Summer in Winter

The school garden beds in Oelwein are blanketed in snow and ice, and the sub-zero temperatures today seem so distant from the heat and humidity of the Northeast Iowa summer.  I have been filling up on roots: turnips, carrots, and potatoes.  Storage crops grown by local farmers this past season are keeping me nourished and warm during this season of sleep.  I am so lucky to have access to healthy, local food.  I am so privileged to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Continue reading

Our Hands Tell the Story

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At this very moment, my palms are stained the loveliest shade of neon red. Yesterday, they were a deep, cabbage purple. Several seasons of school garden soil are crammed under my never-manicured nails, and it will not budge, no matter how well I scrub. Both of my thumbs sustained painful but non-life threatening injuries this past week. On Monday, I nicked my left thumb while cutting I don’t remember what. This happened right after a knife skills and safety training. As I say to the Kindergarteners, maybe I should have had my listening ears on (during that training). The tip of my right thumb narrowly escaped a trip to the ER yesterday when I carelessly misjudged the food processor I was cleaning after prepping that hand-staining, purple cabbage. My hands tell the story of my FoodCorps service. Continue reading

Together, We Plant Seeds of Change.

The time flew far, far away, and here I am at the beginning of a new ‘back to school’ year serving my second term as a FoodCorps service member with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative at Luther College. I remember last year. I remember when asking for advice on how to approach my service term, a returning service member let me know that I’d pretty much have no idea what I was doing until January. Even with that advice, my unshakable belief in real food and healthy kids lead me to enter Day 1 of my service year feeling like I was going to change the world. Flash forward to Day 30, after my first month of service, and I still had not taught a lesson in a classroom. I was struggling to learn and remember names. My belief in real food for all kids was as strong as ever, but I wondered if I was making any impact. Continue reading