Sprouting Spuds!

In Head Start this month I’m starting out by doing a potato-sprouting lesson. In this lesson, the kids get to be scientists and conduct an experiment! They learn that potatoes grow under the ground and there’s a lot of hard work involved in digging them up. They learned about the different sizes, shapes, and colors of potatoes grown locally in Iowa. The kids worked on putting together a puzzle that shows the progression of the growth of the potato plant, then observed local potatoes and their puzzles with magnifying glasses. We finished up the lesson by doing our experiment of putting a potato in a jar of water. They made predictions of what would happen to the potato, and discussed what it needs to begin to sprout! Continue reading


As I sit and write, I’m reflecting on how gracious I am to truly be making a difference.


After being in school for years and dreaming from behind a desk of becoming a Food Corps service member with the mentality that I would have a huge impact on the health of our country; on the health of our children. Health and wellness has always been my passion, my goal, and my drive. Continue reading

I’m learning as they’re learning…

Teaching is new to me, and new to most of us service members. It’s a learning process, and practice has really proven to help! I am learning quickly from the first couple weeks that I have begun teaching lessons. I have started out with an introduction lesson talking about foods we like and which of those foods we need on our plates every day! I also have taught lessons about local food and the parts of the plant. Here are 10 lessons that I have learned thus far: Continue reading

New Early Childhood Education Pilot

Hi! I’m back with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative… or did I ever really leave?  I have been involved for eight years now holding several different roles from youth member, regional youth representative, intern, and volunteer.  I hope my devotion to this initiative can be life-long.  My passions are shared among the members of Food and Fitness. Continue reading

Farewell for the End of Summer

…but forever attached and connected to Food and Fitness. unnamed This week, I finish up my intern position with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative.  What an amazing opportunity it has been to work for this program, and to help it continue to grow and thrive.  I am so glad that I was able to be reconnected with Food and Fitness, and the amazing people that work so hard to keep it going here in Northeast Iowa.  I will finish up the rest of my summer with my family out on the East Coast, and continue running for the upcoming cross-country season as I enter my third year at Luther College this coming fall. Continue reading

Active Living Work Group Meeting

At the end of last week, I got an opportunity to attend an Active Living Work Group Meeting at Upper Explorerland.  It was great to hear all of the things this group had done and the plans they intend to make. Some of the items that were discussed included topics like: the Great Give Day, the Bike Rack Challenge, the trail counting project, funding, Food and Fitness Initiative Indicators, Safari and Marathon Programs.  I really enjoyed learning about these Safari and Marathon Programs, and became intrigued in hopes of bringing it up to my high school or hometown community.  The Marathon one in particular interested me as a runner.  It is a family program, where you try to walk 26 miles, or a “marathon” throughout the summer or over a period of time.  It is a great and unique way to promote active living.  I was introduced to new ideas within Active Living and the meeting reconnected me with my experience with Food and Fitness at Central Community High School. Continue reading

Sunflower Daycare Garden


As a part of my Food and Fitness summer internship, I have had the opportunity to work with Sunflower Daycare and their garden.  I go out to Sunflower once a week to weed, water, and harvest.  This is my first “real” gardening experience.  Growing up, my family had a garden when I was younger and I remember helping a little with it but this is an entirely new experience managing the garden mostly by myself (also with the help of some of the Sunflower employees).  I love working with these ladies, and they have been very flexible and knowledgeable throughout the process of me trying to learn something fairly new.  Working in the garden has definitely connected me to my small town, farm girl roots.  Coming into this “project” I knew that I would have no problem getting down and dirty as I dove into this experience.  I truly have enjoyed going out to Sunflower every Thursday morning.  It enlightens me to see the kids outside playing.  Their laughter and joy spreads through the crisp morning air. Continue reading

The Weight of the Nation

I recently watched a documentary film, The Weight of the Nation for Kids and wanted to write a little about the video, and some connections that I was able to make.  The documentary was great for all ages and included new and innovative ideas, lessons, and stories told by kids.  The video addresses the issue of obesity within the homes, schools, and communities of our nation.  It shows the power that the youth of our nation holds, and brings to light the changes that we can take to make our country healthier and happier.  The video tells stories of kids creating healthy changes in all aspects of their lives.  It really encourages and supports youth leading, engaging, and acting on the issues at hand.  There are three parts to the film: Kebreeya’s Salad Days, Quiz Ed, and The Great Cafeteria Takeover.  I would encourage any and all of you to watch this documentary and share it with others.  It can be found online, or Haleisa Johnson has a copy available to borrow as well. Continue reading

First Week of Tots Camps

The first week of tots camps are complete!  So far, this is one of my favorite things that I have had the opportunity to do within my internship.  The camps take place Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s at St. Ben’s and John Cline Schools.  There are two different age groups of 4-5 year olds and 6-7 year olds.  I had the privilege of working with some members of the FoodCorps.  These girls have really been great to me, they are always so helpful and our personalities and passions really blend well together. Continue reading