FFI Bits – Dec 20

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Don’t forget about NE Iowa Food and Fitness this giving season. Click here to send a gift to support Farm to School and Beginning Farmers.

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

Twenty farmers attended the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training in Calmar on Dec. 7. Farmers learned about the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule and how the rule will affect their farms. They also learned good agricultural practices to reduce risks of contamination of fresh produce with food pathogens.

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

During the Early Head Start program, the home visits start by reading the book “What’s In Grandma’s Grocery Bag?”  After reading the children dive into the sensory tubs and talked about the different size and color of the beans. The children started filling small containers using various kinds of scoops, and counted how many scoops it took to fill the containers.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen & April Bril

Recently students from one of the local Walking School Bus (WSB) groups met to make holiday cards for a WSB Kindness Project. Then they delivered the cards and trail mix on foot to local volunteers and the Post Office, Sheriff Office, Police Department, Fire Department, and Park and Rec Departments.


West Central Food and Fitness 4-H club members delivered “Take a Break Bags” to area farmers during the busy harvest season. The bags were part of a county-wide effort to support farm safety. More.

New Hampton high school students recently led activity stations for preschool students as they learned about healthy choices and healthy activities.

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Postville Cooking Club and FoodCorps Iowa service member Claire Anderson used purple potatoes from the school garden in a roasted potato, cauliflower and carrot soup! After roasting the veggies, students combined all ingredients in their new Vitamix blender to create a creamy soup. What fun to cook with the bounty of your gardening work!

Allamakee 6th graders have been giving their brains a break by playing a game involving paper plate hats. Students walk around the room balancing paper plates on their heads. If a student drops his or her plate, the student must freeze until another student picks it up and places it back on the student’s head. So, I play a song, students move around saving and sabotaging their friends, and we laugh a lot.

Central has launched a new Staff Wellness program. There is specific time set aside once a month during professional development on Friday’s designated for Staff Wellness activities. December’s theme was healthy eating. We did a cooking workshop series where they made roasted vegetables, healthy holiday dips, and overnight oatmeal.

MORE LOCAL FOODS IN SCHOOLS  The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team will be selecting 10 schools to participate in in a Farm to School Procurement project for the 2018-19 school year. Participating schools will receive customized assistance to set goals and purchase local foods in Fall 2018 to increase purchases of locally grown fruits and vegetables by 10%. The team is looking for schools who have started Farm to School activities at their school and are ready to DO MORE! Click here to complete the application to nominate your school. Applications are due January 31.


AMERICA’S HEALTH RANKINGS, published annually for the last 28 years, tracks progress the states and nation have been making on key measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data. The 2017 report, just published, benchmarks Iowa with other states and the nation. The report singles out three challenges—obesity, excessive drinking, and the lower number of mental health providers.


If your kids or students are getting excited about the new Star Wars movie, then these activities will be a perfect way for them to stay active this month.

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