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New Year’s Resolution – Join a Professional Organization!

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When creating your new year’s resolutions, consider making one to enhance your career in 2019! According to Amy Lindgren, owner of a St. Paul career consulting firm, developing a focused career strategy is a way to make it flourish. She lists her “faithful five” career resolutions and number two is “Join A Professional Organization.” She believes the networking benefit alone is worth the cost of membership. Below is a link to the Pioneer Press article.

Food & Consumer Science Professionals welcomes new members. Check us out online at fcsprofessionals.org or come to meeting as a guest.

Working Strategies: Getting started on 5 New Year’s resolutions

October Meeting Recap: The Good Acre

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On Tuesday, October 30, FCS Professionals and guests gathered at The Good Acre in Falcon Heights. Our speaker for the evening was Emily Paul, Programs Director. Emily came to Minnesota via Washington DC where she was in charge of a soup kitchen that served 91,000 meals per year.  The soup kitchen was atypical–she described it as “a restaurant where no one pays.”  They focused on scratch cooking using fresh ingredients.  Her husband hails from Duluth and when in Minnesota for a wedding she connected with the executive director of The Good Acre.  His knowledge area was organic farming and needed someone with kitchen experience to run that side of the organization.

The Good Acre is a nonprofit organization founded by the Pohlad family.  They desired to develop a program that connected local farmers to institutions (like schools and hospitals) and to increase access to healthy produce for all consumers.  The Good Acre celebrated its third birthday the day of our program!

What do they do?  They have a multi-faceted approach to delivering on their mission.  For one, they are a food hub.  They warehouse produce from local farmers and distribute to institutions.  In essence, they collect and re-distribute produce.  At this point they are not set up for raw animal products from local farms.  They also house a shared commercial kitchen.  This kitchen is used by twenty one local businesses that pay an hourly rate to rent and create food items for their food businesses.  The kitchen is also used for cooking classes and culinary training.

The Good Acre is heavily involved in the Farm to School movement. Not only do they distribute locally grown produce to Twin Cities metro schools, but they also provide culinary training for school nutrition services staff and consulting on food service equipment.  In many schools, scratch cooking has not occurred in years and kitchens are not set up for prepping and cooking the produce efficiently.  The Good Acre also has created recipes and communications the school can use to promote their program and educate parents and families.

More recently, The Good Acre has partnered in a pilot program with Anoka-Hennepin school district’s FACS program to further the use of locally grown produce.  The kids are eating the produce in the lunchroom and now can learn more about where it has come from and how to prepare it themselves in the FACS classroom.  They have developed a lesson planning matrix that incorporated the frameworks of the state FCS standards.

After learning from Emily, participants went on a brief tour of the warehouse and the commercial kitchen.  The evening concluded with dinner:  BBQ pulled pork, mac and cheese, ginger glazed carrots, coleslaw, salad, and traditional apple pie.  Throughout the evening members and guests participated in a mentoring game, getting to know one another and connecting.



September Meeting Recap: Bell Museum

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The official kick off to 2018-19 FCS Professionals was held on Monday, September 24 at the brand new Bell Museum on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.  Members and guests were able to mingle and network for a time before heading into the beautiful Nucleus room.


Attendees dined on assorted cheeses with assorted crackers and crostini; delicious brie, pear and almond purses; beef satay; crispy asiago asparagus, and grilled vegetables with balsamic.  A beautiful tray of gourmet dessert bars provided a yummy ending.  Anyone who chose the S’mores bars were not disappointed!

Official business was conducted next.  Membership chair Marge Ryerson introduced the new incentive program for new members.  New members will receive a crisp ten dollar bill when they attend their first meeting!

President Jean Knaack spoke about the upcoming members-only (and spouse/partner) culinary trip to Puerto Vallarta Mexico that will be held January 3-9, 2019.  The deadline to register for this trip is November 1st.  A down payment of $400 is due at that time.  For more information or to register contact Deb at hello@fcsprofessionals.org.

Program co-chairs Colleen Glenn and Gerry Luepke talked about upcoming programs.  Our October program will be held Tuesday, October 30 at The Good Acre.  Registrations for this program are due Tuesday, October 23rd by noon.  On November 10th the annual joint meeting between FCS Professionals, TCHC, and MAFCS will be held at the Edina Country Club.  Speakers will be Brenda Langton, Chef and Restaurateur; and Becky Yurst, Professor of Housing at the University of Minnesota.  Watch for registration information soon!

A representative of the Bell Museum then gave an overview of the museum and tips for exploring.  Members and guests were then allowed to visit the exhibits on a self-guided tour.





In the News: World Food Day, 5 Easy Ways to find Happiness at Work, and Getting Paid to Eat!

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  • The International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE) presents World Food Day on October 16, 2018.  They have published a press release here
  • Membership in FCS Professionals can help you with item numbers 2, 3 & 5 on the 5 Easy Ways to Find Happiness at Work list!
  • To some members this may be a dream job!  Professional food taster at luxury resorts?  Click here

Benefits of Membership: Mentoring Program

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There are many amazing benefits of membership in FCS Professionals.  Today we are highlighting our mentorship program.

FCS Professionals members have a wealth of talent waiting to be shared! Through occasional, or regular contact, a trusted mentor can guide you for both professional growth and development as you review career issues or challenges. As a person outside of your workplace, a mentor can give confidential feedback regarding a work situation.

Perhaps you want information regarding a particular job or job skill? Or to learn how to seek challenging assignments and new responsibilities? Starting a consulting business and want information regarding the process? Want to develop a 10-second elevator speech? Maybe you want to take your computer or smart phone skills to the next level?

If the answer is “yes” to these or other questions you have regarding a job or life skill, sign up for the mentor program. It doesn’t have to be formal, you’re just asking or giving advice over coffee or lunch.

You can choose to have a mentor, be a mentor, or both – it is FREE for the asking for all members! To get started, fill out the form in the members-only section on our website

Contact Mentor Committee Chair Cindy Jurgensen at cindyjurgensen@gmail.com or 612-207-7337 with any questions.

In the News: Innovative Mayo Health Program, What’s Lurking in your Towels, and More!

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Here is what new in the world of Food and Consumer Science!

  • This article describes the new Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program that includes nutrition, physical fitness, and stress management education and counseling. 
  • Culinary Tides (Founder Suzy Badaracco was our speaker at the 2016 annual meeting) is offering a free pdf of 5 food trends when signing up for their mailing list.  Click here if interested
  • What is lurking in your kitchen towels? How often should they be washed? Click here for an article from CBS News
  • Zero calorie gin?  An interesting read on a new gin “mist”. Click here 
  • Debunking 7 Myths of Gen Z’s Food Habits
  • And finally….got a great recipe using Oreo cookies?  Professional chefs or food service owners/operators are eligible to enter this recipe contest.  Winner earns $3,000 and a one year supply of Oreo cookies.  Contest details available here.  Hurry! Deadline is July 31!

In the News: Hospital Food Trucks, Summer Food Trends and Nutrition News!

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Here are a few snippets from the world of Food and Consumer Science!


FCS Professionals Award Winners for 2017-18

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We are proud to announce the award winners announced at our annual meeting on May 14, 2018 at Urban Eatery in Minneapolis.

FCS Professional of the Year: This award recognizes or honors a member for her/his leadership in their profession and outstanding service to this organization. This is the highest organizational award a member can receive.  This year’s winner was Colleen Zenk.

Colleen has been a champion for the success of FCS Professionals for many years.   She is an active member who attends many of the meetings and willingly pitches in where help is needed.  Colleen served as Treasurer for two terms and was appointed by the board to a third term in order to complete the legal transition from TC HEIB to FCS Professionals.  This transition required a dogged push-through-it effort to get all the paper work done that was required to change the organization name with the state as well as financial accounts and banking accounts.  At the same time she streamlined the accounting workbook to make it more efficient.  She was also instrumental in the analysis to move away from having a merchant status to using a third party (PayPal and Event Brite) to collect and process credit card purchases). This freed up funds spent on web site security maintenance and shifted that responsibility to the third party partners.
Most recently Colleen spear headed our sponsored conference Beyond the Basics – Trending Topics in Food Safety held in February.  Colleen not only coordinated the fantastic roster of speakers but she also used her many industry connections to invite many of those who attended.  With her involvement the conference was a significant success and will serve as a template for future similar events.   FCS Professionals is fortunate to have someone like Colleen who so willingly shares her wisdom and experience in supporting our organization.  Colleen has gone above and beyond in her support of FCS Professionals!
Emerging Leader Award (formerly Making a Difference Award) This award recognizes professionals who are new to their industry, have been members of FCS Professionals for 5 years or less, and have made a notable contribution to the organization.  This year’s winner was Liz Sellet. 
Liz was well-deserving of this recognition for her enthusiasm for FCS Professionals and for taking on the big role of Treasurer after her first year of membership. She took on this role without having much of a finance background or experience.  Her open-mind, determination, confidence, and a can-do attitude helped her have a successful first year as treasurer.  She has done an excellent job learning the ropes and all of the important responsibilities to keep our numbers on track and provide budget updates at reasonable times. She has become very self-sufficient in her position, works independently as much as possible, and responds to all inquiries in a very timely manner. Along with all of that, she is a real pleasure to work with and always has a beautiful and bright smile on her face.
Spirit Award: This award recognizes a member that has shown particular championing behavior for FCS Professionals.  This year’s winner is Gerry Luepke. 
No one expresses as much enthusiasm, energy, and passion as Gerry does! She is always thinking of brilliant and innovative ideas for FCS Professionals to try out for programs and membership. Her mind is always thinking about ways we can better our organization and each other. Wherever she goes she tells anyone and everyone about FCS Professionals and how amazing it is and why they should join.  She is our biggest advocate and cheerleader! Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and she inspires others to be more like her and share our passions and connection to FCS Professionals with others. She always goes above and beyond to express her gratitude for everyone’s dedication to the organization and always makes everyone feel welcomed and special at every program and event. She is very generous with offering her time and talents to the organization and even offered up her building to serve as the most beautiful and picturesque venue for our Holiday Tea event. She is always willing to help out wherever needed and follows through with everything she offers to help with. It is without a doubt impossible for FCS Professionals to be such an outstanding organization that provides such wonderful programs and networking opportunities without her. 

Meeting Recap: 2017-2018 Annual Meeting and Celebration

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On May 14th FCS Professionals members and guests gathered at Urban Eatery in Minneapolis for the annual meeting and celebration.  Heavy downpours of rain caused some traffic and parking headaches but everyone’s perseverance paid off!  It was a wonderful evening of great food, laughter, and celebrating the accomplishments of our organization.

The evening began with dessert shooters made by FCS Professionals board member Chef Amy Lawson.  Our scheduled speaker, Kinza Christenson, suffered an injury and was unable to attend.  In her place was the delightful Brenda Elsagher a cancer survivor and comedian.  Brenda’s career began in the beauty industry where she was a hair stylist and salon owner. A colon cancer diagnosis at the age of 39 spurred a career change to comedy.  Laughter is such a powerful way of coping with difficult situations.  She was a mom to young kids at the time of her diagnosis, surgeries, and treatments. Finding the humor in trials of life has become her calling in life.  She has become a sought after speaker to healthcare workers, cancer survivors, womens groups and more. You may have even seen her in commercials on TV promoting colon cancer screening.   She has written five books delving into topics like cancer survival, aging, living with ostomies, caregiving, and funny and inspiring medical stories.  Brenda shared many stories with our group and we all shared many laughs.  She even took us through some laughing exercises and explained the health benefits of laughter.


After Brenda’s presentation, dinner was served.  Attendees dined on a choice of vegetarian curry, chicken curry, salmon salad or steak salad.  All enjoyed macaroons from Carousel Macaroons for our second dessert.

Awards were presented to our 2017-2018 winners.

Emerging Leader Award: Liz Sellet

Spirit Award Winner: Gerry Luepke

FCS Professional of the Year: Colleen Zenk


Complete information on the award winners will be in a separate blog posting in the near future!

The annual meeting was held after the award winners were announced.  President Gerry Luepke presided. A video highlighting the accomplishments of FCS Professionals was played.  In new business, the organization bylaws were reworked this spring to be easier to read and took out redundancies.  The bylaws were approved by membership.  The final act was the ceremonial passing of the gavel to the new President Jean Knaak.