Regional Youth Gather for FEESTPosted: November 9th, 2012
Over 65 4-H youth wellness champions and their adult coaches from fifteen area school districts recently attended the first of four Food & Fitness Regional Youth Leadership Team Meetings. It was a day jam-packed with activities centered on school food.
Before the day even started, the room was abuzz with networking and idea-sharing among members of different schools over a delicious breakfast of local yogurt parfaits. The morning began with a skit performed by several members of the FFI School Outreach team to weed through the facts and myths surrounding school lunch this year. A discussion on fostering cafeteria advocacy followed.
Participants then rotated through two groups of local food fun! The first activity was a tour of the Rolling Hills Greenhouse, owned by Eric and Fern Unruh a few miles outside of West Union. The Rolling Hills Greenhouse is sea of gorgeous salad greens and herbs. The tour was a great opportunity to connect with local producers and learn more about the ins-and-outs of farming in Northeast Iowa.
While not on tour at the greenhouse, participants used local produce to prepare a FEEST-style lunch for the group. FEEST, Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team, is a Seattle-based program that brings youth together to prepare a delicious, healthy meal while learning about the local food community.
Students worked diligently under the guidance of CiCi Mueller, Postville FEEST coordinator. In only two hours, they had a bounty of roasted veggies, homemade applesauce, sweet potato fries, bruschetta, and much more! Adding this to salad greens donated from Rolling Hills, bread, chicken, and milk made for one delicious, nutritious lunch. The FEEST made an impression on several students, and many coaches commented this was the best youth meeting to date.
The day concluded with a series breakout sessions focused on transferring the knowledge gained at the gathering back to the school communities. Before adjourning, adult coaches were given a packet of information which included a mini-grant application to implement a FEEST or similar program centered on food education in schools.
The Iowa State University Extension 4-H Program thrives on creating opportunities for youth to be productive citizens and successful learners. For more information on joining 4-H, contact your county ISU Extension Office. ISU Extension is a proud partner of the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, www.iowafoodandfitness.org.