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How an extension service can help you

Updated on April 15, 2013

Extension services are NOT just about farms and animals


Background of Extension Services

In 1914 Congress established a land-grant university system and extension services are a part of that system. National extension provides objective and research-based information furthering learning and growth to assist people in improving their lives. National extension is in an educational partnership with a large number of universities across the United States.

In Colorado, for example Colorado State University Extension (Jefferson County), "...provides practical information and educational programs for citizens who have concerns and questions about horticulture, consumer and family sciences, natural resources, environmental education, native plants and youth development ..." (For more information and detail, see their website.) These programs are available to all without discrimination.

My personal experience with extension offices

BAKING: Probably my first experience with our local extension involved baking at this high altitude. I visited their office and picked up the books pictured. I have often used the MILE-HIGH Cakes booklet over the years. The recipes included are for altitudes of 5,000, 7,500, and 10,000 feet. After we had children, the Quick Mixes for High-Altitude Baking was a terrific time-saver.

High Altitude Baking

High Altitude Baking Booklets -- There are many available
High Altitude Baking Booklets -- There are many available | Source

Another personal experience

I published an earlier hub about making cheese at home and USDA bulletins were an excellent resource. I had NO cheese-making experience so needed all of the help I could get. When traveling at that time, I looked through extension offices for other booklets but now many are available online.

Making cheese at home booklets (I have many more.)


Drying fruits and vegetables ... other bulletins I used

At times, we were able to purchase fresh fruit and I chose to make fruit leather for our children's lunches. It is easy to make the puree but the drying takes time. A dryer for this purpose can work but some have only one level for puree. I usually used shallow cookie sheets lined with waxes paper and placed these on my very vintage kitchen stove. I would also put some of the pans in the oven with the door open. Needless to say, I had to watch the pans often as the puree tended to scorch easily when the liquid dissipated. I also dried sections of fruit too. Dried pear puree isn't very tasty but dried pieces of the fruit are wonderful.

Drying fruits and vegetables (two of many bulletins available)

These also have information on the back and/or have more than one page
These also have information on the back and/or have more than one page | Source

Services offered by extensions

  • 4-H Youth Development and Summer Camps
  • Nutrition and educational health (for example, there is a program called 'Wise Up Kids Cooking Camp' which is a free cooking class for children ages 6-14 in the greater East St. Louis metropolitan area; another elsewhere is 'Eating Smart Being Active and OrganWise Guys ... great classes)
  • Horticulture (includes growing plants, insect control, information about noxious weeds) ... a pamphlet called 'Grow Your Own Herbs' was helpful to me!
  • Water resources (including information about springs, water wells and permits, rivers, streams, and much more)
  • Energy (topics include types and sources of energy and conservation methods)
  • Information for all ages, needs based
  • They conduct classes and provide information on topics such as bankruptcy, divorce, disability, living on fixed income, planning, spending, saving and investing skills
  • They also direct people to different sites that provide the needed information


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    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 5 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks for adding the soil test comment. Extension services offer so much support!!

    • editsvcs profile image

      editsvcs 5 years ago

      Extension services are a great place to find information and scientifically supported answers. Some sites also offer soil tests to help you grow your garden.