Weekly Bits – May 5

It was all smiles at Walk to School Day in Decorah!


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

NE Iowa Food and Fitness Early Childhood and Iowa Association of Education of Young Children recently attended the Farm-to-Early Care and Education Community of Practice National Meeting in Washington D.C. the end of March. The meeting was sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Policy Equity Group. State teams in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina were selected by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in early 2016 to help lead a national ‘proof of concept’ of how Farm to Early Care and Education can make a difference in our youngest of children’s lives.


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

May 10th is National Bike to School Day!  http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/


FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

For more than two years, young and disadvantaged farmers around Iowa have been asking what SILT will require to farm its farms. Applicants with no long-term access to land but who have experience and a business plan will make the first cut. The SILT Farmer Committee deliberated extensively over issues of equity and historic imbalance as well, and reviewers are instructed to be cognizant of those issues when reviewing applications.


SILT is the first in the nation to use economic need and a holistic approach to farming as criteria for farmer candidates in their new Farmer Vetting Policy. Kayla Koether was chair of the committee. Koether is a member of the ISU Extension Local Foods Team and coordinates the NE Iowa Beginning Farmer Network on behalf of the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative.



Youth leaders for the school-based FFI 4-H teams met for the last Regional Youth Leadership Team meeting of the year. Teams prepared poster presentations of all the great things happening in schools under their leadership.
– 12 students groups focused on school wellness this year

– For 89 4-H members, the FFI team is their primary club.

– 2 groups were trained to be cafeteria coaches

– 3 groups have the FEEST program

– 3 groups were trained to be Farm to School Cross-age Teachers

– 2 youth attended the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit in Washington, DC


SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

FLEXIBILITIES IN SCHOOL MEALS  On May 1st, Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide flexibility in nutrition requirements for school meal programs. The specific flexibilities are:
Whole grains: USDA will allow states to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in serving 100 percent of grain products as whole-grain rich for School Year 2017-2018.
Sodium: For School Years 2017-2018 through 2020, schools will not be required to meet Sodium Target 2. Instead, schools that meet Sodium Target 1 will be considered compliant.
Milk: Schools will be allowed to serve 1 percent flavored milk through the school meals programs. Currently, if flavored milk is served, it must be fat-free. Additional guidance will be released once available. USDA Press Release
Read FoodCorps’ response to the news.



As spring morphs into summer, one of the things that seems to disappear is time. Kids’ track meets, sports practices, and ballgames become more frequent and family dinner time seems impossible.  We all know that a drive-thru dinner is not good for our health or our wallet. At AnswerLine, we looked at the subscription meal services as an option and we know that various grocery stores are offering help making freezer meals.  The trick is to find something that works well for your family and the time you have available.

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