Author: UConn Extension

Vote for our Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team

Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team
Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team
Please vote by 1 PM Sunday, January 19th! We need everyone’s help for our UConn 4-H Hartford County Granby 4-H VEX Robotics Team. They are tied for first – let’s help them win.
 
They entered a VEX Robotics Online Community Challenge. We are showcasing what 4-H and STEM looks like in CT to a national audience. We need your vote. Please vote for our video and spread the word. Voting closes Jan 19. Directions to vote are below.
 
Community Award Online Challenge sponsored by Google
 
1. Go to Community Award Online Website
 
2. Go to Login/Register. You will need to register with your Google or Facebook account.
3. Return to Community Award Online Challenge – open it up
4. Go to All Entries button on the right-hand side
5. Go to Page 5
6. Look for Entry Called “Reaching Out: Community and Beyond”
7. Hit the Thumbs Up Button
8. Log Out
 
Thank you for supporting our 4-H members!

Vegetable Production Certificate Course

vegetable production flyervegetable production flyer
We’re offering a Vegetable Production Certificate Course, beginning on March 12th. It’s a hybrid format, online and in-person for new and beginning farmers. This year only, we have a special introductory fee of $100 or $150 depending on the course option you choose.

This vegetable production course is designed to benefit beginner vegetable producers who have 0-3 years of vegetable growing experience or no formal training in agriculture. The participants will learn answers to the basic questions about farm business planning, planning and preparing for vegetable farm, warm and cool-season vegetable production techniques, season extension, identification of biotic and abiotic issues, and marketing.

The course description is available at http://bit.ly/Vegetables2020 and online registration is at http://bit.ly/ExtensionStore. Registration is due by 5 PM on March 2nd.

One-On-One Agricultural Advising Sessions

one on one agricultural advising with UConn Extension

The UConn Extension RMA program has offered one-on-one advising sessions for several years. Due to the popularity of this program, we are offering 3 days this winter for you to meet in a private session with an advisor. We are offering a wide array of topics to choose from. The brochure has the full schedule.

Contact MacKenzie White at mackenzie.white@uconn.edu or at 860-875-3331 to register.

#AskUConnExtension – How do I lose weight?

Our UConn Expanded Food and Education Program (EFNEP) educators are often answer questions from participants about weight loss. Heather Pease, one of our EFNEP educators, offers the following guidelines:

How do I lose weight?

fried chicken next to peppers and an apple
Fried chicken next to an apple and peppers on a white background. The photo was taken to illustrate healthy food versus unhealthy food.
Photo: UConn

The beginning of a new year turns our focus towards renewal and change. Many people will make a “new year’s resolution” such as losing weight.

Losing weight requires changing habits and behavior. Instead of losing –let’s put the focus on ADDING physical activity for stronger bodies and eating more nutrient dense foods that builds healthy bodies!

Smart goals” or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely intentions can help you make a plan for success. If you want to lose weight in the new decade- ask yourself:

Specifically: How?

  • Track what you eat for a week – where can you make some changes?
  • Eat less calories and move more-
    • Add more:
    • Fruits and Vegetables are low in calories, and high in nutrients
    • Add more: moving!
  • Try a free food tracking app to figure out the quality and quantity of food you are eating.
    • It can also tell you how many calories are you eating? How many calories are you burning?

Measure: How will you measure your changes?

  • Use measuring cups and timers to help you identify how much you are eating and moving
  • Log your movement with your phone
  • Try a free app like google fit or apple health to help measure movement.

Attainable: What steps will take to lose weight

Try using your phone to schedule 3 minute movements every hour at work- That’s 24 minutes of movement- try walking in place or go for a walk

Realistic: It takes time and intention to make change

  • Try to do add on to something you already do that is a good habit- when you eat dinner use a smaller plate
  • Try to set a small goal of exercising for 10 minutes; set a reminder schedule it at the same time every day and it will soon catch on

Timely: Most goals have a deadline- when do you hope to achieve your goal- remember weight loss is about sustainability and health

  • With weight loss the TIME piece can be how much time it takes to lose weight (usually 1 -2 pounds a month and maintain your new habits.
  • Use time to help you ease into new habits, walk 20 minutes after work every day in my house instead of eating. It is important to look at present habits and make small intentional changes J
  • Focus on adding minutes and activities to increase your physical activity, stamina and strength

Article by Heather Pease

Art Exhibit at Avery Point Opening Soon

Among the Tides art exhibit flyer“Among the Tides,” a new exhibit featuring the work of photographer Elizabeth Ellenwood, will be on display at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus from Jan. 23 through March 15, with an opening reception Jan. 24.

The reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery, located on the second floor of the Branford House at the Avery Point campus.

Ellenwood, recipient of a 2019 Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Support award, uses historic and modern techniques to transform plastic beach trash and microplastics into images that call attention to global ocean pollution. She uses the cyanotype process developed in the mid-1800s to create photographic prints without using a camera of discarded plastic items such as balloons, take-out cups, sandwich bags and lighters. The images, on chemically treated blue paper exposed to the sun, are then transferred in a second step using the wet plate collodion process onto colored glass.

Read more…

Deer Damage and Control

whitetail deer looking at camera in snow
Photo: David Restivo, NPS

Deer damage or feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables such as cole crops, lettuce, grapes, corn, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, fruit trees and other plants. Because white-tailed deer lack upper incisor teeth, the damaged leaves and twigs or stems have jagged edges, compared with a clean-cut surface left by rodents and rabbit feeding. Vegetables are readily eaten and entire gardens may be destroyed. Sweet corn tips are eaten, including the silk and one to two inches of the ear but occasionally plants are grazed to the ground. In addition, deer trample many crops as they move about the field.
 
Deer are active in Connecticut year-round. Breeding occurs from October to December. Fawns are born in May and June weighing about eight pounds at birth and increasing in weight over the next six to seven years. Peak feeding activity occurs in early morning and late evening; thus, deer may damage the garden without being seen. Damage by deer in Connecticut is increasing as residential development forces deer into smaller and smaller habitats and wild food sources decrease.

Deer are protected during all times of the year except various hunting seasons or by obtaining special crop damage permits. All methods of destroying deer such as using traps, poisons, toxic baits, etc. are dangerous to domestic animals and individuals and may result in liability for damage and poor public relations. Read more….

Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center

Holiday Plant Care

pink and cream poinsettias
Photo: Pamm Cooper

Did you receive a plant during this holiday season? Poinsettia, holiday cactus and rosemary trees are filling the shelves in greenhouses, grocery stores and even big box stores appealing to the giver to gift a plant lover on their list. While they are beautiful plants, they will need the correct care to keep them that way and in good health.

The familiar red foliage of the poinsettia plant are modified leaves called bracts. They surround the actual small, yellow flower at the center of the red bracts. Once the pollen from the flowers are shed, the bracts are dropped from the plant. Chose plants with little to no pollen for the bracts to be retained for a longer length of time. Plant breeders are developing different colored bracts, including variegated, offering many options than just red. Read more…

Article by Carol Quish of the UConn Home and Garden Center

Industrywide Food Safety Initiative Focuses on Ice Cream

Industrywide Food Safety Initiative Focuses on Small/Artisanal Ice Cream Companies

making ice cream at UConn, purple gloves hold container of ice cream
Chemical engineering majors make a test batch of reduced sugar ice cream at the UConn Creamery on April 8, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy announced that food safety resources for small and artisanal ice cream manufacturers, including an online class and technical support, are now available. Dennis D’Amico, one of our Extension educators was on the team that developed these initiatives.

These initiatives, which are similar to tools created in 2017 for the artisan/farmstead cheese community, are designed to help companies mitigate their food safety risks.

This initiative was led by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, an organization founded by dairy farmers in 2008 to convene the entire industry on common goals and opportunities. Innovation Center experts formed the Artisan Ice Cream Food Safety Advisory Team that includes the National Ice Cream Retailers Association, International Dairy Foods Association, academics, company owners and food safety experts from across the dairy industry.

“We created these tools with input from the owners of small ice cream companies and learned what can most effectively work for them,” said Tim Stubbs, Vice President of Product Research and Food Safety for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “As a result, we think these resources have been designed in a way that these companies can help assure consumer confidence in their products.”

The resources include an online course offered through North Carolina State University titledFood Safety Basics for Artisan Ice Cream Makers.” The course includes 10 interactive modules on the importance of food safety, identifying hazards, preventive controls, design, plant practices, sanitation and environmental monitoring. The course is available free through July 31, 2020 (discount code INTRO-FREE). Visit https://foodsafety.ncsu.edu/food-safety-basics-for-ice-cream-makers or www.usdairy.com/artisan for information.

A new website — www.safeicecream.org – is hosted by IDFA and offers self-study resources, guides, templates and tools designed to quickly help manufacturers.

Also available are workshops that provide direct coaching and technical support for small businesses as they write their food safety plans.

Information on the workshops or one-on-one food safety support is available by calling (607) 255-3459 or emailing dairyfoodsafetycoach@cornell.edu. More information can be found at www.usdairy.com/artisan

Workshop: Production Agriculture – Back to Basics

back to basics flyerProduction Agriculture – BACK TO BASICS 

Farmers of all experience are encouraged to join the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, University of Connecticut, and the American Farmland Trust on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Tolland Agricultural Center in Vernon, Connecticut to hear the latest in IPM/biocontrol, soil management, and water programs.

Aaron Ristow of the American Farmland Trust will discuss his findings on the economic and environmental impacts of soil health practices. This is a free program and pesticide credits will be offered.

Register online now at http://bit.ly/2PNPDPC. For more information please contact Erin Windham at 860-713-2543 or Erin.Windham@ct.gov.