Kent/MSU Cooperative Extension
A University/Community partnership connecting education to life to meet the challenges of a changing and diverse society.
Michigan State University (MSU) Extension in Kent County is part of a statewide information and education delivery network, applying university level, research-based knowledge to locally-identified critical issues. We respond to local needs through a unique partnership of County, State and Federal resources. Information is extended to Kent County residents through the MSU non-formal education system, which assists individuals, families and communities to make better decisions.
Kent/MSU Extension services are divided into four program areas which reflect the four program institutes of MSU Extension. In the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute program area, education is provided on topics including: agriculture in the bio-economy, agri-security, pesticide use, animal waste management, farm marketing, financial planning and business management, and other farm management topics. Horticulture offerings include plant and soil diagnostics, Green Industry business assistance and education, the MSU Extension Master Gardener program, and consumer assistance through the horticulture hot line.
Children and Youth Institute programs focus on research based education in youth and volunteer development. With a focus on preparing Michigan's children and youth for the future through non-formal educational programs, educators work within the community to provide training for adult and youth volunteers on youth development, science experiential education, leadership and civic engagement, and career exploration and workforce development. The Greening Michigan Institute programs provide education on aspects of community development related to community food systems, community prosperity, natural resources and stewardship, financial, housing and energy resources, and waste to resource--green energy. Participants in Greening Michigan programs might include agricultural producers who want to expand locally-grown food sales to local institutions, or individuals who want to improve their basic money management skills. Additionally, local units of government, community-based organizations, public officials and citizens participate in a variety of educational programs on many aspects of community development.
In the Health and Nutrition Institute, MSUE educators and instructors work with groups of individuals throughout the community on improving health through better nutrition, and on improving knowledge about healthy relationships and the social, emotional aspects of human development. They work with many low-income individuals who want to learn more about feeding their families with limited dollars. They also work with developmentally challenged youth and adults, engage seniors in improving their health, and work with students in classroom programming or through venues like juvenile detention. Community agencies and employers also host MSU Extension education classes and partner with us through train-the-trainer programming, creating capable community based educators throughout Kent County.
- Bring research from Michigan State University to Kent County in educational program areas as reflected by our Institute structure: Agriculture and Agribusiness; Children and Youth; Greening Michigan; Health and Nutrition
- Increased adoption by agricultural community of bioproducts and/or bioenergy techniques
- Increase participation in educational programs for youth and for adult leaders that will develop their skills in leadership, and in science, engineering and/or technology
- Increasing production of fresh local foods by small and medium-sized producers and farmers, increased sales of these local foods to institutions including K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, and hospitals
- Improve dietary outcomes for adults and youth following participation in Extension educational programs