Weekly Bits – April 3

Greenhouse Explorers. Decorah 1st grade students went on an adventure…all the way across the street to the greenhouse at the high school. Students were divided into four groups and got to participate in four stations: filling flats and writing tags, planting/watering seeds, doing taste testing with spinach and lettuce, and looking at compost and worms.


Two more meetings. Will you join us?
The Rural Vitality Community Forums were hosted in West Union and New Hampton this week. With NE Iowa Food and Fitness as a partner, participants heard about school wellness efforts, how the Iowa Food Hub is developing markets for new farmers and businesses, and how the Winneshiek Energy District has its sights on energy independence. There is still a chance to be part of the discussion!  RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/ffi52101.
FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

We met with food service directors from Allamakee, Clayton Ridge, Decorah, Valley, North Fayette, Turkey Valley, S. Winn, Howard-Winneshiek, and Postville this week. After a tour of the Iowa Food Hub, the group talked about the NE Iowa Farm to School Cycle Menu, new tools for tracking local purchases and bidding, and Farm to School ideas for next year.


I also gave a tour of the food hub to the area economic development professionals as part of their monthly NE Iowa Business Network meeting in West Union this week.

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Enjoy young children and looking for a summer job? Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness Early Childhood is looking for a summer assistant.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is again promoting their Annual Punch Card Contest for 2015. The contest is a 10-day walk/bike to school contest taking place April 20-May 1 to build excitement for daily physical activity. Great prizes will be awarded to winners. To learn more, contact Alana with the Iowa Bicycle Coalition (alana@iowabicyclecoalition.org) or visit their website.


Jessica O’Connor says that only about 10 percent of the students entering her horticulture class at Waukon High School have experience growing food or flowers. However, by the time they are done with her class, they not only know how to grow their own food, but they also have “a greater respect for the work it takes to grow the food they eat every day.

SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Schools are buzzing with activity!
–Central students recently voted on which squash recipe was their favorite.
–Turkey Valley and St. Joe’s are experiencing March Madness.
–N. Fayette students are celebrating “White Milk Wednesdays
–A new club is cooking up yummy things in Elkader.


Food and Farming Honors. We would like to congratulate some of our farmer-partners who were recently recognized by their peers. The Tom Weighner family, one of the dairy farms of WW Homestead Dairy received the Distinguished Dairy Farm Family Award at the Allamakee County Dairy Banquet. The Country View Dairy team received the Dairy Best Award for their dairy promotion efforts at the Fayette County Dairy Banquet.


More congratulations are in order for some of our meat locker partners. Several walked away with awards at the annual Iowa Meat Processor Association Cured Meat Competition. NE Iowa was well represented with awards going to Polashek’s Locker in Protivin, County Line Locker in Riceville, Jet’s Meats in Waukon, Edgewood Locker and Elma Locker. Great job!


Local Food Theater. Farmers, friends of farmers, lovers of Iowa, foodies and theatre-goers will not want to miss a show premiering at Luther College on April 11 as part of the Center Stage Series. “All Recipes are Home” is an original play written by Sean Lewis and commissioned by Hancher Theatre at the University of Iowa, Grinnell College and Luther College. Northeast Iowa farms inspired Lewis when he was researching this play.



Asparagus is a spring-time favorite. Learn what it takes to have your very own asparagus patch and enjoy this favorite spring vegetable for years.



NE Iowa Food and Fitness is participating in 2015 Great Give Day. The 24-hour online fundraising day is an opportunity to celebrate and support local nonprofits while helping them to attract new donors and build online fundraising capabilities for long-term success.


To give, visit www.GreatGiveDay.org on Tuesday, May 5 and make a donation of $10 or more anytime between midnight and 11:59 p.m. Gifts at designated time are eligible for matching incentives. All Great Give Day donations must be made online by debit or credit card at www.GreatGiveDay.org.



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