up Food Bucks at our local farmer’s market. We worked with the market coordinator and our local vendors to create programs that encourage more people to use their SNAP-Ed benefits for local produce. Each week, we had a different “Featured Food” that we tried to line up with what was in season. At our booth we would have various Extension Food Hero resources such as recipes and informational handouts about our Featured Food. We put together a market tour, which was essentially a short scavenger hunt with some sample questions that encouraged shoppers to explore the market and communicate with local growers. We also collected information and put together profiles on our local vendors, still with the hope that we can help shoppers get to know the people who grow their food.

Another project I’ve been working on is the delivery of the Cooking Matters class, both in-person and virtually. The last three weeks I’ve been helping Paolina Mulleneix, Extension’s Farm to School outreach program coordinator in Klamath County, deliver the Cooking Matters for Families class virtually. We’ve had about five families join in Zoom each week and we all cook a meal together. Just this last week, we taught the Cooking Matters For Teens class in-person out in Chiloquin. On the first day of class only two kids showed up, but the last day we had seven. We spent an hour with the kids each day, talking to them about how to eat healthy and be safe in the kitchen. By the end of each day the kids went home with a delicious meal they had prepared themselves.

This internship has been incredibly insightful and has allowed me to see nearly every aspect of our local food system. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been meeting with people who play a part in our food system, from growers to policy writers.  The experiences I’ve had have been so valuable, and I can’t wait to see how I will be able to apply them in my future studies.

Hello everyone! My name is Brady Monteith, and I’m a sophomore at the University of Arizona, studying nutrition and food systems. Although I go to school Arizona, I grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I’m back home for the summer, so I’m interning with the OSU Extension office in Klamath County. Klamath is a very ag-centric community, so I’ve grown up surrounded by agriculture. My family owns and operates a commercial farm, and my first job was to drive tractor and rake hay, so I’ve always felt quite connected to that side of the food system. 

During my internship I will be working under the supervision of Patty Case. My goal through this internship will be to better understand the Klamath food systems and the many people who play many diverse roles in it. I will be doing this through a few different projects. The main project I will be working on will be Extension’s role at the local farmers market. We will be working with the market director to provide nutrition education and help people to use their SNAP-Ed benefits to purchase local produce. I will also be assisting Extension Master Gardeners in their role at the farmers market. In addition to these projects, I will be assisting with the Cooking Matters program, to further expand on the nutrition education side of things. 

Before starting this internship, I really didn’t know much about OSU Extension. I had heard of Master Gardeners, but only knew that some people used them to test their soil. I came into the internship with pretty much no knowledge of what I would end up doing. However, the wonder people at Extension were quick to help get me oriented and have given me every tool I need to be successful.  

Hello World! My name is Maggie Justice and I’m the student intern for the Extension office in Grant County, which is in John Day. I’m also a junior at Walla Walla University where I am studying biology with hopes becoming a large and small animal veterinarian.

I was born and raised in John Day by two Grant County natives. My mom is an ex-logger who now owns a plant nursery.  And my dad works for a Coca-Cola distribution company and on the weekends works our family’s cattle herd. I also have two younger sisters. Ellie, who just graduated high school, will attend Eastern Oregon University in the fall. My youngest sister, Abbie, will be a freshman at Grant Union Jr. /Sr. High School and is an excellent baker. Growing up on a weird nursery/farm allowed my sisters and myself a life surrounded by animals, plants, and a healthy dose of chaos.

Any free time and hobbies I have acquired over the years typically revolve around animals. Since I was 9 years old, I’ve raised cattle, and recently I fulfilled a life-long dream when I purchased my first registered British white heifer named Odessa. I also have a red border collie named Clifford, who loves to pretend that he is a cow dog, but in reality would rather spend his time eating snow or being dragged around on one strange hike or another. But whenever I’m not around my animals, I am hanging out with friends, hiking, and talking about my animals.

 

The major work that I will be doing at the Grant County Extension office is to assist the staff with 4-H and Snap-Ed events. Normally this would include several 4-H sponsored camps that occur every year in our county, but due to COVID, our major focus is preparation for our upcoming youth static and livestock exhibit events. During the pandemic, planning for these events looks completely different, but I am confident that no matter what the outcome, we will have events that are unforgettable.

I must admit, before I started this internship, I had already had a pretty good idea of what my job would be, because I worked for the Extension office the summer of 2018. I really enjoyed the work because I got to help kids with their 4-H projects and help contribute to the fair I have always loved.

My true “first” experience with extension is from my 4-H and FFA days, where I thought it was one of the most important jobs ever. My life changed completely when I joined 4-H and truly made me into the person that I am today. They are the ones who help shape kids into strong competent individuals. Extension helps them find their passions and teaches them life-long skills. I cannot believe that I am privileged enough to work for a place that serves such an important task for both the community and its youth.