Weekly Bits – July 8

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Four communities in northeast Iowa are highlighted in a new book “America’s Walking Renaissance,” published by America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative. The book, written by Jay Walljasper, Kate Kraft and Heidi Simon of America Walks and with a forward by Tyler Norris of Kaiser Permanente, examines how nine locations across the U.S. are getting back on their feet to embrace walking and become more walkable. Decorah is part of the northeast Iowa location, which also includes Postville, West Union and Clermont/Elgin.

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Weekly Bits – June 17

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FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Are you a local food supporter and wish it was easier to find in your community? Good news! A team is currently working to bring the Local Food Box program at the Iowa Food Hub to Waukon, Monona, Elkader and West Union. The 10-week program will start August 1. Watch for more details next week!

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Jesse Waller, Preschool Teacher and Director of Rainbow Land Preschool/Daycare in Fayette, IA shares her story of how they got involved with NE Iowa Food & Fitness. “In the fall of 2014 I decided that my preschool classroom should participate in the Food & Fitness program.  I thought it was a great program and the curriculum was based on introducing new foods, cooking with the kids, and showing the kids how to be more active! I personally was trying to make lifestyle changes, and why not surround myself with positive healthy options.  So why wouldn’t I join?” More.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Grab your family and friends and head out for a ‘Safari’ this summer! The Safari program is a county-wide  scavenger hunt of natural, cultural and historical treasures:
Driftless Safari (Winneshiek County)
Turkey River Recreational Corridor Safari (Clayton and Fayette Counties)
Cherokee County Treasure Hunt (Cherokee County)

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Fresh herbs and cheeses were an unconventional yet exciting part of the educational experience for Eagle Club members at Clayton Ridge Middle School this spring.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

May marks a month of bicycles and helmets; stories and laughter. Hundreds of kids learned how to properly fit their helmets, how to correctly signal their intentions, and experience the simple joy that riding can bring to one’s own existence. May brought forth the launch of the first Biking School Bus in Winneshiek County, where kids bike 3 miles to school and 3 miles back to their homes on Fridays. Quiet in the morning and laughter in the afternoon, these rides allowed children to slowly glide into the school day and exit with all the energy built. This commute opened a new world for many, these rides will continue through the years because of the excitement in their eyes, not only did they want to commute every Friday, but they begged to commute daily.

 

PARTNER NEWS

HELP WANTED  Iowa Food Hub is hiring a part-time delivery truck driver. Immediate start. Mondays and Thursdays. Click here for more info.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

It’s STRAWBERRY SEASON! Here are some farms to check-out. U-pick and pre-picked.
Berry Bluff, Cresco (Kendallville)  (New farm!)
Bagge Strawberries, Independence
Wold Strawberries, Mabel, MN
Kathan’s Homestead Berries, LaCrescent, MN

Weekly Bits – June 10

59e8ac0c-1be9-43a1-bed4-cf2cd3340b0eA crew of Fayette County 4-6th grade 4-H members spent last Friday on a Explore Fayette County Tour where they visited local farms and businesses including Shrimptastic, AMPI, Unionland Market, Iowa Food Hub, Fassbinder Apiaries, Rolling Hills Greenhouse, Country View Dairy and the Fayette County 4-H Greenhouse. It was a busy day!

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

My favorite session at the National Farm to Cafeteria conference was the tour of the Madison Metro School District production kitchen, and the FEED Kitchen where a local non-profit prepares a local fruit or veggie snack every week for Madison school’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack program. About 1000 pounds. We’ve already started brainstorming how to do this program here. Call me if you want to help!

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Rainbow Land Director, Jesse Waller and her staff recently hosted a family night to showcase what the children enrolled there have learned this past year with their Farm to Early Care Education program. Tables overflowed with photos of children learning, exploring and cooking with monthly featured foods. There were foods featured throughout the year prepared and ready to taste along with the recipes.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

14 Northeast Iowa communities with Walking and Biking School Buses this spring! Nine new routes! 250+ students actively traveling to/from school! 250+ students better prepared for learning and growing!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

“FFA members — our communities need doctors, lawyers, mechanics, restaurant owners, farmers, factory workers, teachers, welders. Our rural communities need leaders. Our rural communities need us, and we need our rural communities,” Michael Tupper, 2015-16 Iowa FFA President, New Hampton.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

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Northeast Iowa was well-represented at the 8th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Madison, WI last week!

 

PARTNER NEWS

Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout northeast Iowa during the summer while school is out of session. Some sites offer both breakfast and lunch, and other sites offer educational programming. Check them out!

 

Weekly Bits – May 6

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

This past Saturday, Andrew spent a beautiful morning with a few volunteers building raised beds for a new garden at East Elementary in Waukon. They were a small group, but the two students who were there got to do a lot of the building, and it was awesome to see them excitedly working together on the project!

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

“Time has truly flown since I started as Food System Specialist on March 21st!” says Kayla Koether. “I’ve been busy settling into my role, getting to know stakeholders, and attending a variety of trainings. Some trainings have helped educate me about goals of Iowa State Extension and services that we offer, others have helped me develop specific skill sets and knowledge that I’ll use in my work with local farmers.” See what else she has been up to.

 

Teresa blogged about her recent trip to the National Food Hub Conference and what she learned about value chain coordination. She discusses how the partnership between the Iowa Food Hub and Food and Fitness partners is building a strong, mutually-beneficial partnership that meets both business and community goals.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

To Swipe or not TWO Swipe? I know we can’t deprive our children to technology since that is the way the world is communicating and educating these days. However, in the article there are three important things to consider when allowing your young children to use a touch screen.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

During Screen Free Week (May 2-8) set the stage for a healthy summer by talking with your child about how to limit time spent in front of screens and increase time spent being active.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

North Winn fifth grade students recently passed some wellness knowledge on to younger students with hand-made activity dice. They painted numbers on half the dice and symbols on the others. Each class was given a pair of dice plus a card with activities for each symbol. Fifth grade volunteers taught the students to roll the dice and perform the activity on one die for the number of times shown on the other. The cards are written in erasable marker so the classes can change activities as they wish.
PARTNER NEWS

YOUTH GREENHOUSE PLANT SALE  The Fayette County 4-H Greenhouse project is holding a plant sale fundraiser on Saturday, May  7 from 8 am-3 pm in the parking lot of Redeemer Lutheran church located at the Hwy 150/18 intersection in West Union. Please come, check them out and support the Fayette County 4-H greenhouse project.

 

BREAKFAST ON THE FARM, JUNE 18  Join the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation for the 7th annual Breakfast on the Farm Saturday, June 18 from 8:30a.m.- noon at Iowa’s Dairy Center, Calmar, Iowa. They’ll serve up a great wholesome breakfast and provide guided tram tours of the nationally-recognized Dairy Center. The kids will enjoy the chance to meet some calves, plus families can visit several educational exhibits, milk a cow and see robots milk cows.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

The farmers markets have started and the first asparagus is making an appearance. Be sure to check them out!

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.