Sara, Shelly and I just finished a Zoom meeting with the Iowa Department of Education. They want us to work with them on activities and fact sheets to flesh out their latest nutrition education efforts. It’s going to be fun and exciting to tag onto the culinary competitions they sponsored in high schools across Iowa last year.
There aren’t many things I like better than food. It’s key to good health (eat your veggies). It’s fun to eat (ice cream? popcorn?). There’s nothing more satisfying than baking a loaf of bread or cooking up a tasty stew! And I’ve been working in the area of kids’ nutrition since the middle 70’s when I joined ISU Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
So this latest project will be really fun. It’s similar to one we completed earlier this year as part of the Choose Iowa campaign. We’ve been doing a lot of work to promote foods grown close to home. In Iowa!!! It really is a movement. Carrie and Patti shared the link that hosts the materials we worked on last year. You can download them and print them for yourself.
These resources are designed for early childhood educators, and the Iowa Farm to ECE Coalition is rolling out a Train the Trainer next week to help people get them off the ground in their own centers and schools. There’s a LOT of resources out there from various sources on local food, nutrition, procurement (that means buying the food; I had to look it up), and funding. Probably more.
Not only is the Department of Education on board with this movement, so is Iowa State University, the Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, the Iowa Department of Public Health. We think this work is really important, and are proud to be part of it.
I was involved in a rural urban exchange a number of years ago, and I talked about growing food in Iowa for Iowans. It was near the beginning of the community supported agriculture movement so it was a while ago. My ideas were answered with, “Iowa farmers feed the world.” Well, there’s plenty of evidence that Iowa farmers are feeding Iowans. And I’m sure happy about that.