Vision 2020 & UNH Cooperative Extension: Two Organizations With One Goal
Submitted by Keene State College Dietetic Intern & Champion, Haley Lydstone
Cheshire County’s UNH Cooperative Extension provides education and information directly to the people who live and work in Keene and nearby towns. Extension’s goals, to strengthen families and communities, sustain natural resources, and improve the economy, have a clear relationship to the mission of Vision 2020.
Christine Parshall offers classes on healthy shopping, cooking, and eating to local lower income residents. She reaches a broad range of people in Cheshire County working directly with families, seniors and youth. Nutrition Connections works with local Head Starts and schools, teaching food and nutrition classes for children. Christine leads the local Cooking Matters program and partners with other agencies, such as Southwestern Community Services.
Food and Agriculture
Program coordinator, Carl Majewski works with field crops and farmers who provide high quality products to local markets. Carl also works with the County Conservation District, helping to provide local produce to a network of schools. He offers workshops on how to improve farmers’ crops, environmentally friendly pesticides and home gardening, among other topics. There is a strong relationship between community farms, local businesses and schools. This results in a healthy and tight knit community.
Steve Roberge works in forestry management to help landowners improve the health of their forest land and our environment. Steve promotes active recreation by helping to protect our wooded land and parks. He also helps to prevent further erosion of streams and lakes in Cheshire County. He hosts field-based tours, guides safe hiking and has worked with the Cheshire Walkers program. Extension Forestry partners with the Monadnock Conservancy to maintain open spaces and conserve land and natural resources.
Youth and Families
Andrea Chickering-Sawyer is the Extension Field Specialist in Youth and Family who promotes activities where youth learn life skills. Her programs lead children in hands-on learning about the environment, animal sciences, and healthy living. Children who participate in 4-H clubs learn leadership skills and become active community members. The Healthy Living grant, awarded to New Hampshire 4-H, provides the resources to promote healthy living, eating, and activity during school and in after-school settings.
The Cooperative Extension contributes abundantly to the Vision 2020 initiative. They promote healthy eating, outdoor activity, and engage citizens in local partnerships. “Cooperative” efforts have a broad impact on the health of our community and through their projects, services and programs, we get closer to becoming healthiest community in the country.