UC ANR Strategic Initiatives
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UC ANR Strategic Initiatives

Posts Tagged: Deepa Srivastava

Creative, healthy cooking marks EFNEP's anniversary in Tulare County

EFNEP, UC Cooperative Extension's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, partnered with Culinary Arts Program in Tulare County to celebrate EFNEP's 50th anniversary. Chef Jeff, who is leading the Culinary Arts Program, sponsored and conducted a two-hour workshop in May 2019 for EFNEP parents, with a focus on basic cooking principles. The participants learned how to make and tasted a creative grilled salad.

Mariana Lopez, EFNEP Nutrition Educator, clicking a group selfie!

The parents had just completed the EFNEP Eat Smart ● Be Active nutrition education series at Tulare Adult School. Mariana Lopez, a bilingual nutrition educator, led the EFNEP classes from March 19 to May 21. Ten participants completed the series and graduated. The graduates expressed interest in a cooking workshop. Deepa Srivastava, the UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, reached out to Chef Jeff to initiate this collaboration and Lopez coordinated efforts to organize the cooking workshop.

The starter

Chef Jeff started the workshop by introducing his culinary program. He shared cooking methodology and the use of "mother sauces," basic sauces that serve as a bases for flavoring different dishes. All participants had great questions for the chef, which indicated their interest in learning more about the measurements, ingredients and the application of "hot and cold" cooking techniques.

Chef Jeff sharing the ingredients for grilled salad.

Chef Jeff demonstrating how to make a healthy vinaigrette.

The main course

EFNEP participants learned the art and science of putting together a healthy vinaigrette and grilled salad. In this process, Chef Jeff provided information about the importance of food safety and sanitation, knife skills, cutting and chopping, and healthy salad ingredients. He demonstrated how to wash, cut and chop variety of vegetables followed by grilling the vegetables on the stove top. Participants loved the taste of the colorful grilled vegetables. Additionally, Chef Jeff explained the many creative ways to eat grilled vegetables, including lettuce wraps. Participants were mesmerized to see him create a rose from sliced tomatoes.

The colorful grilled vegetables on the stove top.

Chef’s Special–Tomato Rose and Lettuce Wraps!

The dessert

Icing on the cake was the take-home message and the potential for a long-term collaboration between EFNEP and Tulare Culinary Arts Program. The two-hour workshop was packed with cooking knowledge, skills and creativity. Participants' meaningful comments about the workshop included, “it was fun, creative, and new information.”

“I really enjoyed taking part of this special collaboration between our Tulare EFNEP Program and the Tulare Culinary Arts program with Chef Jeff," Lopez said. "It gave me the opportunity to connect with my participants in a more personal level, because I was also a participant — learning and taking with me fun and exciting tips to share in my classes with my food demos as well as in my home with my family's meals.”

The workshop ended with the chef happily packing grilled salad for participants to take home. Indeed, Chef Jeff inspired participants to cook healthy with fun and creativity!

Participants tasting the grilled vegetables.
Participants tasting the grilled vegetables.

Participants tasting the grilled vegetables.

Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 3:30 PM
Focus Area Tags: Food

Together, we can make a difference!

UCCE in Kings County leverages community partnerships to increase preschoolers awareness about healthy foods

Early childhood is critical to the development of lifelong healthy living. With this intent, UCCE, in partnership with the Department of Hospitality Management at West Hills Community College-Lemoore and preschools located at the college campus, embraced a collaborative approach to promote healthy eating by helping preschoolers learn about and taste Go Glow Grow foods.

Student teachers lead the physical activity during Week 5

Together, we can make a difference!

An innovative and collaborative integration of research and practice brought diverse stakeholders together.

  • Deepa Srivastava, UCCE Advisor Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences from Tulare/Kings initiated the needs assessment, monitored evaluation process, and conducted focus groups.

  • Susan Lafferty, Nutrition Educator of Kings County UC CalFresh nutrition education program implemented the Go Glow Grow curriculum.

  • Nancy Jeffcoach, Site Supervisor of West Hills Child Development Center, Lemoore planned the timeline for preschoolers who received the curriculum.

  • Christian Raia, Program Director /Coordinator Hotel Restaurant Casino Management Faculty-West Hills College planned and supported the culinary students' implementation of food demonstrations, taste tests, and recipe sharing. The reinforcement of Go Glow Grow MyPlate food group concepts was integrated into students' capstone project.

During April and May 2019, collaborative partnership efforts captivated preschoolers' attention with key MyPlate messages and taste tests. Susan Lafferty led six weeks of the Go Glow Grow curricula with 72 preschoolers. Twelve community college students from the culinary department shared recipes and conducted food demonstrations and taste tests. Nine preschool teachers consistently supported the program. Preschoolers received a graduation certificate and a chefs hat upon completing the program.

Preschoolers taste Chicken Soup in the test kitchen

“Glow foods make my hair grow, eyes sparkle, and skin soft."

Initial success stories, lesson observations, and activities indicated increased knowledge of preschoolers about MyPlate food groups and willingness to try foods from all food groups. A majority of preschoolers responded to the importance of eating Go Glow Grow food.

Taking home key messages

It also seems the preschoolers are taking key messages home. One preschool teacher mom shared this story:

So [preschooler name] is eating her dinner and she looks up at me and says, "ya know, chicken isn't on my plate."

"Um, yes it is, it's right there..."

"No," she says,"it's not anywhere on My Plate!"

"Oh, like the healthy choices My Plate? Yes it is, it's protein. I think it's red."

"Red is fruit momma, it's a glow food!"

So at this point I pull up the graphic. She is right–that it would be purple as a protein. She informs me that I should study it. But she'll help me and show me where the vegetables are as she loudly chews a cucumber in my ear. She's been telling me which foods have which vitamins and bringing the conversation to the table at every meal.

"You guys are doing amazing things. I see it in my program and now I get to see it in my child. So thank you!"

 Positive learning experiences result from meaningful interaction

Upon completion of the program, two focus groups were conducted to understand the program impact at the individual and environmental levels of the social-ecological model. It was encouraging to note the response from participating community college students about their learning experiences and the changes that they have observed for themselves and the preschoolers as a result of this program.

A majority of the students indicated that they “loved” Go Glow Grow concepts of MyPlate and the meaningful “interaction” with the preschoolers.

A sustainable foundation is established

Overall, “mutually reinforcing goals, collective impact, commitment, trust, consistency, strong partnerships and communication, curriculum, evaluation tools”- all factored in to keep the momentum for the community partners.

What began as a needs assessment to examine the nutrition practices of early childhood education settings, ended on a promising note to continue promoting the health and well-being of young children. Indeed, a strong and sustainable foundation is established to carry forward UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' strategic initiative of healthy families and communities.

Above and below, community college student teachers with preschoolers who received a certificate and chef's hat.

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 3:16 PM
  • Author: Deepa Srivastava
Focus Area Tags: Family Food Health

Celebrating EFNEP’s 50 years with UC Master Gardeners in Tulare County

EFNEP and UC Master Gardener collaboration helped parents with children to learn about container gardening!

EFNEP, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, partnered with UC Master Gardeners in Tulare County to celebrate EFNEP's 50th Anniversary! The UC Master Gardeners provided a one-hour workshop about container gardening for parents of young children. The parents had just completed the EFNEP Eat Smart•Be Active series at Conyer Elementary in Visalia, Calif.

Mariana Lopez, a UC nutrition educator who speaks English and Spanish, led the EFNEP classes from Jan. 30 to March 27, 2019. Seven of the 10 participants completed the series and graduated. The graduates expressed interest in participating in a gardening workshop. Deepa Srivastava, the UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, reached out to Susan Gillison, the UC Master Gardener coordinator, to initiate this collaboration and Mariana coordinated the gardening workshop.

UC Master Gardeners provided full support

The Master Gardeners provided the materials such as soil, pots, basil seedlings and cilantro seeds. The guidance and knowledge received from Dana Young, the Master Gardener volunteer – also known as The Plant Lady – was very helpful! Parents participated with their children in the hands-on container gardening activity. Dana explained that container, or pot gardening, is the practice of growing plants in containers instead of planting in the ground. Herbs and other edible plants can be grown in containers. The participants also learned about healthy soil and gutter gardening.

UC Master Gardener volunteer Dana Young - the Plant Lady - helps EFNEP participants learn about planting herbs.

Parents enthusiastically shared their experience from participating in this hands-on activity:

“Knowledge about gutter gardening was very helpful!”

“It was exciting to be a part of this activity, my child loved it!”

Indeed, the EFNEP and Master Gardener collaboration in Tulare County was successful. The Site Coordinator of Conyer Elementary expressed interest in holding additional meaningful workshops like these for parents during the school year!

“It was exciting to be a part of this activity, my child loved it!”



Posted on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 12:12 PM
  • Author: Deepa Srivastava
  • Editor: Suzanne Morikawa
Focus Area Tags: Family Food Health Yard & Garden
Webmaster Email: mozbell@ucanr.edu