Growing Closer at Valley Elementary

Last Wednesday I had my last scheduled program as an AmeriCorps member. My final garden club meeting at Valley Elementary had the highest attendance of students and parents of all nights this summer. My goal for my year of service was to leave the NFV school district a little better than I found it, in regards to health and wellness. I can confidently say that through the work and collaboration on the Valley Elementary School Garden, I have achieved this goal. As I watched the families walk away with bags full of tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers, I quickly remembered all of the steps taken and people who made this harvest party possible. Together, we grow healthy kids. Continue reading

That New Food Look

What do I love most about working with kids? They’re honest. When they think your food samples smell funny, they let you know. If you draw a mango tree and they think it’s beautiful, they tell you. They express their feelings in the most genuine way that even when the comment is negative you appreciate they’re telling the truth. If a student is not telling you how they feel, you usually have a pretty good idea by the look on their face. Continue reading

Summer in Winter

The school garden beds in Oelwein are blanketed in snow and ice, and the sub-zero temperatures today seem so distant from the heat and humidity of the Northeast Iowa summer.  I have been filling up on roots: turnips, carrots, and potatoes.  Storage crops grown by local farmers this past season are keeping me nourished and warm during this season of sleep.  I am so lucky to have access to healthy, local food.  I am so privileged to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Continue reading

The New Kid in NFV

I lived in the same house and neighborhood until I left for college, and at that point you’re entering with a whole class in the same position as you. I never moved until then, or changed schools or districts. I remember calling a student who had just entered one of my elementary school classes “the new kid,” but I never knew how that must have felt. I never knew until I became the Resource Contact in the North Fayette Valley Community School District. Continue reading