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
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.
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.