Northeast Region Newsletter, April 2022

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Activity Corner

by Cecilia Stevens

The LSU AgCenter is piloting an innovative program in four northeast parishes to increase access to fresh produce. “Grow a Row to Share” will be piloted April 1 to June 1, 2022, in Morehouse, East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas Parishes. After June 1, the program will be available for state-wide implementation. The program pairs home gardeners who have extra produce with local charitable food agencies. “Grow a Row to Share” provides an opportunity for the individual gardener to increase personal health through physical activity while growing produce to benefit the local food system.

Gardeners and charitable food agencies who wish to participate in the program register online at Eventbrite. This enrolls participants in the“ Grow a Row to Share” community where information from the LSU AgCenter on vegetable growing and food safety are shared. Registration will also help match gardeners with the nearest participating charitable food partners such as food pantries or Councils on Aging. Gardeners are encouraged to share any quality fresh produce from their gardens. There is no maximum or minimum amount of garden produce to share. Whether it is 5 squash shared one-time or 50 pounds of produce weekly or anything in between, the donations are needed by charitable food agencies. The process of gardening can also improve the health of the gardener. Gardening has been shown to improve the emotional and mental health of participants by providing stress-relief during physical activity. Bending, stretching, and lifting during the everyday jobs of gardening provide many health benefits. Some even refer to this as “gardening yoga” due to the many muscle groups used while working the soil. Participation in the “Grow a Row to Share” program offers many benefits to both the individual and community. For more information about enrolling, please contact Cecilia Stevens at

Connecting Communities

by Jocinda Jackson-Jones

It's officially Spring and it’s the perfect time to get out in the community to enjoy the nice weather and connect with the people in your community (or neighboring communities). One great way to connect communities is through the development of community gardens. Community gardens are becoming more popular in communities as communities grow to understand the need for healthier foods. Community gardens are great for people who are interested in following the “ground to the table” concept as well as those who enjoy
donating fresh produce or work as Farmer’s Market vendors in their local Farmer’s Market. Food Pantries are also in need of fresh produce to distribute to community members during monthly distribution days. Donating fresh produce allows those who are elderly, disabled or unable to get out in the garden, to add fresh fruit to their diets without having to pay out of pocket costs to do so. Community gardens have the ability to connect communities in the following ways:

  • Community collaboration: Most communities work together to install community gardens which creates cohesiveness in the community and a sense of belonging.
  • Plot adoption: Some communities allow community members to adopt plots (this encourages healthy eating in households).
  • Community donations: Communities can donate the produce to food pantries, nursing homes and homeless shelters.
  • Community support: Community gardens can assist Farmer’s Market vendors with their weekly sales resulting in more income in households and more reasonably priced produce for community members.

Healthy Communities is open to working with those who are interested in making donations to food pantries and can assist community members by providing them with a list of local food pantries in their community or in a community nearby. Also, if there are established food pantries that are interested in starting a community garden, we can work with food pantries to assist them with their start-up needs. If you are in the Morehouse or East Carroll Parish area and want to learn about the ways we are working to promote community connections in your area through food systems projects and more, please contact Jocinda Jackson-Jones at jrjackson@ All other communities outside of Morehouse & East Carroll Parish can visit Healthy Communities ( to get in contact with their Healthy Communities agent and discuss ways they can get out in the community.

Food Safe Families

by Brittney Newsome

Easy Tips for Food Safety When Entertaining

As excitement builds and you get back into the swing of entertaining families and friends, it is important to plan “bacteria-free” gatherings with these easy tips for food safety while celebrating. Be sure to plan ahead and be creative with a plethora of food choices for your guests while keeping food safety in mind!

  • Keep Portions Small: Prepare several small platters and dishes ahead of time and replace the serving dishes with fresh ones throughout the gathering.
  • Storage Matters: Store cold back-up dishes in the refrigerator and keep hot dishes in the oven set at 200°F to 250°F prior to serving. This way, your late arriving guests can safely enjoy the same appetizing arrangements as the early arrivals.
  • Chill Out: Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or colder. Be sure to keep cold foods refrigerated until serving time. Once removed from the refrigerator, place plates of cold food on ice to retain the chill if the items will be out for longer than 2 hours.
  • Take Temperatures: Use a food thermometer to ensure that hot foods are kept at an internal temperature of 140°F or warmer to keep the bacteria at bay! Eggs and egg dishes, such as quiches or soufflés, may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165°F before serving. Chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays are a great way to serve dishes in as well as to keep hot food hot.
  • Keep it Fresh: Be aware that during any gathering, bacteria from people’s hands can contaminate the food. Plus, bacteria can multiply at room temperature. Keep an eye out for any form of cross-contamination just in case utensils or food items will need to be replaced.
  • Remember the 2-hour rule: Discard any perishables left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours unless you’re keeping it hot or cold. This rule also applies to leftovers as well. Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as guests arrive home and/or within 2 hours.


EFNEP, SNAP and Healthy Communities logos.

  • Catahoula/Concordia Parishes, Ana Gouge, (318) 414-6055
  • East Carroll/Morehouse Parishes, Jocinda Jackson, (318) 559-1459
  • Franklin/Caldwell Parishes/FCS Regional Coordinator, Quincy Vidrine, (318) 435-2903
  • CDC Food Systems Coordinator, Cecilia Stevens, (318) 435-2908
  • Madison/Tensas Parishes, Joy Sims, (318) 574-2465
  • Ouachita Parish, Cathy Agan, (318) 323-2251
  • Ouachita/Morehouse Parishes, Kimberly Butcher, (318) 323-2251
  • Ouachita/Union Parishes, Markaye Russell, (318) 323-2251
  • Richland/West Carroll Parishes, Brittney Newsome, (318) 281-5741

Northeast Region FCS logo.

It’s Crawfish Time in Louisiana

by Markaye Russell

When you think about crawfish, most people envision Louisiana parties, family gatherings, and boiled crawfish. Crawfish boils are about gatherings and great taste! Enjoy Louisiana crawfish for a delicious taste and good nutrition. Crawfish are an excellent source of high-quality protein. Crawfish are low in calories, fat and saturated fat, and a good source of vitamins. Crawfish contain the following nutrients: Biotin, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Phosphorus, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin B-12. Although crawfish tend to be higher in cholesterol than most other shellfish, a 3 1/2-ounce serving provides only about half of the daily recommended allowance. Consuming a diet high in seafood has been shown to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's, angina, stroke, asthma, heart disease and cancer. Crawfish have long been part of Louisiana's culture and an important and favorite food of Native Americans and early settlers. Centuries later, people enjoy crawfish in season with backyard boils and neighborhood get-togethers, as well as on the table all year long.

Crustless Crawfish Quiche

  • 1 tablespoon diet margarine or 1 1/2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup or more green onions
  • 8 ounces crawfish tails, lightly rinsed
  • Creole Seasoning
  • 1 cup grated sharp reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cholesterol free egg substitute
  • 1 cup evaporated skimmed milk
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Paprika

Directions: In skillet, melt margarine. Sauté garlic and onions briefly. Add crawfish. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Sprinkle mixture with seasoned salt. (If using boiled crawfish instead of packaged ones, you may not need the seasoned salt.) Mixture should be lukewarm. Stir in cheese. It may melt slightly but should not melt much at this point. Put mixture in the bottom of a pie plate that has been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Mix egg substitute, milk, mustard, and pepper. Pour over mixture in pie pan. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Crabmeat or shrimp may be substituted for the crawfish.

*This quiche recipe is very versatile. You can substitute other seafood such as crabmeat or shrimp for the crawfish. You can even try other meats.

National Every Kid Healthy Week!

by Joy Sims states that Every Kid Healthy™ Week is an annual observance created in 2013 to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. Recognized on the calendar of National Health Observances and observed the last full week of April each year, each day of the week shines a spotlight on the great actions schools and families are taking to improve the health and wellness of their kids and the link between nutrition, physical activity, mental health and learning – because healthy kids are better prepared to learn and thrive! So how do we participate here in Louisiana? You can register your school or scholars on the website to participate or you can engage in the designated days. There are plenty of resources ranging from toolkits to flash cards that can be of benefit for the Every Kid Healthy Week or throughout the course of the year! Here are some activities that you can do at home or in the classroom for each day from Action for Healthy Kids:

4/25 - Mindful Monday is focused on practicing and understanding social-emotional health and mindfulness skills. Encourage kids to write in their journal, build a “zen zone” in the home, or explore imagination through play-based yoga.

4/26 - Tasty Tuesday is aimed at building healthy habits and understating parts of the food system like cooking and gardening. Have a family food demonstration and taste test, practice understanding MyPlate guidelines, or talk about how food travels from the farm to the table.

4/27 - Wellness Wednesday wants us to get up and get moving by encouraging physical activity for a healthy mind. Take a family walk down the street, take a tech break and get into a new hobby like biking or skating. You can even have a family dance party to get your hearts pumping!

4/28 - Thoughtful Thursday encourages creating social cultures (at home or school) that celebrate diversity and equity. Talk about what it means to be diverse and inclusive with kids by getting creative! Spark conversations about bullying prevention and accepting others with school staff and youth.

4/29 - Family Friday inspires families and schools to support child health at school and home. Hosting a family fitness nigh or establishing a family self-care plan can help kids identify their feelings and process them in safe spaces. You also want to be a role model for healthy behaviors at home or in the school!

Upcoming Events

  • Ouachita Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Coalition Meeting, 4PM Ouachita Parish
    HYPE Coalition meeting will take place on April 26th, 2022 at Ouachita Parish LSU AgCenter Extension Office. Contact Cathy Agan for more information.
  • Small Changes, Healthy Habits Nutrition Series (in-person and virtual) Richland and West Carroll Parishes
    Contact Brittney Newsome for more information.
  • Spring into Vegetable Gardening, 5:30PM Concordia Parish:
    Presenters Kylie Miller and Marcie Matthews at Clayton Library on April 21st, 2022. Contact Ana Gouge for more information.
  • Landscaping Guidance for Every Yard, 5:30PM Concordia Parish:
    Presenter Sarah Shields will talk about landscaping at Vidalia Library on May 19th, 2022. Contact Ana Gouge for more information.
  • Smart Portions Nutrition Series, 12:00PM Richland Parish:
    This work shop series will take place on the following dates: April 14th and 28th, May 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th, and June 2nd and 9th. Please contact Richland parish office for more details.
  • One Pot Meals Nutrition Workshop, 10:00AM Richland Parish:
    This workshop will take place on April 29th. Please contact Richland parish office for more details.
  • Home Food Preservation Training Franklin Parish:
    Please contact Quincy L. Vidrine at 318-623-5217 for more information.
  • Pressure Canning Testing, 10AM-12PM Several Parishes:
    Please contact Markaye Russell for more information.
  • Grow a Row to Share, 5PM-6:15PM Franklin Parish:
    Training for Participants: Thursday, April 21 at Scott Center in Winnsboro or email for a virtual link.
  • RWCC Food Pantry Garden Work Day, 5:00PM Morehouse Parish:
    April 22, 1510 Elm Street in Bastrop. Contact Cecilia Stevens for more information. 318-312-2647
  • Food Systems Work Group, 10:00AM Morehouse Parish
    Friday, April 29th at the Morehouse Extension Office; any stakeholders interested in improving access to healthy food for the parish are welcome to attend. Contact Cecilia Stevens for more information.

4/21/2022 4:01:51 PM
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