Success Stories

Impact Collaborative Process Helps Extension Professionals Create Online Civil Rights Training

What I think helped with the process was having people tell their own personal stories. It made the difference. People resonate more with personal stories versus, “this is the law.”

While presenting at the first eXtension Issue Corps (now called the Impact Collaborative) Designathon in 2016, Renee Pardello, assistant dean for the University of Minnesota Extension, began to have conversations with Extension professionals from across the country about integrating global dynamics and cultural knowledge into Extension education, research, and outreach.

“What I discovered is there is a wide range of people’s knowledge regarding the interplay of global realities and understanding the variety of cultures representing work clients, partners, and colleagues,” Pardello said.  “Some people said they’d never even thought about it,” regarding topics such as civil rights and why Extension complies with civil rights laws and the value it brings to Extension.

After finishing her Impact Collaborative experience, Pardello began developing a civil rights training designed to be effective for Minnesota faculty and Extension faculty across the country. Pardello received assistance creating the training with more than 40 Extension faculty, educators, and staff from the University of Minnesota. She also used resources from other land-grant universities to include Washington State University, Ohio State University, and Pennsylvania State University.

Pardello credits the Impact Collaborative process for reinforcing the need. “What I think helped with the process was having people tell their own personal stories. It made the difference. People resonate more with personal stories versus, ‘this is the law,’” Pardello said.

The training, which is currently offered through eXtension, is a robust online training with five modules consisting of videos, activities, and resources that provide a thorough review of civil rights laws and resources. Real-life scenarios and group discussions are included to educate, enlighten and inform Extension professionals about equity, diversity and civil rights. The goal is to address equity, diversity, and inclusion and to surpass civil rights expectations.

As a result of the work and expertise used to develop the civil rights training, Pardello was asked to return in 2017 and serve as a key informant for the 2017 Impact Collaborative.

The original Designathon was a day and a half process that includes four steps, which are design thinking, key informant expertise, growing base of evidence-based practice and dynamic synergy. Each step comes with objectives that serve to change the way the teams work. After completing the process, the teams leave with a new plan allowing them to work more effectively.

As a key informant, Pardello spoke to each group about their projects. She also helped the groups develop strategies to effectively reach new audiences and to be inclusive in regards to language. When creating a strategy map, Pardello began to understand the barriers that challenged many of the groups.

“The barrier was giving people language so they could be successful in initiating conversations with diverse groups. Hopefully, as these groups move forward, they will feel comfortable going into a community in the U.S. where they don’t fit in,” Pardello said.

Holli Arp, the University of Minnesota program leader for leadership and civic engagement, recently completed her online civil rights training. She said the training provided a common understanding of the laws and expectations of a land-grant institution. She said the intentional efforts of the organization to have everyone complete the training, but also to go beyond what is required by law, helped her analyze the team’s programming delivery.

“It gave you a chance to reflect on your own thinking and your own processes,” Arp said.  “It made me really think, is our programming really accessible to all?”

Recognizing there are communities that are underserved or unserved because of current processes, Arp said in Minnesota they began focusing team conversations about how to expand their reach.

Through the help of a seed grant with South Dakota State University, Arp said they are initiating conversations in the Latino community with the goal of helping the community understand the breadth of what Extension is and the services it provides.  They also would like to create leadership programming that fits the community’s needs.  “We hope to co-create something that can be more meaningful and grow,” Arp said.

In addition to Arp, Michael Darger, Extension community economics specialist at the University of Minnesota, said the training helped him realize the need to be prepared to do something different.

“Changing structure is hard, but I’m optimistic. I recommend the course; I think it was put together intentionally,” Darger said.

Although this effort began in Minnesota, concepts such as global dynamics, cultural knowledge, and civil rights are ideologies that Pardello believes will overall benefit Cooperative Extension programming in the U.S. and abroad.

More Information

This story was written by ChaNae Bradley, Senior Communications Specialist  at Fort Valley State University

Diversity & Inclusion Information

Perseverance and Patience Can Lead to Positive Partnerships

Youth enrolled in LEEP summer programming participate in 4-H conference judging of their group project with an Extension Educator.

As an Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota, I had the opportunity to experience the eXtension Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corp Designathon in February 2017.  My team’s project, Reaching culturally diverse volunteers to grow the 4-H youth development program in Southern MN, was an idea influenced by 4-H Youth Development staff across Southern Minnesota.

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the Designathon was the systems thinking instruction where we were reminded to break our project into smaller pieces to see how it all fits together.  Since the Designathon I’ve been reminded of the importance of breaking goals into smaller pieces as I’ve worked to develop a partnership with a local organization to start a site-based 4-H club.  My perseverance and patience eventually led to a very positive partnership.

My journey in developing a local 4-H club to reach youth with special needs began back in February 2016 when I met two staff members from LEEP (Leisure Education for Exceptional People) at a University of Minnesota Extension sponsored event (Southeast MN Youth Development Regional Forum).  During a brief conversation between sessions, I saw the potential for a partnership with LEEP and within a week of the conference sent a follow-up e-mail to the program manager I had met.

The need to persevere in developing partnerships became apparent when I didn’t receive a response to my e-mail and made a phone call to the LEEP office where I learned the person I had met weeks earlier had left the organization.  After giving LEEP enough time to hire a new program manager I contacted them again in June 2016 and introduced myself to the new hire.  Recognizing that it takes time to settle into and learn a new job, I waited until December to set up a face-to-face meeting.  That first meeting led to additional planning meetings every 4-6 weeks from January through June 2017 when we piloted the LEEP 4-H Club during LEEP’s summer program for youth ages 10-21.

The journey from February 2016 to June 2017 – from when the idea for the partnership first occurred to me until the 4-H club actually launched – required me to persevere and be patient.  It’s a testimony to the idea that developing partnerships takes time.  However, the investment of that time led to a very positive partnership which allowed youth not previously enrolled in 4-H the opportunity for a 4-H club experience.

You can contact Tammy at

Success Stories

eXtension NAEPSDP Fellowship Provides Opportunity to Work Differently In Program Evaluation

As long as we are in the realm of ‘I finished my program, now I need to evaluate it’ we are not serving diverse, or really any, audiences as well as we could.

When Julie Huetteman saw the call for applications for a joint eXtension/National Association for Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP) fellowship, she was intrigued.

In her role as Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Purdue University, Julie tracks metrics, reads every impact report, and analyzes the impact of Purdue Extension and how it fits with the University strategic plan. She interacts with people in many different positions, all the way from individual consultations on program evaluation to system-wide reporting. As she puts it, she gets to see both the forest and the trees.

It was also because of these many roles, that she has a unique perspective on the “busy-ness” experienced by most Extension professionals.

The busy-ness of Extension has created a reality in which we ‘add-on’ evaluation. It is something we have to get done. We don’t take the time to engage the stakeholder and fully consider their perspectives.

Huetteman applied for the Fellowship because she saw a moment where she could step forward and focus on the most important part of her job, evaluation. The Fellowship gave her the permission and the time to pursue additional knowledge and skills and focus on something she is passionate about, program evaluation that is responsive and inclusive. She not only saw the opportunity to apply a new approach to her own program but also a platform to influence other Extension professionals’ approaches to evaluation.

As she read literature and connected with colleagues for recommended resources, she soon gravitated toward an emerging approach known as Culturally Responsive Evaluation or CRE. CRE requires engaging the stakeholders at the beginning so that the program evaluation uses culturally appropriate ways to collect, interpret, and share data that is valuable to the audience. It is a way for data and information to serve the culture and not the evaluation itself.

Instead of ‘I’m the evaluation specialist and we need to do this’, we need their perspectives from the beginning to learn what is of value to them and so we can adjust our approach as needed.

This seems self-evident, but it is not how many Extension professionals have traditionally evaluated their programs. During her fellowship, Huetteman served as a key informant for the Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps (now known as the Impact Collaborative). Through her interactions with different projects, she found herself repeating the same question….”Have you asked them?” She was surprised to hear how often the answer was “No.”

She suspects one reason for this, beyond the busy-ness of Extension, is that Extension has served a fairly traditional audience that is somewhat homogeneous (at a system-scale). This is changing in many areas and has caused some Extension professionals to rethink their approach. She recently toured an Extension office whose 4-H program largely serves a diverse, urban audience. “They are completely changing their way of thinking and considering new ways to serve their audience differently.”

The hard part of CRE, according to Huetteman, is that every program evaluation effort will be different. Every audience, every program, and every change in context requires a different approach.

What’s next? Huetteman plans to use what she learned and created during her Fellowship to help Extension professionals at Purdue approach program evaluation in a new way. She is also part of a network in the North Central. Each person holds a unique program evaluation role at their respective institutions, and by working together they hope to share resources, consult, mentor, and form a critical mass that can advocate for an engaged and responsive approach to program evaluation as the norm for Extension.

Considering the polarized political climate we all live in, taking time to listen and adapt our approaches and appreciate the perspectives of other people is more important than ever.

You can contact Dr. Huetteman at and visit her fellowship page for links to webinars and blog posts developed during her Fellowship.

Learn more about the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP)

Learn more about eXtension


Developmental Disabilities: An “Untapped” Audience”

Jeannette Rea Keywood at NAE4-HA Conference, Indianapolis, IN, November 14, 2017
Jeannette Rea Keywood at NAE4-HA Conference, Indianapolis, IN, November 14, 2017

Providing opportunities for educators to learn how to effectively engage individuals with developmental disabilities in their programming is essential to Extension’s diversity and inclusion mandate. Such training will help break down barriers and perceived differences, reduce apprehension, and build confidence for educators and volunteers working with this clientele.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps participants are proud to highlight some accomplishments of the Programming for Clientele with Developmental Disabilities Professional Development Series.

  • Presented at the National Epsilon Sigma Phi conference in October 2016.
  • Received the state and regional Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award from the National Extension Association for Family & Consumer Sciences in October 2017.
  • Presented at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents annual conference in Indianapolis in November 2017.
  • Has been selected as an oral session at the 2018 JCEP conference in Orlando.
  • Was invited by eXtension’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community of Practice to be presented as a webinar on March 8, 2018.

This recognition points to the growing awareness among Extension professionals that there is a large, untapped audience of youth and adults with developmental disabilities that would benefit from Extension programming if educators and volunteers felt knowledgeable and secure enough to meet any special needs. We applaud our colleagues for their interest in learning the necessary competencies to serve this underserved population.

Please contact Michelle Brill at or 609-989-6831 or Jeannette Rea Keywood at or 609-827-0199 if you would like to host this professional development series at your institution or in your community.

Fellowships Information

Perspectives: Avoiding Stereotypes in Program Evaluation

Julie Huetteman, Ph.D., is the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Purdue Extension. She is serving as the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP) eXtension Fellow for 2017.

As the 2017 eXtension NAEPSDP Fellow for Program Evaluation, I have been on a journey to expand my awareness and understanding relating to inclusion, and to look at evaluation from this perspective, since participating in the Diversity and Inclusion Corps in Cincinnati.

Quality versus Quantity

I often ponder the busy-ness of those working in Extension. We wear a lot of hats and have many roles, but in providing education to our county or state residents, we want to be sure we are doing the best we can. To help us think about the quality of programming, not just the quantity, I share these thoughts that put stakeholders first.

Another thoughtful and thought-provoking reading recommendation from my colleague, Dr. Pamala Morris, Assistant Dean/Director of Multicultural Programs at the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, led me to Whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele.

This book on “how stereotypes affect us and what we can do” is based on our human perception of identity. It shares the ways in which stereotyping defines groups and characteristics, how pervasive it is, and how it can influence performance. When individuals experience identity threat from associated restrictive characteristics, their performance is negatively affected. Stereotype threats occur from many perspectives and affect how people perform in education settings, as well as personal and professional situations.

What can we do?

In an education setting, researchers share a two-part explanation:

  • Self-affirmation or sense of competence and worth.
  • Accomplished challenges may create a mindset to interrupt negative restrictions of stereotypes.

For example, think of the message that women are not as good as men in math or science, and the resulting performance by women in STEM. Programming that affirms abilities in science — in combination with instruction and challenging STEM opportunities for accomplishment — can help in addressing the gap in performance associated with the stereotype.

Applying these concepts to our Extension setting, we can be deliberate in efforts to maintain keener awareness of our communities, to explore how we might affirm our stakeholders’ senses of self, and provide quality instruction and challenges to encourage achievement in learning.

This awareness can help direct our program evaluation activities to address the participants’ experience and perspective, not our own as program deliverers. Consider asking stakeholders about their experiences, comforts, barriers, challenges, benefits, values, and accomplishments from participating in programs. Here is where we find the quality in our work!

Thanks again to Pamala Morris for sharing and recommending this book on the human situation we live and face every day.

For More Information

You can contact Julie at

Steele, C.M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.


Diversity & Inclusion Fellowships Information

Perspectives: Overcoming Bias in Program Evaluation

Julie Huetteman, Ph.D., is the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Purdue Extension. She is serving as the National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals (NAEPSDP) eXtension Fellow for 2017.

My eXtension NAEPSDP Fellowship for Program Evaluation 2017 started with the Diversity and Inclusion Corps in Cincinnati. I have been exploring related resources, opportunities, and associations ever since. Here I share thoughts and reflections more so than a set of instructions. We need space and time to ponder our human experience and learn about other perspectives to incorporate those thoughts as we plan, develop, deliver and report on our Extension work.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald is one book recommended to me by Dr. Pamala Morris, Assistant Dean/Director of the Office of Multicultural Programs in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. The book is about research on our human minds that looks at how our biases develop toward race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and so on. The researchers share their Implicit Association Test (IAT), which measures how the brain associates people and groups with traits and values. This automatic preference that develops pervades even when egalitarian beliefs are expressed.

A lot of self-reflection about perceptions and openness to others resulted for me. Completing sample tests and activities had me assessing my views, thoughts, and actions about and toward others. This created time and space to think and reflect on our society and our human relations across the personal and professional, local and regional, and global.

We can apply these reflections to program evaluation efforts.

  1. Make sure we make time to reflect on our own hidden biases.
  2. Make opportunities to include our clients/participants in our activities. Invite the perceptions, thoughts, and direction of our stakeholders from the beginning, and throughout, as we work to plan, develop, deliver, and report program activities and evaluation approaches.

The ultimate result is that the opportunities made available are of value and benefit to stakeholders. Given the busy-ness of our jobs, these steps can be easy to overlook, but they are incredibly worthwhile.

I would like to send a special thank you to Pam, for sharing this resource with me at this moment in our society and for a time of reflection on our human interactions.

Julie Huetteman, Ph.D., Coordinator, Extension Strategic Initiatives, Purdue Extension

Banaji, M.R. & Greenwald, A.G. (2016). Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. New York, NY: Bantam Books.


Success Stories

eXtension Catapults Specialist into Diversity Leadership Role

The eXtension Diversity and Inclusion Corps provided the confidence and motivation Mannering needed to go forward with the Unity luncheon, online modules, and related activities, instead of just thinking about it.

Christy Mannering’s farmhouse office in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at the University of Delaware is “off the beaten path,” says Adam Thomas, CANR interim director of communications. “She actually only sees two to three people per day, and they’re the same people.” Mannering is a digital communications specialist and web developer, and her job requires her to sit at a desk behind a computer most of the day.

At the same time, Mannering is very passionate about working with people.  In fact, she and her son run a non-profit organization in her off-hours that feeds the homeless and provides additional help to those in need.  Mannering found a way to work differently by squaring her desire for more on-the-job people involvement with her work duties through the eXtension Diversity and Inclusion Issue Corps.

“When I saw the request for proposals, it piqued my interest,” she says.  “I’ve always been interested in why I behave as I do and why others act a certain way. You can’t do anything in this world completely alone, at least not very well. You need to be able to collaborate and work with others, especially if you are interested in service.”

Mannering reached out to the Office of Equity and Inclusion on her campus for help in putting her eXtension proposal together and for including benchmarks for measurable local impact. She submitted the proposal in December and cheered when it was approved in January 2017.  Not one to let grass grow under her feet, she involved colleagues in her college, in the Equity and Inclusion office, and others to plan the first-ever Unity Event in CANR.

The Unity luncheon, held in March, brought together 55 graduate students and faculty.  (Among other roles, Mannering is a grad student in public administration.)  The event featured an exercise in which participants were asked to wind strands of colorful yarn around pegs on a board labeled with such titles as “veteran,” “LGBTQ,” “employee,” “parent,” “immigrant,” etc.  The result was a work of art that the college dean keeps in a central area where people continue to add to the piece.

unity event wall chart - defining unity“The event showed everyone in the college that although you may have dissimilarities from others, you also have nuances that cross over.  It was a very successful event,” Thomas says.

Participants in the Unity luncheon also were given an opportunity to anonymously write on cards scenarios they had witnessed where people were harassed or treated inequitably.  Groups at tables then discussed the scenarios and came up with possible ways to deal with uncomfortable situations.  One participant in the post-event evaluation said: “It made me feel better to see how many people are against bigotry but are too afraid to speak up.  They’re intimidated, not apathetic.  If I took the initiative to defend someone, others might also be supportive.”

 “The way we live, the way we work, the way we present ourselves, our action and our inaction, can very much impact and shape the lives of the people around us. We need to be able to work differently so that we can ‘walk in each other’s shoes’ and not judge them.”

Mannering is taking her learning from her eXtension Diversity and Inclusion experiences a step further by creating online modules on emotional intelligence, which she sees as an antidote for bullying and harassment in the workplace.  She has created the first two modules and plans up to eight more.  (Mannering would value input from potential users to add to and improve the modules.) “Creating modules and researching this for the issue corps may be allowing me to provide some ‘aha moments’ for others,” Mannering says.

Thomas credits eXtension with giving Mannering the “confidence and motivation to go forward with the Unity luncheon, the online modules, and related activities, instead of just thinking about it.”  He adds that the college will be willing to give Mannering time to work on the modules because “Christy is one of those people who can multitask until the cows come home, and a lot of people could benefit from her work.”

small group activity at the unity luncheonIn the meantime, Mannering is less lonely in her remote office.  The eXtension Diversity & Inclusion experience provided Mannering with on-campus visibility that she was previously lacking: “I was invited to participate in a diversity summit on campus, which I wouldn’t even have known about previously.  I’ve met people from other parts of campus, and I’m still emailing with friends I met at the Unity luncheon. It’s given me a lot of hope; many other people at the university want things to improve, too. It’s opened my eyes to a lot, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Mannering says.

“We’re all human, and we all deserve to be treated humanely.”

For more information, contact Mannering at 302-831-7217 or

Success Stories

Diversity and Inclusion Experience Spurs Minnesota Professionals to Advocate Up the Chain of Command

silveira and marczak at the designathonMost employers buy into training and developing their employees so that they can be better employees.  But two University of Minnesota extension professionals determined that they needed to do more.  They decided that their charge was not only to “keep and grow” extension paraprofessionals in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, but also to prepare them to leave for other employment.  Radical thought!

“We are developing them not just for us but for them so that when they leave us, they leave with a more robust portfolio where they can be marketable elsewhere and obtain a more livable, higher-wage job,” says Mary Marczak, Director of the Urban Family Development program.

One “aha moment” the women had was when they realized that they need to do a better job of “communicating up and down the system” to inform others of the value of nutrition educators’ work.

Cassie Silveira, EFNEP Coordinator and Extension Educator, says the four-county area surrounding Minneapolis is “amazingly diverse.”  One-third of the growth in recent population has come from international immigration, including people from Laos, Somalia, Ethiopia and Viet Nam. Nutrition educators need to reflect the diversity of the population to do their jobs, but they also need their own upward mobility.

Marczak’s and Silveira’s thoughts about paraprofessionals’ mobility needs crystallized into action steps at an eXtension Diversity and Inclusion “designathon,” a structured opportunity for extension personnel to sit around the table with other professionals to create educational programs that benefit their communities at large.  The designathon is one component of the Impact Collaborative process, in which extension professionals are supported to accelerate the adoption of innovation in local programming.  Each designathon encourages educators to visually map out concepts; get feedback from peers across their states; learn from “key informants,” who are national content or technology experts; explore avenues for funding; and discuss ways to communicate new ideas to their colleagues and potential partners.

One “aha moment” the women had was when the designathon led to story mapping.  They realized that although they know the value of what they are doing, they need to do a better job of “communicating up and down the system” with associate deans, assistant deans and others to inform them of the value of the educators’ work, too. Two specific policy changes for which the professionals are advocating are getting more dollars for staff professional development and opening up university training or courses for nutrition educators.  The designathon experience “helped us refine our story,” Silveira says.

Evaluation results from the February 2017 designathon found that 27 of the 55 participants said the experience helped to push their project forward – most frequently described as finding dedicated work time in a supportive environment.  This is particularly important as only 18 percent of Impact Collaborative project teams in 2017 said they are able to meet regularly, while 37 percent said they never are able to meet and work.

Do designathons have a future in changing how extension workers work?  Very likely.  As one participant said, “I plan to use the process again.  I didn’t think we could get this much done.”

For more information about EFNEP in Minnesota, contact:

Cassie Silveira at or 612-625-5205 or Mary Marczak at: or 612-625-8419

Want to structure a designathon? Contact Terry Meisenbach at:

Click on the link for more information about the eXtension Diversity and Inclusion Impact Collaborative.


Diversity & Inclusion Information

Mashing-up Platforms and Gaining Permissions: Our Diversity E-book Project

Book cover photo: Diversity: The Source of Our Strength. OSU 4H publication 372.
Diversity: The Source of Our Strength. OSU 4H publication 372.

E-books are old hat. Right? There are numerous platforms upon which one may design, write, and offer content. But do these mash-up with your university’s (or organization’s) server? Do you need permission? Or do you go rogue (using a different system)?

Here at Ohio State, our “Online Project Book” team left the Feb. 2017 eXtension Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps meeting with great excitement. With the help (and inspiration) of experts and colleagues from around the country, we successfully developed an initial content layout plan and began the design formation phase.

Our aim was simple: translating a print version of a 4-H Diversity project book to an interactive, online option. I use “translate” purposely. We did not wish to simply transfer content. (That could be boring online!) Instead, we wanted to translate the spirit of the readings and activities into an interactive, online book that would engage and (hopefully) inspire.

Sound easy enough? Well…

Our main challenges began with the platform. OSU uses different systems (sometimes depending on what college your department is housed in). Then, there were permission issues. Some team members could not access the content that others had begun. What we thought would be an easy online sharing process turned out to cause quite a delay in progress.

So what’s to be done?

Start early! But mostly, involve your technical peeps. They can help you avoid platform and permission issues BEFORE they happen. Also, look for non-team members who may have interests in your topic or expertise in design and delivery. They can be life-savers, contributing both small and large ideas that propel you forward. Lastly, look for students or interns that might be available to assist. We got very lucky in finding some free student hours. It moved our project forward… and perhaps more importantly, gave her a very nice resume item!

We continue moving ahead and look forward to the launch.

Brian Raison, Jo Williams, Jane Wright

Diversity & Inclusion Information

i-Three Issue Corps: Diversity Corps Member Heads to Chile

As a recent eXtension Diversity & Inclusion Issue Corps member, I am conducting some of my research in developing several South American Cuisine curricula in Chile. I recently went on a study tour with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Culinary Professionals Practice Group to Santiago, Valparaiso, and local sites nearby.

The purpose of the trip was to learn about the culture and cuisine of Chile, as well as Peru and Argentina. We worked with local chefs and historians touring seafood and produce markets, vineyards, a goat farm and cheese facility, indigenous pottery production, and preparing the multi-cultural foods.

Seafood at the market
A variety of fish and octopus at the market

Surprisingly, besides the Spanish influence, French and Italian cultures had, and continue to have, a large influence on the customs and cuisine. For example, one would think coffee would be the hot beverage of choice, as they are so close Central America, where is it grown. However, tea wins out, mostly due to the western European influences.

One of my favorite culinary finds was the spice blend of Merken, a combination of local ground chili pepper, ground coriander, and a little salt.

Merkin - a spice blend found in Chile

Merken is a local spice mix used in Chile

It is used in soups, stews, and on sopapillas with salsa, for example. Of course, with Chile having such a long coastline, you would expect to see a variety of seafood as well. I hope you enjoy my introductory video and pictures highlighting some of my finds.

grilled octopus dish
A grilled octopus dish
A curried scallop dish
A curried scallop dish