MU Extension Team Members

The focus of this newsletter is on Extension & Engagement Week 2022, so the faculty and staff member we are highlighting are both involved in planning and marketing this event to Mizzou and the surrounding communities.

Alison Copeland, Deputy Chief Engagement Officer, University of Missouri System

Alison Copeland is the program lead on Extension & Engagement Week and and helps coordinate the week’s focus areas and speakers. Many people who attend this event may not realize it takes a year to plan, and involves staff from Extension and Engagement, all four UM campuses, and other partners working behind the scenes. A lot of collaboration with sponsors, as well as planning and executing marketing and communications strategies, occurs in the months leading up to the October event.

Copeland hopes that participants will leave the event with “…a better understanding of the complexities and multifaceted nature of food systems – from food production, manufacturing and economy, and climate/weather factors affecting agriculture to new technologies for agriculture innovation, food security, and nutritional and cultural considerations of food and eating.” Hopefully some of the sessions will lead to “a-ha” moments that inspire attendees to take action. She says,

“The speakers, including faculty, community partners and industry leaders, are experts in their fields and will share cutting edge and innovative content. Participants are also encouraged to take action in local communities to help address food security through local cash/food drives and educational opportunities.

Sarah Hultine Massengale, Extension State Specialist in Community Development, University of Missouri Extension and Assistant Extension Professor-Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Sarah Hultine Massengale developed and will co-facilitate two sessions for Extension & Engagement week with the MU Extension Food Systems Network leadership team: the “From Problem to Opportunity” session on October 11 and a strategy session specifically for MU Extension faculty on October 12. She works with the Community Development program and her research focuses on food systems and community planning.

According to Massengale, the topic of food is important because,

Resilient food systems are critical to thriving families, communities, businesses, and our state. There is work already happening across our state to address these food challenges, but all of us have a place in these efforts – we may work in the food system, be policy makers, educators, or other professional roles, but we are also all eaters and want healthy, safe, accessible food for our communities, families, and friends! We need everyone to contribute to this work, and I hope that participants will see ways to contribute their professional or personal skills and networks to build stronger collaborations for Missouri’s food systems.” 

As far as what attendees can expect from the sessions, she says, “I think the range of topics, opportunities for interaction, and the opportunity to build momentum on these issues this coming year is exciting!”

The events for Extension & Engagement week are all free and are either virtual or in-person.