About Melanie

I am the FoodCorps member serving New Hampton, St. Joseph, and Turkey Valley Schools. Serving as a FoodCorps member gives me the opportunity to fuse my two passions - education and the environment.

A Fond Farewell

Friends and Colleagues,


Many of you know my term of service with FoodCorps has come to an end, and I regret that I will not be staying on with the Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative for another school year. This fall, I am heading north to begin working towards my M.Ed in Environmental Education at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Continue reading

The Nature of Food

For two weeks in June, I pushed aside the endless piles of summer paperwork in favor of teaching Discovery Camp, Luther College’s nature camp “for kids who love the wild.” In keeping with the goals of my FoodCorps service position, I centered my lessons around the connections between our natural environment and the food we eat.

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Vocabulary in the Garden

Before the school year ended, Turkey Valley 4th graders did a final planting of a particularly rambunctious variety of climbing bean. Two groups of students were instructed to plant the bean seeds around the perimeter of two square bases of the arbor gate, were given a packet of seeds, and sent off to their task with minimal supervision. Continue reading

Food Guides According to Fourth Graders

For my last lesson with New Hampton 4th graders, I wanted to talk about something new and interesting. I decided to pull together a slide show of different food guides from around the world, ranging in shape from standard pyramids and plates to the more unique trains and spinning tops. We talked about the history of food guides in the United States, how other countries classified food groups, the importance of cultural traditions in dietary recommendations, and what we liked and didn’t like visually. I then challenged them to create their own food guides. What do you think is important to include on a food guide? How are you going to represent the information visually? What does healthy living mean to you? Continue reading

A Tasty Treat, Part II

I’ve been teaching monthly tasting lessons with the Turkey Valley 1st graders all school year. Last week was my final lesson of the year, so to celebrate, I decided to recreate the tasty treats Erika made with Decorah 1st graders. I added a twist, however, and let students create their frozen fruit and yogurt pops out of bananas and/or strawberries. They were (obviously) a big hit! It left us thinking, “What other fruits could we use to make these healthy and tasty frozen treats?” Some ideas the students had were grapes, melon, pineapple, and other berries. One student even suggested adding the fruit to a kabob skewer and making REALLY BIG frozen fruit treats! The possibilities are endless!! Continue reading

Go, Slow, Whoa!

What do a traffic light and healthy eating have in common? St. Joes 3rd and 4th graders could tell you! This week, we twisted our tongues while learning about “go, slow, whoa” foods. “Go” or “green light” foods are very healthy and can be eaten anytime. “Whoa” or “red light” foods are not as healthy but can be eaten once in a while. “Slow” foods or “yellow light” foods are somewhere in between, good to eat fairly often but in smaller quantities. For a healthy, balanced diet, eat your fill of “Go” foods, add in some “Slow” foods, and enjoy a “Whoa” food every now and then. Examples include: Continue reading

Eat Real!

IMG_0199_smallNew Hampton 4th graders recently learned what it means to “Eat Real.” With the help of the “Food Change” cards from the Food Day Curriculum and a set of nutrition facts labels, students worked in groups to find out what happens to whole foods as they become more and more processed. Reading through ingredients lists on some highly processed foods was a real eye-opener for most students. As one said, Continue reading