Weekly Bits – Oct 17

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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.


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.


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

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View this edition online.


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.)


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.


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.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  The What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl is an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. The site features a searchable database of healthy recipes, options to save recipes to a cookbook, print recipe cards, and share recipes via social media.


Weekly Bits – Sept 26

See the online version, with photos.


Classrooms, cafeterias and preschools are flipping over local melons this month.  Whether they are red, yellow, big, small or seeded, it has been a great season for melons.  In the photo above, Central students in Elkader harvest the melon crop from the school garden.


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Fall Fitness Day is a FREE, one-day event encouraging Iowa schools to engage their students in 30 minutes of continuous activity.  Fall Fitness Day coincides with International Walk to School Day and the Governor’s Healthiest State Walk so pick your event and be active on October 8!


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson

The preschool years are a critical time for developing lifelong eating habits.  NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative and NE Iowa Community College (NICC) Early Childhood Education Department were selected from numerous applications to present a new concept to the realm of early childhood teachers and caregivers at a recent state meeting.


Seven FFI School Teams are ready to enter classrooms and work with their communities to spread awareness of local, nutritious foods and healthy living.  Check out the blog to learn more about these youth engagement initiatives.


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps

October is National Farm to School Month!  Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Farm to School have several opportunities for schools to win funds to purchase local foods for their schools and to connect with local farmers.  There is also a special classroom grant to talk about tomatoes or potatoes.  Learn more on their website or Facebook page.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
I am VERY excited about the plans to serve local foods in schools during October Farm to School month.  I have heard of specific plans from Allamakee, Postville, St. Joe’s, Central, Turkey Valley, Oelwein, Clayton Ridge, West Central, North Fayette Valley, Riceville, Decorah, N. Winn, Howard-Winn and the list goes on!  Watch for melons, green peppers, broccoli, frozen strawberries, squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, salad turnips, pork loin, apples, pears, carrots, yogurt, butter…….See what I mean!!


Nutrition News for Seniors
“News You Can Use” is a free nutrition newsletter targeted toward seniors published monthly by ISU Extension and Outreach.  In each issue, you’ll gain reliable, research-based information about nutrition, exercise, and food safety, and explore the power of incorporating healthy practices into daily living.  Click here to view the September issue and to subscribe.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  Did you know you can successfully freeze herbs with great results?  Freezing is an excellent way to preserve tender herbs, such as dill, chives, parsley, and tarragon. It is very easy to freeze herbs, and it takes much less time than drying.  Here’s how.

Weekly Bits – Sept 19

header WUACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Mark your calendars! Wednesday, October 8 is International Walk to School Day 2014! Begin planning your school’s walk/bike event for a chance to win a super cool Saris Hub System from the Iowa Safe Routes to School Program.  Be sure to register your event and receive freebies from Alana at alana@iowabicyclecoalition.org.


Physical Activity Leader (PAL) Workshops are a professional development resource from Let’s Move! to support school administration, staff and parents to champion physical activity efforts in their schools. Upcoming PAL Workshops in Iowa in Ames Oct. 3-4 and Des Moines Training Oct. 22. Substitute teacher pay and mileage reimbursement is available.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  Did you know 1 in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese?  Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is childhood obesity can be prevented. You can help fight childhood obesity with knowledge. Here are some tips.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Congratulations to River Root Farm, Gordon’s Gardens, Rolling Hills Greenhouse, Tir na Og, G It’s Fresh, Kymar Acres and Lopata Gardens on completing the requirements for USDA GAP food safety certification!  Funding for the audit costs was provided by a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Practical Farmers of Iowa is now taking applications for their Savings Incentive Program. This is an excellent opportunity for beginning farmers to get serious about their farm business and receive support and guidance along the way.  Application deadline is October 3.


ARE YOU READY?? The public is invited to visit twelve local food and farm businesses during the 2nd Annual Taste of Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 27. The event is free and for all ages. This year’s tour includes one route in the Waukon and Decorah area and a route between West Union and Nashua.  Host locations include six farms, a winery, two orchards and three retail stores featuring local foods.  Get your map!


Our youth teams are back to school and back into action! In the next couple weeks, about 100 youth will be convening for their annual training for Cross-Age Teaching and FEEST. We are excited for their ideas and the work they plan to do this year!


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Luther College, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps

National Farm to School Month kicks off on October 1!  Do you have the resources you need to host an event, attract media coverage or generate support for your program? The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) has developed resources and activities to promote Farm to School Month in schools and communities.  Check out their new Communications Toolkit.


Community work supported by community
Iowa Food Hub is more than a food distribution program. It also focuses on small and medium-sized farm viability, food access and equality, local economic development, job creation and retention, beginning and established farmers, food system research and education.  Donations to IFH (501c3 charity) can support Farm to School, increase food access for everyone, or assist with their growth and development.
Vineyard Crop Mob, Sept 19-21
Prairie View Vineyard near Decorah, IA is hosting its Annual Fall Harvest, Sept.19-21, 9-6pm each day. Volunteer harvesters are welcome at anytime. Experience a day of healthy activity in the country. Lunch served Sat. & Sun. Snacks, pop, & bottled water each day. Contact Brian @ 563-380-1330 to reserve your spot and for more details. Click here for map and details.


Connecting Food + Farming + Art
There is a new face at Oneota Community Food Co-op in Decorah.  Meet Irene (left). Manager David Lester said the mural is very popular with customers.  “We’ve been thinking about a mural for a couple of years. Customers really want to connect with growers.”  Lester notes that the coop sells Organic Valley 2 percent milk produce by the Palmer family, just south of Waukon, also the home of Irene. “Some of the milk we sell probably comes from Irene,” said Lester.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  It’s time to think about harvesting vegetables as the gardening season winds down. After you have spent hours choosing seed, planting, weeding, and watering your garden it only makes sense to store the vegetables carefully. You have many options for storing vegetables. Canning, freezing and drying are not your only choices.  The ISU Answerline has some suggestions for storing your vegetables.





Weekly Bits – Sept 5

View the post and photos online.


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EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
I frequently hear that eating healthy is more expensive than eating processed or junk food.  Really? I don’t think so and neither do others. A USDA study found that about one third of fresh vegetables including carrots, cabbage and cauliflower are less than 50 cents per one cup serving and even cheaper when in season.  You can cut food cost by taking a few minutes to plan your meals around what is in season.  Learn more.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

SAVE THE DATE!! The public is invited to visit twelve local food and farm businesses during the 2nd Annual Taste of Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 27. The event is free and for all ages. This year’s tour includes one route in the Waukon and Decorah area and a route between West Union and Nashua.  Host locations include six farms, a winery, two orchards and three retail stores featuring local foods.  Get your map!


Help me welcome these new staff members as they join ISU Extension in support of 4-H outreach including the FFI 4-H Youth teams and volunteers!

Kendra Crooks is the new State 4-H Youth Program Specialist in Region 4. Kendra will be housed in the Chickasaw office. Kendra has a long history with the Iowa 4-H program including several years as the Chickasaw County Youth Coordinator.  In her most recent position, Kendra has assisted with school gardens, FoodCorps and wellness outreach in Black Hawk County.


Trevor Rockwell is the new County Youth Coordinator for Winneshiek County.  Trevor has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education and Health from Luther College and the University of Northern Iowa.  Since graduating from Luther, Trevor has spent the last 7 years teaching K-8 Physical Education & Health at schools throughout Iowa, including for the past 5 years at various catholic schools around NE Iowa.


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Safaris continue through Halloween!  Residents, families, groups, youth and visitors of all ages are invited to get outdoors and experience the natural, educational, cultural and historical treasures of Northeast Iowa through county-wide adventure hunts called ‘Safaris’ at absolutely no cost! All of the region’s Safaris run through Halloween, so there is still plenty of time to start your adventure! Simply stop by a local library to pick up your Safari packet.


Check out Decorah High School’s new Flavor Station in their cafeteria.  It is a way for students to be creative and add flavor to their food without adding sodium, sugar or fat.



Incorporating Nature into Learning
Iowa DNR’s Exploring Iowa’s Natural Resources blog has many ideas of fun ways incorporate nature into the classroom. Subscribe today to receive email notification of new blog postings.

New Educational Kitchen
The board and members of the Oneota Community Food Co-op are excited about the next phase of educational opportunities offered by the Co-op. The Co-op is slated to purchase the building directly to the east of the current store.  The new Co-op Kitchen Classroom is three times the size of the previous basement classroom. It will have enough tables and equipment to easily teach a hands-on cooking class to a group of 24 or enough space to hold a lecture for roughly 40.  More.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  What does a daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables look like? Here are 10 photos of fruits and vegetables, each one a complete daily serving. It may not be as much as you think!

Weekly Bits – Aug 29

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The Waukon FFA Chapter (above) had a strong hand in harvesting 4000 ears of delicious sweet corn for the Waukon Corn Days celebration August 15-17.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
Hand washing is a basic, everyday process — but it is also a skill and behavior that must be learned as a young child. Click here for some tips and resources to help you teach this skill to the little ones in your life.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
LimeSprings Beef General Manager Michael Spinks hosted a Q&A and processing facility tour last week for Luther College representatives and community members involved in the local food movement. Via the facility tour, the college sought to determine if LimeSprings Beef would be a good fit for its sustainable purchasing goals. More.


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Spotlight on Northeast Iowa! St. Joseph Community School in New Hampton is featured in this month’s edition of the Iowa Outdoors magazine (link on St. Joe’s FB page) The article highlights the school’s super successful Bike to School Day event held in May. Way to go, St. Joe’s!


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Iowa’s FoodCorps members are trained and heading to a community near you!  There will be three members in NE Iowa: Oelwein, Postville and Waukon.



“Words on Wellness” is a monthly newsletter from ISU Extension that promotes a healthy lifestyle for Iowans. In each issue, you’ll gain reliable, research-based information about nutrition, exercise, and food safety, and explore the power of incorporating healthy practices into daily living.  This is a great resource for worksites to share with employees.  View past issues and subscribe here.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  What are your favorite meals to freeze? A recent post on the Spend Smart Eat Smart blog, has a video with tips on freezing leftovers and healthy recipes that freeze well to make family mealtime a breeze.




Weekly Bits – Aug 22

View Bits online


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
NE Iowa needs your votes!  Several community partners have entered projects in a Wellmark Foundation online voting contest. Vote daily from August 20 – September 7 to help your favorite projects.  We’ve linked to the NE Iowa projects to help your search. You can vote every day!
Kaleidescope Kids Child Care Center Playground, West Union
Help us Build the Freeport Trail, Winneshiek Conservation, Decorah
Kessel Kids Child Care Natural Playground, Cresco
Arlington Community Center Project with wellness room
Elgin Bike Trail Renovation


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
I am excited to announce that NE Iowa Farm to Preschool Program work is feature in the National August Farm to Preschool e-newsletter. This e-newsletter is slated to go out to over 1,300 subscribers nationally. The newsletter features an article ‘Iowa Preschoolers Learn Where Yogurt Comes From’. The newsletter also features the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s new ‘Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package’ that connects young eaters with fruits and veggies.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Value Added Producer Grants Awarded
On August 19, USDA-Rural Development announced recipients of the most recent round of Value Added Producer Grant program funds.  In Northeast Iowa, two applicants were successful; Iowa had six successful recipients. Congratulations!

Produce Auction Expansion
The Cedar Valley Produce Auction at Elma has expanded this summer with a 120 x 254 addition to their facility. Producers sell fresh produce, flowers, vegetables, and some bulk foods at wholesale prices. The new space allows producers to drop off their product (they no longer have to wait in line), keep their product out of the sun, and has shortened the sales from 3-4 hours down to 2-3 hours.


The 5th annual “Cook This! Culinary Challenge” event took place on opening day of the Iowa State Fair. Teams of 4-H members from across the state competed in a tri-event competition where they used their culinary skills to prepare the designated dish, showcased their public speaking ability through a team delivered speech and then quizzed on their knowledge of food and nutrition. The students really embraced this experience and had a fun day competing. Check out the details of the challenges here.  If interested in entering a team of 3 into next year’s competition, contact Laura at lliechty@iastate.edu.


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Jake Gies, AmeriCorps
Like a misfit toy from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, I came in this year as a Food and Fitness volunteer who didn’t garden. I was often brought into conversations that I didn’t understand, especially in early spring.  In January, I met with the North Fayette kindergarteners to learn how to raise seeds. I chose my group well, because about 40 out of the 50 of them hadn’t planted seeds either.  See what we all learned together.


Master Gardener Classes Offered
Master Gardeners are members of the local community with an active interest in growing flowers, vegetables, fruits, shrubs, trees and lawns. Master Gardener trainees attend 40 hours of classes taught by Iowa State University Extension specialists in a variety of topics.  In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer 40 hours of service to their local community (includes school gardens!). Classes will be offered in Fayette and Winneshiek counties this fall, Tuesday evenings, Sept 16 – Nov 4.  Contact your county ISU Extension office for more info.

PFI’s Savings Incentive Program Now Accepting Applications
Practical Farmers of Iowa is accepting applications now through October 3 for its Savings Incentive Program (SIP). Up to 25 beginning farmers will be admitted for this round of the program, which matches up to $100 per month of savings by the beginning farmer for up to two years. In other words, if the farmer saves the full $2,400, PFI will match this amount, allowing the farmer to use $4,800 to purchase a farm asset. Applicants must be farming in Iowa, for five years or fewer, and be members of PFI. Click here to learn more and to apply.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to pick, prepare, and can something and open the canner to find broken jars and wasted food.  Here are the top 12 reasons your canning jar might break.



Weekly Bits – Aug 15

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
FFI recently hosted a Bike Rodeo during the Elma Family Fun Night (above) and reached over 100 kids, parents and grandparents with fun, interactive bike safety education! Regional Boy Scout troops were encouraged to attend to earn requirements for their bike safety badge. Schedule a Bike Rodeo for your organization, school or community by contacting Ashley at achristensen@uerpc.org.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
It’s recommended that we drink at least 60 fluid ounces of water a day. However, studies have shown that some U.S. children will go over a day without consuming a glass of water. Click here for a few great websites and organizations created to educate parents, teachers, day care providers and children on water and to encourage them to drink more water on a daily basis.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
I find myself very busy these days with school food orders. This is the first year, we’ve helped schools source local food from the first day of the school year.  It may not seem like a big deal, but if four weeks means another 8000 lbs of local food – let’s do this!  Here are some other products students can expect to see on lunch trays in August: apples, cantaloupe, baby potatoes, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, ground pork, yogurt and frozen strawberries!  More.


Food & Fitness 4-H Youth Teams reflected upon what they learned as they completed their team projects focused on health and wellness from this past year. Common responses consisted of their improved ability to work with peers and how to interact with young children, new skills in communication and public speaking, and the satisfaction of community outreach with a desire to volunteer more.


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Emily Neal, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps
On July 1, the USDA Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards went into effect for schools across America. The new standards apply to all foods and beverages sold during the school day in schools’ vending machines, stores, snack carts, and a la carte lines, as well as through fundraising.   As kids head back to school, make sure you check out the Swap Your Snack inspiration page from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to learn more about schools leading the way to healthier snacks on the sports field, in the cafeteria, and through healthy fundraisers. Learn more about smart snacking by reviewing their 7 Smart Snack Tips and 10 Smart Ways to Raise Money.


Cooking classes for Tweens are back at the Oneota Co-op this fall. Summer break has been fun, but we’re ready to head back to the kitchen to make dinner with our friends. Class includes cooking and eating dinner!


TIP OF THE WEEK:  What if my jar doesn’t seal? Can I leave out the salt?  Do I have to sterilize my jars?  Test your knowledge. The ISU Answerline recently posted it’s list of Top 10 Canning Questions (and answers).


Weekly Bits – Aug 8

The Postville Food & Fitness 4-H Youth Team is partnering with the YMCA to put on the Postville Park It community event (above) on August 13 in Lull’s Park from 5-7 pm. Come enjoy the fun with a number of activities all revolving around being active! There will be swim fun, a volleyball scrimmage, tug of war, frisbee golf, basketball, bean bag toss and ladder games. The YMCA is providing popcorn as a tasty snack. See you there!


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
August is National Kids Eat Right Month! Eating fresh, healthy, well-balanced meals helps to keep young children strong, focused and happy while their bodies grow and develop. Talk food with your children and help them eat smarter.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage








ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
The new school year has arrived! With schools starting in the next couple of weeks, pedestrian and bike traffic is picking up all over the region (making us jump for joy!!).  Please be mindful of all the little ones out and about before and after school…and don’t be afraid to let them inspire you to get more active, too!


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Emily Neal, Food Corps, AmeriCorps
Pick a Better Snack program administered in 2 week day camp at Postville Elementary. They learned a lot about fruits and vegetables, taste-testing several throughout the past two weeks ending the program last week on a trip to the Clayton County Fair. Check out their adventures.


A new way to provide local food to everyone!
Are you an Amazon shopper? Now, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organizations selected by you!  Allamakee New Beginnings, the fiscal host of the Iowa Food Hub, is registered on AmazonSmile. Just select ANB as your charity — how easy it that!


Seed Savers Pancake Breakfast & Community Field Day
Saturday, August 16, 9am – 1:30pm
Heritage Farm, 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 52101
You’re invited to Heritage Farm for a behind-the-scenes look at our work preserving America’s food and garden heritage. See our seed vault where we store over 25,000 varieties of rare garden seed, view our isolation gardens where we annually regenerate many hundreds of heirloom fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, and stroll through our Seed House where we package and ship millions of seed packets. Arrive at 9 for our pancake breakfast to kick things off!  This event is FREE but registration is required because space is limited. Sign up online or by calling 563-382-5990.


TIP OF THE WEEK:  The vegetable gardens are starting to take off!!  Some of the mid-season garden activities include harvesting and replanting for fall.  Also, here are some tips on freezing all that zucchini!