Want to know what to do with that bumper crop of tomatoes or summer squash? Ask a master food preserver! Pickling, dehydrating, freezing, canning, curing and fermenting can be safe and easy. Get the most from your harvest or farmers market purchases.
Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce the LA County master food preservers will be conducting demonstrations and answering home food preservation questions at the LA County Fair (Sept. 3 to Oct. 2). There will also be a special kids program, explaining how food is preserved and helping them identify typical preserved foods in their pantry, such as raisins and ice cream. Demonstrations will be held throughout the day on Thursdays to Sundays at the fairgrounds Farmhouse Kitchen. Due to health department regulations, samples will not be distributed.
The LA County Master Food Preserver Program is designed for individuals who have a strong interest in home food preservation and would like to pass this knowledge onto the public. County residents who would like to become master food preservers attend an extensive USDA-approved training program. Once trained, master food preservers perform volunteer work and participate in continuing education each year. Graduates of the program have a strong commitment to reach limited-resource communities. The activities include answering e-mail inquiries, providing farmers market and community garden demonstrations, and participating in the annual LA County Fair.
For more information on the program, please contact Brenda Roche, nutrition advisor, at (323) 260-3299, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu/Master_Food_Preserver_Program/.
UC Cooperative Extension's Network for a Healthy California--Children's Power Play! Campaign, in partnership with LA's BEST After School Program kicked off the third annual "Power Up Your Summer!" Challenge on Friday, June 10. The event empowered kids to add more play and eat more fruits and vegetables this summer to beat the "summer slump" in physical activity and healthy eating.
Youth leaders, U.S. Olympian Cyclist Tony Cruz and Chivas mascot were there to guide kids in super-charged, fun group games and activities.
Kids gain weight more than twice as fast during the summer as they do during the regular school year.
"For many students, summer break is also a break from healthy habits fostered in the structured school environment," said Ben Melendrez, program coordinator. "Instead of scheduled meals and snacks, children at home may have continuous access to unhealthy snacks. In place of recess, they spend more time watching television and playing video games. It all adds up to more calories consumed and less burned."
Eating more fruits and vegetables not only beats the "summer slump" and childhood obesity; it also helps kids feel good, reduce stress, improve strength and increase self-esteem. The event provided kids and their families resources, tools and guidance to ensure they meet their personal goals for healthy eating and physical activity this summer.
Elementary school children should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. They should also eat two-and-a-half to five cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
"Parents can help their kids stay on track this summer by including more fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks, limiting screen time and by being positive role models," said Melendrez. "One of the best ways for parents to help kids get active and maintain healthy eating habits is by enrolling them in a summer activity program, which provides scheduled play and snacks as well as a safe place for them to learn and grow while parents are at work."
For more information on the Network for a Healthy California--Power Play! Campaign, please call (323) 260-3841 or click here.
Due to a renewed interest in food preservation, Cooperative Extension will bring back the Master Food Preserver (MFP) program to Los Angeles County.
Classes will begin on Monday, March 28, and meet every Monday until June 20, 2011. Conducted at UC Cooperative Extension office in East Los Angeles, the classes will be led by UC Master Food Perserver Ernest Miller, a formally trained chef. Miller has years of experience with home food preservation and is the chef at The Farmer's Kitchen, a project of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (the nonprofit organization that manages eight farmers markets in the Los Angeles area, and includes LA's largest market, the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market). Participants will learn how to can, ferment, pickle, cure, smoke, dehydrate and brew.
"As the sole Master Food Preserver in Los Angeles for more than a year, I know that there is a tremendous interest in traditional methods of food preservation," said Miller. "We also teach people skills on proper emergency food preparation. The immense tragedy taking place in Japan illustrates the need for people to learn how to prepare for natural disasters in earthquake-prone California," he added.
Once trained, the Master Food Preservers will conduct food preservation workshops for the general public. The response to this program has been tremendous. Many preservation enthusiasts are looking forward to MFP-led workshops and are hoping to become certified MFPs in the future.
Support for the Master Food Preserver program is provided by the Metabollic Studio, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation.
For more information, please contact Brenda Roche at (323) 260-3299, email@example.com.
Cooperative Extension will launch its third round of the "Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative" gardening workshops this spring.
The initiative helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard or at a community garden, bringing together local families and neighborhoods to share their experiences, skills and produce. Participants will be able to turn their new interest into successful, productive gardens that will generate positive changes in their homes by helping to lower grocery bills and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods.
Master Gardener volunteers will organize and lead low-cost gardening circles and teach the basics of gardening. Eighteen gardening circles are scheduled to throughout LA County. Each circle will meet about four times, mainly on weekends, to receive instructions and engage in hands-on activities. Participants will become UC-certified Victory Gardeners upon completing the series.
"Last year's initiative was a wonderful success with more than 700 participants," said Yvonne Savio, Common Ground Garden program manager. "Graduates of the series continue to meet informally in neighborhood gardening circles where they share what they've learned, their harvests and new seedlings," she added.
For more information on the "Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative," please contact Yvonne Savio at (323) 260-3407, firstname.lastname@example.org. The schedule of classes can be found by clicking here.
The University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County is partnering with the Foundation for Early Childhood Education to help local East LA families make healthy food choices while celebrating National Nutrition Month. The event, "March into Health!," will take place in Cooperative Extension's demonstration kitchen in East LA.
When: Friday, March 11, 2011
Time: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Where: UC Cooperative Extension Office, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022
Participants will receive tips to improving their fruit and vegetable consumption; learn about healthy snack ideas for children; taste test delicious recipes; visit interactive booths and receive valuable information for their families; and be able to win door prizes.
For more information on this event, please contact Brenda Roche, nutrition, family & consumer science advisor at (323) 260-3299, email@example.com. For more information on UC Cooperative Extension's program offerings, please visit http://celosangeles.ucdavis.edu.