What is Ideas for Healthy Living?
Ideas for Healthy Living is a community education program with a focus on food access, health, and nutrition. We often partner with various agencies and organizations to offer classes and workshops, although we also offer them onsite at our WSU Skagit Extension location in Burlington.
Our work is typically divided into two categories: Early Learning, and Teen/Adult Education. Our Early Learning programming is usually funded through a United Way grant, which allows us to offer direct education to most Head Start and YMCA preschools in our county, as well as workshops to parents and educators. In our preschool programming, children learn about food groups, how to identify healthy foods vs “sometimes” foods, and enjoy samples of healthy recipes. Parents and teachers of preschoolers can learn about selection and preparation of healthy foods as well as backyard gardening.
In our Teen/Adult education, we focus on food justice through improving access to healthy foods, creating and maintaining a sustainable food system, identification and preparation of healthy food options, and more. For example, we might partner with an organization serving at-risk teens to teach a series which includes food budgeting and shopping skills including a grocery store tour, food storage and waste reduction in the kitchen, and how to prepare healthy foods on a budget. We also offer a wide range of other workshops and classes including: Thriving on a Plant Based Diet, Healthy Meals for Busy Families, Backyard Gardening for Food Access, Seed Saving, and more. We often partner with WSU Food Preservation to include food storage instruction such as canning, freezing, drying, and microclimate storage.
In early 2019 we offered Grow Your Groceries, a 12 week program offering complete instruction on all aspects of home gardening for food production as well as eco-cooking, seed saving, perennial food forests and fruit production, and four classes devoted to preserving the food after harvest. This class was a great success, filled to capacity! We plan to offer this again in early 2020.
How are the Classes Presented?
The classes are presented by trained facilitators using lesson plans and training materials developed by WSU Extension, Texas A & M Agrilife Extension and Colorado State University. The classes are very interactive and include demonstrations, discussions and hands-on group activities.
Whenever possible, we request that each agency or organization provide the following: a minimum of 5 participants, a classroom or other facility conducive to learning, assistance with making copies of handouts, and child care.
What Does It Cost?
WSU Extension sponsors these programs with additional funding provided by Skagit County, and United Way of Skagit County. Many of our classes are offered free of charge as a community service to qualifying agencies and groups. We also offer fee based classes and workshops but are often able to include some scholarship options.
How Do I Find Out More?
Please visit the calendar on the main page for current listings. We also recommend that you join our Facebook Group. For more information about the program, to schedule classes, or to find out how you can become an Ideas for Living volunteer, please contact:
Ideas for Healthy Living Program Coordinator
Telephone: 360-428-4270, ext. 239
Funded in part by USDA Supplemental Nutrition Education Program, state and local government agencies.
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