Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Funds for Fayette County Farm to Early Care and Education

Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative is pleased to announce they have recently received a generous gift of $60,000 from the Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Fund to continue to fund the Fayette County Farm to Early Care and Education (F2ECE) Pilot Program.

This award will allow the program to continue to implement F2ECE in a pilot phase working with current partners in Fayette County to help provide support to the teachers, children and families.


Haleisa Johnson, NE Iowa Food and Fitness Early Childcare Coordinator commented, “We will continue to improve the following areas: Good Food Access, Teacher Education and Early Childhood Professional Development and Parent Engagement.


This past year the Fayette F2ECE Pilot Program was led by Denise Menne of Hawkeye, IA. She introduced over 200 young children and their providers to F2ECE. She concentrated in West Union and Oelwein areas including Oelwein Head Start, West Union Head Start, Early Head Start, Tiger Hawk Preschool, West Union, Kaleidoscope Preschool, West Union, Rainbow Land Day Care and Preschool, Fayette, Little  Husky Preschool, Oelwein, St Mary’s ELF Preschool, Oelwein. Two in home daycares in Fayette County included Joe Kramer, Waucoma and Pam Walvatne, West Union.


“With new funding we will be expanding further into Fayette County communities this year for more impact”, Johnson reported.


Desired outcomes of this pilot are; children will be more connected to the food they eat and where it comes from, increase families’ knowledge about the foods they eat, how to prepare them and ways to consume more healthy foods in the home environment and providers will play a crucial role in modeling openness to new foods. Overall they want to improve access to healthy choices and health outcomes for all children and especially the most vulnerable.


These funds will ensure the capacity to create a model that will advance F2ECE programs and create the health outcomes envisioned by enhancing the current program. The funds will help towards achieving lasting policy, system and environmental change; sustaining the work and eventually enabling us in sharing the model for replication with others outside of Fayette County.

Thank you to the Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Foundation for this generous gift!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *