FFI Bits – December 2018

Third grade students at Postville elementary learned about why we process and preserve foods during a pickling activity. Students practiced their safe knife skills by cutting bell peppers and baby cucumbers in groups, remembering to “go slow, keep it low.” Once they the cutting was complete, students combined their veggies in a group jar, added brine, and placed them in the fridge. One week later, the pickles were ready! Students unscrewed their jars and discovered the salty sour smells of brine and pickled veggies. We had some thumbs up and thumbs down, but most all students were brave tasters. 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

Staff from 22 child care programs attended local food workshops in Cedar Rapids in October. Participants learned how to set a definition of local that makes sense for their program and began to identify potential farms and food sources. In the second session, participants worked in small groups to brainstorm how to serve regional foods from the Teacher Box program, as well as plan additional lessons and activities to complement the featured foods. The third and final session, Menu Planning, gave participants the opportunity to review menus for their programs and identify how to include local foods.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen & April Bril

Members of the Decorah Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning group presented the designs created through the FREE year-long process at a Decorah city council work session in November.  All the designs can be seen on the City of Decorah website.

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Fayette County preschoolers enjoyed taste testing fresh locally grown yellow BEETS! Add shredded BEETS to salads. Roast BEETS with sweet potatoes, onions and other root vegetables for a nutritious vitamin packed side dish.

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Physical education is key to longer, happier lives
At a time when American children are increasingly absorbed in their screens and one-third are overweight, the need for robust physical education is acute. Last month, the federal government updated its recommendations for physical activity for the first time in 10 years. The guidelines now include recommendations for children as young as age 3, and advise a minimum of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity for ages 6-17.  Alas, only one in five teenagers meets this standard. Read more.

Through the Healthy Students Healthy Schools grant, the 4th grade student at Central school are doing monthly taste-tests. December’s food items: Jicama & Cherry Tomatoes. Due to Jicama being locally unavailable, we used Rutabaga (another item in the turnip family).


Walking School Bus Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Fischer
Julie has been helping kids in our community walk safely to school for several years now. She leads a Decorah Walking School Bus route TWO mornings a week… even in the winter. Exceeding expectations is normal for Julie who volunteers for Northeast Iowa RSVP, Humble Hands Harvest, Decorah Community Meals and serves on the Board of Directors NE Iowa Peace & Justice Center. Read more.

Food Hub is reorganizing
What does it take to provide fresh, healthy local food to school children and Iowans, while providing a sustainable income for local farmers? The folks at Iowa Food Hub think they are on to something. Over the last seven years of operation, they’ve brought $250,000 worth of fresh food to local schools and $2.37 million worth of income directly to regional farmers.

Unfortunately, it has been a less than stellar year at the hub – a depressed rural economy, poor growing season and a super competitive marketplace has them rethinking their business model. As a result, the board is pausing regular hub operations on December 15, 2018. They are raising funds to launch the next phase, and you can join them in building the next era of the Food Hub and northeast Iowa local foods. Read more.

Don’t forget to shop small this holiday season – including your food! There are so many options within your meal to locally source from the veggies, to the meat, to the eggs that go into your baked goods (or the baked goods themselves!). If you are looking to locally source from products, use our online searchable database to find farms near you: www.iowafreshfood.com.

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