Ames preschool celebrates Iowa Local Food Day
by Teresa Wiemerslage, field specialist, and Emily Paull, administrative specialist
October 11 marked Iowa’s second statewide Local Food Day. This year schools across the state served more than 20 different locally grown fruits and vegetables, cheese, yogurt, grains, eggs and beef, pork and turkey.
Fifty school districts registered at IowaLocalFoodDay.org and committed to serving at least two local items for breakfast or lunch. In total, 12,800 breakfasts and 93,500 lunches featured Iowa-grown components on the tray on October 11.
“It’s exciting to think that more than 113,000 children experienced delicious, Iowa-grown foods all on the same day,” said Teresa Wiemerslage, FFED field specialist and planning committee member.
This year, Iowa childcare centers and in-home childcare providers were encouraged to participate as part of their farm to early care and education efforts (F2ECE). Ten providers registered and served 285 breakfasts and 184 lunches featuring local foods. See how one Ames preschool celebrated in the story below!
Food hubs were important partners for schools as they searched for local products to offer. Food hubs are small businesses that specialize in locally grown and farm-identified foods. Half of the counties with schools participating in Iowa Local Food Day connected to a food hub for assistance.
There are five food hubs in Iowa working to get more Iowa products to schools. They report 61 deliveries valued at more than $31,000 since the beginning of the school year.
The Ames Community Preschool Center (ACPC) celebrated Iowa Local Food Day on Friday, October 11, and it was a great success! Children started the taking the Choose Iowa “Which fall fruit or veggie are you?” quiz. Teachers then gave them corresponding temporary tattoos and stickers.
Kids ate yogurt from Country View Dairy (Hawkeye) for breakfast. Lunch included tacos with beef from Rosmann Family Farms (Harlan), and peppers from Grinnell Heritage Farm. ACPC executive director Elizabeth Miner said they were the best school lunch tacos she’d ever had! Children rounded out Iowa Local Food Day at the preschool with cornbread from Early Morning Harvest (Panora) for snack.
Miner attended the Iowa Farm to School Conference in June. She was excited to have more information and resources to get local foods into the hands and bellies of the many preschoolers she oversees.
“Thanks Iowa farmers for making our day, and thanks to Farmtable Procurement and Delivery [Harlan] for making it so easy to source local foods!” said Miner.
ACPC served around 100 children breakfast and lunch on October 11.
Check out the Iowa Farm to School Facebook page for lots more stories and photos from Iowa Local Food Day 2019!