Weekly Bits – July 2

Students at the Postville Summer Wellness Camp show off the homemade trail mix with dehydrated apples they made the previous day. After snack they played a rousing game of Garden Freeze Tag and explored the Postville School Garden.

 
FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Summaries of 11 recently completed research projects are available from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. One project was completed by the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI) and ISU Extension and Outreach in partnership with local schools. It investigated the effectiveness of a cycle menu featuring Iowa-grown foods to increase local food purchases by schools. By the end of the project, local food purchases by four school districts increased 158 percent in two years.

 
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

July is upon us! See what Brynne has been up to: School Gardens, Kindernature, Tot’s Program and Fun Food Fact of the Week.

Two-year-old Andi’s latest adventures include kayaking and park hopping and strawberry picking!

 
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

The MFL MarMac School Board agreed at its monthly meeting on June 8 to contribute $20,000 of local option sales tax funds toward phase I of McGregor’s Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages project through a 28E agreement, which would allow the school to use the park for activities and practices.

 
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Getting to help with “Cook This” at the Summer Kids Club in Ossian this month was a lot of fun! We had 30+ kids learning about the MyPlate, playing games to match the foods to their proper groups, making tasty snacks like English Muffin Mini Pizzas and Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Kabobs, and lots of physical activity!

 
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Students in the Waukon summer program have found a creative outlet in their school garden. They painted raised beds with designs drawn by students. They turned pallets into bright signs for the garden. They put a walkway in the courtyard, and students were pleased to shovel rocks into wheelbarrows and dump them into the pathway. Check out the photos.

 
PARTNER NEWS

Support Oelwein’s school gardens with a simple click! Vote once a day, every day until July 6, and you could help the school district secure $15,000 in funding from Nature’s Path Gardens for Good program. We really appreciate the support!

The Summer Iowa Games offer sports for individuals and teams of all ages and abilities. Registration is still open for many many of the sports at the 2015 Summer Iowa Games powered by the Iowa Food & Family Project. The main weekends of the Games are July 11-12, July 16-19 and July 24-26 with other competitions being held from May-August. Be a part of the Iowa’s premier sports festival with 60 sports and 13,000 athletes. Find your sport today at www.iowagames.org.

Thanks to a new law, kids will have another winter activity option again. Starting July 1, Iowa cities will have liability protection against sledding accidents on municipal property. Earlier this year Gov. Branstad signed House file 570, which protects municipalities from claims of negligent design or construction of a public facility for recreational activities, such as sledding. Cities across the state closed down public sledding areas last winter after concerns of liability were raised.

 
TIP OF THE WEEK:

This week’s tip comes from FFI Intern Brynne. She has suggestions for colorful and healthy snacks for the July 4th weekend.

 

Weekly Bits – June 26

VISIONARY LEADERSHIP
FFI’s program director, Ann Mansfield, received the Visionary Leadership Award at the Healthiest State Initiative’s “Taking Back Our Health” conference on June 18. The Healthy Iowa Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have developed and implemented policies and practices resulting in sustainable environmental change and healthier living for Iowans. Congrats, Ann!

 
FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative partners believe that all people should have access to good food – even those with limited ability to pay for that food.  In a previous post, I wrote about equity on the food production side. In this post, I would like to highlight a few programs where FFI is working on the food access side — namely a farmers market coupon program, SNAP benefit processing, and a charitable sponsor to make community investment possible.

 
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Rain, Rain, won’t go away? Try an indoor obstacle course! Andi’s Adventure this week was running, jumping, and crawling through the living room! The obstacle course was intense – it included stepping or jumping over foam noodles, log rolls (or forward rolls) on a tumbling mat, shooting a basket, a bean bag dive, crawling under a blanket tunnel, hopscotch, and a daring walk across the balance beam (masking tape on the floor). It was a BLAST! Get up, get moving, and get your 60 minutes of physical activity today – rain or shine.

 
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Bike Rodeo season has finished up for the spring in Northeast Iowa. 12 Bike Rodeo events have been hosted throughout the region, reaching well over 1000 students with bike and pedestrian safety education that could one day save their life. A BIG THANK YOU to all the schools and volunteers who helped make these important events possible!

 
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

There have been some exciting conversations recently about the development of new middle school FFI 4-H Teams at Howard-Winneshiek and Nashua schools for next fall. I find that middle school students are very excited and engaged about this work, and school-based FFI Teams give them an outlet for their creative energy. They are not afraid to share their ideas and try new things, and it gives them a way to make a positive impact in their community.

 
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Ever wonder what the service members do in the summer? In this post, Megan shares some of her duties. “Summer is great time to recharge our batteries, do some programming, collaborate with our fellow service members, and of course, take care of our gardens!” she writes.

 
PARTNER NEWS

Support Oelwein’s school gardens with a simple click! Vote once a day, every day until July 6, and you could help the school district secure $15,000 in funding from Nature’s Path Gardens for Good program. We really appreciate the support!

 
TIP OF THE WEEK:

It’s officially pool weather in Iowa! Check out the blog this week for ideas on quick, healthy snacks to enjoy poolside!

 

Weekly Bits – June 19

ADVENTURES WITH ANDI
Tag along with 2-year-old Andi and her mom as they find food and fitness adventures in northeast Iowa this summer. This new blog series is penned by FFI Early Childhood Intern Shanna Putnam-Dibble. This week’s adventure took them to area farmers markets.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Kids Marathon coming to Northeast Iowa July 1-31, 2015!
Think you have what it takes to finish a marathon, all 26 miles? Now’s your chance to take a whole month to see if you can do it! To complete a marathon in one month, that means walking, running or biking 1 mile or playing outside for 30 minutes almost every day. You can do that! To join in, visit www.winneshiekwild.com for more information and to download a Mileage Log. GREAT prizes!!!

 
FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

It is often assumed that starting a food hub is a capital intensive process requiring large investments in infrastructure, transportation, logistics and personnel at the outset. A new publication produced by the Leopold Center, ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Food Hub, describes how emerging food hubs can grow successfully under money constraints if cash flow is managed strategically.
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Take a moment and think about your family’s screen overload. Does your child have access to cell phones, computers, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, televisions, DVRs, or other digital devices in your household? If so, your child might be suffering from “digitalitis” or too much screen time. Too much screen time is linked to several issues in young children like behavioral concerns, weight gain, sleep problems, inappropriate exposure to risky content and inhibiting communication skill development. Click here to see what you can do.

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

The dance marathon put on by the MFL MarMac McGregor Center Stu Crew (student council) to raise funds for the Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages project brought in $3,000. The student organizers recently presented the funds, which will go toward the purchase of a swing set, to members of the Turner Park committee in McGregor.
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Wings Park Elementary School in Oelwein (Silver) and St. Joseph Catholic School in New Hampton (Bronze) have been awarded the HealthierUS School Challenge Awards by USDA. Congratulations on receiving this prestigious award of nutrition and physical activity excellence! The honor roll continues to grow!

Oelwein, Elementary, Sliver, 2015
St. Joseph Catholic School, Bronze, 2015
Decorah, Elementary, Bronze, 2015
Postville, Elementary, Bronze, 2015
Howard-Winneshiek CSD, Gold, 2013
Central CSD, Bronze, 2012
PARTNER NEWS

NEW SHRIMP FARMS BEGIN SALES
Northeast Iowa is now lucky to have not one shrimp farm in the region, but TWO! Sherlock Shrimp in Ridgeway opened the doors of its retail store this week in the old elementary school. Shrimptastic near Fayette expects to begin sales at their farm store in July. Yum!

 

CRAWFORD COUNTY FARM CRAWL THIS WEEKEND
This 2nd Annual Farm Crawl is a great opportunity to explore some great farms and local businesses in Crawford County, Wisconsin, from Locally Grown Food to Locally Grown Flowers to Local Art! The meandering drive through the ridges and valleys of Driftless Crawford County is sure to be beautiful!

 
TIP OF THE WEEK:

The weather is heating up and our humid Iowa summer is just around the corner. It’s easy to turn to sugary drink mixes, sports drinks and juice boxes in the summer because they’re convenient and tasty. The problem with these is that they can be really expensive and also high in sugar. Ads would have us think that whenever we sweat we need to have a sports drink to recover. Thirst is a sign that your body needs to be hydrated, but water will do the trick unless you are doing a super intense workout! More on hydration for ordinary folks.

 

 

Weekly Bits – June 12

FARMING.  UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Join the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation for the 6th Annual Breakfast on the Farm, Saturday, June 20, 2014 from 8:30 am-noon at Iowa’s Dairy Center, Calmar, Iowa.  Eat a yummy breakfast and tour 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 the newly completed robotic milking units in action.

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

In our partnership with the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, we are regularly in national conversations about food system issues. One of the issues that frequently emerges is equity in the food system. What does food system equity look like in NE Iowa?
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

In a Runner’s World article on how to get kids running, Jenny Hadfield writes, “Setting up our kids to learn to love a lifetime sport like running will change their lives. It just takes a little time to teach the core reasons for why running and walking are such vital activities.” Hadfield suggested tips for encouraging kids to walk and run such as creating a fun goal and training together. Click here for more tips– and a list of upcoming Runs/Walks in Northeast Iowa.
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

With the wrap-up of the school year comes the wrap-up of our Walking School Buses. We’ve had another successful WSB season in Northeast Iowa! Read more.
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Emily Hammel, Waukon junior and 4-H member, recently coordinated a 5K Color Run for her community. The funds raised from the event went to support the high school FFI team, the cross country team and the Allamakee Farmers Market Coupon program so food pantry clients can get fresh fruits and vegetables. Thank you, Emily for your leadership!

PARTNER NEWS

FREEDOM FROM FUEL TOUR COMING TO DECORAH
Bike-touring folk musician, Paul Doffing, will be offering a concert at the ArtHaus in Decorah on June 26. Doffing will perform songs from his new album, Songs from the (quaking) Heart. This concert as well as others Paul is performing throughout Iowa this summer are supported by grants from the Iowa Arts Council, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

MASTER GARDENER TRAINING IN WAUKON THIS FALL
The Iowa Master Gardener training course will be offered in Waukon this fall, Sept-November. The 11-session training course includes lectures on gardening subjects, from growing vegetables and fruits to designing gardens with sustainable turfgrass.  After completing the course, Master Gardener trainees start their work as volunteers within the community. Upon completion of the 40 hours of volunteer service, the master gardener title becomes official and they join thousands of other Iowa volunteers. Prior experience or education is not required to become a master gardener. Click here for more info.

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Sarah Taylor Watts from Iowa Department of Public Health believes it is important that her family eat well and is active. As a working mom of two daughters she is always looking for more energy!  The cheapest and easiest way for her to be active is to add physical activity into her day. But being a mom with limited time requires creativity. Read about her favorite ways to get active.

 

Weekly Bits – June 5

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Thanks to generous donations by the Winneshiek County Community Foundation and the Iowa Cancer Consortium, NE Iowa Food and Fitness has been able to give away nearly 350 bike helmets to kids without one this spring! Want to know if your bike helmet fits properly? Click here!

Should toddlers and preschoolers wear helmets? YES. Here is why.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

FFI Early Childhood welcomes some new team members this summer. Shanna Putnam-Dibble will be creating resources for Farm to Preschool Programs and sharing early childhood stories and information through the FFI blog. She is excited for the opportunity to work with Food and Fitness because she is passionate about early childhood education and helping young children develop healthy lifestyles. Meet Shanna.

Brynne Stellner is the FFI Early Childhood Intern. A student at Luther College, Brynne is looking forward to assisting with center gardens and teaching kids how to be healthy. Meet Brynne.

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
The Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition announces the 2015 Local Food Directory is now available.  The directory has been connecting consumers with direct marketing farmers for nine years.  This year’s directories were printed in partnership with Inspire(d) magazine, a local publication based out of Decorah. Inspire(d) covers positive news in the Driftless Region (Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Western Wisconsin) and can be picked up for free at more than 100 locations across the region. Directories are also available at www.iowafreshfood.com.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Due to an increased interest in home food preservation, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has developed the “Preserve the Taste of Summer” program. This program includes both online lessons and a hands-on workshop focusing on home food preservation with the most current USDA-approved food preservation recommendations.

 
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Just because summer break has started doesn’t mean a break from the school garden. Some Oelwein 2nd graders recently enjoying some time in the garden. While they were busy planting, other volunteers were making some more raised garden beds to use. More on Facebook.

 
PARTNER NEWS

Ashlee Scherf and Jared Opperman have joined FFI as Pick a Better Snack interns (PABS) this summer. An NICC student, Ashlee will be working at Postville Head Start and assisting them with garden and nutrition education. Jared is an Oelwein FFA student and will be helping with garden and nutrition education as part of the Oelwein summer program.

PABS encourages fruit and vegetable choices for snacks. Funded by USDA SNAP-Ed dollars, PABS is coordinated by ISU Extension and NE Iowa FFI in Postville and Oelwein.

 
TIP OF THE WEEK:

Home canning can be a fun and rewarding way to preserve the produce you are growing in your garden.  The only way to safely preserve food is to process it in either a boiling water bath or pressure canner. Here are some tips to help with your canner choices.

 

Weekly Bits – May 29

Live Healthy Iowa recently announced its 2015 Cup Challenge winners, and for the fourth consecutive year, Allamakee County was crowned the winner of the Community Cup Challenge and remained the only community entity to win the Cup Challenge since its inception four years ago.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Ever think about having an affair? I mean a family affair with cooking and gardening.  It can be a wonderful and memorable affair.

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

“What types of farms does the Iowa Food Hub work with?” That simple question has a very complex answer because different attributes regarding location, production practices and social/community impact are all factors. The IFH board recently formalized their vendor policy to provide guidance and clarity. Learn more.

 

There is a tradition at some of rural Iowa schools where the FFA members drive their tractors to school to celebrate the end of another year. It is impressive to see these young people drive the machinery down Main Street — a show of responsibility, a demonstration of the strong “agri”-culture, and a optimistic glimpse of the future. This video from Michigan explains it well.
Below: Decorah FFA students on Drive Your Tractor to School Day, 2015.
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

The winners of the 2015 Bike Rack Challenge have been announced. High schools were challenged to create a rack for their community using recycled materials. Congratulations!
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

“Cook This!” is part of 4-H healthy living education from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. NE Iowa hosted their own challenge in Decorah in April. At the state level, Cook This will be part of a camping experience at the Iowa 4-H Center. Program coordinators have released a new video to showcase all the fun!

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

The end of the school comes with mixed feelings. Excitement for a summer full of activities, and sadness for the end of a chapter.

At some schools, the last days are filled with track meets (like N. Fayette), garden planting (like Turkey Valley and Decorah) and school-wide activity days (like Turkey Valley).

Megan recently blogged about the 10 things she is going to miss about her service site, Decorah schools.

And, Paige reminds us to reach for water first. Students at North Fayette Valley recently sampled “fancy” (infused) water.

Help Wanted. Luther College is currently accepting applications for AmeriCorps service members for the 2015/16 school year. Where will your year of service be?

 

PARTNER NEWS

DRIFTLESS WISCONSIN FARM CRAWL
Sunday, June 21, 1-5pm
Take a drive through the beautiful Driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin where you will visit featured locations, meet local producers and learn what our unique region has to offer. Driftless Wisconsin Grown’s Second Annual Farm Crawl is a free event open to anyone wishing to participate. Meant to be done at your own pace, you can choose where to go and how much time to spend at each stop. Enjoy the scenery while you get to know local farms and the local farmers who grow your food!

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

The outdoor grill is a great tool for eating healthy and if you plan well, you can also save time and money. Here are a couple of tips for using your grill the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. way!

 

Quarterly News – Summer Edition

We love email, but sometimes the news deserves to be printed to be fully appreciated. Once a quarter, we select our best stories to be published as a newsletter that can be printed, shared and enjoyed.

Your copy of the SUMMER edition of the Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness newsletter is waiting for you.  Click here to read or print your copy.

 

In This Edition:

  • Read about efforts to create a “try-it” culture for kids
  • Check out some young super heroes as they learn about the power of fruit
  • Read how some schools grilled local burgers for May is Beef Month
  • Learn how much FFI was given on Great Give Day
  • Bike rodeos may look like a ton of fun, but they deliver a very important message
  • Read about all the great activities youth led in their schools this year.

 

Subscribe to the Weekly Bits.

Weekly Bits – May 15

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

“If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?“ The peppers were at northeast Iowa preschools. Peppers were the Farm to Preschool featured food last month (above).

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
Eating more fruits and veggies is a piece of cake with a few tips and tricks. The Spend Smart Eat Smart blog from ISU Extension has new tip sheets to help you store, clean and prepare your favorite fruits and vegetables. How much produce can you buy for $8.00 or $10.00? Click here for bundle ideas. Remember, fruit and vegetable prices vary with the season. Buy produce when it is in season for the best flavor and lowest price.

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Safari Season is just about to begin in Northeast Iowa! Starting Memorial Day weekend, families and individuals will be able to participate in these fun county-wide adventure hunts of natural, historical, cultural and educational treasures!
Driftless Safari (Winneshiek)
Turkey River Safari (Clayton and Fayette)
Allamakee Driftless Safari
SAFARI into the Land of the Headwaters (Howard)

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

As her year as a FFI FEEST intern comes to a close, Sierra Gonzalez was quick to encourage others to become active in FEEST. She said, “I was asked to join by Molly (Brackett) and I have learned so much about cooking techniques and unique foods. It has really boosted my self esteem, too. I recommend the program for these reasons and many others.” As an intern, Sierra was responsible for recruiting particicpants and organizing the events. Each meal included a main dish, vegetable and a fruit. Along with learning creative cooking, knife skills and sanitation are also a big part of the program.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

The School Wellness Action Plan is a tool, to help your district determine the short-term goals for the upcoming year in order to achieve your long-term vision of school wellness. If you don’t have a long term vision, START here….What does a “healthy school” look like? Have access to? Feel like? How do you market it to parents/community? How does it impact students? staff? families? the greater community?

 

Whether you are hiring a full time wellness coordinator, part-time coordinator, or utilizing a AmeriCorps/FoodCorps member, the action plan is the direction, plan of work, and achievable benchmarks for the 2015/16 school year. It helps determine school priorities. The more you make your goals measurable, concrete and realistic, the more success you will see within your school. Contact your Resource Contact or FFI staff member for assistance and ideas.

 

Help Wanted. Luther College is currently accepting applications for AmeriCorps service members for the 2015/16 school year. Where will your year of service be?

 

PARTNER NEWS

CONGRATULATIONS
Ann Mansfield, project coordinator for NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative, has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship from America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities. The Fellowship will enable Ann and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable.

Oelwein elementary guidance counselor Barb Schmitz received the Champions Award at the recent Iowa After-School Conference. This award recognizes individuals who have been advocates for out-of-school time. The award winners were chosen through a nomination process that was available statewide and open to everyone. Nominations were then reviewed by advocates and stakeholders. Schmitz is a member of the FFI Leadership Council.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

You don’t have to hit the gym to get physical exercise! Guess how many calories gardening burns? Check out the answer in this eXtension.org article.

Weekly Bits – May 8

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

May is [Local] Beef Month. The smell of grilled burgers infiltrated the halls of Waukon Jr. and Sr. High on Thursday as the Allamakee Cattlemen were outside the front door grilling burgers for lunch. The beef was from a cow born and raised in Allamakee County, and processed at a locker three blocks away. The processing was covered by grant funds awarded to the Iowa Food Hub from USDA Farm to School and Allamakee County Community Foundation. Local burgers are on the menu at Postville and Decorah next week!

 

Food hubs are getting press. Since institutions don’t have time to buy food from a dozen or more separate farms with different invoice systems and delivery dates, food hubs simplify matters by becoming a single, go-to source. Here’s a great example out of Minnesota. Elsewhere, managers from two food hubs were featured Iowa Public Radio this week. The discussion focused on how demand for local food currently exceeds supply and the role that food hubs can serve.
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

One of March’s nutritional activities in Early Head Start was parents making banana, honey and wheat muffins with their children. During the home visit, the children learned that taking turns while pouring/mixing all the ingredients can be fun. One family had an infant less than 12 months of age. When the home visitor told the parents that they would have to leave out the honey because of the infant’s age, the mother wanted to know why.
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Palmer Lutheran Health Services was recently recognized at the state level for their Safe Routes to School efforts in Fayette County.
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

Ashley Turk thinks it’s amazing to watch students’ curiosity grow. She has seen reluctant students turn into adventurous tasters. She has witnessed older students take ownership and help plan future recipes. Most importantly, she has been humbled by the power of food to bring students together. As soon as she walks in the door, she is greeted by a chorus of questions. “ASHLEY!” “WHAT ARE WE MAKING TODAY?” “My friend wants to do cooking club, can he join?” “Hey, when are we making my recipe?”
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

School wellness teams are crafting their Action Plans for the 2015/16 school year. It is important to remember that this is not the final year of the AmeriCorps/FoodCorps program. FFI will continue to apply for these grants as long as schools remain interested and supportive of members. We have been preparing for the end of W. K. Kellogg funding for several years, and as such, we have been asking communities and schools to start sharing the financial commitments of members. The core partners involved in FFI will continue within the mission of their organizations to support the training and supervision of members and assume the cost of doing this work.

Help Wanted. Luther College is currently accepting applications for AmeriCorps service members for the 2015/16 school year. Where will your year of service be?
PARTNER NEWS

The Huffington Post recently asked, “Where are all the school gardens?” The case for garden-based learning in schools seems simple, even obvious, at first: What harm could there be in encouraging young children to connect with nature and learn more about the ecology around them, including where the food they eat comes from? But given the ever-growing demands on teachers’ time and the poor financial health many of the nation’s school districts are in, the obstacles facing the school garden movement in the U.S. are clear.

In NE Iowa, we are very thankful for the support for the 23 school gardens across the region. Our partners have proven that these obstacles can be overcome!
TIP OF THE WEEK:

Once the weather gets warmer we use our grill about every day.  Cleaning it before you start to heavily use it is always a good idea.  Here are some cleaning tips that will keep your grill working well for years to come.

 

Weekly Bits – May 1

Planting a School Orchard. Central schools in Elkader recently received a Trees For Kids Grant through the Iowa DNR. This grant allowed the students to plant a mini orchard on their playground. On Earth Day, they planted apples, plums, cherry, pear, magnolia and a maple tree.

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Decorah’s West Side Transitional Kindergarten class had a ‘Shake It Off’ dance party while shaking the ingredients to make honey butter.

 

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

I was excited to have breakfast with Bob Gorman, USDA Regional Farm to School rep at Postville on Thursday. Locally-sourced eggs, yogurt, strawberries and school-made granola were on the menu. Later, I took Bob to the Iowa Food Hub and Country View Dairy where we had great conversations with community partners on using local foods in schools and how we are using USDA funds to make more products like frozen and cubed vegetables available. Now, Bob knows how much we love Farm to School. Come back soon!

 

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Students at St. Joseph Community School participated in an all-school activity called “Tarp War.” It involved relay races where students worked as a team to pull their teammate on the tarp the quickest. Each grade level went against each other and there were four teams for each race and they did three races. This was a great team building activity and a great workout, especially for the kids who had to pull their teammates.
 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty

The inaugural “Tough Color 5K” Fun  Run is scheduled for 9 am, Saturday, May 2 at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds in Waukon.  The color fun run is an Allamakee County 4-H County Council leadership project created by Waukon High School junior Emily Hammel, with the proceeds from the event benefiting the Waukon High School Cross Country Team, the local Food and Fitness Initiative and other local organizations.  Pre-registration is required and can be done by emailing toughcolorwaukon@hotmail.com.  Fee is $30 for ages 14 and older and $20 for ages 4-13 and includes a t-shirt.

 

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Congratulations to the Cora B. Darling Elementary School in Postville AND John Cline Elementary in Decorah on being awarded the Bronze HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchroom Award!  This is a very prestigious award of nutrition and physical activity excellence. The school, staff, students, and community are to be commended on the great work they have done to achieve this award.  These schools join 76 other Iowa schools to accomplish this goal.  Their school will appear on the USDA website.

 

PARTNER NEWS

Iowa State University Extension and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is sponsoring a Farmers Market Food Safety online training course. If you’re an Iowa Farmers Market Manager or vendor, register now.

Congratulations to Michael Tupper! Michael, an ISU freshman from New Hampton, is the new Iowa FFA President. While in high school, Michael was also active in 4-H and Food & Fitness, and his mother, Joanne, is on the FFI Regional Council “I’m beyond excited,” Tupper said. “It has always been a dream of mine to serve FFA in this capacity.”

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:

It’s no surprise that healthy eating includes fruits and vegetables. In fact, MyPlate recommendations say we should make half of our plate fruits and veggies at each meal. For adults, that is about 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. For children, 1 ½ cup of fruit and 1 ½ cup of veggies will meet their daily needs. As you plan your week’s meals, this can seem overwhelming particularly if you have a picky eater at your house. Here are some tips to make fruits and veggies a fun part of every meal.