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.

 

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.

 

FOOD OF THE MONTH:  MELONS!  
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.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
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!!

 

PARTNER NEWS
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!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
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.

 

PARTNER NEWS
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!

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
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.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS
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.

 

 

PARTNER NEWS
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!