Colorado Grows Greens

Front Range Region



(El Paso, Weld)

Primary Topic:

Health and Well-Being

Other Topics:

Economic and Community Development, Food and Agriculture

Lead Mentor:  

Sheila Beckley

Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent

Internship Overview:

Leafy green vegetables stand out nutritionally among produce types because of their versatility, availability, low calories, and for providing a variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants that promote health. Although dozens of types are available to grow, a limited number of greens and salad mixes are usually available in grocery stores and their cost has been increasing in recent months. With their short growing time and ability to be grown indoors or outside, leafy greens are excellent ‘gateway’ vegetables to introduce consumers to growing their own food. To provide information related to nutrition, safe handling, preparation, and growing tips for a variety of leafy greens, the summer intern would
o research available information from CSU and other Extension resources, including but not limited to recipes and YouTube videos
o interview horticulture, nutrition, and food safety experts at CSU
o identify types of leafy greens that grow well in Colorado
o develop two versions of a presentation (condensed and full version) with notes that could be used for in-person or virtual presentations
o present the information to the Garden to Kitchen project team and others in Extension and gather feedback for revisions
o develop a social media campaign (posts, downloadable information sheets, LiveSmart blog article) to promote the benefits of growing and consuming leafy greens

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

The primary goal would be to gather information and develop resources related to leafy green vegetables which could be shared by CSU Extension and integrated into the Garden to Kitchen program and other existing food preparation and Nutrition programs. The second goal would be to develop promotional materials to be shared on social media and designed to educate and encourage consumers to grow and prepare salad greens at home. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (USDA 2021) recommend that adults consume two and a half cups of vegetables per day but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 11.6% of adults in Colorado meet this recommendation (CDC, 2023). Leafy greens are a short season vegetable and one of the few that can be grown during summer months in all 64 Colorado counties or indoors all year round. This helps address food insecurity, which is one of the issues identified in the last Community Needs Assessment.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The intern would have opportunities to work with multiple CSU Extension agents and specialists from the Horticulture and Consumer and Family Science teams as well as team members from Extension’s Garden to Kitchen and Grow and Give programs. The student intern will have opportunities to interview Nutrition specialists from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment related to their recommendations for promoting leafy greens and reaching a broad cross section of Colorado residents.
In preparing a blog article, the student would work closely with CSU Extension agents involved with the Live Smart Blog and learn recommended practices used in writing for the public.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The student will:
o be involved with locating research-based information regarding growing and handling leafy green vegetables
o be trained in social media outreach best practices
o assist with development of social media posts using the Canva graphic design program
o write an Extension blog article with assistance from project mentors
o have many opportunities to interact with Extension professionals from multiple regions
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