Katie Pinke / Agweek Publisher
One night I rattled off a memorized list of linking verbs I've known since seventh grade to help Elizabeth, our fourth grader, power through her homework assignment. The look of amazement that spread across her face was priceless. I went on to explain what my English teachers at South Junior High and Central High School in Grand Forks, N.D., had taught me.
Is FFA only for farm kids, rural students or for students not in sports, music or other activities? If that's what you think, you're wrong. And if I can influence one person to encourage a student they know to join FFA, my goal for this column is achieved.
A little stack of cards sat next to our second grader Anika's supper plate one night this past week. Yes, it's supper, not dinner, on the prairie. We can debate that another time. After we filled our plates, Anika announced she had "family table" questions to ask. They were given out by our local extension agent at school.
At a recent small business seminar in my rural community, I asked the speaker, a young attorney who relocated her practice from Minneapolis-St. Paul to our town, what was the biggest personal surprise upon moving? She's been here almost three years, along with her husband who works at a local bank and serves on city council with me. Her response: "The tight-knit culture. I didn't foresee the 'you're not from here' and sometimes 'not welcome' culture." Following her answer, I asked the 20 or so people in the room, "Raise your hand if you're not from here."
This past week, our son, a sophomore at the University of North Dakota studying civil engineering and playing football, was named to the 2017 Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team. I think pop culture calls the fact I'm sharing this accomplishment a "mom brag" since it has already been written as news. It takes a village to help one kid land on the all-academic team. I'm proud of the 48 student-athletes from UND who were recognized in the sports of cross country, football, soccer and volleyball. Seventeen of them are Hunter's teammates, and three are his roommates.
This winter, I am spending time speaking at women-in-agriculture and agribusiness events. These are programs and conferences created specifically for women in an industry where mainstream society may not know or portray females as ag leaders.
While checking out at Target recently, the checker asked, "Oh, do you have a new house?" "No," I replied. "I'm just organizing at home a bit." She said, "Last year, I moved into a new house and used all of these drawer organizers you're buying as we moved in." "Well I have lived in my house for 10 years and have messy, unorganized drawers, so hopefully this helps," I said. My daughters laughed and one said, "It's OK, Mom. Ten years ago, you were having babies and traveling all the time for work. You didn't have time to organize drawers!"
I recently grabbed a can of diced tomatoes from my pantry shelf and the "Non-GMO Project" butterfly logo caught my eye. There were many labels on the can. "Heart-healthy." "No Salt Added." "Flash Steam Peeled." "Non BPA Liner." But the Non-GMO Project Verified logo had a website below. It looked like propaganda and annoyed me.
Do you have guests coming to visit for the holidays? Or, are you going to visit family? Below are my seven best practices to make entertaining easier, with fewer headaches and more laughter, new memories coupled with traditions, and to still love your family when it's over. If you're a guest, the tips will help you not only be tolerable but appreciated.
If you're reading this, you're most likely food secure, an affluent eater who has an array of choices when it comes to what you're preparing for Christmas dinner and a New Year's celebration. the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food security as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life." What does food security mean and look like in our own backyards and communities?