We all can do our part for the planet

Healthy and Homemade Meals in Fairfield County

Healthy and homemade meals and seasonal vegetables were part of nutrition education outreach conducted by Extension educator Heather Peracchio in September. Heather works with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and is based in the Fairfield County Extension Center. She reports on her programming for September:

SNAP-Ed programs:

Nutrition outreach at the mobile pantry in Bethel on September 27th reached a record high 220 families. United Way suspects the great increase in numbers this month might be due to families being sent flyers home in school backpacks.

nutrition education healthy homemade mealA two-part series of nutrition classes were presented at the Veterans Affairs office in Bridgeport on September 6th and 13th. One class focused on sugar sweetened drinks and how to make healthier choices, participants taste tested a fresh fruit smoothie. The other class focused on budget-saving tips like making simple cook ahead meals. All participants received a 2018 calendar and taste tested a salad with homemade honey mustard dressing and a tamale pie, both recipes were featured in the Healthy and Homemade calendar from Iowa State Extension. Dietetic intern, Anna VanderLeest, assisted with both of these classes.

Eat Smart Live Strong at Elmwood Senior Center on Wednesday, September 20th reached 42 seniors; and New Hope church in Danbury on September 27th reached 28 seniors. Each class had the opportunity to taste test a kale salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. Each senior was encouraged to continue to follow the two key healthy behaviors from the series, eating at least 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day and participating in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Each participant was given a 2018 Healthy and Homemade calendar as well.

SNAP-Ed participated in the Danbury Farmers market Saturday September 23rd. Participants learned all about seasonal vegetables including kale and apples. Extension educators Heather Peracchio and Juliana Restrepo-Marin offered an in-person food demonstration of a kale apple slaw. 30 participants attended the class offered on-site at the market. The next class is planned for Saturday October 14th.

This month Fairfield County Extension nutrition programs partnered with Western Connecticut Health Networks Dietetic Internship. Three dietetic interns from Danbury and Norwalk Hospital, Candido Gonzalez, Christian Aguilar and Angelina Campbell accompanied Heather to shadow and assist with programming on September 20th and September 27th.

EFNEP:

A new program combining fitness and nutrition with Extension educator German Cutz’s current 4-H soccer teams had a third class on Thursday, September 14th. Participants included 46 parents and children, where they learned about label reading and how to identify fat and sugar in common snack foods as part of the Choose Health: Fun, Food and Fitness curricula. There was a hands-on demonstration of an apple cinnamon yogurt tortilla snack where parents participated, and everyone taste tested. They also held a class Friday, October 6th.

Heather continues to coordinate with Danbury’s Morris Street School Family Resource Staff and a new EFNEP program at Morris Street School is planned Monday evenings beginning October 16th. Interested participants can contact Morris Street Family Resource Center to sign up.

Extension is a nationwide effort to give the public access to research-based information, scientific expertise, and educational programs they can use to enhance their everyday lives. UConn Extension, a program of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) works in all 169 towns of Connecticut with a network of over 100 educators and scientists. Over 2,900 volunteers leverage the ability of Extension to work in every community.

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Healthy and Homemade Meals in Fairfield County

Healthy and homemade meals and seasonal vegetables were part of nutrition education outreach conducted by Extension educator Heather Peracchio in September. Heather works with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and is based in the Fairfield County Extension Center. She reports on her programming for September:

SNAP-Ed programs:

Nutrition outreach at the mobile pantry in Bethel on September 27th reached a record high 220 families. United Way suspects the great increase in numbers this month might be due to families being sent flyers home in school backpacks.

nutrition education healthy homemade mealA two-part series of nutrition classes were presented at the Veterans Affairs office in Bridgeport on September 6th and 13th. One class focused on sugar sweetened drinks and how to make healthier choices, participants taste tested a fresh fruit smoothie. The other class focused on budget-saving tips like making simple cook ahead meals. All participants received a 2018 calendar and taste tested a salad with homemade honey mustard dressing and a tamale pie, both recipes were featured in the Healthy and Homemade calendar from Iowa State Extension. Dietetic intern, Anna VanderLeest, assisted with both of these classes.

Eat Smart Live Strong at Elmwood Senior Center on Wednesday, September 20th reached 42 seniors; and New Hope church in Danbury on September 27th reached 28 seniors. Each class had the opportunity to taste test a kale salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. Each senior was encouraged to continue to follow the two key healthy behaviors from the series, eating at least 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day and participating in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Each participant was given a 2018 Healthy and Homemade calendar as well.

SNAP-Ed participated in the Danbury Farmers market Saturday September 23rd. Participants learned all about seasonal vegetables including kale and apples. Extension educators Heather Peracchio and Juliana Restrepo-Marin offered an in-person food demonstration of a kale apple slaw. 30 participants attended the class offered on-site at the market. The next class is planned for Saturday October 14th.

This month Fairfield County Extension nutrition programs partnered with Western Connecticut Health Networks Dietetic Internship. Three dietetic interns from Danbury and Norwalk Hospital, Candido Gonzalez, Christian Aguilar and Angelina Campbell accompanied Heather to shadow and assist with programming on September 20th and September 27th.

EFNEP:

A new program combining fitness and nutrition with Extension educator German Cutz’s current 4-H soccer teams had a third class on Thursday, September 14th. Participants included 46 parents and children, where they learned about label reading and how to identify fat and sugar in common snack foods as part of the Choose Health: Fun, Food and Fitness curricula. There was a hands-on demonstration of an apple cinnamon yogurt tortilla snack where parents participated, and everyone taste tested. They also held a class Friday, October 6th.

Heather continues to coordinate with Danbury’s Morris Street School Family Resource Staff and a new EFNEP program at Morris Street School is planned Monday evenings beginning October 16th. Interested participants can contact Morris Street Family Resource Center to sign up.

Extension is a nationwide effort to give the public access to research-based information, scientific expertise, and educational programs they can use to enhance their everyday lives. UConn Extension, a program of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) works in all 169 towns of Connecticut with a network of over 100 educators and scientists. Over 2,900 volunteers leverage the ability of Extension to work in every community.

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CT Trails Symposium

Naugatuck Greenway

Naugatuck Greenway

UConn Extension educators Laura Brown, Kristina Kelly, and Emily Wilson are presenting at the CT Trails Symposium on Thursday, October 19th. The CT Greenways Council, in partnership with Goodwin College, encourages you to engage in conversation about why and how to put your local trail systems to work for your community. Speakers and panels will use local examples to illustrate the demand for and benefits of local trails and how your community can sustain a world class trail system. Registration is only $25 and includes lunch. The full agenda is available online.

 

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Israel: How good water management creates economic opportunity

We’re used to talking about how poor water management can impede economic growth.  But the positive case for good water management can be just as compelling. With support from the Israeli government, my colleagues and I recently took a study tour to Israel, and what we saw on the ground shows that combining sound policy, public finance, good governance, and innovative technology can not only overcome water scarcity, but can create economic opportunity that helps to boost jobs and power growth. 

The Sorek Desalination Plant, located about 15km south of Tel Aviv, Israel,
is the world’s biggest seawater desalination plant.

By the numbers, Israel is one of the most water-stressed countries on the planet.  Lying almost entirely in an arid region with frequent droughts, its average total renewable annual water availability of 1.5 billion cubic meters has been roughly cut in half because of drought over the past two years, to 820 million cubic meters.  Annual water demand, meanwhile, stands at 2 billion cubic meters annually, and will increase to 2.5 billion cubic meters by 2050.  Under international protocols, Israel also supplies roughly 110 million cubic meters of water annually to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and to Jordan.

Faced with these challenges, Israel made long-term investments in technology, institutions, and policy reforms that have paid off in the form of a dynamic, export-oriented water sector. Water has become a US$2 billion industry for Israel, consisting of at least 300 companies and over 100 startups.  Growth has been rapid: the sector has seen an increase in exports of almost 200% in just three years.[1]  The Israeli government now sees water technology and related services as one of the most promising opportunities for export-oriented growth, underscoring how Israel has managed to turn water scarcity from a brake on development into an engine for it.

The example of Israel therefore offers an enticing model for developing countries facing similar challenges of water scarcity and variability.  Keep in mind, however, that Israel’s strategy has been long in the making, and relies on a complex framework of public finance, technology, policies, and institutions.  Beginning in the 1960s, the Israeli government invested in state-owned enterprises focused on reducing irrigation water use, the single biggest consumer of water.  One of these firms, Netafim, was a pioneer in drip irrigation, which improves the efficiency of irrigation to 90%, as compared to 50% using traditional flood irrigation.  Today, 80% of irrigation equipment produced in Israel is exported.  State investment, including long-term financing arrangements produced by the Ministry of Finance, has also been critical to the expansion of desalination, which now provides some 850% of Israel’s domestic and municipal water.  Using advanced remote osmosis technologies and improved process engineering, Israel’s desalination plants are some of the most efficient in the world, delivering water at a price as low as US$0.54 per cubic meter, well below the global average of approximately US$0.81.[2]   

But Israel’s water technology sector isn’t solely the product of state-led investment.  It’s also sustained by the country’s progressive approach to water pricing, which aims to promote water conservation while also ensuring that investments in water supply and delivery are sustainable, with operation and maintenance expenses financed by tariffs paid by water users.  This tariff, currently set at approximately US$2.455 per cubic meter for most water users, includes only a 4.5% subsidy[3]  This relatively high water tariff creates a dependable revenue for Israel’s utilities, and a strong profit motive for companies whose technology and processes can further reduce water use.
 
Perhaps even more important than these favorable economics, however, is the institutional support that the Israeli government provides to the water sector.  In 2007, the government created the Israel Water Authority, which has responsibility for nearly all aspects of water resource management, and serves as a single point of contact and authority for Israel’s water sector.  Israel’s government-funded Innovation Authority and Export Institute have both identified water as a strategic growth opportunity, and provide water technology companies with startup financing, export assurances, and assistance in promoting products abroad.  A sectoral growth strategy produced by Deloitte on behalf of the Manufacturers Association of Israel has been embraced by the government, including holding a major industry conference – WATEC– every two years.

The Israeli example shows that it’s possible to turn severe water scarcity into economic opportunity with the right investments in technology, financing, policy, and institutions. Israel’s success has depended on a high level of institutional capacity and long-term planning.  However, for World Bank client countries  that are severely affected by water scarcity, the case of Israel suggests that investing in good water management can create substantial rewards, not only in the water sector, but more broadly for economic growth as well. 

 

[1] Ramzi Gabad, Chairman, Israeli Export Institute.  Presentation at WATEC 2017, September 12, 2017, Tel Aviv. 
[2] Data from IDE Corporation. 
[3] Data from Israel Water Authority. 

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UConn Beef Auction

beef steer

The auction will be held on Sunday, October 22nd at UConn’s Storrs Campus at the UConn Cattle Resource Unit (Heifer Barn) located on Horsebarn Hill Road. The event is free and open to the general public. Preview of animals begins at 10 a.m.; auction will be held at 12:00 noon; lunch will be available for purchase. Please contact Mary Margaret Cole, Executive Program Director, UConn Livestock Units at Mary_Margaret.Cole@uconn.edu with any questions. Please visit http://animalscience.uconn.edu/join.php to join the email list if you would like to receive a digital copy of the animal sale list.

Approximately 30 UConn animals are expected to be auctioned and may include Angus (heifers and steers), and Hereford (heifers and steers). Consignments will not be accepted this year.

The Animal Auction List is posted  at s.uconn.edu/beefauction

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Tank Gutters – Why They Fail the Sniff Test

Trying to decide on the water catchment system that is right for your property can be a time-consuming and tiresome project. To help guide you in the right direction, here is some information on exactly what NOT to choose when deciding on a catchment system that will provide you with the cleanest, clearest and purest

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THE CATTLEMEN’S TANK

Introducing The Cattlemen’s Tank “The long-life tank, designed by cattlemen, for cattle country” “We know our customers and they know their stock, their country and their business – and that is why when they speak, we listen” said Daniel Wyatt, General Manager of Pioneer Water Tanks. The long-life Cattlemen’s Tank is the result of a

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When nutrition meets WASH: reflections from Ethiopia and Madagascar on fighting stunting

Co-author: Sophie Durrans, Research Uptake Officer at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

A child who is stunted early in life – who fails to grow as tall as expected for their age – often has reduced physical and mental development. Water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) influences a child’s growth in multiple ways. Evidence across low and middle-income countries demonstrates that higher open defecation rates are associated with stunting and higher overall incidence of poverty.

In recent years, better understanding of the links between poor water, sanitation, and hygiene and undernutrition has led to improvements in multi-sectoral policies and programs. A new World Bank report called Reducing Inequalities in Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene in the Era of the Sustainable Development Goals – which is part of the World Bank’s ongoing initiative in 18 countries to look at WASH Poverty Diagnostics – shows that 2 + 2 can equal 5: water, health, and nutrition interventions need to be coordinated in the fight against childhood stunting and mortality. While improving water and sanitation alone does improve a child’s well-being, the impacts on a child’s future are even greater when WASH is combined with health and nutrition interventions.

However, substantial knowledge gaps remain. Until now, research and development practitioners have largely focused their efforts to fight stunting in rural settings; less attention has gone to how poverty, overcrowding, and poor-quality water and sanitation services interact to magnify these risks in densely populated peri-urban areas.
 
In a bid to fill the knowledge gaps, at Stockholm World Water Week, stakeholders from the water and nutrition sectors came together to discuss the evidence, policy, and practice examples of how we can effectively address stunting in slums and informal settlements.
 
After the session, we spoke with Ambinintsoa Raveloharison, National Coordinator of the National Nutrition Office in Madagascar and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) government focal point, and Bethlehem Mengistu, Country Director of WaterAid Ethiopia. Here are the reflections they shared on the session and, more broadly, on how #NutritionMeetsWASH:   
 
Q: What are your key takeaways from the session?
Mengistu:
The WASH sector needs to take much stronger action to integrate nutrition; too few WASH plans consider the impact of water, sanitation, and hygiene on nutrition. WASH Ministries must be involved in the decision-making of the nutrition sector. There are clear, practical actions all governments and donors can take to integrate WASH and nutrition: things like co-location, hygiene promotion, BabyWASH interventions, and ensuring WASH in health centers and schools.
 
Raveloharison:
This session piqued my interest on the difference between the levels of stunting and wasting, particularly around why stunting is decreasing, but not wasting. I’d like to find out more about this, as it’s the same in my country. The Recipe for Success presentation highlighted how national plans offer a multisectoral approach. In Madagascar, we need to improve how to harmonize and create impacts and effects.
 
 
Q: What is one thing you want people who couldn’t attend the session to know?
Mengistu:
You can’t end hunger and chronic malnutrition with food alone! You’ve got to look at the underlying causes and the environment. Investing in WASH is key!
 
Raveloharison:
The integration of WASH and nutrition is key. I’d like people to consider how it impacts their work. 
 
Q: What was the most surprising or unexpected thing you heard in the session?
Mengistu:
I really like the facilitator’s point that ‘the session reflects the whole narrative: research on evidence, what the policies say, and the action on the ground. We will no doubt have a different and improved picture of the issues in the coming years.’ I think this is a positive statement that is quite encouraging and conducive to getting actors out of silos and investing in comprehensive interventions that are win-win for all and in line with the SDGs.
 
Raveloharison:
I was surprised and encouraged to see the combination of researchers, policymakers and development practitioners who are all collaborating with and supporting governments and countries to improve nutrition outcomes.
 
The collaboration between WASH and nutrition stakeholders at Stockholm World Water Week continues through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) and Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership, and supports integrations well as sharing good practices. At the SUN Global Gathering in November this year, stakeholders will meet again to explore these issues – helping to strengthen a network of researchers and development practitioners that can ultimately make a difference in children’s lives.

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The Pharma Challenge. What Can We Do About It?

pharma.jpg

The existence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and the water supply in small amounts (nanograms to low micrograms per gallon) has been widely discussed and published over the past decade. The increase in detection is primarily attributable to the advances in analytical techniques and instrumentation.

Though the chemical and drug companies denounce any danger from exposure to these low concentration drug residues in water, science and common sense says otherwise. Studies show drug residue cocktails do cause harm. A 2006 study conducted by University of Insubria in Italy simulated water that was drug-polluted by creating a low-level concoction of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. The scientists discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues stopped cells from reproducing. Although current water contamination levels are measured and researched in parts per million or parts per billion, there is not currently a way to understand just how much exposure citizens experience what those effects are. People regularly drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water; this suggests that the exposure to contaminants could be huge.

How Do We Fix This Problem? 
Conventional wastewater treatment facilities typically utilize activated sludge processes or other forms of biological treatment such as biofiltration. These methods have demonstrated varying removal rates for pharmaceuticals, but are usually not very effective. There are newer and more advanced technologies that are being deployed as a more suitable alternative than AS. Newer technologies have proven more effective and better at removing pharmaceuticals than ever before. One such technology developed by Active Water Solutions called the DynaFlow I has proven itself to be one of the most cost effective solutions in helping to remove pharmaceuticals from the water supply.

In the bigger picture, the EPA has taken a four-pronged approach that involves public education, closer monitoring of water supplies, partnering with health care institutions and agricultural entities to reduce waste. New regulation will most certainly be on the radar of most political heads shortly. As a first step toward possible regulation, the EPA has added ten pharmaceutical compounds, one antibiotic and nine hormones, to its watch list of potentially harmful contaminants that warrant greater investigation.

Many people believe that removing pharmaceuticals by boiling water is an effective treatment of their water, this is not the reality of how to treat pharma contaminated water sources. Experts have proven that boiling water to remove drug residue is not a valid option. If you think bottled water is a way to get away from the low levels of drugs found in some public water supplies, you would be mistaken. According to an NRDC report, Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Bottled water labels are regulated by the FDA, to help consumers know what is inside but, if bottled water companies use water from municipal sources and do not treat it further to purify it, then it is useless to use them as a way to get rid of pharmaceuticals. 

There is a long road to travel before we solve this major issue of the 21st century. We have only begun to realize the implications of pharma in our water streams. Recognizing and identifying that it’s an important discussion is the first step in addressing this complex and challenging problem that has global implications. 

Interested in learning more about advanced technologies that can help remove pharmaceuticals from your water streams. Contact us today. 

Learn More

[Read More …]

The Pharma Challenge. What Can We Do About It?

pharma.jpg

The existence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and the water supply in small amounts (nanograms to low micrograms per gallon) has been widely discussed and published over the past decade. The increase in detection is primarily attributable to the advances in analytical techniques and instrumentation.

Though the chemical and drug companies denounce any danger from exposure to these low concentration drug residues in water, science and common sense says otherwise. Studies show drug residue cocktails do cause harm. A 2006 study conducted by University of Insubria in Italy simulated water that was drug-polluted by creating a low-level concoction of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. The scientists discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues stopped cells from reproducing. Although current water contamination levels are measured and researched in parts per million or parts per billion, there is not currently a way to understand just how much exposure citizens experience what those effects are. People regularly drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water; this suggests that the exposure to contaminants could be huge.

How Do We Fix This Problem? 
Conventional wastewater treatment facilities typically utilize activated sludge processes or other forms of biological treatment such as biofiltration. These methods have demonstrated varying removal rates for pharmaceuticals, but are usually not very effective. There are newer and more advanced technologies that are being deployed as a more suitable alternative than AS. Newer technologies have proven more effective and better at removing pharmaceuticals than ever before. One such technology developed by Active Water Solutions called the DynaFlow I has proven itself to be one of the most cost effective solutions in helping to remove pharmaceuticals from the water supply.

In the bigger picture, the EPA has taken a four-pronged approach that involves public education, closer monitoring of water supplies, partnering with health care institutions and agricultural entities to reduce waste. New regulation will most certainly be on the radar of most political heads shortly. As a first step toward possible regulation, the EPA has added ten pharmaceutical compounds, one antibiotic and nine hormones, to its watch list of potentially harmful contaminants that warrant greater investigation.

Many people believe that removing pharmaceuticals by boiling water is an effective treatment of their water, this is not the reality of how to treat pharma contaminated water sources. Experts have proven that boiling water to remove drug residue is not a valid option. If you think bottled water is a way to get away from the low levels of drugs found in some public water supplies, you would be mistaken. According to an NRDC report, Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Bottled water labels are regulated by the FDA, to help consumers know what is inside but, if bottled water companies use water from municipal sources and do not treat it further to purify it, then it is useless to use them as a way to get rid of pharmaceuticals. 

There is a long road to travel before we solve this major issue of the 21st century. We have only begun to realize the implications of pharma in our water streams. Recognizing and identifying that it’s an important discussion is the first step in addressing this complex and challenging problem that has global implications. 

Interested in learning more about advanced technologies that can help remove pharmaceuticals from your water streams. Contact us today. 

Learn More

[Read More …]