Weekly Bits – March 13

In communities across the country, AmeriCorps service members are working hard to make a powerful impact on critical issues facing our nation every day. As a Northeast Iowa resident, take a look around and you’re sure to find AmeriCorps members serving communities. The Food and Fitness Team relies on service members to “do” things in schools and communities, however small or grand, to encourage better choices and encompass our mission that “Together We Grow Healthy Kids”.  THANK YOU!

You know you’re a Food & Fitness AmeriCorps service member when…

  • You act as both a bus driver and the actual vehicle to get students to school.
  • You can make a bike blender smoothie with your eyes closed.
  • Wearing vegetable costumes and special outfits only to encourage taste tests doesn’t phase school staff anymore.
  • Seeds, seeds, SEEDS!
  • Songs and dances from nutrition lessons start to infiltrate your dreams.
  • Your clothes are crusted and/or stained from food prep.

There’s more!  Check out the full list.


FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

The first coordinated study of food hub development in Iowa shows that food hubs play a significant role in the state’s local and regional food economy. Thirteen food hubs purchased $4.5 million in food from more than 450 Iowa farmers and supported 58 jobs. Iowa Food Hub and FFI partners participated in this project.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

When was the last time you ate snow? Jim Greenman stated, “It is a strange time. We live in an age when our children may know far more about bizarre people we care nothing about, or a cartoon world, than the workings of their own backyard – that marvelous ecosystem teeming with life.”


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Students at St. Joseph’s in New Hampton recently learned how to use snowshoes. They quickly put their new skills to use and climbed a snow mountain!



Congratulations to the MFL MarMac middle school and Central high school FFI teams on their recent completion of 4-H FEEST training.  The students on the Decorah and Postville FEEST teams led the orientation. Clayton Ridge students will be trained later this month.

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Food service from Oelwein, Decorah and Postville talked about how they make farm to school work at their schools at the Iowa Farm to School Networking Meeting in Oelwein last week.  Over 60 people from eastern Iowa attended the event hosted by NCAT and FoodCorps.



In an NPR report this week, they discuss why some schools serve local food and others don’t.  A new survey of schools and their local food purchases found during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, 36 percent of U.S. school lunchrooms were feeding kids food from local producers.  That number is closer to 75% in NE Iowa!


April 25-26 will have the nine wineries on The Iowa Wine Trail pairing food with the wines to bring out the best in both. These events are held twice a year the last weekend in April and first weekend in November. You can purchase your ticket at any of the nine wineries or online. Participating wineries are Brick Arch Winery in West Branch, Daly Creek Winery in Anamosa, Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette, Engelbrecht Family Winery in Fredericksburg, Park Farm Winery in Bankston, PromiseLand Winery in Guttenberg, Wide River Winery in Clinton and Winneshiek Wildberry Winery in Decorah.



If you planned to start eating better at the start of 2015 but have gotten a bit off track, National Nutrition Month® is a good time to refocus. National Nutrition Month® is celebrated each March to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2015 is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” Here are 5 tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you do just that.

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