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ASK SHELLEY: Open House At Extension Office On April 2

ask shelley

By Shelley Swenson Extension Agent III
UF-IFAS Wakulla County Extension

Here are some of the information requests I received this month and announcements of topics of interest.

What is the UF-IFAS Cooperative Extension Service? How can I learn more about what the faculty and staff do there?

One hundred years ago through the legislative process, it was determined that each state would have a Land Grant University with the mission of bringing University research to the counties. Florida has two Land Grant Universities, the University of Florida and FAMU. Faculty and staff at each university work with the citizens to provide informal, research-based education to those seeking it.

On April 2, 2016 your UF-IFAS Wakulla County Extension Service faculty will host an Open House and you are cordially invited to attend from 10 a.m. to noon. For the event, I will be  demonstrating research-based food preservation techniques, feature our Family Nutrition Program, financial educational materials will be available and we will feature the projects completed at our stress-reduction group that meets monthly to sew.

In addition, 4-H will feature the clubs presently active for Wakulla County youth. Early bird registration for the 4-H summer residential and day camp program will be available. The Master Gardeners will be in the demonstration garden and hosting a plant sale.

Shelley, you taught how to can at a Preservation Party. Do you still offer them?

It’s the time of year when many people are considering their spring/summer garden. If you plan to have a bountiful harvest and want to preserve your surplus, please make sure that you preserve food utilizing research-based recipes and procedures. I teach food preservation classes in small groups so that everyone can be involved in the learning activities. I like to coordinate the class around individual’s schedules with family and friends gathering to learn together.

Preserving food can be a burdensome task and it is fun to do it with someone else. Learning together with friends and families can be worthwhile as well. If you would like to schedule a preservation party, find 5-8 friends or family members who may like to review or learn proper pressure canning or water batch food preservation techniques. Contact me to  determine dates that I am available to offer the workshop. Gather a group together and allow me to assist you with hosting a party.

The hands-on experience allows everyone to participate in the process to build their confidence. I provide everything for the session at a cost of $5 for each participant.

Each person leaves the workshop with a canned good item. This has been a very successful way for me to reach people with this important information; everyone seems to enjoy and profit from the small, interactive class size.

During a recent study trip, I was exposed to Dan Buettner’s book called The Blue Zone Solution. From the book: “What if I said you could add up to 10 years to your life? A long healthy life is not an accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer.”

The findings can be summarized in nine  principles. They include: move naturally, know your purpose, downshift, follow the 80 percent rule,  lean toward consuming plants, drink a glass of wine at 5, family should always come first, belong to a group and affiliate with the right tribe.

I will be hosting a book group to cover these nine principles and the research that was completed to come to these simple suggestions for living a long, full life. It will be held at the Wakulla County Library for an afternoon and evening session on Thursdays in May. I would encourage you to purchase the book and highlight key points or check out one of several available at the Library and join this lively discussion. Call me at (850) 926-3931 with your questions and to enroll. It is a free class.

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