Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. When you sit down to your fabulous meal on Thursday, what will you thankful for?

I am thankful for the WISEWOMAN program. If it were not for WISEWOMAN, many women in Michigan would not have access to the chronic disease risk factor screening and lifestyle intervention services we are able to provide.

I am thankful for the WISEWOMAN staff around the State Of Michigan. Health care providers, such as nurses, medical assistants, lab technicians and others conduct the clinical screening services for the WISEWOMAN participants. Lifestyle counselors work with the participants to help make their lives a little healthier and a little better. Clerical staff schedule appointments and handle the data and paperwork that are so important for us to report to our funders at CDC. Without the entire WISEWOMAN staff working together, we would not be able to run the program.

Mostly, I am thankful for the WISEWOMAN participants themselves. My colleague, Viki, often says the WISEWOMAN participants are her heroes. I echo that sentiment. In the face of extremely difficult social and economic circumstances, they are out there trying to make changes in their lives to be healthier. They do it for their families, for their friends, and for themselves, and they keep working at it every day.

Do you know a WISEWOMAN? If so, make sure to tell her I said “Thanks!”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back to the Blog

Here we are in November. The six counties involved in the Entrepreneurial Gardening Project have all had frost by now. Except for some kale or other hardy greens, the gardens are finished for the year. Well, the gardens may be finished, but the entrepreneurial spirit of our WISEWOMAN gardeners keeps going.

You may recall from the blog post in May, the WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Project expanded from a one county pilot project into a total of six counties in Northern Michigan. Twenty-five WISEWOMAN gardeners participated in the project. They were helped in their efforts by Michigan State University Extension. Extension Master Gardeners taught classes on gardening and composting, while the Extension Educators taught nutrition classes. The participants also learned marketing skills thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture course called “Selling the Whole Truckload.”

The project expansion was a great success! Here are a few quotes from the WISEWOMAN gardeners:

"This program has awakened a new enjoyment in my life. It’s one of the most exciting things of the summer. I feel confident in my gardening skills, and my husband is a great support, too. He thinks it’s so exciting!"

"I used this program to plant 72 tomato plants on my property! I’ve had to use the food pantry plenty of times in my life, so I’m going to donate these tomatoes to the food pantry. This is one way I can give back."

"I’m new to the area, and I haven’t been able to find a job. I love this program! I planted leeks, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, herbs….It gives me an opportunity to get outside. I have met so many wonderful friends through this experience. I’m really happy. My husband is really supportive, too. It makes him happy that I’m happy."

"This has been a wonderful experience to bond with other women! I’ve also received help from my brother—he loves to make salsa, so that drove what I planted in my garden. We’re spending more time together in the garden and in the kitchen!"

To read more about the Entrepreneurial Gardening Project, go to: