Safe, healthy households the goal of Ag Progress Days 'Family Room'

July 25, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Keeping a family safe, healthy and happy can be a daunting task. But a visit to the Family Room at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 12-14, can help make that job a little easier.

Located on Main Street between West Eighth and West Ninth streets at the Ag Progress Days site, the Family Room building will feature a variety of hands-on exhibits and demonstrations offered by Penn State Extension educators and staff from other University programs.

"In today's world, busy families are swamped with a glut of information, and it isn't always easy to separate the good advice from the bad," said Family Room organizer Elise Gurgevich, state coordinator of Penn State Extension's Nutrition Links program. "Our aim is to provide activities that cut through the clutter to deliver unbiased, research-based education on health, nutrition and family well-being, but in a fun, enjoyable way."

Gurgevich noted that visitors to the Family Room will be greeted by DB Pest, a friendly robot operated by Penn State's Pesticide Education Program. Once inside, families will find interactive displays and experts on topics such as diabetes and diet, home food preservation, the importance of pollinators and the safe use of pesticides at home, and the basics of health insurance.

Children can play educational mini-games and take part in a "MyPlate" scavenger hunt. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate, which guides consumers toward healthy eating, replaced the previous Food Pyramid dietary guidelines.

Healthy lifestyles food demonstrations conducted by Penn State Extension educators are a popular annual attraction in the Family Room, according to Gurgevich. Visitors can watch the preparation of quick and healthy dishes, taste the resulting fare and receive copies of the featured recipes. The MyPlate guidelines will be featured prominently in the demonstrations.

Presentations on household first aid also are planned. The tentative Family Room presentation schedule includes the following:

Tuesday, Aug. 12

10 a.m.: Canning salsa

11 a.m.: Strawberry spinach salad

Noon: Broccoli salad with creamy dressing

1 p.m.: Orange almond salad

2 p.m.: Canning salsa

Wednesday, Aug. 13

10 a.m.:  Build a basic meal packet

11 a.m.: Home first aid

1 p.m.: Build a basic meal packet

6 p.m.: Home first aid

Thursday, Aug 14

10 a.m.: Relish trays

11 a.m.: Summer squash and snow peas

Noon: Home first aid

1 p.m.: Easy stir fry

2 p.m.: Fast fruit salad

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 13; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 25, 2014