Youth are Ready for Action

These last couple weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet some of our youth teams and their coaches at our Cross Age Teaching and FEEST trainings. The students have put in the time and dedication to learn about these programs and are ready to implement them in their schools.


Cross-Age Teaching – Farm to School

Our high school teams implement lessons to 2nd/3rd grade students monthly. Each lesson is about a local food, teaching the youth about how its grown by local farmers, facts about the food item, its nutritious benefit and then provide a tasting sample.

The students started the day getting to know with a few interactive activities. They shared what they identify as ‘good qualities’ teachers should possess in order to be effective educators — then these traits they expected from their own teachers were transferred onto them and that they should try to uphold their expectations when they visit the elementary classrooms and are the teachers.

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The students were first challenged to think like a 2nd grader. They identified what these young students “Look, Act, Feel, & Think” like. They placed these adjectives onto their “model 2nd grader” and then reported back to the group on what they came up with categorizing these traits.

After discussion on the purpose of Cross-Age Teaching and Farm to School, the team teaching groups had the chance to put their skills into action by presenting their lessons to the rest of the group. The teams presented on melons, dry beans, milk, beef, and wheat/honey; five of the nine “Super Foods” this year. The teams did great and are ready to visit the 2nd grade classrooms beginning this month!


FEEST – Food Empowerment Education & Sustainability Team

When someone asks what FEEST is, I often have trouble finding the “right” words to describe it in its entirety in a way for others to comprehend its magnitude. Maybe that’s because I am still learning that part myself? FEEST is not just a gathering of students passionate about food using their creativity to make unique dishes with the foods they are presented with. Not to say that is not amazing in itself, but it is more than that. Food is just one of the words that encompasses F-E-E-S-T, but how do the others fit in to this equation?

FEEST is a youth led program that provides a platform for learning about food, engaged in issues of food security, advocating for healthier initiatives and influencing community development. The pioneer program is based in Seattle, but their leaders made the trip to NE Iowa last year to train our teams on the methods of implementing the program here in Iowa. The student and community leaders involved in our local FEEST programs gathered for a training last week to learn more about how FEEST is structured and were introduced the idea of being advocates in the movement of local foods and healthy living in their communities.

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Our youth participated in a team building activity where they had to “cross the river” without touching it. With team members who could not see or speak led to a few barriers the teams had to strategically overcome. It was a fun way to apply their same strategies they used to get across the river and relate those strategies to the steps they need to take in working together to make a difference in their communities with the advocacy piece of their FEEST work.

We ended the training with what we do best… making delicious food! IMG_0410    IMG_0412    IMG_0415

The schools participating in FEEST include: Decorah, Postville, and North Fayette Valley, with the hopes MFL MarMac and possibly other schools in the region may participate as well. 🙂 Their first FEEST even is planned for October as a collaboration of the three teams.

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