Weekly Bits – Aug 22

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ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen
NE Iowa needs your votes!  Several community partners have entered projects in a Wellmark Foundation online voting contest. Vote daily from August 20 – September 7 to help your favorite projects.  We’ve linked to the NE Iowa projects to help your search. You can vote every day!
Kaleidescope Kids Child Care Center Playground, West Union
Help us Build the Freeport Trail, Winneshiek Conservation, Decorah
Kessel Kids Child Care Natural Playground, Cresco
Arlington Community Center Project with wellness room
Elgin Bike Trail Renovation

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Halesia Johnson
I am excited to announce that NE Iowa Farm to Preschool Program work is feature in the National August Farm to Preschool e-newsletter. This e-newsletter is slated to go out to over 1,300 subscribers nationally. The newsletter features an article ‘Iowa Preschoolers Learn Where Yogurt Comes From’. The newsletter also features the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s new ‘Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package’ that connects young eaters with fruits and veggies.

 

REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

Value Added Producer Grants Awarded
On August 19, USDA-Rural Development announced recipients of the most recent round of Value Added Producer Grant program funds.  In Northeast Iowa, two applicants were successful; Iowa had six successful recipients. Congratulations!

Produce Auction Expansion
The Cedar Valley Produce Auction at Elma has expanded this summer with a 120 x 254 addition to their facility. Producers sell fresh produce, flowers, vegetables, and some bulk foods at wholesale prices. The new space allows producers to drop off their product (they no longer have to wait in line), keep their product out of the sun, and has shortened the sales from 3-4 hours down to 2-3 hours.

 

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT – Laura Liechty
The 5th annual “Cook This! Culinary Challenge” event took place on opening day of the Iowa State Fair. Teams of 4-H members from across the state competed in a tri-event competition where they used their culinary skills to prepare the designated dish, showcased their public speaking ability through a team delivered speech and then quizzed on their knowledge of food and nutrition. The students really embraced this experience and had a fun day competing. Check out the details of the challenges here.  If interested in entering a team of 3 into next year’s competition, contact Laura at lliechty@iastate.edu.

 

SCHOOL WELLNESS – Jake Gies, AmeriCorps
Like a misfit toy from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, I came in this year as a Food and Fitness volunteer who didn’t garden. I was often brought into conversations that I didn’t understand, especially in early spring.  In January, I met with the North Fayette kindergarteners to learn how to raise seeds. I chose my group well, because about 40 out of the 50 of them hadn’t planted seeds either.  See what we all learned together.

 

PARTNER NEWS
Master Gardener Classes Offered
Master Gardeners are members of the local community with an active interest in growing flowers, vegetables, fruits, shrubs, trees and lawns. Master Gardener trainees attend 40 hours of classes taught by Iowa State University Extension specialists in a variety of topics.  In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer 40 hours of service to their local community (includes school gardens!). Classes will be offered in Fayette and Winneshiek counties this fall, Tuesday evenings, Sept 16 – Nov 4.  Contact your county ISU Extension office for more info.

PFI’s Savings Incentive Program Now Accepting Applications
Practical Farmers of Iowa is accepting applications now through October 3 for its Savings Incentive Program (SIP). Up to 25 beginning farmers will be admitted for this round of the program, which matches up to $100 per month of savings by the beginning farmer for up to two years. In other words, if the farmer saves the full $2,400, PFI will match this amount, allowing the farmer to use $4,800 to purchase a farm asset. Applicants must be farming in Iowa, for five years or fewer, and be members of PFI. Click here to learn more and to apply.

 

TIP OF THE WEEK:  There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to pick, prepare, and can something and open the canner to find broken jars and wasted food.  Here are the top 12 reasons your canning jar might break.

 

 

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