Weekly Bits – April 29

Great Give Day is the best time of year to give to the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (or any of your favorite non-profits)! Gifts on May 3 are eligible for matching prizes and other rewards for your charity. Hope we can count on all our partners that day!

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

In the spring months, my food system duties expand a bit to include additional responsibilities to teach youth about their roles in the food system. Laura Liechty coordinates the Iowa’s Dairy Story field trips for schools and is expecting over 850 kids at the Dairy Center in Calmar this spring. I usually get to lead the barn tours and teach the kids about ruminant nutrition.

 

Junior 4-H members are busy attending Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) training to learn more about their 4-H livestock projects and their role in producing safe food. This year, the members are learning about feed and keeping their animals healthy with biosecurity strategies.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Study Finds Most British Children Have an “Indoor” Childhood – Three-quarters of British children spend less time playing outside than the recommended daily period of outdoor exercise for prisoners, according to survey of parents in a sample of 10 countries around the world, both developed and developing. Why? The answer may surprise you. It did me.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Fourth graders at MFL MarMac had a blast at their Bike Rodeo! They are now road-safe and ready for biking season. A BIG Thank you to Ashley and Troy from Safe Routes to School and the Clayton County Foundation of the Future for making this event possible!
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Students in Mr. Neal’s construction class installed pergolas at the Postville Swimming Pool. Speaking for the Parks, Pool and Recreation Board, Larry Klocke said, “We very much appreciated the work of the students and their teacher, Todd Neal. Funding was provided for the pergola shade project, and pool ladders, new bleachers and two outdoor message-information centers by the Allamakee County Community Foundation, the Clayton County Foundation for the Future, the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the R J McElroy Trust Fund, local donations and the City of Postville.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

OELWEIN  Second graders walked up to the high school and visited the greenhouse for their Food and Fitness lesson this month. They enjoyed four activities: sampling cherry tomatoes, planting tomato seeds, some exercise, and touring the greenhouse. It was fun!

 

CENTRAL  Ideally, we teach our children to celebrate Earth Day every day, but Earth Day projects at Central are a great way to get the students outdoors and to help the community. Our Garden Committee decided to add a few raised beds to the school garden this year. We often have trouble growing plants along the basketball court, so we decided to experiment with a raised bed. We also put in a raised bed outside of the garden to be a pollinator garden.

 

PARTNER NEWS

FOOD JUSTICE LECTURE  On Wednesday, May 4 at 7 pm in Valders 362 at Luther College, Sonia Kendrick of Feed Iowa First will present “Using Food Democracy to Rebuild Local Food Systems” about her work with food justice in the Cedar Rapids area. A Veteran of the War in Afghanistan, Sonia is the founder of Feed Iowa First, a nonprofit that partners with 22 businesses and churches throughout Cedar Rapids to grow fresh produce which is then distributed for free to food insecure residents of Linn County. Dedicated to confronting food insecurity today and tomorrow by growing food and farmers, Feed Iowa First raises wholesome, top-quality, fresh food and delivers it to those in need.  An engaging speaker, Kendrick is sure to inspire and entertain.

 

YOUTH CURRICULA  The ISU Extension Local Foods Team has released a new list of local foods-related curricula for youth. This list is chock full of curricula and lesson plans to help young people learn about the production, uses, and health connections of locally grown foods. “These resources serve to improve the health and civic responsibility of our next generations starting from a young age,” says Allie Lansman, the Youth Development Intern with the Local Foods Team who compiled the list. “Anyone working with a youth development group or in an educational setting are welcome to use this list and modify it to fit their setting and needs.”

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

What’s keeping you from moving more? Words on Wellness says doing so is crucial to stay healthy and avoid risk of cancer.

 

Weekly Bits – April 22

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Spring Walking and Biking School Bus season is underway! Contact Ashley to find or start one near you: achristensen@uerpc.org or 563-382-6171.

 

Start planning for National Bike/Walk to School Day and National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day, both happening on May 4!

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Georgia Windhorst has been promoted to General Manager at the Iowa Food Hub. Windhorst joined IFH in 2014 as the sales and marketing assistant.Windhorst steps into the role previously held by Nick Mabe who is relocating to the Twin Cities. The food hub board of directors is currently accepting applications to fill Georgia’s position – a full-time Sales and Warehouse Manager.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

What were you learning to do at age 2? You probably don’t remember. Maybe your parents or older siblings tell stories about you. You may have been learning how to climb on furniture or learning to run. I am really impressed with the 2 year old Early Head Start Transition Room in Waukon.  These 2 year olds are learning about local foods, cooking skills, and how good healthy snacks can taste.

 
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Sierra Gonzalez, has been the FEEST intern at Postville High School for two years. When reflecting on the year’s activities, she said, “This has been a rewarding year. It is very rewarding when I see youth who participate discover they like something they have never tried before, and seeing the aftermath of their experience. For example, kids it is great seeing kids becoming healthier in their choice of foods or having them come to the next FEEST and talking about something they had made at home.”

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Spring in NE Iowa means garden time! Students across the region are busy planting seeds. Check out what’s happening at St. Joes!

 

PARTNER NEWS

HEALTHIEST STATE CONFERENCE  Step It Up Iowa! It’s time for this year’s Iowa Healthiest State Annual Conference! With a sold out event last year, we’ve changed the format to a 9am-4pm conference with speakers from across the great state of Iowa! The all-day conference will be held at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University on May 19. FFI’s Ann Mansfield and Ashley Christensen are featured speakers.

 

FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PROGRAM  The Iowa Department of Education is now accepting applications from elementary schools for the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP) for school year 2016-17. This is a grant opportunity for schools to provide children with free fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day. Applications due April 29.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Spring and warmer weather have arrived, and that means it’s time to think about planting annual flowers and vegetables. To get optimal performance, these plants require some careful treatment.

Weekly Bits – April 8

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

I got the call on Monday. Tom Weighner was on the other end. “I think we finally got everything figured out to do the local milk taste-test at the middle school. Just wanted you to know.” He was calling about an idea that we had been kicking around for some time. Most colleges and institutional food service use bulk milk dispensers in their cafeterias. It seems natural to ask the question about their use in public schools. Especially in Waukon. If there is a dairy processing plant in town, shouldn’t it be easy to serve their milk in school? Well, it’s complicated.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

The preschoolers at St Mary’s Immaculate Conception School in Guttenberg learned about popcorn last month. “The students counted, added, and subtracted with popcorn and ten frames. They observed “hopping” corn kernels in water, baking soda, and vinegar.  The students then journaled about what they saw. They participated in ‘Popcorn Appreciation.’  The students picked out a popcorn kernel with another student’s name and gave that student a compliment.”

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Iowa Team Nutrition has a large quantity of printed copies of Get Movin’ Activity Breaks, developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health. If you are interested in FREE copies for teachers within your school please e-mail schoolmeals@iowa.gov with the number you would like and address to mail them. Target audience is elementary students.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Sumner-Fredricksburg students are working with the University of Iowa (UI) as part of a Team Nutrition grant to implement Smarter Lunchroom changes.  One of the action steps was to develop creative names for menu items.  They now serve Big Bad Baked Beans, Grand Garlic Broccoli, Frescura Picked Apple, Glamorous Grapes, Totally Rad Romaine Salad, Over-the-Top Tator Tots, Bodacious Banana, Flashy Fresh Baby Carrots, Crack Me Up Corn, Practically Perfect Peaches, Atomic Asparagus, and more!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Many North Winn students, parents and community members attended our health and science fair after school March 10. Coordinated by our School Wellness Team, we combined events to increase interest and attendance. Participants could pick up a “passport” and have it stamped by exhibitors to earn a prize. Stations included the bike blender, granola samples, info on sweetened beverages and health topics.

 

PARTNER NEWS

Lunchroom Mini-grants  The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement uses evidence based, simple, low and no-cost changes to lunchrooms which can improve school meal participation and profits while decreasing waste. Interested in making some changes? Team Nutrition is offering $250 sub-grants to schools that have completed the scorecard and have identified areas of improvement. Deadline to apply: April 15.

 

Scavenger Hunt  The Iowa Farm to School program is offering the Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt again in 2016. Participating farmers markets will receive free banners promoting this event.  In addition, the first 50 markets to sign up will receive a book entitled Market Farming Success: The Business of Growing and Selling Local Food. Those markets who would like to take part in the Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt, should submit the application to IDALS by April 20.

 

Farm Film Fest, April 13-23  The Winneshiek Energy District and Seed Savers Exchange are hosting a cooperative, two-week-long film festival from April 13 through April 23. Up! Up! Film Festival is a collection of 14 independently produced films and shorts, each exploring questions of farmland access, rural livelihoods and the sustainability of people and place.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

It’s time to grab your four-legged friend and get moving! During Live Healthy Iowa’s Strut Your Pup six-week challenge, you and your canine companion can stay active and healthy together by tracking your daily walk, run or play time. Compete with others in your community and across the state! The challenge kicks off on April 18. Register now at www.livehealthyiowa.org!

Weekly Bits – March 18

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Something exciting is brewing in Fayette County! A local family has graciously donated the use of a greenhouse on their property if it would be used as a teaching facility for 4-H youth. The vision for the project has swelled to include numerous community partners with the goal to provide a learning facility for youth and beginning farmers. And this week they got their first grant – thank Fayette County Community Foundation!

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Weekly Bits – March 11

Happy AmeriCorps Week! Across the country, AmeriCorps service members are working hard in communities to make a powerful impact on critical issues facing our nation every day. The Food and Fitness Team relies on service members to connect to our schools. It’s the AmeriCorps members who are “doing” things in schools and communities, however small or grand, to encourage better choices and encompass our mission that “Together We Grow Healthy Kids”. Thank you for your service!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service membersNorth Winn Kindergartners and Third Graders, working as buddies, recently made salads that contained many kinds of food. Each buddy pair selected one ingredient from each of several categories, and voted for their favorite recipe.  Categories included cheese, seeds and legumes for protein, fresh vegetables and dried fruits for vitamins and many other nutrients, and whole grains for long-lasting carbohydrate. The salad dressing contains olive oil, considered one of the healthiest fats. While the students said that the word “salad” makes them think of leafy greens, they decided to call the winner of their taste test “North Winn Energy Booster Salad.”

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Farm Estate Planning Workshops
Succession planning is essential to the thoughtful, transparent and complex process of passing a farm on to the next generation. ISU Extension and partners are offering several workshop to discuss the language of estate planning, gift, estate & inheritance taxes, working with legal and tax professionals and how to navigate the family communication that is vital to creating a good estate plan. Anyone who is unsure of how to build a transition plan or what options are best for their family or a farm operation will find this class extremely helpful. March 15 in Waverly, March 16 in Fayette, March 30 in Decorah.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Research has linked too much screen time and too many carbohydrates to children being overweight and obese. Children who are overweight and obese are at increased risk for a number of diseases and conditions including: Asthma, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and trouble sleeping. Learning self-regulation as a young child is so important.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Join us at the Midwest Active Transportation Conference for one day of active learning, networking, collaboration and continuing education.  We are celebrating the bonds of all who share an interest in empowering people in our communities by increasing awareness, implementation and coordination of active transportation. Whether you work in health promotion, urban design/planning/engineering, transportation, or are a citizen advocate, our primary goal is encouraging and accelerating effective strategies for engaging people in active modes of transportation.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute (IYI) is a transformative experience for students held at Iowa State University each April. During this day long event students are able to immerse themselves in the world of food security while presenting their ideas and findings to professions. To participate in the 2016 Iowa Youth Institute, students research a global issue and write a three- to five-page paper under the supervision of a teacher mentor.

PARTNER NEWS

Beekeeping Class, March 17
Beekeepers of all sizes and experience are invited to attend a BEE and HONEY production meeting at the ISU Extension – Bremer County office in Tripoli at 6:30 pm. Topics: how to start, equipment, queen management, hives and locations, honey harvesting, mites and diseases, bee laws near cities, etc. Guest Speaker Bob Fassbinder, Fassbinder Apiaries, Elgin.

 

Fruit Tree Pruning Program, March 29, Elgin
Erling and Mary Bilden of Elgin will be hosting visitors at their orchard east of Elgin, where an ISU Extension horticulture specialist will discuss and then demonstrate proper pruning methods and fruit tree management. there will also be a discussion on practices to benefit pollinators. Register by calling ISU Extension- Fayette county, 563-425-3331.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Freezer meals are a great way to make healthy meals for those nights where cooking seems like a monumental chore. They are also great to share with neighbors, new parents or others who might benefit from the convenience.

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Weekly Bits – Feb 26

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Teachers and community partners from Oelwein, Independence and Starmont schools kicked off the School Garden 101 series this week by learning about composting and making a classroom worm condo (also called a vermicomposter).

 

NEW LOCAL PRODUCER MEETING DATE: Monday, March 7 at 7:00 pm in the Oneota Co-op Kitchen Classroom – next to the Co-op. Hosted by the Co-op and Iowa Food Hub.

 

HELP WANTED: The Iowa Food Hub is accepting applications for a new General Manager. Applications due Feb. 29.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

I recently had the honor of being one of 150 Early Childhood Advocates in the U.S. invited to the Healthy Kids, Healthy Future Summit held in Washington D.C. It was a privilege to be among those in the country who are at the top of their fields regarding early childhood education environments (ECEE).

 
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

St Joe’s celebrated Catholic School Week with food and fitness activities. “Get Up and Move Monday” featured the bike blender and a dance-off in the gym.

 
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

The Governor’s Youth Action Award was established in 2015 to encourage Iowa youth, in Kindergarten through 12th Grade, to explore the benefits of healthy lifestyles, including activity, community and nutrition. The contest  will recognize the outstanding achievement of Iowa youth through poster, essay and/or video submissions. Teachers and adult advisers throughout Iowa are encouraged to promote this opportunity to students in their local schools and communities.

 
PARTNER NEWS

FAYETTE COUNTY HEALTH FOCUS  At least every five years, County Boards of Health lead a community-wide discussion with stakeholders and residents about the community’s health needs. After identifying needs in the community, the next step is to identify objectives and strategies to address those needs. Through this process, Fayette County Public Health identified the main areas of focus for this Health Improvement Plan: Childhood Obesity and Food & Nutrition.

 

FSMA TRAINING CENTER  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will transform the nation’s food safety system into one that is based on the prevention of foodborne illness. It will be a system in which the food industry systematically puts in place measures proven effective in preventing contamination. Training efforts will be coordinated by a National Coordination Center and four Regional Centers. This week, Iowa State University was named a Regional Center for FSMA training.

 

TOP 100 FOUNDATION  The Foundation Center recently ranked the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in the top 100 of 750 community foundations across the nation in all three categories of its CF Insights: Benchmarking Beyond Asset Size report: Most Active Grantmakers (#63), Most Gifts per Capita (#31) and Most Activity (#68). We are proud to have CFGD as our fiscal sponsor and partner – Congratulations!

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Following a healthy diet can be hard. From deciding when and what to eat to how much food you actually put on your plate, the average person makes over 200 food-related decisions each day, most of which are automatic. Studies have shown that decisions such as when, what and how much to eat are often shaped by subtle forces outside of our awareness or direct control. Now that we know more about them, we are in a better position to intervene.

 

 

Weekly Bits – Feb 12

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

The Iowa Food Hub is accepting applications for a new General Manager. The position will be posted at www.iowafoodhub.com by Friday afternoon. The IFH board is extremely appreciative of Nick Mabe’s leadership the past two years. Good luck, Nick!

 

Kim Baker has joined the board of Allamakee New Beginnings, the non-profit host of the Iowa Food Hub. Kim is  co-owner of D&K Family Farm near Sumner where they are investigating ways to diversity their century farm. She also works as the Advancement Systems Administrator at Upper Iowa University.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Barb Havlik Preschool Teacher at New Hampton has 18 children in class. In her classroom this month, they read the story ‘Who Ate the Cheese’ and watched a YouTube video about how cheese is made. All the children who tasted the white cheddar cheese curds, cheddar cheese curds, Colby/Monterey Jack and Quesadillas made with Mozzarella reported they liked them. 11 liked Swiss Cheese and 10 liked the goat cheese.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Winneshiek County Conservation is sponsoring a “Valentine’s Day Outdoors” at Lake Meyer Park on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will feature a variety of snow-based activities and games, including cross-country skis, snowshoes, valentine crafts, and more.  All equipment will be provided.  No prior experience is necessary. Registration is not required. The event will take place at the Lake Meyer Campground shop. Please call Winneshiek County Conservation at (563) 534-7145 for more information.

 
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Students from the Waukon Middle School joined the Allamakee County Conservation Board for snowshoeing on February 5! The students and staff enjoyed playing in the fresh powder with many of the students snowshoeing for the first time!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Child Nutrition Reauthorization is on the move! On Jan. 20, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously passed their version of the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization (CNR), sending it to the Senate floor for final debate. This is a big victory for the farm to school movement, as the bill incorporates all policy priorities recommended in the Farm to School Act of 2015.

 

Under the bill, funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program will double from $5 million to $10 million per year. It also increases the ability of tribal schools and feeding programs to serve culturally significant foods, and expands the scope of the grant program to include early care and education centers, summer food service program sites and after school programs.

 

PARTNER NEWS
TIP OF THE WEEK:

Meal planning is a great way to serve up a nutritious meal – fast. Here are some tips for successful meal planning.

 

COMMUNITIES SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES
I-WALK leaders made a site visit to West Union in November. Community leaders and champions met with these experts to discuss project progress and challenges. The I-WALK leaders were very impressed with the site visit, so much so that they awarded West Union a small grant to put towards a walkability improvement project in town.

 

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Weekly Bits – Feb 5

Elanor Starmer, administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development director for the state of Iowa, were in Dubuque last week to visit with farmers, farm to school champions, economic development and public health partners.

 

“It’s really shown me there is some incredibly innovative work taking place in this region that can be a model for the rest of the country, in terms of showing how to bring all of those partners together and figuring out projects that benefit the whole community.” -Elanor Starmer

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

MUST READ

A new report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists finds $3 billion boon to Iowa’s economy if supermarkets, restaurants and schools bought more locally grown food. “Midsize farms could contribute roughly half that added revenue. Iowa lost roughly 6,000 midsize family farms from 2007 to 2012, but beefed up local-food markets could return nearly three-quarters of those farms to the state.”

 

The annual data collection of the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative contributed heavily to this report. I also think it beautifully explains the rationale and motivation behind our work to support small and mid-sized farms.
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Several interns worked with FFI during their winter break. Kate Lower spent some time at her hometown high school, attended a Legislative Breakfast at the capital and the Iowa Bicycle Summit.

Justine Heinitz‘s experience affirmed that she is on the right career path. “Watching such a positive reaction from these kids really changed my perspective about my college studies and whatever may happen beyond that. I knew I wanted to go into the health field prior to this internship, but now, I am more sure than ever that I am in the right place.”

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

We all enjoy going outside when the weather is nice, but no one would argue that it’s more challenging in the winter. But it is worth the time and energy to get children outside.  Children need outdoor time in the winter months (weather permitting) just like in the summer. In fact, research shows that children who have outdoor time in the winter are actually healthier. Click here for tips to make winter play, safe.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Nashua Middle School kids led a few stations at their Fun Fitness Day where all of the Middle School students transitioned through a variety of fitness activities; one including the popular bike blender!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

On Tuesday, February 9 from 3:30-4:30pm a webinar will be held for elementary teachers and school staff that will  include strategies to incorporate more nutrition education and physical activity into the school day. Ideas will be shared on how to make it happen while making it fun and enhance learning at the same time! Participants will learn about free resources from Team Nutrition and tips for school wellness success. Presenters include: Anne Cundiff RD, LD FAND and Kathryn Thompson RDN, LD from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

 

BEST PRACTICE: FLAVOR STATIONS Several schools in NE Iowa have seen success with “Flavor Stations” or “Spice Stations” in lunchrooms. The stations are a great way to give students a way to experiment with different flavors for their food beyond added salt, sugar or fat.

 

PARTNER NEWS
TIP OF THE WEEK:

Did you know that nutrition is the area of wellness that Iowans struggle with most, particularly fruit and vegetable consumption? Iowa is currently ranked 49th nationally by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The Healthiest State Initiative of Iowa is working hard to meet their goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation. They offer some tips to get us eating more produce.

 
COMMUNITIES SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES
THANKS to the Oneota Community Food Co-op for giving a face to Decorah’s CSA farmers. The co-op launched a website, http://csadecorah.com/ to help residents find the farms offering Community Supported Agriculture shares for the 2016 season.

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