Projects & Events

Coming Soon!

Farmer Fair at Hills Elementary
November 14, 2012

Farmer Fair at Lemme Elementary, Family Science Night
April 4, 2013

Farmer Fair at Kirkwood Elementary
May 2013

School Garden Produce Stand: Kids’ Day at the Iowa City Farmers Market

September 15, 2012
View Photos

To celebrate ICCSD school gardens, ICCSD Farm to School hosted an ICCSD School Garden Produce Stand during Kids’ Day at the Iowa City Farmers Market on Saturday, September 15, 2012.

Students from five schools harvested food from their school garden, set up the booth and marketed their produce, and ran the booth all morning. This event turned out to be a great peer leadership opportunity as West High students guided students from Northwest Junior High on marketing and selling the produce. Students from Shimek, Lemme, and Mann Elementary also participated.  Produce, baked goods, and jewelry were donated from those five schools plus Kirkwood Elementary.

A photo tour of all the ICCSD school gardens was on display, along with student artwork and writing projects that have been inspired by the gardens. This event was presented as part of the Field to Family Festival. Farm to School raised $206 from the sale!

Summer Farmer Fairs at Mann Elementary and Wood/Twain Elementary Schools

July 13 and August 3, 2012
View Photos

Thanks to a grant from the ICCSD Foundation Excellence Fund, ICCSD Farm to School was able to present Summer Farmer Fairs at two schools in collaboration with ICCSD summer enrichment programs. The Farmer Fair is an “in-school field trip” that brings farmers and nutrition educators into elementary schools to talk to students about where their food comes from and about making healthy food choices.

The first Farmer Fair was held at Mann Elementary on July 13, 2012. (45) 1st – 6th graders planted seedlings in Mann’s school garden, sampled fresh produce, met a farmer, and learned about healthy eating. The second Farmer Fair was held on August 3, 2012 at Wood Elementary, in collaboration with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers summer program at Wood and Twain elementary schools. Activities at the Wood Farmer Fair were focused around the Fairmeadows Community Garden, which is adjacent to Wood Elementary.

Several community partners participated with the Summer Farmer Fairs:

  • Iowa City Summer of Solutions
  • University of Iowa Student Gardeners
  • New Pioneer Food Co-op/Soilmates
  • Johnson County Public Health
  • Scattergood Farm and School
  • Burt Family Food Services
  • Johnson County Master Gardeners, Iowa State University Extension

Horn Elementary Farmer Fair

May 25, 2012
View Photos

Horn Elementary hosted our fourth ICCSD Farm to School – Farmer Fair, an “in-school field trip” that brings farmers and nutrition educators into elementary schools to talk to students about where their food comes from and making healthy food choices.

All K-6 students at Horn rotated through these hands-on activities:

      • Meeting farm animals with Dana Foster, Scattergood School and Farm
      • Learning about growing food with these local growers:
        • Shelley Squier of Squier Squash and Donnelly Farms
        • Katie Peterson, Jean Donahue and Jon Yagla of Hue Hill Farm
      • Building a composting system with Scott Koepke, New Pioneer Food Co-op/Soilmates
      • Planting seeds to take home with Kristin Bergman, Taproot Nature Experience
      • Tasting local produce prepared by David Burt, owner of Burt Family Food Services
      • Getting active during a nutrition lesson and relay race with:
        • Maureen Meyer, AmeriCorps Member, Johnson County Public Health
        • Lisa Yoder, Johnson County Extension, “Pick a Better Snack” program

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring community members into our school and teach our students how and what food is grown locally and how it ends up on our kitchen table,” says Kristin Cannon, principal at Horn Elementary. “Additionally, this presentation will help our students learn about the importance of nutrition and how they can make informed choices about the food they eat.”

The Horn Farmer Fair was presented with assistance from Johnson County Public Health’s AmeriCorps Member, Maureen Meyer. The Horn Farmer Fair was made possible by donations from the 2011 Culinary Ride and Paul’s Discount Store.

Growing School Gardens: Training Workshop

February 18, 2012
View Photos | Workshop Notes and Handouts

On Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, about 70 teachers, staff, parents, students, and community members from the Iowa City area and Eastern Iowa gathered to learn about school gardens. Presentations included:
Student from Kirkwood School Garden
          • David Cavagnaro – School Garden Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative
            An inspiring look at how to grow food with students in school gardens. Tips for how to plant and maintain gardens, along with ideas for how to use the produce and incorporate the gardens in the classroom.
          • Scott Koepke – New Pioneer Food Co-op/Soilmates Education Outreach Coordinator
            Tips for building healthy soil through composting, plus ideas for how to teach kids about soil, gardening, and composting.
          • ICCSD School Gardeners – Autumn Allen, Mike Loots, Joyce Miller, and others
            ICCSD school gardeners shared their experiences about starting their gardens and about working with students in the garden.
          • Fred Meyer – Backyard Abundance Director
            Ideas for edible perennials that can be easily planted at schools, plus ideas for creating Nature Explore outdoor classrooms.

This event was made possible by:

Lucas Elementary Farmer Fair

November 18, 2011
View Photos

Lucas Elementary hosted our third Farmer Fair, an “in-school field trip” that brings farmers and nutrition educators into elementary schools to talk to students about where their food comes from and making healthy food choices.

Lucas students:

  • met live farm animals with Dana Foster, Scattergood School and Farm
  • learned about locally-grown popcorn with Gene Mealhow, K&K Tiny but Mighty Popcorn
  • met produce farmers:
    • Derek Roller, Echollective Farm
    • Mark Quee, Scattergood School and Farm
    • Shelley Squier, Squier Squash and Donnelly Farms
  • built a composting system with Scott Koepke, Soilmates
  • learned about food miles with Kristin Bergman, Taproot Nature Experience
  • sampled local produce prepared by David Burt, chef/co-owner of The Red Avocado
    • Produce purchased from Friendly Farms, Organic Greens, and Grinnell Heritage Farm
  • learned about healthy food choices with:
    • Maureen Meyer, AmeriCorps Member, Johnson County Public Health
    • Lisa Yoder, Johnson County Extension, “Pick a Better Snack” program
    • Cathy Gehris, Dietician, Hy-Vee.

“Lucas is really excited to host the Farmer Fair,” says Julia Burton, principal at Lucas Elementary. “We believe it is important for our students to understand the connections between how food is grown and how it gets to their table. With the declining number of family farms in our country, fewer and fewer students have any experience with farming. The Famer Fair will give students a glimpse into the lives of farmers in our community.”

The Lucas Farmer Fair is made possible by an award from Annie’s “Root for Kids” contest and a donation from the 2011Culinary Ride. Special thanks to Maureen Meyer, and Americorps member with Johnson County Public Health, who helped coordinate the event.

Wilson’s Orchard Apples for Lunch

Local Apples for Lunch

ICCSD Food Service served apples from Wilson’s Orchard for lunch during  September 2010 & 2011. Whenever the apples are served, Farm to School posts these colorful posters to let kids know where their apples came from.

Growing School Gardens
A presentation by the students, teachers, parents, and community members who are growing food at ICCSD schools.

Saturday, Sept. 24th, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Iowa City Public Library, Room A

Thanks to the hard work of several individuals and community organizations, several ICCSD schools are growing food in school gardens. Come meet our school gardeners and hear their stories about how they got their gardens started, how students and teachers are learning in the garden, and how the produce is being used. We’ll also introduce community groups that are involved with school gardens including Iowa State Extension’s 4-H and their new USDA People’s Garden Initiative, Soilmates, Backyard Abundance, Summer of Solutions, and others. There will be plenty of time between speakers to casually talk with the participants and share ideas for starting and expanding school gardens.

This is a free event hosted by the ICCSD Farm to School chapter as part of the “Field to Family Festival.”

Kids Day at the Iowa City Farmers Market

Potato Harvesting at Kids Day

September 10, 2011
View Photos

Kids had a great time harvesting potatoes, playing local food games, and learning about composting at the Farm to School booth during Kids Day at the Iowa City Farmers Market. This event was coordinated by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department.

Spring Greens Day: ICCSD Served Local Lettuce for Lunch to All 25 Schools

Students enjoy local lettuce

June 1, 2011

View Photos | In the News

On June 1, 2011, our school district served 275 pounds of locally grown lettuce for lunch to all 25 schools in the district …for the first time.  ICCSD Farm to School worked with our district’s Food Services director, Diane Duncan-Goldsmith, and local growers for several months to coordinate this event.

The kids loved the lettuce – some took 3 and 4 servings! Volunteers spent lunch with students at nearly all the elementary schools. We heard lots of kids say “This lettuce is good!” with big smiles! It was exciting to see kids enjoying lettuce so much.

Volunteers and school staff helped served lettuce to the students, and they made an announcement about Spring Greens Day in the lunch room and talked to students at their tables. All students were welcome to try the lettuce, whether they had purchased school lunch or brought their lunch.  Volunteers posted flyers about Spring Greens Day in the lunch rooms where the lettuce was served and set up brochures on every lunch table in the district. The brochures introduced students to the farmers who grew the lettuce and provided some fun facts about lettuce.

The lettuce was grown by local farmers Andy and Melissa Dunham of Grinnell Heritage Farm and Derek Roller of Echollective Farm. The lettuce was processed by several volunteers at Organic Greens LLC, a local grower and licensed food processing facility.

Mann Elementary Farmer Fair – “An In-School Field Trip”

May 27, 2011

Horace Mann Elementary School, Iowa City, IA

View Photos | Report | In the News | Recipes

Our second Farmer Fair was great success thanks to all the farmers, instructors, parents, teachers, and students who participated in the
event. The goals of the Farmer Fair are to get kids thinking about where
their food comes from, help kids make healthy food choices, and connect local
growers with the schools.

4 local farmers and 3 food/nature instructors led lessons and activities with the students. All 250 students, grades K-6, rotated through 5 lessons/activities during the afternoon. Activities included:

          • 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese Making and Tasting with Mark Armstrong of Acoustic Farms;
          • Building a Composting System with Scott Koepke of Soilmates;
          • Seed Planting Activity and Lesson with Kristin Bergman of Taproot Nature Experience;
          • Meet Your Farmer + How Food is Grown + Local Food Sampling with Shelley Squier of Squier Squash & Donnelly Farms, Anne Berglund of Dirty Face Creek Farm, Mark Quee of Scattergood School and Farm, and Melissa Stahl with the Johnson County Extension “Pick a Better Snack” program. Food prepared by David Burt, chef/owner of The Red Avocado.

The Farmer Fair at Mann Elementary was made possible by a Team Nutrition grant from the Iowa Dept. of Education.

School Garden Forum

Encouraging Schools to Build and Expand Gardens
Feb. 5, 2011, Iowa City Public Library

In the News

Farm to School is developing a district-wide set of resources to help schools start new gardens, expand their existing garden, and integrate gardens in the classroom. On February 5, 2011, Farm to School and Backyard Abundance hosted a School Garden Forum that was attended by teachers, parents, and principals from 14 ICCSD schools and Willowwind School.

At the forum we discussed ideas for starting and maintaining school gardens. Fred Meyer of Backyard Abundance gave a presentation about the possibilities of school gardens – from container gardens and small raised beds, to fully integrated outdoor nature play areas and gardens. Brian Fleck, the school gardener at Hills Elementary, shared some lessons that he’s learned both starting his garden and working with students in the garden. The participants talked about ways to build community support for school gardens, to encourage families and community members to help maintain the gardens during the summer, and finding ways to use abundant summer produce.

The School Garden Forum was followed up by a survey that went out to all 25 ICCSD school principals, asking about their interest in starting a school garden and determining how soon they’d like to get started. Survey results are available on our School Gardens page.

Once some schools started thinking seriously about starting a garden, they quickly gained support from their PTO, parents, and community members, and started building their gardens. This spring five schools started school gardens (Kirkwood Elementary, Coralville Central Elementary, West High, Penn Elementary and Longfellow Elementary) and three schools had existing gardens (Hills Elementary, Tate High, and Grant Wood Elementary). More details about the community partners involved with each of the school gardens is available on our School Gardens page.

To help school gardeners connect with each other, Farm to School will be creating a School Garden Web page and blog. We also coordinated a garden tour in April 2011, hosted by Mark Jensen at Tate High School. Mark took us on a tour of Tate’s (12) 6′ x 20′ raised garden beds, and provided helpful tips and ideas for what to grow and how to get students working in the garden.

During the 2011-12 school year Farm to School is planning to conduct a workshops to help get teachers thinking about ways to integrate the gardens in the classroom, and to help schools learns ways to start and expand their gardens.

Longfellow Elementary Farmer Fair

“An In-School Field Trip”

November 19, 2010

Longfellow Elementary School, Iowa City, IA

View Photos | Videos | Report | In the News | Recipes

5 local farmers and 4 food/nature instructors led lessons and activities with the students. All 320 students, grades K-6, rotated through 4 lessons/activities during the afternoon. Activities included:

          • How Popcorn Grows with Gene Mealhow of K&K “Tiny but Mighty” Popcorn;
          • Building a Composting System with Scott Koepke of Soilmates;
          • Food Miles with Andy Dunham of Grinnell Heritate Farm, Kristin Bergman of  Taproot Nature Experience, and Jason Grimm of Iowa Valley RC&D;
          • Food Growing Seasons + Food Sampling with Susan Jutz of Local Harvest CSA (ZJ Farm), Bethany Bender of Local Foods Connection, Shelley Squier of Squier Squash, and James Nisly of Organic Greens. Samples of butternut squash, carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes were prepared by Dave Burt, owner/chef at The Red Avocado.

The Farmer Fair was made possible by a grant from the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)

Watch Videos:

 


Farm to School Panel Discussion –

Field to Family Festival
September 22, 2010, Iowa City Public Library

View Photos | Videos | Event Handout | In the News

As part of of the Field to Family Festival, Farm to School held a panel discussion at the Iowa City Public Library. Participants heard success stories about other Farm to School chapters in Iowa, learned about plans for the ICCSD Farm to School chapter, and found out what’s involved to start adding more local foods to school meals. The panelists included:

          • Diane Duncan-Goldsmith, ICCSD director of Food Service; (View Slide Presentation)
          • Kamyar Enshayan, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at UNI;
          • Laura Krouse, local grower and food supplier (Abbe Hills Farm); and
          • Heather Widmayer, Farm to School Coordinator. (View Slide Presentation)

Watch Videos:

 

Farm to School at Get Moving for Healthy Kids

Get Moving for Healthy Kids 5K Run/Walk

August 29, 2010, West High School, Iowa City

View Photos