FFI Bits – Nov 10

What a Month! Northeast Iowa schools and early childhood sites really know how to celebrate National Farm to School Month!


FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

ANNUAL REPORT RELEASED The Iowa Food Hub was launched in 2012, and its economic impact has grown quickly and steadily. According to its recently released 2016 annual report, the organization sold over $735,000 in local products from 60 area farmers and food-based businesses in northeast Iowa. The report also describes how the Food Hub expanded its impact by purchasing a larger refrigerated truck and expanding its community food box program by partnering with Extension offices and other non-traditional retailers.They sponsored a grant for Farm to Early Childcare efforts in Fayette County and launched a local food fundraiser program for schools and community groups. They also supported beginning farmer outreach by sponsoring the gatherings and field days of the NE Iowa Food and Farm Network which features many beginning farmers.


FARMS ACHIEVE CERTIFICATION  Ten farms and the Iowa Food Hub achieved USDA GAP certification in 2017 through the cooperative efforts of the Iowa GroupGAP Network. GroupGAP is a USDA farm food safety program that provides the specialty crops industry the opportunity to supply and buy fruits, vegetables, and related products that are certified as being produced using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

MAC AND TREES  In October the five early childhood classes in Decorah had taste tests with broccoli.  They tried it raw, broccoli with veggie dip, and enjoyed Mac and Trees (broccoli with cheesy noodles). The children did broccoli prints and learned all about the vegetable group. One of their activities during the month was a My Plate food sort.

ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen & April Bril

WALKING PAST CANCER  Ann Mansfield of Decorah was diagnosed in March with stage 2 breast cancer. She quickly began treatment that included surgery, chemotherapy, antibody infusions and radiation. But this nurse, healthy-community advocate and 2016 Walking College fellow was not willing to take her treatment lying down. Rather, Mansfield has used walking as a means of getting through this physically and mentally grueling process. Mansfield has walked between 10 and 11 miles most days since her diagnosis. More.


WEST UNION A LEADER IN WALK-ABILITY  The Walking School Bus (WSB) program in West Union has been a giant success. Since its inception in 2013, the program has grown from approximately 12 to 20 children walking each day to school to anywhere from 60 to 80 children this year. Just last spring, the Walking School Bus went to five days a week, thanks to the countless hours volunteers put into the program. Jessica Wegner, Fayette County Public Health nurse, recently gave an update to the West Union City Council, where she noted she attended the National Walking Summit Sept. 13-15 in Minneapolis.


Macie and Kaci attended the Iowa Hunger Summit and shared how their FFI projects address food insecurity in Iowa. They got to present their work with Angie Tagtow, former Director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the USDA.


HEALTHIEST STATE AWARDS  On February 15, the Healthiest State will hold the premier annual event for Iowans leading efforts to transform the culture of health and well-being in Des Moines. The Healthiest State Initiative created annual awards to recognize and monetarily reward workplaces, schools, communities and individuals for advancing efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of their employees, students and citizens. Be sure to nominate your school or community!


Winter squash is a wonderful vegetable but can be a little intimidating to prepare. Let’s look at some steps to safely prepare your winter squash so that it can be ready to use in any recipe.

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