FFI Bits – May 5

From the Turkey River Farm Facebook page: “Thanks Central Community School for sending us the 8 strongest kids in Clayton County to help with our Earth Day projects today!! What an awesome group of hard workers!”

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

Some of the Farmers Markets have started! Be sure to get and and explore what goodies are waiting for you. http://www.iowafreshfood.com/site/markets.html

Spring also means burger grilling at schools. This year, three cows were purchased from Rea Farms, Lansing, processed in Waukon and delivered to Allamakee, Eastern Allamakee, Central, MFL MarMac, Decorah, Postville and St. Pat’s schools to be grilled by the county cattlemen. 4800 burgers are on the menu – a record! Thanks to the sponsors who help with the processing costs.

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! I want to personal thank all the Early Childhood Education Teachers and Daycare Providers who are implementing Farm to Early Care and Education in their classrooms. You are truly making a difference in not only the children’s lives but you are influencing the lives of their families.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen & April Bril

ANNUAL CONFERENCE  Join the Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) on May 17 for their all-day Annual Conference, featuring keynote speakers and six breakout sessions! Keynote speaker Laura Putnam, MA,is the author of Workplace Wellness That Works and the CEO and founder of Motion Infusion. Her work has been covered by MSNBC, The New York Times, US News & World Report, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and NPR.  For more information or to register for the conference, check out the Healthiest State Initiative Website!

POSITIVE FEEDBACK  We had over 70 submissions from across the region for this year’s Beat the Blues Winter Marathon Challenge! Participants ranged from ages 2-73, some completing multiple “marathons” from January 7-March 3. Check out some of the positive participant feedback the challenge received.

NEW NATURE PLAY TRAIL  The short loop around the outer edge of the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre’s property near Marquette will transform into a nature play trail this year. Mown throughout the warmer months, the trail is already utilized by visitors during some Wetlands Centre activities. Now it will be resurfaced with crushed limestone, and several activity stations and natural features will be installed along the way. The goal is to attract more people to “play and stay.”

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Have you ever tried an inside-out cucumber sandwich? Students at Wings Park Elementary in Oelwein made this snack while practicing an equation for balanced foods: dairy/protein + fruit/vegetable + grain = healthy snack! Their recipe? Local cucumbers, cheese, and a 100% whole wheat cracker. Thumbs up from the majority of the students!

Waukon Middle School students had fun picking out seeds for planting from a Seed Savers Exchange donation. They had lots of fun comparing them and learning about their heritage.

On May Day, the Postville students had to work fast to get the potatoes planted before the rain started.

SWITCH is a program designed to help schools promote healthy lifestyles in schools through school-based wellness programming. Through SWITCH children are empowered to “Switch what they Do, View, and Chew!” The program is currently active in 25 elementary buildings across the state of Iowa. Iowa State University is expanding the program next school year to include both elementary and middle schools. Participating schools will receive $1,000 to support school wellness implementation. For more information contact Ann Torbert at atorbert@iastate.edu.


I’ve lost my teenager to a smart phone!  In 2017, a study published in the Clinical Psychological Science journal and reported by The Washington Post outlined some serious health issues among teenagers across the country. Nearly a half a million U.S. teens (ages 13 to 18) completed questionnaires about how much they use their devices (smartphone, tablet, computer), sleep habits and also their general attitudes and feelings. The analysis revealed a sharp jump in depression and suicidal thoughts when screen time increased. And nearly half of U.S. teens are seriously sleep-deprived. Learn a few tips on how to get your teens to put down the smart phone.

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