Weekly Bits – May 1

Planting a School Orchard. Central schools in Elkader recently received a Trees For Kids Grant through the Iowa DNR. This grant allowed the students to plant a mini orchard on their playground. On Earth Day, they planted apples, plums, cherry, pear, magnolia and a maple tree.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Decorah’s West Side Transitional Kindergarten class had a ‘Shake It Off’ dance party while shaking the ingredients to make honey butter.


FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

I was excited to have breakfast with Bob Gorman, USDA Regional Farm to School rep at Postville on Thursday. Locally-sourced eggs, yogurt, strawberries and school-made granola were on the menu. Later, I took Bob to the Iowa Food Hub and Country View Dairy where we had great conversations with community partners on using local foods in schools and how we are using USDA funds to make more products like frozen and cubed vegetables available. Now, Bob knows how much we love Farm to School. Come back soon!


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Students at St. Joseph Community School participated in an all-school activity called “Tarp War.” It involved relay races where students worked as a team to pull their teammate on the tarp the quickest. Each grade level went against each other and there were four teams for each race and they did three races. This was a great team building activity and a great workout, especially for the kids who had to pull their teammates.


The inaugural “Tough Color 5K” Fun  Run is scheduled for 9 am, Saturday, May 2 at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds in Waukon.  The color fun run is an Allamakee County 4-H County Council leadership project created by Waukon High School junior Emily Hammel, with the proceeds from the event benefiting the Waukon High School Cross Country Team, the local Food and Fitness Initiative and other local organizations.  Pre-registration is required and can be done by emailing toughcolorwaukon@hotmail.com.  Fee is $30 for ages 14 and older and $20 for ages 4-13 and includes a t-shirt.



SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

Congratulations to the Cora B. Darling Elementary School in Postville AND John Cline Elementary in Decorah on being awarded the Bronze HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchroom Award!  This is a very prestigious award of nutrition and physical activity excellence. The school, staff, students, and community are to be commended on the great work they have done to achieve this award.  These schools join 76 other Iowa schools to accomplish this goal.  Their school will appear on the USDA website.



Iowa State University Extension and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is sponsoring a Farmers Market Food Safety online training course. If you’re an Iowa Farmers Market Manager or vendor, register now.

Congratulations to Michael Tupper! Michael, an ISU freshman from New Hampton, is the new Iowa FFA President. While in high school, Michael was also active in 4-H and Food & Fitness, and his mother, Joanne, is on the FFI Regional Council “I’m beyond excited,” Tupper said. “It has always been a dream of mine to serve FFA in this capacity.”



It’s no surprise that healthy eating includes fruits and vegetables. In fact, MyPlate recommendations say we should make half of our plate fruits and veggies at each meal. For adults, that is about 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. For children, 1 ½ cup of fruit and 1 ½ cup of veggies will meet their daily needs. As you plan your week’s meals, this can seem overwhelming particularly if you have a picky eater at your house. Here are some tips to make fruits and veggies a fun part of every meal.



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