2020 Farm to Summer campaign

April 20, 2020
Crunch into Cucumbers, Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign. It's kind of a big dill!

What is the Crunch into Cucumbers Campaign?

“Crunch into Cucumbers” is a statewide effort to promote summer meal sites by celebrating local CUCUMBERS as the coolest vegetable of the summer. And kids will think so, too! We hope focusing on this refreshing, readily available veggie will increase participation at Iowa summer meal sites and support local producers.

Can I participate in the Crunch into Cucumbers Campaign?

Whether you’re a summer meal site sponsor, community partner, local food advocate, farmer, volunteer, or teacher, you can support this farm to summer campaign. Participants are required to source local cucumbers from area producers. We hope you’ll also share promotional materials and distance learning opportunities with local schools and community partners.

What if I need support organizing my Crunch into Cucumber plans?

Sourcing local food at a summer meal site takes coordination and support, and we’ve got you covered! For additional funding, technical assistance, or promotional materials to make your farm to summer plans come to life, please complete this short online application. We are offering $200 mini-grants to 30 participating sponsors to purchase local food. And we offer promotional materials and distance learning activities to post at meal sites and share with schools and community partners.

Want to participate in Crunch into Cucumbers?

Register by completing this short application, or contact Chelsea Krist at cekrist@iastate.edu.


“Crunch into Cucumbers!” Campaign Resources

Campaign Outreach Toolkit

This resource supports both site-level and state-level partners in promotion and outreach of the 2020 Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign, “Crunch into Cucumbers!” Within the Outreach Toolkit, you’ll find suggested copy for promoting the campaign on social media, in newsletters/blogs, through email, and more. Thanks for spreading the word and sharing this opportunity widely with your networks!

Finding Local Food

The $200 mini-grants must be spent on local food (cucumbers or other local produce). Use the resources below to find local farmers and producers near you. 

  • IDALS Farm to School Producer Directory can be used by schools to source local food and producers to list their products available to schools.
  • The Iowa Food Hub Directory lists location, product, and contact information for food hubs actively serving Iowa communities. A food hub is a centrally located facility that purchases and aggregates local food from numerous farms, then stores, sometimes processes, and distributes to local or regional purchasers. 
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa Local Food Directory hosts information about PFI-farmer-raised products. This directory offers farm name, website, cities served, and available products. Just enter the name of your city or town.
  • Iowa MarketMaker is useful for producers, buyers, consumers. Search by location or product (cucumbers!) to find producers and contact information. 
  • Our FFED staff can offer direct consultation and connections to local farmers. Email cekrist@iastate.edu

Food Education through Distance Learning

Cool Videos

Big-Dill Recipes

Growing and Pickling

Tips for Take-Home Taste Tests

Taste testing is a simple, versatile learning activity that offers youth the opportunity to try small samples of local foods, reflect on their preferences, and use their voice to share feedback. Taste tests build a culture of trying new things in an encouraging, positive environment. As the typical taste testing activities offered during meal times are less feasible with COVID-19 and social distancing, the following tips are designed for sites to encourage take-home taste testing.

  • For Grab n’ Go, Non-Congregate Meals: Consider if/how the local food should be processed, packaged, and included in take-home meals. 
    • Small cucumbers, washed and served whole
    • Cucumber rounds or half-moons, served in 4oz portion cups with lids or baggies
    • Chopped cucumbers incorporated into a simple recipe (ex. Served in a fresh salad, with dressing, or a dip)
  • Share these Tasting Instructions + Best Practices: To encourage at home taste-testing, consider printing taste test instructions and reflections to share with youth and families. 
    • Reflect: Encourage youth to use their senses and take it slow while tasting the sample. What does it sound and feel like? Does it remind you of any other foods? What do you like about it? 
    • Don’t Yuck My Yum! Remind youth to avoid saying negative things about how something tastes, as it might hurt feelings and discourage others from trying something new. Encourage students to use language like “it’s not my favorite.” 
      • Note: no one has to try the food, but everyone is supported and encouraged to participate. Everyone’s opinion matters. 
    • Voting: Once everyone has tried a sample, they will share their opinion of the food. A thumbs up (“I like it”), sideways thumb (“it was ok”), or thumbs down (“it wasn’t my favorite”) is a simple, respectful voting system. 
    • Share the Recipes: Students love to share what they have done and learned at school with their families. One taste test can easily turn into four or five!

Share the Smiles: Post photos, voting results, comments or recipes to your site’s Facebook page or other social media platforms, and please use the following hashtag: #IowaFarmtoSummer

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