Weekly Bits – Dec 19

header ribbon cutLOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
A Wonderful Welcome!
  Iowa Food Hub was officially welcomed into the West Union Community with a ribbon cutting and Meet & Greet on Thursday afternoon.  Thank you to all who have supported us on this journey!

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
As the days grow shorter and colder, it is often hard to find the motivation to get up and moving and stay active.  At Turkey Valley, December is “Be Fit, Be Active” month.  Each week is a new activity topic. This past week was Just Dance. Check out their moves!

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson
Recently Kali Wenger and Emily Carlson, preschool teachers at North Fayette Vally – Elgin had fun introducing beans to their students and teaching them a little math and science at the same time.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Clayton Ridge High School forms a youth team as part of the Food & Fitness Initiative.  They recently brainstormed ideas for improving the wellness of fellow students, and came up with priorities like decreasing food waste, providing a salad bar in the cafeteria, and simply adding more vegetables to sides like rice at lunch.  Welcome!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps service members
Postville students are turning orange with envy.  This month, cross-age teachers are teaching second grade classrooms all about local carrots. Service member Ashley Dress has taste tests planned every Friday featuring carrots: sweet potato and carrot mash (that tasted a lot like pumpkin pie filling), crispy carrot fries and Asian-style carrots.  She is hoping to turn any carrot-haters around!  And, lining our lunchroom hallway, we’re featuring these great photos of some current carrot-lovers!

 

PARTNER NEWS
Allamakee Schools recently received a donation from a community member to support purchases of local meat for school meals.  The donation was facilitated by the Iowa Food Hub and Allamakee New Beginnings, a 501c3 non-profit.  Consider giving the gift of local food to your school this holiday season.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:  The temperatures are dropping, and the holiday season is right around the corner. The holidays are a great time to celebrate and enjoy the company of family and friends. The month is filled with parties and good cheer – and plenty of food! Here are some ideas to keep the holidays delicious without throwing nutrition to the wind.

 

 

Weekly Bits – Dec 12

header FEESTGET COOKING!  State 4-H Youth Program Leader, John Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas, visited Postville’s FEEST where they trained MFL MarMac students who are hoping to start FEEST at their school.  Above, the students go through the menu planning activity once they see the ingredients available.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
The City of Elma was recently selected as one of five communities throughout the state to participate in a project sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to encourage Iowans to be physically active and eat well.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson
If you have a preschooler in your life I bet you have heard ‘Let It Go, Let It Go’ more than once lately. The famous song from the Disney animated movie, ‘Frozen’ is known by every young child, even those who haven’t seen the movie.  Well, I want you to take the saying to heart – literally to help your heart and your health.  Check out the Food and Fitness twist to “Let It Go.”

 

LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Meet & Greet

 

 

 

 

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps service members
The Friends of St. Joseph Community School hosted their third annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser featuring tomatoes from the school’s garden.  They processed 300 lbs of home grown, garden fresh tomatoes which made 125 quarts of spaghetti sauce for the event.

 

PARTNER NEWS
New Staff at IFH. Georgia Windhorst is joining Iowa Food Hub as a Marketing and Sales Assistant.  She will be assisting with customer service, local food sales and farm to school outreach.  Windhorst will be working at the Iowa Food Hub distribution facility in West Union.

Winter Farmers Market, Marquette.  Shop local this holiday season at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre’s farmers market and holiday craft fair in Marquette, Iowa on Sunday, Dec. 14 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. With meat products, baked goods, wine, pottery, and soaps, you’re sure to find that special gift you’ve been looking for. Call 873-3537, or visit our Facebook page to learn more.

Toolkit in National Publication. The toolkit on worksite local food boxes, developed by Iowa Food Hub and the Leopold Center, was featured in Mother Earth News this month.

Oneota Co-op raises $3,200 for local food pantries. The Oneota Community Food Co-op says it raised $3,700 for area food pantries from its recent Taste of the Holidays Event.  Over 200 people attended the event, paying $15 per person, with all of the proceeds split between four local food pantries: Decorah Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church, Greater Area Pantry, and NE Iowa Community Action.  Decorah Bank & Trust gave an additional contribution of $500. Since the inception of this yearly fundraiser in 2009, the Co-op has raised over $18,000.

Beginning Farmer Investment. Practical Farmers of Iowa has selected 26 beginning farmers to enroll into its Savings Incentive Program. NE Iowa inductees include Hannah Breckbill, Decorah; Marty Grimm, Decorah; Kayla Koether and Landon Corlett, McGregor.  The two-year program pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced mentors; provides targeted learning opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance; and gives participants the chance to save money and receive matching funds while learning how to build a profitable farm.

New Guide for Importance of School Meals. People who make decisions about school meal programs need to understand the changing school environment, specifically school meal requirements and goals, nutrition education and children’s needs for physical activity. They’ll find that information in a newly revised publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Funds for Community Gardens.  Sow It Forward is the grants and partnership program of Kitchen Gardeners International. The grant is for nonprofit causes or organizations interested in starting or expanding food garden projects that are of general benefit to their community.  Past grantees include school gardens, community gardens, food bank gardens, library gardens, senior gardens, prison gardens and homeless shelter gardens among others.  The application deadline Friday, January 9, 2015.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:  It’s the time of year when many of us have family visiting and special get-togethers that involve food. You can save a lot of money by having holiday parties at home rather than in a restaurant and it is usually more fun too.  Wouldn’t it be more fun if you knew your kitchen is ready for the extra traffic?  Here are some tips to make sure your kitchen is organized for holiday entertaining.

Weekly Bits – Dec 5

header coolerGETTING CLOSER!  The cooler and freezer for the Iowa Food Hub was installed this week.  The pre-opening inspection day has been set.  Fingers are crossed that IFH will be operating from its new West Union location by Christmas!  Did you see the coverage by KCRG-TV this week? 

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
The Bike Rack Challenge encourages biking to school and other community destinations through youth creativity, skill and leadership. Each spring, high school industrial technology classes are challenged to construct a usable bike rack for their school or other community location using as much recycled material as possible. Classes have from January until May to design and construct their bike rack. There is still time to sign-up!

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson
Beans really are the magical fruit. Did you know eating only a 1/2 cup serving a day of fiber-rich beans, chickpeas or lentils can significantly reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol?    Preschool classrooms have been tasting beans — and liking them!  They made black bean quesadillas at Rainbow Land Preschool in Fayette.  At New Hampton TLC Preschool, the youngsters learned about different kinds of beans, listened to a story and tasted a bean salad.

 

LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
New Report! Local food sales grow 25 percent to $13 million  

According to the press release, Iowa farmers sold about $13 million in vegetables, fruits, meat and other products last year, a 25 percent increase over 2012, according to a study from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. A new report shows local food economy continues to expand in Iowa. View the statewide report hereNE Iowa report.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps service members
Ashley Turk thinks November 20 was an amazing day.  Allamakee Community schools was officially recognized as an Iowa Farm to School Chapter by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  Congratulations!

Cassie served roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes as a taste-test at Central schools.

N. Winn students learned how massaging your vegetables – like kale – makes them even better!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENTLaura Liechty
The Waukon 4-H Food & Fitness team organized fitness activities to implement at a local elementary. Students and teachers joined in on tug of war, duck-duck-goose and other fun events. When the other elementary school heard about it, they asked the team to come lead activities at their school too!

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:  A little advanced planning goes a long way towards adding cheer instead of stress to the holidays, according to two human science specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

 

 

Weekly Bits – Nov 14

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Paige Wettach, North Fayette Valley AmeriCorps
I jump at any opportunity to dress in character and have fun in costume. I tried my best not to be a huge distraction in the school, but sometimes I can’t help myself. An oversized witch’s hat fully decked out with feathers and sparkles, plus arms full of prizes definitely draw the eyes of little ones.  Read more about Paige’s adventures as the “Switch Witch” at North Fayette Elementary.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
When there’s an emergency on on bike trail, police and ambulance crews want to get to the scene as quickly as they can.  But finding the scene of a bicycle accident, for instance, is more challenging than locating a car accident on a particular road.  A Decorah Boy Scout is working on an Eagle project that would give emergency workers GPS coordinates that would lead them to the scene.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Katie Blocker, AmeriCorps
Did you know that 14.9% of Americans go hungry each day?  That’s almost 50 million people in our nation! However, we are one of the largest food producers in the world. How did we manage that?  Students at St. Joseph Community School’s discussed hunger as part of World Food Day, Nov. 4.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
Come and attend an open house for a new project in Cresco: Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit. This project focuses on improving food access in Cresco through various best management practices of production and program development. The ISU Community Design Lab is hosting an open house Wednesday, November 19 from 5:00-7:00 pm at Hawkeye REC.  This will be an open house format to learn about best management practices for developing local food systems. What is Ag Urbanism?

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson
With Thanksgiving fast approaching and planning holiday meals, I want you to think farm to fork, farm to table, garden to table or producer to plate — whatever you want to call it — just get the younger kids involved in the process.  From the farm to your table is not a new concept.  Our ancestors did it.  The Pilgrims did it. This is what ‘Farm to Preschool’ is all about. We want everyone to know more about the food they are eating by educating the children and families.

 

PARTNER NEWS
A two-year grant from the Leopold Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative helped owners of several Iowa small meat processing facilities learn how to improve profitability, primarily by building on their competitive advantages over larger operations.  They worked with Nick McCann from Iowa State University Extension to look at common problems, such as how to manage the facilities during the busy deer hunting season and ways to increase sales during the slow season.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce is hard to imagine for some people. If you are feeling adventurous this year you may want to try something new. The cranberry is a very versatile fruit and in season now.  The ISU Answerline has tips on how to make or can your own cranberry sauce.

 

GT_2014Web-Banner_250x250_BlueAltIowans are generous people all year around. We give of our resources, time and talents to the organizations that are there to help our neighbors in their times of need. December 2 is Giving Tuesday – a great reminder to take a break from the season and remember local charities in Iowa who are making positive differences in our own community.  We hope FFI is on your list this season.

 

 

 

Weekly Bits – Nov 7

header sushiSUSHI AND HUMMUS ON HALLOWEEN?
This year for Halloween, Cassie (AmeriCorps at Central, above) decided to be sushi. She thought it would be a fun costume to wear to school and introduce a new type of food to the kids. She also decided to have a hummus taste test. What better day to shove carrots and hummus at kids, than Halloween, the day of sugar highs and changed identity!  Read the kids’ response.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Highlighting the school’s commitment to its students, Wings Park in Oelwein is always thinking up fun, clever ways to engage students and families in healthy activities. One example is the new “Story Walk” along the school’s trail. Barb Schmitz, school guidance counselor, brought the idea to life over the summer with rave reviews!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Sixth graders from Howard-Winn are attending the Super Power Summit next week.  The event sets out to empower students to be advocates for school wellness and challenges them to lead wellness efforts with their peers upon return to school.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
A new report outlines the work of the Local Food and Farm Program funded by the Iowa Legislature. The program complements efforts of the Leopold Center’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative, ISU Extension and Outreach, and other groups working to increase the number of jobs along the local food chain. NE Iowa FFI and Iowa Food Hub are mentioned specifically!

Practical Farmers of Iowa announces its fall lineup of online webinars, called “farminars.” They occur each Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. CST, starting Nov. 11 through Dec. 23, and are open to everyone.  The first farminar is set for Nov. 11 and will focus on the financial sections of your business plan. Presenters will go through worksheets from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education book “Building a Sustainable Business.”

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson
Check out the blog for cool updates from Farm to Preschool activities in Decorah, New Hampton and Waukon.  At Sunflower Preschool the children’s choice of study in October was ice-cream. “One of our songs we used was off of Youtube, ‘Do you like broccoli ice-cream?’ We goggled broccoli ice-cream and found out there actually was such a thing and with broccoli being the food of the month we decided to make it as a class and share it with our families.”  Did you know there was broccoli ice cream?

 

PARTNER NEWS
Election Impact
This year’s mid-term elections found some friends of FFI being elected to local and state leadership roles.  Current FFI Regional Team member Brandon Friedlein was elected to the Clayton County Extension Council.  State Representatives Bruce Bearinger, Todd Prichard and Patti Ruff were all re-elected.  Sadly, former FFI Regional Team member Rick Edwards was defeated in his bid for the State House by just 31 votes!

Last week, the Food Access and Health Work Group’s Leadership Team released the comments submitted by candidates to a questionnaire based off of FAWG’s voter action guide.  This survey outlined questions aimed at issues such as food security, hunger, nutrition, health, food assistance, farming, gardening, processing, farmer’s markets, food hubs and food waste.  State Representatives Prichard and Ruff submitted comments to this survey.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   We hear it on the news almost every day. Remember to wash your hands, or hand washing can prevent the spread of disease.  But is it really that important?  The Center for Disease Control has a long list of the science behind the importance of hand washing.  It really can be a simple procedure; yet not everyone knows how to effectively wash their hands.  The ISU Answerline has some tips for teaching your children.

Weekly Bits – Oct 31

header broccoliWho knew broccoli leaves were so BIG?
Northeast Iowa Community College Calmar Campus Child Development Center (CDC) preschoolers (above) learned about broccoli this month.  Activities included exploring the stems, painting with the leaves, and tasting (of course).  According to director Lydia Guyer, “It was a great center-wide collaboration working with broccoli this month. From the cook, kids, staff, and director, we all pulled together to make learning about broccoli fun and delicious!” – Halesia Johnson, FFI Early Childhood Coordinator

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Out and about throughout the region…
Walking School Buses: West Union, Decorah, Cresco, Elgin, Clermont, Oelwein

Events:  NICC Wellness Fair, Youth-Adult Partnerships Training, Elkader I-WALK Sidewalk Mapping, Maynard I-WALK Sidewalk Mapping, New Hampton I-WALK Sidewalk Mapping

Meetings:  North Fayette Valley Spring Bike Rodeo, Postville SRTS Coalition, Active Living Work Group, South Winn Spring Bike Rodeo, Decorah Spring Bike Rodeo, New Hampton SRTS/I-WALK Coalition, Elkader SRTS/I-WALK Coalition, Maynard SRTS/I-WALK Coalition

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Come out to Phelps Park tomorrow, November 1 from 1-3 PM for the Harvest Festival and Sweet Swap! Put good use to your leftover Halloween candy and use it as a token to play games, make crafts and get your face painted! Costume parade starts at 2! Members of the Decorah Food & Fitness Youth 4-H Team are helping out with the event put on by the Winneshiek County Conservation Board.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
As part of the farm bill, the federal government will no longer subsidize EBT machines, a move that will force many small, SNAP-accepting stores to stop accepting benefits, or raise their prices. The article summarized in this blog post does a good job of illustrating how a change in policy ripples all the way through the system and may result in unintended consequences.  These ripples are even being felt in northeast Iowa.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps
This garden clean-up at St. Ben’s (Decorah) proved to be much more exciting than RC Megan thought it would be. The students found plenty of earth worms, which some kids pulled out to examine, and we also found a mole!

 

PARTNER NEWS
Funding Sources for Local Food Projects
Looking to start a local food business or processing facility? How about a school garden? As local food systems continue to develop, community leaders need access to capital to start or sustain their efforts. A new white paper from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture presents information about 31 federal, state and private grant programs that are available as funding sources for development of local food systems.

New Funding for Business Support
Winneshiek County Development, Inc., with its partners in education and industry, have received grant funding from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program to provide businesses with an array of consulting services and workshops aimed at improving small businesses and the local economy.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   This week, the Spend Smart Eat Smart blog compares the cost and nutrition of pre-made box dinners versus homemade.  The convenience is certainly tempting, but what is the trade-off?  Turns out that the homemade dinner not only costs less, but it whips up in no time.

Weekly Bits – Oct 24

header Luther high tunnelPHOTO OF THE WEEK  One early morning last week — while the wind was calm and before the valley fog had lifted – a crew of nearly 20 Luther students, staff and faculty pulled plastic over the new high tunnel at the Luther College Gardens. Check out more photos on their Facebook page.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Work on Monona’s bike park is underway, a year after the Jumping Kings — a quad of 8th grade boys — first approached the Monona City Council about creating the park.  The city’s newest recreational opportunity will feature dirt mounds and banks that can be used for ramps and jumps. There will be courses for both beginners and more experienced riders.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Decorah, North Fayette Valley, and Postville FEEST teams gathered for their 1st FEEST event this week. Together they made some creative dishes with some unfamiliar produce: Eggplant and Squash Parmesan, Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Marinara, Quinoa with Purple Yams and Black Beans Bake, Kale Chips drizzled with honey and a refreshing salad made with persimmons.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
Halloween is just around the corner and I need to purchase treats for all those little ones ‘Trick or Treating’ this year, including my own grandson.  I hate buying the ‘traditional’ sugary treats but I know if I was a kid I would not want to get a tooth brush or a pencil.  So what do I do? I want to pass out healthier treats but what? Finding goodies that are portable, lightweight, and nutritious and come in factory-sealed single serve packages can be quite the challenge.  This is what I am going to do.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
Nick Mabe (Iowa Food Hub Coordinator) and Teresa spent the week in Salinas, California with other food hubs that are part of the Group GAP pilot project.  The purpose the site visit was to shadow USDA auditors as they perform the external audit of ALBA’s Quality Management System and its implementation.  They learned how USDA auditors develop their checklists, engaged auditors in Q&A after each activity, and benefited from seeing the actual auditing process in real time.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps
FFI AmeriCorps service member Megan Woodward (Decorah CSD) was recently featured in an article on the Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program.  Last year, 4-H Outreach Program members reached more than 17,000 Iowa youth, with more than 10,000 participating in six hours or more of AmeriCorps programming. Members managed more than 900 volunteers and spent 6,000 hours completing 138 community projects.

 

PARTNER NEWS
If you are a small-scale producer, marketing less than 100 beef a year, the way to market your beef for the least amount of time and money is to direct market in halves, quarters, and bundles. This document from eXtension.org explains how to resolve common problems with selling halves, quarters, or bundles. The information is also relevant to marketing pork, lamb, or other meats directly.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   Roasting vegetables can be done on the grill or in the oven.   They are a special treat especially this time of year when the vegetables are coming fresh out of your garden!  The best roasted vegetables are soft and tender, browned and caramelized and full of flavor.  It is easy to roast the vegetables, but there are some trick from the ISU Answerline to making them come out delicious.

 

 

Weekly Bits – Oct 17

View this edition online

header walk day

 

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Over 6,000 Northeast Iowa students joined others across the state, country and even the world in celebrating the benefits of walking to school on International Walk to School Day. Read about Walk to School Day at St. Joes and Decorah.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Twenty-five middle school and high school youth gathered for the first Regional Youth Leadership Team (RYLT) meeting of the year this week. The day consisted of learning about food concerns in our society, strategizing with their team to assess the health of their communities and begun brainstorming what changes they want to influence as a Food & Fitness Team in their schools.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
October 24th is FOOD DAY! Celebrate healthy, delicious food and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
Teresa spent Tuesday in Story City with other local food coordinators from across the state at the Regional Food System Working Group meeting.  A new publication from the Leopold Center talks about Local Food Coordinators and the important role they play in food system development.  We are fortunate to have several people fulfilling these roles in NE Iowa.

 

Nick Mabe (Iowa Food Hub Coordinator) and Teresa spent Thursday afternoon with other food hub managers talking strategies for collaboration — how can food hubs work together to increase access of local, healthy food across the state? Good things to come!

 

The October edition of the NE Iowa Food and Farm Coalition and newsletter is full of info and events.

 

Unionland Feed and Supply and Unionland Market are hosting their Grand Opening on Oct 31 and Nov 1 in West Union.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps
It has been fun to see how food and fitness activities fit seamlessly into homecoming traditions.  The student body at MFL MarMac participated in Walk to School Day while donning tutus and ties as part of homecoming week (photo above).  At North Fayette Valley, the high school students celebrate part of their homecoming week by doing an assortment of service projects. This year they tackled fall cleanup at the Valley school garden — much to the relief of RC Paige.

 

PARTNER NEWS
Student spends summer growing a garden for the food pantry
Hailing from Des Moines, IA, Luther College senior Jamison Ash has spent a significant amount of time volunteering at local food shelters  at home. He quickly noticed that most of the food served wasn’t very healthy and none of it was fresh.  Armed with a grant from the Decorah Rotary Club, plants from Decorah Greenhouses, and seeds and advice from The Pepperfield Project’s David Cavagnaro, Jamison obtained a 20×20 plot from the Luther Community Gardens and got to work. By the end of the summer, Jamison had grown and donated roughly 70 pounds of potatoes, 300 pounds of tomatoes, and eleven laundry baskets full of summer squash, cucumbers, and beans to the food pantries at Decorah Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   Smoothies can be a great way to get more fruit into your day.  Restaurant smoothies can be oversized and expensive  at $3 to $4 each. You can make smoothies at home that taste great and cost about $1 per smoothie. The Spend Smart Eat Smart blog talks about how you can make a large batch of smoothies one night a week and freeze them for those busy mornings.

 

 

 

Weekly Bits – Oct 10

headers FEEST spag

View this edition online.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
Decorah FEEST 4-H members (above) put their creative cooking skills to work as they prepared the tasty sauce for the Winneshiek County 4-H Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction fundraising event.  Over 400 people attended the annual event which provides funds for project supplies and enrollment fees for the county’s 300 members.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has awarded a $7,500 grant to the Trails From Freeport group as part of its 75th Anniversary celebration.  In all, Wellmark awarded a total of $120,000 to 16 projects in Iowa and South Dakota.  The $7,500 grant will be used by Trails From Freeport to help build the Freeport Trail.  Construction of the 2.52 mile trail to allow the residents of Freeport to safely reach Decorah by bike will begin later this year and continue next year.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
October 18 is designated as Farm to Preschool Day. You may wonder why Farm to Preschool? Why not wait until they enter school? Glad you asked – read more.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
The United States of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the awards for the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). Iowa Food Hub will receive $88,000 to implement a regional branding campaign to further increase local food recognition on rural grocery store shelves within its service area. IFH recently announced plans to relocate to West Union to accommodate their growth and expansion.  Some of the grant funds will be used to install cold storage at their new location and to hire additional staff.

 

Shared-use Kitchen Planning Toolkit
A new publication is available from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the “Shared-use Kitchen Planning Toolkit.” It was written by Alice Topaloff, Leopold Center program assistant, and produced in collaboration with ISU Extension and Outreach.  The 44-page publication is a guide to starting a shared-use kitchen: a facility where local food entrepreneurs can prepare and process their food products by sharing space, equipment, knowledge and other resources.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps

What do Iowa FoodCorps members do when they go to the Iowa Nutrition Network Pick a Better Snack In-service (PABS)?  They fight over who gets to be the orange and the carrot!  They certainly love their jobs! …. (PABS is a nutrition education program offered to K-3 at Postville and Oelwein schools.)

 

PARTNER NEWS
The USDA Food Hub Directory went live on September 29. Customers now have an additional, year-round opportunity to search the web for more options where they can purchase locally-grown and produced products.  Check out http://USDALocalFoodDirectories.com to find CSA enterprises, On-Farm markets, Farmers Markets or Food Hubs close to you.  You can use the same link to create a listing for your farm, business or farmers market.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:   If you have winter squash and are wanting to preserve it remember that your best option is to FREEZE the puree.  If you want to can it, it must done in a pressure canner and only when cut into 1 inch cubes.  Learn more.

 

Weekly Bits – Oct 3

header peakesNational Farm to School Month kicks off this week with what is sure to be a month full of local foods, taste tests, and farmer visits. John Cline kindergartners (Decorah) got Farm to School started off a little early with a visit to Peake’s Orchard in Waukon (right).  Kindergarten classes have been talking about apples for a few weeks, reading books about apples and doing math with apples, so it was great to finish up their unit with a trip to the orchard!

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
School bag? Check. Notebooks? Check. Bike and helmet? CHECK!!! Valley Community School near Elgin is starting a Monthly Bike to School Day on the second Wednesday of each month. How awesome is that! Contact Ashley achristensen@uerpc.org or your FFI Resource Contact to start a program at your school.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
For fifty years Head Start has been the premier model for providing the whole child an opportunity for success in school and in life.  West Union’s Head Start Classroom has begun celebrating this September with a beautiful melon cake using cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and accented it with fresh berries. The children also sang for Head Start – Happy Birthday!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Katie Blocker, AmeriCorps
On Saturday, September 20, New Hampton held their 4th Annual Midwest 5k Run/Walk for Dravet in support of a local child with Dravet Syndrome. The event was a huge success bringing awareness to the disorder. Two days earlier, St. Joseph students raised money and walked for one of their classmates who had been diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome. The school raised enough money to purchase a special swing for their classmate so he can participate in fun recess activities with them. Way to go St. Joe’s Panthers!!  Learn more.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps

It’s nice to see a garden through a child’s eyes. Where adults may see vegetables that need to be harvested and weeds that need to be pulled, children see giant squashes that can be worn like boas and fuzzy caterpillars. Here are some of the best moments from last week’s Postville Garden Club.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

There is a new business coming to downtown West Union.  The Iowa Food Hub has signed a lease with Unionland Feed to use the commercial space in the west side of their new building to be the base of operations for their community local food distribution business.  The food hub had been looking for its own location for almost a year when they learned about the space available at Unionland. The partnership with resurrected store seems like a perfect fit.

 

PARTNER NEWS
Luther Gardens Adds High Tunnel
In order to extend the growing season and increase the amount of student-grown produce in the cafeteria throughout the year, a moveable high tunnel is being constructed at the Luther Gardens.  This structure will allow student gardeners to grow more crops like mixed greens and spinach throughout more of the year. The structure itself is 30 feet wide and 96 feet long and runs on a track that is three times its length, allowing the high tunnel can be placed in three different positions. Under the guidance of Giles Teslow and Myron Rediske from Facilites, students from the garden crew and sustainable food systems class are assisting with construction.

 

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