Institute partners with 4-H on fair projects

Published 12:21 pm Sunday, August 7, 2011

This year’s Mower County Fair will feature a new partnership between Mower County 4-H and The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic.

The organizations are planning to spearhead two projects during the Mower County Fair, Aug. 9-14.

One initiative will raise funds for the Hormel Institute’s cancer research in memory of Deb Schammel, who was a long-time member and volunteer leader of Mower County 4-H. She died from cancer in July 2010.

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“We remain focused on finding answers through research as quickly as possible as to what will prevent or control the terrible disease of cancer,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of the Hormel Institute. “Partnerships with our community are important both for funds raised and also because of the encouragement support provides.”

During the fair, Mower County 4-H will sell green “Plant a Seed with 4-H” wristbands for a minimum $2 donation in memory of Schammel. Donations will support the Hormel Institute’s cancer research.

“Deb was an amazing gardener who always gave her all for the 4-H program, which allowed youth of all ages to grow green with 4-H,” said Melissa Koch, the Mower County 4-H program coordinator.

Wristbands can be purchased during the fair at the 4-H fair office in the 4-H Building and are available before or after the fair at the Extension office in the courthouse’s lower level, or by calling 507-437-9552.

The partnership’s second initiative is a food challenge, attracting more than a dozen kids to participate for this year’s fair.

Under the challenge, each 4-H’er had to use at least one of 13 items from a list of foods — including broccoli, onions, cranberries, strawberries and dark chocolate — containing anti-cancer compounds studied by The Hormel Institute. Participants were to create a cancer-preventative dish and/or meal using five ingredients or less. The recipe limited processed foods and required easy preparation — 30 minutes or less.

“This project is real-life learning by doing,” Koch said. “Mower County 4-Hers are always up for a challenge and have taken this healthy living challenge to a new level.”

On Monday, Aug. 8, the food challenge participants will be judged on their project and knowledge. Entries will be on display for the public starting at noon Tuesday. The winner will receive an award/recognition from The Hormel Institute.

The Hormel Institute will have a display in the 4-H Building, located in the fairgrounds’ northwest corner. Cards listing foods containing cancer-preventive compounds will be available for the public.

Donations in memory of Deb Schammel can be made at the 4-H Building at the fair or by mail.