Weekly Bits – Sept 25

The United States Surgeon General recently issued a call to action to address major public health challenges such as heart disease and diabetes. Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking while addressing the fact that many communities unacceptably lack safe and convenient places for individuals to walk or wheelchair roll. Read more to learn of UERPC’s connection to this Call to Action.

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

There is a growing demand for fresh, local food among institutions, including schools and hospitals. This demand creates new markets for smaller-scale farms and food companies. However, it is not always easy to scale up production to meet the requirements of larger clients. A new publication from NCAT profiles two types of institutional food buyers working to bring fresh, local, and regional food to institutions-a farm to college food service with locations nationwide and a local food aggregator in northeast Iowa (Iowa Food Hub).

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

It is with pleasure to announce the awardees of the The Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Early Childhood Farm to Preschool Mini Grants for Farm to Preschool projects within their preschool classrooms for the 2015-16 school year.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

International Walk to School Day (aka Fall Fitness Day) is just around corner! On October 7, join schools all across the state, country and even the world in celebrating the benefits of daily physical activity and walking to school.  Schools hosting a Walk to School Day celebration (on ANY day in October) are eligible for freebies from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Contact Ashley (achristensen@uerpc.org) or the Iowa Bicycle Coalition (troy@iowabicyclecoalition.org) to learn more!

Live Healthy Iowa Kids will award 15, $100 mini-grants to help support your efforts for the event on Oct. 7. Applications must be received by Sept. 28 at 4pm and can be submitted either by mail to 1421 S. Bell Ave #104, Ames, IA 50010 or by email to allie.paulson@livehealthyiowa.org.

Worksites can get in on the action, too. Register a walk in your community through “Walk at the Whistle” Healthiest State Walk coordinated by Healthiest State Initiative.


Postville 4-H Garden Club harvested 150 pounds of pie pumpkins from their school garden that will be sold to the Postville School Foodservice to make some festive holiday menu items.

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

GARDENS RAISE TEST SCORES  According to national research, schools with gardens have seen a 12 to 15 percent increase in standardized test score pass rates. In addition, 94 percent of teachers reported an increase in student engagement in the garden and in the classroom.


MIDWEST GREAT APPLE CRUNCH  All Iowa schools are encouraged to participate in the Midwest Great Apple Crunch on Oct. 22. Schools from across the Midwest will be celebrating local foods and those growing it by taking a bite out of a locally grown apple during the event. Classrooms interested in participating can register here.

MINI-GRANTS FOR APPLES  The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Farm to School program has funds available for the “A is for Apple,” initiative. The program will assist up to 40 classrooms in purchasing fresh, locally grown apples from an orchard in their area while they are in season. Apply by October 1.


Go Ahead, Give Your Toddler A Kitchen Knife  From a health and nutrition standpoint, studies have shown that getting kids cooking makes them more open to eating healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association suggest that getting kids involved with grocery shopping and food prep can reduce picky eating.


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