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.

 

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!