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Family & Consumer Science


The Family and Consumer Sciences program offers classes on nutrition, disease prevention, money management, and food preservation/food safety. 

Colorado State University (CSU) Extension La Plata County focuses on three key areas.  Dates and times are tentative and we suggest you contact the Extension office to confirm and or register.  For additional programming needs or information on any of the following programs call Wendy Rice, R.D. @ 970-382-6461 or by using the Contact Form.  Some of the classes available are as follows:

Bountiful Baskets

Have you resolved to eat healthier?  Save Money?  Bountiful Baskets can help.  Starting March 15, La Plata County Extension would like to offer this option in our community. Good quality produce at a very good price.  Bountiful Baskets is a fruit and vegetable buying co-op whereby participants pool their money to get best quality fresh produce at a wholesale price.  The entire program functions as a result of volunteers.

For a $15 contribution (plus small fee for transport), participants get a substantial variety of fruits and vegetables every two weeks. The selection changes each time but generally includes seasonal produce such as bananas, romaine, berries, etc.  Participants have the option of upgrading to a 100% organic selection for an additional $10. 

There are no long term commitments to participate – participate when you can as you wish by following four easy steps:

1)      Go to www.bountifulbaskets.org to create your account. 

2)      Read the information to understand this unique approach.

3)      Your participation and basket commitment for the following Saturday is done sometime between noon Monday until noon Tuesday.  The number of baskets is limited.  The first time baskets will be available in Durango will be March 15 from 9 am to 9:20 am for pick up at the Extension building and every two weeks thereafter. 

4)      After you have committed for you’re a basket you will receive a confirmation.  Bring that with you to pick up your basket. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Wendy Rice 382-6461. 

You can also like us on Facebook: Durango Produce Baskets


Food Preservation - Choice of Hands on Class or Discussion Class

Preserving food at the height of its freshness and flavor can save money, increase self-reliance and enable us to enjoy the wonderful flavor year round. CSU Extension La Plata County offers hands-on food preservation workshops using safe, up-to-date, research-tested methods.  For specific details and schedule as well as Master Food Safety Adviser schedule contact Wendy Rice @ 970 382 6461. 

Durango Lecture Classes: Aug. 21st 3pm-5pm or 6pm-8pm

Durango Hands-on Class: Aug. 25th and 27th 10am-3pm

Bayfield Hands-on Class - Pressure Canning: Sept 3rd - 1:30pm-5:30pm

Bayfield Lecture Class - Dehydrating/Freezing: Sept 4th - 3pm - 5pm

Brochure and more information



Pressure Canner Safety and Maintenance

Pressure Gauges on Canners should be checked annually for accuracy.  Bring your lid to the extension office to be checked ($5).  Additional resources available.


Food Safety Works - Safe Food Handler Training

A course for Food Service Workers that covers the basics requirements for Safe Food Handling. This course fulfills the State of Colorado requirements for food safety works as well as those needing certifications for Cottage Foods. 
Topics Covered:
Preventing Food Borne Illness
Food Temperature Control
Personal Hygiene
Preventing Cross Contamination
Preparing/Serving Food Safely
Cleaning and Sanitizing

Next Class Date: August 28th. All classes will be from 1:30pm to 5:30pm and held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Cost: $30.00/Person
Preregistration is required. Call 970-382-6461 to register.

Food Safety Works Brochure & Registration Form

ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Training

ServSafe is a nationally recognized comprehensive food safety training developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Food service managers and Cottage Foods producers need the highest level of food safety training and certification.
Participants who score 75% or higher will receive a ServSafe certificate, valid for 5 years.
Classes will be held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds on Oct. 15 from 9am to 5pm & 16th from 9am to 2pm. 

 Brochure and Registration Form

Preregistration is required by April 2nd at 5:00pm. Please call 970-382-6461 with any questions.

Cottage Food Producers   

http://cofarmtomarket.com/value-added-products/cottage-foods/  for updates and more details

Colorado law passed March, 2012 to encourage more cottage industry in our state.  You may now prepare (in home kitchen without license) specific food items and sell direct to consumer. 

One requirement to sell is the obtaining of ServeSafe Manager Certification.  Individual course completion is available through CSU Extension La Plata County.  Classes are available for groups on request.  For more information on Cottage Food Industry or ServSafe™ certification training, contact the office at 970 382 6461.

Certification meets requirement for individuals wanting to produce and sell home-based food products in accordance with the Colorado Cottage Food Act.  Participants must achieve a passing exam score of 75% or higher to receive a certificate, valid for 5 years.


Radon Levels in Homes in La Plata County and within Durango City Limits

Due to the nature of the soil in this county, our homes are at higher risk to have elevated Radon.  If Radon level in your home is greater than 4 pCi/L, EPA recommends mitigation.  Elevated Radon is the number 2 cause of lung cancer.  Attend session to learn about Radon in our community, what it is, and what to do.  Free Screening kits available to participants of classes.  Classes offered at Fairgrounds in Durango, and as resource for Montezuma, San Juan, and Archuleta counties.  Call 382-6463 for schedule of presentations.

Master Food Safety

Master Food Safety Volunteer Program
2014 Dates are TBD

High Altitude Food Preparation


Many recipes need to be modified to accommodate no only the semi-arid desert but particularly the higher elevations.  La Plata County has homes that are 6000 – 8000 feet above sea level.  Adjustments are necessary for baking, candy making, food preservation, and general cooking.   Topics include Mediterranean cooking, Gluten free cooking, Cooking with spices, Cheese Making, Candy Making.  2014 Dates are TBD


CSU Extension publications with information on baking and cooking at high altitudes.

High Altitude Food Preservation



Small Steps to Health and Wealth 

This program is designed to motivate to you to implement behavior change strategies that simultaneously improve health and personal finances.  Health problems affect your financial health and financial problems affect your physical health.  Colorado State University Extension now offers Small Steps to Health and Wealth-a program designed to help connect your behaviors and habits to improve health and wealth.  Making small changes makes a difference that is sustainable.

Class can be offered as one time session using 6 strategies (or for employees as a Brown Bag lunch presentation) or for more options (25 strategies) can be presented as four sessions. 

Sessions are hands on and packed full of useful health and finance tips in a supportive learning environment.  Make 2014 your year to feel better, eat healthier, be more active, and give your finances a boost. 

Go to http://www.ext.colostate.edu/smallsteps/index.html for tips and information. 

For La Plata County, a series will be offered throughout February @ no charge to help set your year in a good direction.  2014 Series dates are to be determined.

Strong Women Healthy Hearts

Heart disease is still the number one killer of women and often presents with symptoms different from men's heart attack.  Strong Women, Healthy Hearts gives women the opportunity to take time for themselves to learn more about heart disease and its prevention in an environment that is fun and undemanding.  Healthy Hearts is a cardiovascular disease prevention curriculum that aims to help women reduce the risk of heart disease through fitness and nutrition education.

Classes are designed to help improve heart health and weight control.  Each class lasts approximately 1 hour twice a week is divided into two six week sessions (Part 1 and Part 2)  Over the course of the program, the aerobic activity progresses from approximately 20 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity physical activity  to 25 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (plus stretching). The other half of each class includes leader-directed discussion around eating for heart health and hands-on cooking activities. The curriculum and resources emphasize an eating pattern that is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy, fish, whole grains, and legumes; it encourages leaner meats and poultry, and fewer refined carbohydrates and saturated and trans fats.  Strong Women Healthy Hearts 2014 dates are to be determined. 

Legally Secure Your Financial Future

This class is a very well received three part comprehensive series to help you get those important papers organized, to communicate with others and begin preparing your estate plan. Guest speakers deal with this on a daily basis.  You leave with an extensive toolkit to help you succeed.  2014 dates are to be determined

Organize Your Important Household Papers –what is important and to organize important household papers and provides forms and publications to complete the task

Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care – Medical care provider explains advance directives for health care and how to communicate your final wishes

Prepare Your Estate Plan – An Estate planning attorney provides up to date information about legal issues such as wills, personal representative, probate, and trusts

Money Talk: Women’s Financial Education Series

A series of 5 classes will help women improve their ability for financial well-being. Participants are provided with information and resources to improve and understand their finances.  One of the resources includes a workbook containing dozens of worksheets (e.g., Evaluate Your Financial Goals) and activities to be put to use right away.  Guest speakers will also provide information specific to participant needs.  2014 Dates are to be determined.

Though we think we are prepared, we often find out too late.  Almost 90 percent of women will end up managing their finances alone at some point in their lives and end up in significant financial stress within 23 months, according to the Department of Labor. For those who have little or no experience in managing money, taking small steps can prevent feeling overwhelmed. In addition to basic financial knowledge, both spouses should maintain at least a big picture view of their finances, even if the other spouse handles bills and investments.

A multiple collection of hands on activities and lessons for beginning basics.  Arrangements for class schedule.

Great Resources:
to obtain up to six free reports annually (2 from each agency) as Colorado resident

http://creditscore.net to better understand your credit report and score.  Understand that your score is a compilation of several items and of no use unless you are anticipating pursuing a loan or credit card. 

Home Energy Audit Loan (HEAL) Kit

New tool kit to aid you in conducting an audit of energy use (and waste) in your home. The Home Energy Audit Loan (HEAL) kit includes:

  • thermal leak detector that can help you find air leaks and gaps in insulation; 
  • Kill-a-wattTM  and Belkin Energy Use Monitor power monitors to measure excessive appliance electricity use or find ‘phantom loads’ that use electricity even after the appliance is turned off;
  •  ‘flicker checker’ that detects the presence of inefficient magnetic ballasts in long fluorescent tube lighting (commonly found at commercial locations or in shops).

The HEAL kit can be borrowed for free for one week. Although the tools can be used individually, results will be even more powerful if used in conjunction with CSU Extension’s online Do-It-Yourself home energy audit worksheets and supporting online videos (www.ext.colostate.edu/energy/diy.html).


Contact Wendy Rice: 382-6461 or by using the Contact Form 


Photo La Plata County scenery