Farm to Schools Grant
Cowles received a $4,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to start a Farm to School chapter. Our vision is to deepen student’s knowledge about FOOD. We want to get students and families at Cowles excited about the benefits of locally-grown food through field trips to local producers, farmer classroom visits, and cooking demonstration events. In the new greenhouse and in the classroom, students will carry out practical work related to vegetables.
The Farm to Schools program ties in well with the Montessori educational philosophy that emphasizes respect for others, teaches compassion, self-discipline and the importance of world citizenship. We are hoping to establish relationships with community partners so families can learn about options for buying locally grown.
And we need your help! Do you have any ideas for incorporating educational opportunities into the classroom during the school year? Do you personally know local farmers, and/or egg, dairy, meat producers who would be willing to visit our school, or have 25-30 students visit (we will coordinate with teachers)? Would you please volunteer to transport students during field trips? Would you be willing to help organize a family education food demonstration event? Finally, we are looking at hosting a “Healthy Harvest” event in late October during the school day at Cowles. Please let me know if you are interested in being involved in planning for that event. Thank you for making Cowles the 2010 Healthiest School in Iowa!
Colleen Kinney (Jack, Mary, Ben and Ivy McFetridge’s mom)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 664-9183
Check out the Des Moines Register Article about Cowles winning healthiest school in Iowa.
Cowles Healthy Harvest – October 29, 2010
Cowles celebrates the delicious, wholesome fall produce that is grown in Iowa with various activities, such as making a wholesome vegetable soup (no nuts, wheat, meat, or dairy).
This vegetable soup is adapted from Lois Ehlert’s children’s book, “Growing Vegetable Soup,” and uses fresh produce found in Iowa during late October. You can double or triple the recipe, depending on the number of participants you will have, and how hungry they are! Instead of bullion cubes, you can substitute V-8 juice or tomato sauce as a soup base (ours was kindly donated by Windsor Heights Hy-Vee). Turn crock pot on “high” setting. Wash and slice up vegetables and add to crock pot (save out broccoli, parsley and savory marjoram spices for the last hour). The vegetables should be cooked well enough after about 4-5 hours. Enjoy!
What’s in the soup and where was it grown in Iowa? We welcome guest speaker Eric Armbrecht from the Homestead in Pleasant Hill, Iowa (certified organic vegetables grown by autistic workers). Parsnips are sweetest after a frost. In Europe they were used to sweeten jams and cakes before sugar became widely available. Fat free, cholesterol free, very low sodium, good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber.
Turnips come in all shapes and colors, from round to cylindrical and rose to black. They may be eaten raw or cooked. Fat free, cholesterol free, low sodium, excellent source of vitamin C.
Beets are deep red, or white in color. Sugar is produced from one variety (Sugar Beets) and the red color is used in food coloring. They may be eaten raw or cooked. Fat free, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, low sodium, excellent source of folate.
Broccoli: This yummy veggie is worth 12 points when playing Scrabble. Low fat; saturated fat free; low sodium; cholesterol free; high in vitamin C; high in folate; good source of dietary fiber; good source of potassium.
Cabbage: More than 400 varieties of cabbage are enjoyed worldwide. Fat free; saturated fat free; very low sodium; cholesterol free; low-calorie; high in vitamin C.
Kohlrabi or cabbage turnip, tastes like a mixture of cucumber and mild broccoli. Baby kohlrabi can be as crisp and juicy as an apple. Nutrition Benefits Fat free, cholesterol free, very low sodium, low calorie, an excellent source of vitamin C and good source of fiber.
From Grinnell Heritage Farms (all certified organic) Green bell peppers: Peppers, both sweet and hot, originated in Central and South America. They were not introduced into Europe until the 16th century. Fat free; saturated fat free; low sodium; cholesterol free; low calorie; high in vitamin C.
Dutch Viking potatoes (purple!): According to USDA, each American eats 140 pounds of potatoes a year. Fat free; saturated fat free; sodium free; cholesterol free; high in vitamin C; good source of potassium.
Carrots are not always orange and can also be found in purple, white, red or yellow. Fat free; saturated fat free; low sodium; cholesterol free; excellent source of vitamin A; good source of vitamin C; low calorie.
Cauliflower: Not all cauliflower is white! Try purple and orange cauliflower too. Fat free; saturated fat free; very low sodium; cholesterol free; low calorie; high in vitamin C; good source of folate.
From Blue Gate Farm (certified organic) in Chariton, Iowa Fresh Marjoram: Marjoram looks similar to oregano, but tastes milder and sweeter and smells of pine and citrus. Marjoram is native to Greece, where goats and sheep who graze on marjoram are sold for a premium as they are said to have superior meat. Marjoram has been cultivated throughout Europe for centuries and was brought to the New World by the Spanish.
Fresh Parsley: Homer’s Odyssey describes the popular green herb in which the fields on Kalypso’s island are described as follows: “And round about soft meadows of violets and parsley were blooming.”
From Shutt’s Farm in St. Mary, Iowa. Yellow onions: People have been eating onions since prehistoric times. Fat free; saturated fat free; very low sodium; cholesterol free; high in vitamin C; good source of dietary fiber. Zucchini: The flower of zucchini plants is also edible. Fat free, saturated fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, low-calorie, high in vitamin C, and a good source of manganese and molybdenum.
From Crooked Creek Farms in Aurora, Iowa. Tomatoes (seconds – cut out the bruised parts): In the same plant family as nightshade, these yummy veggies were mistakenly thought to be poisonous until the nineteenth century. Low fat; saturated fat free; very low sodium; cholesterol free; low calorie; high in vitamin A; high in vitamin C; good source of potassium.
From Scavo Gardens, Warren County, Iowa. Also known as string beans, these bright green and crunchy beans are available year-round. Green beans are picked while still immature and the inner bean is just beginning to form. They are one of only a few varieties of beans that are eaten fresh. Fat free; saturated fat free; sodium free; cholesterol free; low calorie; good source of fiber; good source of vitamin C.
We also welcome Lynn Swinger, a dietitian from Windsor Heights Hy-Vee, who will talk to students about the nutritional benefits of fall produce. In addition to these speakers and the soup activity, there will be Greenhouse Celebration/Open House. Students will visit the greenhouse with their classroom, and hear middle school students talk about their project and plans. Finally, we will kick off our classroom composting program. You can purchase your own home kitchen composting container at Herndon’s, 6015 Grand Avenue for $15 (call 274-2586).
Thank you to the teachers, staff and parent volunteers who made Healthy Harvest a success! We also appreciate True Value Hardware on 63rd and Grand Avenue for donating the use of the inflatable castle, and to the middle school students for their efforts in creating a “Haunted Greenhouse” at Trunk or Treat.
If you have a favorite recipe (snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner) that uses produce, dairy and/or meat grown in Iowa, please share with Colleen Kinney at 664-9183 or email@example.com. We are looking for ideas for our upcoming food demonstration event, and possibly to compile in a recipe book/calendar. We hope that families at Cowles will gain an appreciation for the nutritious and environmental benefits of locally grown products. Thanks for your support of Iowa farmers, and for making this time of year more than just Halloween candy!