Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.

John Lawrence’s Monday Message from May 8, 2017

By now you’ve probably noticed a pattern. You find a message from me in your inbox from time to time. This will continue – usually once a week and most of the time on Monday. I’ll be sharing what I’m hearing from our partners, stakeholders and all of you. I may include announcements and updates, and maybe some ISU Extension and Outreach history, but I’ll also share what I’m learning about our programs.

I continue to learn and be amazed by the great work of our colleagues in ISU Extension and Outreach. Each month program directors send me a brief update – points of pride about their programs. It helps me know what is going on and provides me information to share with stakeholders and with the rest of our organization. The example below is from two members of the Human Sciences team regarding the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” program.

“Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” helps Iowans who are experiencing poverty make the healthiest choices possible when grocery budgets are tight. Did you know?

  • Christine Hradek says in 2016 the program served households representing 5,306 people.
  • More than 35 campus and county extension staff work with the program.
  • Fifty-one percent of all clients served in “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” are racial or ethnic minorities and 71 percent have incomes at or below the federal poverty level.
  • In 2016, 49 percent of participants increased their consumption of fruits, 50 percent increased their consumption of vegetables, 44 percent were more physically active and 87 percent improved their food resource management, which means they are less likely to run out of food by month’s end.

Jill Weber shared news of an exciting day for the program in Black Hawk County. She said program assistant Gail Forristall graduated “the most diverse class in our history, with three languages being translated in the same class – French, Bosnian and Spanish. The class was recruited during a visit Gail made to an ELL class at the YWCA. The participants came to the office weekly on Saturday mornings to participate in ‘Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.’ The group identified questions they had related to family finance and we arranged for Jeannette Mukayisire to visit one of the classes. They will now go into ‘Your Money Your Goals’ with Jeannette, the family finance specialist.”

This is a great example of ISU Extension and Outreach making a difference in people’s lives. And, they have the evaluations to prove it. Furthermore, Gail’s recruitment strategy was direct and to the point. Go to the people and help them address their needs. Our colleagues also provided comprehensive programming. What started as education on healthy eating and living led to a financial management course. Chances are that these participants will continue as ISU Extension and Outreach clients and turn to us with other questions.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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