For Iowa’s food hubs, networking leads to solutions

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

Weekly Bits – May 26

Beef…it’s what was for lunch at MFL MarMac Elementary, as staff and students feasted on hamburgers grilled by the Clayton County Beef Producers. The meat was both raised and processed locally, thanks to FFI and the Iowa Food Hub. Afterward, the second graders enjoyed a presentation by the Clayton County Beef Queen, Hayley Kann. She taught them about beef cattle, then gave students cow-shaped cookies. It was a sweet way to end the day and also to celebrate May Beef Month.

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When kids become the teachers

Food is a part of our daily lives.  We eat to live and some of us live to eat!  Food is a cause for celebration and often a part of a celebration.  Kaleidoscope Kids Child Care Center’s preschool programs offered through Hippity Hop Preschool and KKCC 3 Year Old Preschool, in partnership with the Fayette County Food and Fitness Initiative, recently hosted their first food celebration.  In partnership with Fayette County Food and Fitness Initiative and the Northeast Iowa Food Hub students and families were able to enjoy snacks made with  locally grown foods which the preschool students learned about throughout the year. Continue reading

Rainbowland’s Annual Food Celebration

Miss Jesse Waller and the kiddos at Rainbowland worked hard to create a wonderful event for their parents and families.  Miss Jesse’s class spends time learning, experimenting, and trying recipes and activities in conjunction with the Farm to Early Education curriculum.  Farm to Early Education offer guidance and resources for teachers to help their young students learn about locally grown foods.   This year’s food model included foods such a poultry and eggs, cucumbers, asparagus, and potatoes as well as a few other local treasures.  With Miss Jesse’s guidance students reviewed the recipes they tried throughout the year and chose their favorites to prepare and share at their celebration.  Offerings included pumpkin cookies, peanut butter yogurt dip, cucumber water with cucumber slices, pumpkin graham cracker frozen treats, and energy bites made with oats. Continue reading

Featured Donor: Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Foundation

Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness continues to work to increase awareness of local produce and healthy food choices in Fayette County.  In Fayette County, the Food and Fitness Initiative has been working with preschools and daycare centers to utilize the Farm to Early Education Curriculum and its programming resources as a means to increase children’s exposure to foods which are grown in Northeast Iowa.  Many preschools in Fayette County have been using the Farm to Early Education Curriculum with their students, but with the generosity of a grant through the Walker Foundation the Fayette County Food and Fitness Initiative was able to expand their outreach to more preschools and daycare centers in Fayette County beginning in October of 2016. Continue reading