Category Archives: Feature


April 14 and April 21

Delaware 4-H has partnered with The Food Bank of Delaware
and Habitat for Humanity to give members an opportunity to give back.

Below are a variety of locations and service options for you to choose from. These activities are for members age 8 and older. Some locations ask for more specific age groups. A parent or adult leader is required for every 4 members.

Saturday, April 14 (9am-Noon)
Option 1 – Newark Food Bank – 14 Garfield Way, Newark – activity provided by Food Bank
Option 2 – Milford Food Bank – 1040 Mattlind Way, Milford – Members will be stuffing weekend backpacks for children in need
Option 3 – Milford Garden (at Food Bank location) – Weeding and preparing the garden
(Also opportunities to tend to this garden as a horticulture project yearly)
Option 4 – Milford Mobile Food Truck (age 14 and older) – Helping food truck customers bag groceries and carry to vehicles

Saturday, April 21
Option 5 – Habitat For Humanity ReStore (Lewes) – Help with projects as needed
Option 6 – Kent County Habitat for Humanity (age 16 and older)- New Construction of homes in downtown Dover.  8am-Noon
Options 7 & 8 are for Habitat for Humanity Rock the Block
Western Sussex members only. 8am-2:30pm (meals provided)
Option 7 – Beautifying yards in downtown Seaford
Option 8 – New Construction of homes (age 16 & older)

Registration is required by March 28, 2018. Please register online.
You will receive an email confirmation with the date/location that you have been assigned by April 2

National Youth Summit on Healthy Living

Delaware 4-H was represented by a delegation of seven youth and three adults at the recent National 4-H Healthy Living Summit Feb 16-19, 2018 at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD.

While at the conference, these high school students developed the knowledge and skills to address today’s issues including nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness, and emotional well-being. National 4-H Council and National 4-H Conference Center partner with professionals in family consumer science and healthy living to host this Summit on Healthy Living. Students are trained to create action plans to implement in their communities and teach other youth about what they have learned. The Delaware teens began development of their project called “Build Your Ship” which will focus on Healthy Relationships.

Teens attending were Shaniya Lewis, Kennedy Upshur, Hope Mongare, Kyle Morris, Hannah O’Hara, Shannon O’Hara and Rachel Taylor. Chaperones were Breanna Banks -Healthy Living Coordinator, Gina Crist-Community Health Specialist and Betsy Morris- 4-H Extension Educator.

In addition, Shaniya Lewis was a youth delegate to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation meetings and a workshop presenter. She presented an engaging workshop on “Sleep Deprivation”.

The Delaware 4-H Foundation and the Walmart Foundation Grant sponsored these trips.

Favorite Foods Contest Held

Cole Simpson presents his Favorite Foods Entry

The Delaware 4-H Program recently held their annual Favorite Foods Contest. Approximately 200 Delaware 4-H’ers ages 5-19 compete in the contest held in each county. Members prepare a dish and bring it along with a place setting to the contest site. There are four age divisions and categories including breads, meat and main dish, fruits and vegetables and desserts. New categories in 2018 were Soups, Stews and Chili and Recipe Redo.

For Recipe Redo 4-H’ers are encouraged to take a recipe and substitute ingredients to make a healthier version or to modify a recipe for a special diet.

4-H members learn a variety of life skills in this activity including:
1. Knowledge of good nutrition and meal planning using MYPlate food guide.
2. Food preparation skills, food safety and display techniques.
3. Originality, creativity, initiative, time management, interview skills and poise.

Master Food Educators, 4-H volunteers and 4-H alumni serve as judges. The Delaware 4-H Foundation sponsors prizes for this event.

In addition, 4-H’ers may compete in a Foods and Nutrition Judging Contest where they learn about nutrition, physical activity, food safety, cooking terminology, tools of the trade, consumer education, recipe measurements and more.

Congratulations to all the participants!

Delaware 4-H’ers Attend National Youth Summit on Agri-Science

4-H members take part in Bayer Science Matters sessions at the National 4-H Council on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 in Chevy Chase, Md. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

Three Delaware 4-H youth joined over 100  youth and 4-H’ers from several different states to attend the 4-H National Youth Summit on Agri-Science held January 12-15, 2018.  Emma Sparpaglione and Meredith Carey, both from Sussex County and Keazia Farrow from Kent County attended the event held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Delegates participated in a variety of educational and engaging sessions including a Clifton Strengths for Youth Assessment and workshop where they had the opportunity to explore and reinforce their natural talents as identified strengths. Other workshops included AgVocate: Amplifying your voice.Empowering your future, Precision Farming, Animal Management Through the Eyes of the Animal, Biosecurity Proficiencies in 4-H Animal Science, NxGen Ag – Commercialization of a New Agricultural Product, Sprouting New Seeds, and Drones in Agriculture and Their Uses. The content of this conference focused on how to teach 4-H’ers interested in the field of Agriculture to educate the general public on different practices including AgVocating for Agri-Science!

Teens participated in a Developing a Career Path in Agriculture career fair with representatives from various areas of agri-science, including Bayer. Throughout the summit all 4-H’ers where tasked with using their identified strengths, learning how they could AgVocate, and developing an action plan to AgVocate back in their states and share that science matters. The Agri-Science Summit brought an eye-opening experience to many youth who were new to agri-science and who only knew what their perception of Agriculture was and helped to show how different states are raising awareness and teaching about agri-science.

Keazia, Meredith and Emma definitely met new friends, had new experiences, and learned about different topics in Agriculture. Their action plan focused on finding a solution to effectively and efficiently educate youth in 4-H about agri-science. Their solution involves reviving the 4-H Agri-science Biotechnology curriculum in Delaware, one of the states it was originally piloted in back in 2012, by teaching older teens to facilitate the lessons for younger teens and middle school youth.

Poultry Growers’ Field Day

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is partnering with the  University of Maryland Extension and the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. to host an on-farm Poultry Growers’ Field Day on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.  REGISTER ONLINE HERE

The field day will offer practical workshops, beneficial to both beginning and experienced commercial chicken growers, on the following topics:

  • Tunnel ventilation
  • Farm safety
  • Generator and housing maintenance
  • Animal welfare
  • Controller tips
  • Radiant tube heating
  • Water quality and water line sanitation
  • Good neighbor practices and vegetative environmental buffers
  • Biosecurity
  • And more topics still to be announced
Learn the many benefits of planting vegetative buffers

Vendors will also be present, and lunch will be provided. Most workshops and vendors will be located inside a newly constructed poultry house on fresh bedding. The workshop will take place at Rob Hawkins Farm, a new organic chicken farm near Harrington, Delaware. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with sessions to start at 10 a.m. There will be concurrent sessions held each hour on the hour, and the event will end at 3 p.m. Nutrient management credits will be available. View our list of sponsors below!

The last jointly held poultry field day held on Delmarva, in 2014 (view photo album), had more than 300 Maryland and Delaware growers in attendance.

Click here to register for the >>> 2018 Poultry Growers’ Field Day. If you are not able to register online, call Lisa Collins at (302) 856-2585 to register by phone.

The University of Maryland and University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Please take the time to visit and thank our sponsors! 

Sunrise Solar
Live Oak Bank
First Financial Bank
Farm Credit
Tri Gas & Oil Co. Inc.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Delaware and Maryland

Purina Animal Nutrition
Delaware Farm Bureau
Hilltop Enterprises
Delmarva Power
Carey Insurance & Financial Services
Marydel Ag Supply
University of Maryland Extension

LVI Litter Processors/Binkley & Hurst
Pennoni Associates Inc.
Greener Solutions & Farm Freezers
Delmarva Powerwash LLC
Avery Hall Insurance Group
Ziggity Systems Inc.
Delmarva Farmer
Delaware Electric Coop

PNC Bank
UD Extension/USDA Crop Insurance Education Partnership
USDA FSA-Maryland
Hydro Myst Power Washing
JTK Poultry Enterprises, LLC
Hoober, Inc.
Farmers and Planters Ag, LLC
Northeast Agri Systems, Inc.
Taylor & Messick, Inc.
Energize Delaware Farm Program

Lisa Blunt Rochester cheers on 4-H volunteers at annual forum

On Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester welcomed attendees at the 2018 Delaware 4-H Volunteer Leader Forum, bringing with her an energetic and positive message to all that gathered in the Commons area of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Townsend Hall at the University of Delaware’s south campus in Newark.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester delivers a positive message to Delaware’s 4-H volunteer leaders.

Rochester’s message to her audience – stay positive. “One year and one month into this job I am still smiling.  Things are happening. Stay engaged, hopeful and committed. 4-H is integral part of that,” she said.

Rochester recounted while at a recent jobs tour she visited several  classrooms throughout the state at all grade levels. She found that students were eager to receive in hands-on experience.

“They wanted to think about jobs that are forward thinking and how does automation and technology impact the work that they are doing. They wanted to touch, feel and see, and 4-H allows them to do that,” Rochester said.

After reviewing the forum’s agenda and workshop offerings, Rochester was impressed, especially noting sessions on preventing food waste, substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying and mindfulness training.

“We need strong leaders now,” Rochester said. “Leadership and confidence.”

During her speech, Rochester unveiled a square pillow cover made years ago by her sister. The cover was an artistic rendering of Rochester as an eight-year old girl, standing assuredly with her hands on her hips and head held high.

Pointing to the image on the pillow, Rochester said, “There was an “I can do anything” spirit in this kid.”  She reflected that despite never running for anything before in her life—“not mayor, not dogcatcher,” that the spirit captured in the little girl on the pillow cover carried through to her adulthood, ultimately compelling her to run for office as Delaware’s Representative in Congress.

“My challenge, my charge to each and every one of you—the volunteers, the staff, the young leadership— is to make sure that every child that steps into this program walks out with this kind of confident, sassy, ‘I can do everything – anything’ and that they can step up like me and become first woman to represent the state of Delaware in Congress after 230 years, and the first person of color after 230 years,” Rochester said.

Rochester confessed she thrives on energy and led the room in several rousing “we can do anything” chants.

“We can do anything. You can do anything. So maybe that is the ‘pump you up’— maybe that is thing we can say together as 4-H, as Delaware, as a country, as individuals, we can do anything.  Stay pumped. We need this energy!“ Rochester exclaimed before sending her audience off to attend their workshops.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester poses with Delaware 4-H teenofficers at the 2018 leader forum. L-R: Hanna O’Hara, Patrick Trunfio, Andrew Shaffer, Doug Crouse (4-H program leader) Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Garrett Geidel, Shawn Mitchell. Kneeling: Jenna Anger and Leslie Webb.

The annual forum provides an opportunity for 4-H leaders and staff to present or attend professional development sessions. In addition to previous sessions mentioned, workshops on team building, leadership, video production, creating safe environments,    4-H project work, essential 4-H elements, college readiness, talking health with health care providers, volunteer recruitment, recipes for special diets, and tours of CANR’s dairy barn and UDairy Creamery were offered during the day-long event.

“Our 2018 Delaware 4-H State Leader Forum turned out to be a terrific day of learning and sharing,” said Ernie Lopez, UD extension specialist.  “The selfless volunteer work by Delaware 4-H leaders continues to make our program the shining star that it is among youth development programs in our state!  From meaningful training sessions to important recognition of volunteer service, the forum proved to be what it always is:  a highlight of the year on the Delaware 4-H calendar.”

An Opportunity to Salute Excellence

Delaware Salute to Excellence Winners 2018 by county. L-R
Kent County: Dana Sharpe, Kristin Cook (4-H Agent) and Diane O’Hara; Sussex County: Dana Probert, Jill Jackson (4-H Agent), Jodie Gravenor; New Castle County: Betsy Morris (4-H Agent) Wally Gott, Doug Crouse (4-H Program Leader) and Monique Merritt.

The forum provides a venue to  recognize volunteer leaders for the Salute to Excellence Award.  Each county recognizes a Volunteer of the Year  for excellence service under 10 years, and a Lifetime Volunteer recognition for service 10 years or more. County winners were:

New Castle County: Volunteer of the Year: Monique Merritt; Lifetime Volunteer: Wally Gott

Kent County: Volunteer of the Year: Diane O’Hara; Lifetime Volunteer: Dana Sharpe

Sussex County: Volunteer of the Year: Dana Probert; Lifetime Volunteer: Jodie Gravenor

From this selection of volunteer excellence, Dana Probert and Dana Sharpe were selected to represent Delaware for consideration in the regional and national 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards.

Delaware Salute to Excellence Winners: L to R: Doug Crouse, 4-H Program Leader; Dana Sharpe, Lifetime Volunteer Award from Kent County; Dana Probert, Volunteer of the Year from Sussex County; Ernie Lopez, 4-H Extension Specialist

Probert is the leader of the Sunset Branch 4-H Club which she started more than six years ago.  She is a certified Shooting Sports instructor and the club has grown to more than 40 members and 12 volunteer leaders.  Probert was recognized for her efforts to ensure that her club members have ample opportunity to take part in all 4-H curriculum and activities.

Sharpe’s involvement in Delaware 4-H spans five decades.  At age nine, Dana became a member of the Fox Hall 4-H Club.  When it came time for her own children to be involved in 4-H, Sharpe became a leader of the Westville 4-H Club and in 2012, Sharpe started a new club called the Legacy Club, when her grandchildren became of 4-H age.  The Legacy Club currently has 35 members and seven volunteers.  Sharpe was honored for her commitment to 4-H youth and continues to lead activities such as rocket building, woodworking and archery.

To become a Delaware 4-H leader, adults go through an extensive application process which includes a criminal background check. In addition to training opportunities at the annual forum, 4-H volunteers receive curriculum training and support at the county level, and many participate in regional and national 4-H leader forums and 4-H sponsored events.

For additional photos please visit the Flickr photo gallery of the 2018 Delaware 4-H Forum

Article and photos by Michele Walfred

Food Safety Class for Cottage Industry Entrepreneurs

Title image memeThe University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is offering a Food Safety Training on Saturday, April. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kent County Cooperative Extension office, 69 Transportation Circle, in Dover. The fee is $50.

The 7-hour class will be taught by Kathleen Splane, UD Family & Consumer Science extension educator.

“This training meets the food safety requirements by the State of Delaware for those individuals who want to prepare non-hazardous foods in their own home for sale locally,” Splane said.

Examples of non-hazardous foods are baked goods such as cookies, muffins, cakes, breads, jams, jellies and preserves and candy.

The training, certification, and inspections of kitchens are required under Delaware regulations adopted in 2016 and apply to individuals, and small business cottage industries who wish to process non-potentially hazardous foods in residential kitchens for sale to the public.

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity provider.

To register for the training, please email Jan Unflat  or call 302-730-4000.

Join UD’s Master Food Educator Class of 2018

Be a part of one of Delaware’s fastest growing volunteer forces! Become a Master Food Educator!

Michael Hadley, one of Extension’s Master Food Educator expert volunteers

Many people have heard about Extension’s Master Gardener program, but did you know there is a similar volunteer program focused on food and health?

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension will hold 2018 training classes on Mondays and Thursdays from March 5 to April 12, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 the Kent County Extension office, 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, Delaware, 19901. Applications to the program are due by Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.

The Master Food Educator (MFE) program is designed for individuals who have an interest in nutrition, food preparation, health, wellness and the education of youth and adults. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension educators will provide participants with the information and training needed to help expand the nutrition education efforts across Delaware. The volunteers work in local communities and with organizations assisting with the ongoing initiatives of our organization.

“The UD Cooperative Extension staff of health educators is a small group and the need for our work to help Delawareans is great,” says Kathleen Splane, program leader for Extension’s Family & Consumer Science program.  “Our Master Food Educator volunteers impact the health of Delawareans in many ways– creating programs, delivering programs, and doing behind the scenes work for us such as food preparation for cooking demos.

Splane said that during the 2017 program year 29 Master Food Educators volunteered to support 48 workshops, 46 public events and assisted in judging nine events serving over 1,548 hours to Cooperative Extension’s outreach efforts. “These dedicated volunteers invigorate me as they are so dedicated to the mission of Cooperative Extension,” Splane said.

Since the inception of the program in Delaware, Master Food Educators have staffed educational displays at locations such as the Delaware State Fair, Ag Day, health fairs and expos at schools and businesses. Additionally, Master Food educators have assisted with or conducted workshops or demonstrations on topics such as food safety, foods selection/preparation, nutrition and diet and stretching your food dollar. They have also offered school-based educational programs and assisted with the development of new educational resources.

“Becoming a Master Food Educator has enhanced my life both personally and professionally,” volunteer Gail Hermenau said.  “It was through the MFE training that I increased my knowledge base about health and nutrition and learned new ways to share that information using a variety of teaching styles.”

Hermenau credits the huge impact the program has had on the community, adding that the experience instilled in her both the confidence to share this information with members of her community and the freedom to use her creativity in engaging new audiences.

Registrations for the newest Master Food Educator Training courses are now open. Applications are available on the Master Food Educator website.

Individuals who are interested in nutrition, diet and health issues, want to learn, would enjoy working with and helping others or want to be affiliated with a professional organization are perfect candidates for this program.  

For more information, contact: Cheryl Bush New Castle County 302-831-1327

Courses are open to the public without regard to race, color, sex, handicap, age or national origin. This program provides participants 30 hours of training in the areas of nutrition, diet, health, food safety, food selection and preparation. Cooperative Extension is looking to those who would be willing to take the course and then volunteer 40 hours of time over the next year. Volunteers may choose how they give back time but suggestions might include assisting with the presentation of workshops such as Dining with Diabetes, Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart, Stretching Your Food Dollar and others or participating in other public programs sponsored by Cooperative Extension.

2018 Junior Duck Stamp Program Contest

What is the Junior Duck Stamp Program?

“The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others.” – USFWS JDSP Website

Youth participate in an artwork competition featuring a JDSP-approved waterfowl species. The winning artwork from the national art contest will serve as the design for the Junior Duck Stamp.

By incorporating different subjects, JDSP can engage multiple types of learners and
promote critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity.

Entries to the Delaware state competition must be post-marked to the State 4-H Office by March 15, 2018. The contest is open to youth in K-12th grade and youth are not required to be 4-H’ers to participate. The state competition judging will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Townsend Hall and is open to the public.

The  Best of Show artwork and conservation message from the state competition will be submitted for the national competition. More information, including competition rules, can be found on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website.

2017 Delaware Best in Show 
Junior Duck Stamp Art
Fulvous Whistling Duck
Caroline Zhu, 15
Oil paint
Group IV (Grades 10-12) First Place

On-Farm Food Safety Training

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is offering On-Farm Food Safety Training on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kent County Cooperative Extension office, 69 Transportation Circle, in Dover. The fee is $50.

The class will be taught by Kathleen Splane, UD Family & Consumer Science extension educator.

“This training is ideal for anyone who wishes to sell allowable products grown from their farm,” says Splane.

Participants will learn how to identify potentially hazardous and non-potentially hazardous foods; understand foodborne pathogens and ways to control them; reduce the risk of foodborne illness; evaluate their plan for controlling potential microbial problems; and understand state regulations on farm-produced, non-potentially hazardous food items.

Non-potentially hazardous food items include baked breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, non-chocolate candy, jellies, jams, preserves, marmalades, fruit butters, fruit pies, herbs in vinegar, honey and herb mixtures, dried fruit and vegetables, spices or herbs, maple syrup, sorghum, popcorn, caramel corn, peanut brittle and roasted nuts.

The training, certification, and inspections of farm kitchens are required under Delaware regulations adopted in 2006 and apply to farmers who wish to process non-potentially hazardous foods in their on-farm home kitchens for sale to the public at DDA-listed farmers’ markets, on their farm or at a roadside stand on or near their farm. On-farm kitchens will be inspected by appointment after participants complete the training and pass a written test.

To register for the training, please email Jan Unflat or call 302-730-4000. Download the Flyer in PDF here.