Staff Development Day – NC Plants for Human Health Institute
On Tuesday, February 28th the Union County CES Staff participated in a development day and toured the NC Plants for Human Health Institute at the Kannapolis Research Center. John Barros, Extension Director and Economist and Megan Game, Communications directed our tour which included time spent with Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie who is one of ten researchers conducting research on utilizing plants to improve human health.
Dr. Perkins-Veazie discussed several areas she is currently researching including ways to conserve or improve bioactives in fruits and vegetables from farm to fork. She and her team are looking at what causes a significant nutrient loss (vitamin A) in strawberries after harvesting and if once determined they can preserve the nutrient level longer to benefit consumers. She is also evaluating new breeding lines of tomatoes for enhanced antioxidants; as well as evaluating and extending shelf life of small fruits including muscadine grapes which have a potential for new markets if their shelf life can be maintained.
Union County CES staff found areas of interest for all those who attended from Family & Consumer Science, to Expanded Family Nutrition Education Programming, 4-H programming opportunities, Local Foods and Horticulture. We’d like to thank the staff at NC Plants for Human Health Institute as well as Cheri Bennett, EFNEP Program Assistant for Union County CES for coordinating the day.