Weekly FFI Bits – March 21

The Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition (NIFF) is updating the Local Food Directory for Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties.  The directory includes listings for producers of local foods as well as farmers markets, stores and restaurants featuring local food.  Four membership levels are available including a new level for BFBL Community Supporters.  Join today!


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
Spring Walking School Buses are on the move! West Union started earlier this week…Waterville starts next week…Elgin starts in April…more communities starting later this spring!  Kudos to Decorah, Riceville and Oelwein for walking through the bitter winter!


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
March Is National Nutrition Month! Learning to lead a healthy lifestyle begins during the early years. Some children can be ‘picky eaters’.  I am sharing a post from ‘The Scoop on Food and Nutrition’ by Elisa Zied. She writes “I think toddlerhood is one of the toughest and important times of feeding because it’s when parents get off track. Here are 5 common feeding mistakes followed by easy fixes.” Read More at Parents.com.


REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage
I recently attended a forum hosted by the UNI Local Food program.  One of the featured businesses that day was the new local food processing facility that opened in Marshalltown.  We know that food aggregation and food processing are the keys to launching the regional food system to the next level.  I look forward to purchasing these products as they become more readily available.  Here is the article in the WCF Courier about the presentation.


Once a month, the 8th graders from Decorah Middle School walk over and spend lunch offering taste tests to 3rd and 4th grade students at Carrie Lee Elementary.  These Cafeteria Coaches use several different methods to getting 3rd and 4th graders to try new foods. Some methods include the “I’ll do it if You do it,” the “Way with Words”, and finally the “Dance Reward.”  More.


SCHOOL WELLNESS – Ashely Turk, FoodCorps
I am forever grateful for the support network that has grown during my year of service with FoodCorps. This network continually supports, challenges, and pushes me to live a more grounded, health-centered life.  This support came in handy during a national visit in February, when visiting Iowa FoodCorps service members assisted with my cooking club in Waukon. We made “rainbow vegetable pizza” and “avocado and agave pudding” with fruit for dipping. In the midst of the busy work of the kitchen, over the giggles of students, I could not help but think “there is no where else in the world I would rather be right now.” More.


I spent part of last week in Washington, DC networking with champions of the Good Food movement.  Group members built on the momentum of an earlier gathering by asking the four working groups to report on progress to date, and by continuing the creative thinking and strategy discussions in those areas. I joined the policy discussions where we talked about how policy change is broader than legislative action.  Cooperative buisness models, community currency and a living wage can all be influencers.


ISU Extension and Outreach in Region 4 is accepting applications for a new staff position to support food and fitness activities in northeast Iowa: ISUEO Regional Youth and Nutrition Coordinator.  This position will help the organization connect more deeply to the FFI 4-H youth, volunteers and schools.  Please share this information with potential applicants who may be interested in helping us support and expand our outreach to FFI 4-H youth teams, community FEEST groups, and community nutrition education.





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