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Colorado State University Extension operates in partnership with the El Paso County Community Services Division to provide non-credit programming to local citizens.

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2021 El Paso County Extension Classes and Workshops

We offer a variety of classes and hands-on workshops in El Paso County throughout the year. They range from consumer education in home gardening, food preservation, and safety to backyard beekeeping. We also offer workforce certification courses in Cottage Foods, Landscaping and Agriculture business development. Check back often to find classes we are offering at locations throughout the county. 

CSU Extension El Paso County Office
17 N. Spruce Street
2nd Floor
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Click on each class date to register

Pre-registration required on all classes.

Class Feature

Colorado Farm Builders Class

The program is a series of eight evening classes designed to help new farmers and ranchers explore agriculture as a business and provide intermediate and experienced farmers and ranchers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production, and marketing skills. 

Classes are taught by Colorado State University Extension, Industry Experts, and Farmers and Ranchers. The Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers program builds community and capacity in agriculture for beginning farmers and ranchers.  The outcome of the course is for participants to create a business plan.

Please fill out the application that pertains to your experience level and email it to Michele.Ritchie@colostate.edu  Application Deadline is December 27, 2021.

There is a $25 application fee (you’ll find the link to pay on the application).

  • If you are NOT accepted into the program, this fee will be refunded to you.
  • If you are accepted into the Colorado Building Farmers Program, the fee will be applied to the $200 registration fee, making your remaining balance $175 for individuals and $275 if you are registering two business partners.
  • If you are accepted into the Colorado Building Farmers Program, but decide not to register, your application fee will not be refunded.

>>>If you are accepted, payment is due in full by January 7, 2022<<<

New Farmer or Rancher Application: Click here

An individual who has gardened/farmed on less than 1/4 acre (10,890 square feet) and/or has less than 1-year experience as sole operator and/or intern/apprentice level experience only (large garden or on-farm or ranch), or a landowner with the intention of actively farming or ranching for profit

Intermediate Farmer or Rancher Application: Click here

Production and/or marketing manager or sole operator on a vegetable/fruit/flower/herb/livestock operation greater than 1/4 acre (10,890 sq ft) for less than 3 years.

Experienced Farmer or Rancher Application: Click here

Production and/or marketing manager or sole operator on a vegetable/fruit/flower/herb/livestock operation greater than 1/4 acre for greater than 3 years.

Class Date:  January 12 – March 2, 2022 (6:00 pm to 8:30 pm) – Online

Cost: New and Intermediate Farmers and Ranchers – $200 for all sessions ($300 for two people from same operation.

Experienced Farmers and Ranchers – $150 for all sessions or $25 per class

For questions please contact Michele.Ritchie@colostate.edu

Eat Smart Cook Smart @ Colorado Springs Senior Center

Eating Smart Cooking Smart is a 4 week fun and hands-on introductory nutrition education program that focuses on health eating, keeping your food safe, and cooking simple healthy meals. A healthy recipe will be prepared and sampled at each class. If you would like to eat healthier and learn how to prepare some healthy recipes these classes are for you. What participants will receive: Eating Smart, Cooking Smart cookbook, an Eating Smart, Cooking Smart Certificate from Colorado State University, a sampling of recipes at each class and cooking utensils.

Pre-registration required. Register at: Colorado Springs Senior Center

Date: January 18th, 25th February 1st, 8th (1:00pm – 3:00pm) – In Person

Food Preservation Workshop: Whole Grain Bread

Learn how to make whole grain artisanal bread and wow your friends and family this holiday season! Discover how simple and economical it is to make healthy whole grain breads from safely stored no-knead dough.

The workshop includes samples, recipes and tips for whole grain bread baking at altitude.

**Bring a 3-4 quart container for mixing dough to take home.**

Pre-registration required. Registration closes on Dec 8, 2021, at 8:00 am. No refunds.

Date: December 13th (1:00pm – 3:00pm) – In Person

Dining with Diabetes In-Person Class Series

What is Dining with Diabetes?

Dining with Diabetes is a Colorado State University Research and Extension health and wellness program that consist of a series of four in-person classes that includes learning, video demonstrations, physical activity and how to prepare healthy foods. The program’s focus is to help individuals learn strategies to lessen the health risks of diabetes.

The program is a series of four 2-hour classes that are held once a week. Classes consist presentations on healthful food choices, tasty and healthy familiar foods, and demonstrations of cooking techniques, using artificial sweeteners, reduced-fat foods, herbs, and spices. You will also eat meals you have helped prepare during class!

Program Objectives

• Increase knowledge about healthy foods

• Present healthy versions of familiar foods and taste testing of recipes

• Demonstrate new cooking techniques

• Provide basic information regarding diabetes and nutrition

• Provide opportunities for sharing and learning from one another

Who can participate?

The program is designed for people with diabetes and their family members, caregivers, and support persons.

Cost: Discounted Rate of $15.00 (usually $50.00)

Limited Scholarships available. Contact Michael.Lucero@ColoState.edu

Dates: February 15th, 22nd, March 1st, and 8th

Pre-registration required. Registration October 23, 2021  at 5:00 pm. No refunds. 

Cottage Foods Food Safety Certification – Online

Now offering online training to acquire a 3-year certification. Training provides information in:

  • Foods permissible in the Colorado Cottage Foods Act
  • Ingredient labeling requirements
  • Basic Food Safety
  • Temperature control for food preparation
  • Storage, transport and sales
  • Special considerations for food preparation at high altitude

Dates: Thursday, January 20, 2022 @ 12 p.m.
Thursday, February 15, 2022 @ 12 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 @ 10 a.m.

Cost: $40.00 – 3-year certification

Click on the date to register for the class.

Mediterranean Diet Workshop

Colorado State University Extension has created a workshop focusing on the Mediterranean diet. This workshop will answer questions about key characteristics of the Mediterranean lifestyle and how foods in the diet contribute to health. Plus, you will learn how to make fresh, home-made hummus and try a delicious sample. After attending this workshop, you will have strategies to incorporate these foods and habits into your life.

Pre-registration required. Registration closes on Jan 26 at 8:00 am. No refunds.

Cost: $5.00

Date: January 27, 2022 (1:00pm-2:30pm) – In Person

Food Safety Works Certification –
Online/Self-guided: Free

The Food Safety Works safe food handler certificate training teaches entry-level food workers how to safely handle, prepare and store food. This certification is taught online and is self-guided. Participants with a passing score receive a safe food handler certificate valid for two (2) years.

Benefits for Food Service Workers:

  • Increase in confidence and motivation to handle food safely.
  • Improve knowledge and awareness of ways to prevent foodborne illness.
  • Valued by employers.
  • Great incentives towards job promotions.
  • Benefits for your business.
  • Take pride in being proactive in preventing foodborne illness.
  • Increase consumer confidence – show that you value safety.
  • Increase employee pride and teamwork in serving food.
  • Increase likelihood of improved inspections.

Once registered, participants will receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite which will have the website address and password to access the Food Safety Works Certification materials. You can download presentation slides, watch training video, and access link to exam. Once exam is completed and scored you will receive an email with your certificate valid for 2 years.

Registration is on-going and class can be started and completed anytime for FREE.

Date: Anytime

Pressure Canner Gauge Testing

Testing your pressure canner dial gauge annually is vital in keeping your pressure canned products safe. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing.

You can purchase your pressure canner gauge testing with or without The Complete Guide to Home Canning USDA Book.

Brands that can be tested: National, Magic Seal, Maid of Honor, and Presto

After you have purchased a ticket you will be contacted to schedule a time for testing at the El Paso County Extension Office located in Colorado Springs.

Date: Anytime

Keeping ahead of COVID-19

This rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) has imposed an unsettling, fluid situation upon our community and its businesses. While the team here still aims to maintain a “business as usual” approach, we are making a number of significant changes to our operations to account for a situation that is far from normal.