Weekly Bits – May 8

FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage

May is [Local] Beef Month. The smell of grilled burgers infiltrated the halls of Waukon Jr. and Sr. High on Thursday as the Allamakee Cattlemen were outside the front door grilling burgers for lunch. The beef was from a cow born and raised in Allamakee County, and processed at a locker three blocks away. The processing was covered by grant funds awarded to the Iowa Food Hub from USDA Farm to School and Allamakee County Community Foundation. Local burgers are on the menu at Postville and Decorah next week!


Food hubs are getting press. Since institutions don’t have time to buy food from a dozen or more separate farms with different invoice systems and delivery dates, food hubs simplify matters by becoming a single, go-to source. Here’s a great example out of Minnesota. Elsewhere, managers from two food hubs were featured Iowa Public Radio this week. The discussion focused on how demand for local food currently exceeds supply and the role that food hubs can serve.
EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

One of March’s nutritional activities in Early Head Start was parents making banana, honey and wheat muffins with their children. During the home visit, the children learned that taking turns while pouring/mixing all the ingredients can be fun. One family had an infant less than 12 months of age. When the home visitor told the parents that they would have to leave out the honey because of the infant’s age, the mother wanted to know why.
ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Palmer Lutheran Health Services was recently recognized at the state level for their Safe Routes to School efforts in Fayette County.

Ashley Turk thinks it’s amazing to watch students’ curiosity grow. She has seen reluctant students turn into adventurous tasters. She has witnessed older students take ownership and help plan future recipes. Most importantly, she has been humbled by the power of food to bring students together. As soon as she walks in the door, she is greeted by a chorus of questions. “ASHLEY!” “WHAT ARE WE MAKING TODAY?” “My friend wants to do cooking club, can he join?” “Hey, when are we making my recipe?”
SCHOOL WELLNESS – FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service members

School wellness teams are crafting their Action Plans for the 2015/16 school year. It is important to remember that this is not the final year of the AmeriCorps/FoodCorps program. FFI will continue to apply for these grants as long as schools remain interested and supportive of members. We have been preparing for the end of W. K. Kellogg funding for several years, and as such, we have been asking communities and schools to start sharing the financial commitments of members. The core partners involved in FFI will continue within the mission of their organizations to support the training and supervision of members and assume the cost of doing this work.

Help Wanted. Luther College is currently accepting applications for AmeriCorps service members for the 2015/16 school year. Where will your year of service be?

The Huffington Post recently asked, “Where are all the school gardens?” The case for garden-based learning in schools seems simple, even obvious, at first: What harm could there be in encouraging young children to connect with nature and learn more about the ecology around them, including where the food they eat comes from? But given the ever-growing demands on teachers’ time and the poor financial health many of the nation’s school districts are in, the obstacles facing the school garden movement in the U.S. are clear.

In NE Iowa, we are very thankful for the support for the 23 school gardens across the region. Our partners have proven that these obstacles can be overcome!

Once the weather gets warmer we use our grill about every day.  Cleaning it before you start to heavily use it is always a good idea.  Here are some cleaning tips that will keep your grill working well for years to come.


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