Local Foods - Resources for Youth Educators






We help kids understand healthy, local foods!

At Dubuque County ISU Extension & Outreach our team of Youth Educators, Local Foods, and Horticulture experts are here to help your organization integrate research-based educational activities about healthy, local foods into your school or community-based programs. We welcome and invite you to explore this website for more information and a variety of resources to help you get started or expand hands-on gardening, and local foods education.

For more information about any of the below listed resources please contact us - Our information can be found on the sidebar to the right. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook for updates on upcoming community events, trainings and programs.

ISU Extension & Outreach Programs & Curriculum:
Curriculum materials from ISU Extension & Outreach are designed to enrich and build on national school standards and benchmark and the Iowa Core Curriculum for science, literacy, math, social studies, and 21st Century skills. Materials are research based, unbiased, and evaluated for effectiveness. Materials are age-appropriate and develop life skills. Dubuque County Extension specialists may provide you with curricula, kits, training, and/or instruction and can assist your school or community group in setting up a training on a variety of programs.

For more information on any of the programs listed below, contact Dubuque County Youth Specialist Katie Peterson at katiejp@iastate.edu

Growing in the Garden

Description: This is our most popular Connecting Learning & Living curriculum.  It includes over forty classroom and after-school program lessons and more than one hundred hands-on activities intended to enhance and increase knowledge of agriculture, natural resources, food and people. These lessons and activities can be modified for any age. Each unit of lessons is organized to progress from easier to more advanced. Please visit the GITG Scope & Sequence page to review lesson topics.
Intended Audience: K- 3
Sample Lesson: Lesson Link
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

Growing in the Garden Local Foods & Healthy Living

Description: The Growing in the Garden: Local Foods Healthy Living curriculum is for youth gardening programs in schools, afterschool and summer programs, community and neighborhood gardens, farm to school, agriculture in the classroom, nutrition programs, and Master Gardening projects. The seven units are organized to address questions such as Why do people garden? How do you plan, plant, maintain and harvest a garden? How do you store and prepare garden produce? How can you expand your garden all year long? Each unit includes a general background section and two to three lessons that are aligned with the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program priorities as well as the Common Core and Iowa core subject standards for grades K-4 and can be adapted for students in grades fifth through college.
Intended Audience: K - 8
Sample Lesson: Lesson Link
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

Food Land & People

Description: FLP is a national curriculum with 55 awesome hands-on lessons that “develop citizens literate about the relationships between agriculture, the environment and human populations.” The lessons are for Pre-K through Grade 12. It is primarily delivered through training. CLL is the Iowa contact.
Intended Audience: PK - 12
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

School Garden 101 (Train the Trainer)

Dubuque County School Gardens 101 Webpage 
Description: School Garden 101 is a five-week training course that helps school teachers, faculty, and community volunteers build a strong team for a successful school garden.
Each school or educational institution is encouraged to develop of team of three or more faculty to attend this program. Teams can expect to receive horticultural skills, continuing education credits, and lesson plans from Growing in the Garden. Throughout the workshop series, attendees work in school teams to develop their goals, timeline, garden plan, and budget. Upon completion, schools are shovel-ready to create or rebuild their schools garden.
Intended Audience: Teachers and Faculty
Duration: 5 weeks 

Where We Live: History of the Land

Description: Are you teaching Iowa history? This curriculum will connect the past to the present through fun hands-on activities about rocks, soil, prairies, grains, trees, animals, food sources and how people have learned to live with Iowa’s valuable resources. If you are from Iowa, you really need the entire kit of banners, posters, books, and maps for the complete experience. Curriculum directors and teachers highly approve this curricula as their Iowa History unit. If you are from another Midwestern state, these lessons will apply to you, too.
Sample Lesson: Lesson Link
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

Where We Live: Weaving the Food Web

Description: Are you teaching about food chains, energy sources, genetics, food safety, food production and consumption? These lessons weave their way around the food production web starting with the natural resources that are already available and then plants, animals, harvest, processing, distribution, marketing, and you – the consumer. They inspire youth to make more informed decisions and open their eyes to the ways they can be involved in their food and energy supply.  At trainings, you can purchase the entire kit of supplemental posters, banners, cds, videotapes, and books. 
Sample Lesson: Lesson Link
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

Where We Live: Living with the Land

Description: Youth can work on their critical thinking, decision-making, citizenship stewardship, and communication skills as they discover how people value the land and the methods we use to grow food and protect our natural resources. Four critical agricultural and environmental issues are examined: soil conservation, water quality, pest management, and animal care. This curriculum is used for grades 5 through college. A new energy lesson is being developed to go with this curriculum. At trainings, you can purchase the entire kit of posters, videotapes, and books. Please visit the Living with the Land Scope & Sequence page to review lesson topics.
Intended Audience: Grade 5 - College
Sample Lesson: Lesson Link
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu

Junior Master Gardeners

Description: Ever suck a bug or make mud pies to evaluate soil texture? The JMG teacher/leader guide provides teachers with the tools to teach the world of gardening with eight chapters of novel, “hands-on” activities for grades 3 – 5. The program includes a study of life skills and career exploration then culminates the JMG experience with service learning projects and recognizes children’s efforts with a certification as a Junior Master Gardener.
Intended Audience: Grades 3 - 5
For more information contact: Katie Peterson, Youth Program Specialist, katiejp@iastate.edu


Spend Smart Eat Smart

Click Here to visit the Spend Smart Eat Smart Website
Description: This program is be useful for many audiences from service clubs to workshops - anywhere families are struggling to make ends meet. The theme of the program is “Good nutrition does not have to be expensive.” Participants learn strategies to save money on food expenses and incorporate new ideas into menu planning and food shopping while exploring the many resources available on the Spend Smart, Eat Smart website.
Intended Audience: Intended for a wide variety of audiences - church groups or philanthropic groups, recipes and other resources can be integrated into various types of demonstrations and taste tests for audiences of all ages.
Sample Lesson: Online Lesson: Label Reading for Health
For more information Call:  563 583 6496 

Miscellaneous Resources


Iowa Farm to School Toolkit

Description: Resources compiled by Iowa FoodCorps Fellow Marlie Wilson with support from Ann Robinson, NCAT Midwest Director, and Food Corps Iowa service members including links to Lessons Databases, Procurement How-To’s, Building School Gardens, Farm to School Marketing Materials and more


Iowa Farm to School 
Iowa Farm to School Program on Facebook
National Farm to School Network 
Intended Audience: Teachers, School Administrators, School Wellness Policy Committee Members, Parents & others interested in Farm to School programs.

Taste Test Resources

Creating a Taste Testing Event A Resource for School Nutrition Professionals from Rutgers Cooperative Extension
USDA Taste Testing & Evaluating Recipes Resources Includes Taste Testing Ballots, Sensory Evaluation Forms & more
Homegrown Taste Test Guide from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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