by Kayla Koether
Food Systems Specialist
More and more, locally grown food graces the grocery lists of Iowans looking to support their local economy and purchase fresh, source-verified products. While local food is becoming accessible in more venues, most consumers don’t realize that many small food businesses are working very hard behind the scenes (and doing so in partnership with non-profits and extension) to bring those products to the marketplace. Their goal: to support more farmers and make local food accessible to a wider range of consumers. Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah announced funding to a new project supporting beginning farmers in the five counties of Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, and Winneshiek. Continue reading
One of the challenges of investing in youth living in a rural area is that youth often move away, commonly called the “Brain Drain.” This drain contributes to an overall decline in population, a decrease in the number of families raising children in rural places (thus contributing to declining school enrollments), and a decrease in the number of new young farmers ready to take over operations from the older generation. It also means that efforts to invest in youth may benefit the cities they move to rather than the small towns they come from.
After some time abroad and working in other community organizations, I’m happy to be back on this blog and supporting the Food and Farm Coalition and the Food and Fitness Initiative. Time has truly flown since I started as Food System Specialist on March 21st! 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. Continue reading
Kayla Koether has joined ISU Extension and Outreach as a Food Systems Specialist for six northeast counties. She will connect to beginning farmers and those interested in expanding production to meet the demand for locally-grown foods. Continue reading
When I first heard the term “Wellness Fair,” it seemed like those two words didn’t fit together. What did balloons, excitement, and junk-food have to do with Wellness? Before I started my term as an AmeriCorps volunteer, “Wellness” always reminded me of charts, science textbooks, exam rooms, and plastic skeletons. “Fair” makes me think of rides, food on a stick, and my days as a 4-Her including the grueling, impassioned hours I spent on fair projects and the fun I had working alongside friends to learn new skills. Continue reading