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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

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. 
All classes will be held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Pre registration is required, please call 970-382-6465. Registration Deadline is April 1st at 5:00 pm
Mon. April 6th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Thurs. April 9th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Mon. April 13th, 6:00 pm to 8:230 pm.
Cost: $35.00 per class or $70.00 for all 3 classes.

Organize Your Important Household Papers –what is important and to organize important household papers and provides forms and publications to complete the task. Mon. April 6th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care – Medical care provider explains advance directives for health care and how to communicate your final wishes. Thurs. April 9th, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Prepare Your Estate Plan – An Estate planning attorney provides up to date information about legal issues such as wills, personal representative, probate, and trusts. Mon. April 13th, 6:00 pm to 8:230 pm.

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:
Wed. May 13th, 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Thurs. July 16th 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Thurs. Nov. 19th 9:00 am to 1:30 pm 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:
Wed. April 15th, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and Thurs. April 16th, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Wed. Oct. 14th, 9am to 5pm and Thurs. Oct. 16th, 9am to 2pm. 

 Brochure and Registration Form

Preregistration is required by April 9th at 5:00 pm and October 5th at 5:00 pm. 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.
Thurs. April 9th, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, at the La Plata County Fairgrounds
Mitigation Calss: Tue. May 12th, 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm, at the La Plata County Fairgrounds

Call 382-6461 for more information or to register a class.

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.  2015 Dates are TBD


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

High Altitude Food Preservation



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.  2015 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