Extension Intern Brings Nutrition to Local Schools   
Jessica Hummel worked with the OSU Extension late last year bringing nutrition to students in Portland schools. 
Jessica Hummel always knew she wanted to work with food.
Cooking has been one of her life-long passions, so when Hummel moved to Oregon a few years ago from her Michigan home, she packed up shelves and shelves of cookbooks to bring along.
"I've always loved cooking," Hummel said. "It's always been a part of me."
Hummel left her job in sales to study nutrition and dietetics at Oregon State University in hopes of a more fulfilling career aligned with her passions. "It's so important to have proper nutrition," Hummel said. "It drives me."
Hummel is now earning a masters in nutrition through Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and plans to work as a registered dietitian with cancer patients, helping them supplement their treatment with proper nutrition, helping them take in nutrients they're having trouble getting enough of. "My goal is to support them with diet so they can get stronger and thrive," she said.
As part of the internship experience required to become a registered dietician, she assisted in the Power-Up! Nutrition program in Multnomah County schools along with OSU Extension staff in November and December 2016.
The classes are free for school districts in the Portland metro area with more than 50 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
Along with Thanh Huynh, an OSU Extension Nutrition Education Program assistant, Hummel helped educate local youth about basic food groups, proteins, macronutrients, fats, carbohydrates and more. With fun exercises and hands-on cooking days, Hummel helped teach the youth about healthy eating choices and how those impact overall health.
Students upgraded recipes for their favorite foods with healthier ingredients. They made smoothies with plain Greek yogurt, fruits and vegetables, for example. Instead of making pancakes with the usual refined flour and topping them with sugary syrup, they made whole-grain gingerbread ones and topped them with applesauce.
"The kids would get so excited as we walked down the halls," Hummel said. "They would say, 'are you coming to my classroom? Please come see us.'"
Even middle school students, who generally pose apathy, were engaged with the information.
Hummel had never worked with youth before and was surprised how much they remembered week to week. The experience taught her clever ways to get the kids' attention and to think on her feet as the youth threw questions her way and when one time, for example, a boy stuck his finger into pureed pumpkin about to go into muffins.
Hummel received positive feedback from teachers, who said they've rarely seen students so engaged, as well as parents, who said their children were excited to try new vegetables.
Students were begging their teachers to sign up for the next class, Hummel said, and were surprised by the taste of vegetables they had never tried but thought they didn't like.
Huynh, a staff member permanently assigned to directing the Power-Up program at several Portland schools, "is so passionate about what she does and her excitement transfers to the students," Hummel said. OSU Extension "has amazing resources to use in the classroom and the instructors are so great. I appreciate everything they do for the community and their role in educating the public in health and nutrition, especially in underserved communities."
Those interested in the program can call Huynh at 503-657-7384.
Garden Vegetable Cakes tasty, nutritious
Get off on the right foot in your daily goal of consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. These "cakes" make use of herbs and shredded vegetables for a meal or snack for anytime of the day.  
The best thing about this meal? It can feed the whole family and only takes about a half an hour to prepare and cook in a skillet. 
Find the recipe here.
Woodland Society Plant Sale 
Head to the Hillsboro Armory, 848 NE 28th Ave. in Hillsboro, for a native tree and plant sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11. The Washington County Small Woodlands Association hosts the plant sale. All proceeds go to the organization's endowment with OSU's College of Forestry. Native plants require less water than many other plants and adapt to a variety of environments. 
April Master Gardener Plant Sale
The WCMGA Annual Plant Sale will be held 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the Hillsboro Armory, 848 NE 28th Ave. in Hillsboro, just west of the Washington County Fairgrounds. Hundreds of hardy perennials, shrubs, berries, and trees. Raffle tickets will be on sale for $1.
Save Money, Start Seeds at Home
It still feels like winter, but it's already time to dig those hands into the soil. OSU Extension horticulturalist Weston Miller suggests starting cool-weather crops in flats by early March. Those crops include lettuce, cabbage, kale and broccoli. Read more tips to ensure your seed-starting adventure is successful. 
Have Questions, Comments or Suggestions?
We would love to hear what you want to see in the next issue.  Please send your thoughts to us at   vicki.campbell@oregonstate.edu.
Quick Links  

Check out Food Hero website, your go-to for quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips. Discover more about Food Hero and sign up for the Food Hero Monthly magazine.  
Check out Associate Horticulture Professor Weston Miller's weekly radio show about all things gardening. 
The "Youth Voices in Action" statewide 4-H conference will be held March 26 to March 29. Registration for the conference is now open. Experiencing Citizenship & Outreach Leadership Institute will play a major role this year.  Teens ages 13 to 19, 4-Hers and friends, are invited. Teens will practice public speaking and leadership skills, meet legislators and state agency representatives. They'll talk about their "spark," work in teams, and share their ideas with state decision-makers.   
Click here for more information. 
How will the Willamette Valley expe rience climate change? Leading scientists discuss   the physical and biological systems. 
If you're interested in all things soil, save the date for Saturday, April 8, the 2017 Soil School.
Held at the Portland Community College Rock Creek campus, the annual event will be kicked off by James Cassidy, OSU Soil Scientist. He will give us an overview of soil, what it's made of and why. There will be 12 sessions featuring expert speakers on a wide variety of topics including invasive species, landscaping with native plants, cover crops and irrigation, composting and fungi.
Are you prepared for an emergency? Sign up for OSU's emergency preparedness alerts with tips from everything from first aid to food.