Monthly Archives: May 2019

Region 20 Week 3 Feels: excited, fulfilled, & ready for what’s next

Week three is complete for Region 20! We hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend that carried on those same feelings through this past week. It was another busy (but exciting) week for us! Tuesday was a day filled with preparation for our local foods presentation and activity that we presented on Wednesday and Thursday for the final days of the SWITCH celebration. The fourth and fifth graders loved the activity of the local food which consisted identifying where the fresh produce came from by looking at food labels and then placing stickers of the food items on a giant world map so everyone could see the origin of their foods. After our presentation and activity, we spent the rest of our Wednesday and Thursday helping out where necessary and taking photographs of students’ excitement as they participated in the SWITCH celebration at the Rec Center. There was a total of 84 students on Wednesday and another 120 students on Thursday, which can probably imply how exhausted we were by Thursday evening.

Although we were tired from all the excitement with the kids, our Thursday was not over yet!  Jamming to some tunes, we pumped ourselves up on our drive over to the Jefferson Street Farmer’s Market in Burlington. We were thrilled to present our sample tasting of local French Breakfast radishes and a veggie dip that we prepared at our first farmers market. The tasting was a huge success and everyone seemed to love it! We even had one girl say “I don’t even like vegetables, but this is so good!” Along with the samples we handed out “locavore” stickers, reusable shopping bags, and produce basic sheets from the “Spend Smart. EatSmart” website. We ended up running out of our food samples, so we would definitely call our first farmers market a success! We were able to share information about ISU Extension and Outreach as well as promote local foods as we connected with the farmers market’s visitors. We look forward to these interactions with the Southeast Iowa community as we present more tastings at upcoming farmers markets.

Week 2 for Region 1 Interns

Week two has officially wrapped up for Region 1 interns! This past week has been full of daycare programming and prep work for the upcoming Bike-N-Bite that will take place in Dickinson County. We also stopped by Landsmeer Ridge Retirement Community located in Sioux County to help residents plant flowers on the property.

We also paid a visit to the Orange City Daycare to see where we will be planting the gardens. The staff was lovely and helped us get settled into where the day care program will be completed. We decided on a rainbow theme for the daycare lessons and could not be more excited to share this curriculum with children of both the Orange City Daycare and the Bright Beginnings Daycare in Sibley.

The biggest undertaking of the past week has been the promotional work for Bike-N-Bite. We traveled to Dickinson County Extension and Outreach to gather information on the vendors that will be participating in the 2nd Annual Bike-N-Bite in Okoboji. We got a chance to get to know the businesses that will be participating as well as the individuals who work behind the scenes to make the event happen. One of my favorite stops had to be Lisa’s Bake Shoppe where we were able to take in all the delicious smells while filming, and I didn’t mind the beautiful lake views that accompanied the journey either!

Everyone has been so welcoming at the county offices and really make us feel like we are a part of the extension team. They even let me steal a cup from the office coffee pot every now and then to fuel my caffeine addiction. We would like to thank Fred Hall, the dairy specialist at Sioux County, who took the time to meet with us to discuss his work and how we can apply this knowledge to the Adult Ag Citing Program we will be preparing for in the weeks to come.

We will definitely keep busy this summer, and look forward to all the programs we will continue to design and improve upon. Look next week to see our progress, and thank you for taking the time to read about our journey!


Week Two In The Books for Region 20!

We are finishing up with our second week here in Southeast, Iowa.  We started off our week on Monday prepping for the SWITCH celebration. SWITCH is an evidence-based obesity prevention program designed to help students adopt a healthy lifestyle. It was on Tuesday that the event occurred at the Lincoln Elementary with fourth and fifth graders. Our role in the SWITCH celebration was to do a local foods presentation and to encourage students to think about where their fruits and vegetables are coming from. We even provided a tasting of fruits and vegetables from different places around the world! Shortly after the presentation we went to the Mount Pleasant Rec Center and transitioned our roles to becoming group leaders and photographers for the event. It was a blast for the students, just as it was for us! It was inspirational to see how much fun the kids were having at the SWITCH celebration while they participated in a variety of physical activities. 

On Wednesday morning we got the opportunity to go to the Christamore Family Treatment Center and help the students weed and plant their garden. We assisted with planting a salsa garden which included tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, peppers, cilantro, and nasturtium. Later on, in the summer we will be returning to help them tend to their garden and harvest their produce to make the salsaWe then returned to the office to work on some upcoming events in June that we will be doing so stayed tuned for that!   

Bright and early on Thursday morning we had the opportunity to tour Blueberry Bottom Farm in Brighton, Iowa. While visiting we dove deep into the ins and outs of blueberry farming in our conversations with Kim Andersen, the producer. It was motivational to see the hard work, research, and efforts Andersen has put into the creation of her farm, and how those inputs resulted in the successful operation she has now achieved. We will be doing some promotional work with Blueberry Bottom Farm when blueberry month hits in July, so stay tuned! 

Thursday afternoon we got the opportunity to work and meet with Rachel Sweeney who serves as the registered dietitian for region 20, along with a few other counties. She informed us of everything we need to know for when we are working with food and presenting food demonstrations. A big thanks to Rachel for sharing all her knowledge and guidance with us.


Friday we continued to prep for the following week which includes more SWITCH celebrations, a farmer’s market, and gearing up for our upcoming library program. It was a short and sweet day, but we already had such a fulfilling work week!   

The first two weeks have consisted of a lot of new information and meeting many new friendly faces that we will be working with for the rest of our time here, and we cannot be more excited to continue this journey! A big thanks to everyone who has been very welcoming to us thus far, and to everyone who has been so patient with us as we are learning how to be successful Rising Star Interns.   

Welcome Region 5 Rising Stars!

Welcome Region 5 Rising Stars!

The Region 5 Rising Star interns have arrived! On Monday of this week, we toured the Woodbury and Monona county offices and met a lot of the people we will be working with this summer.  In Onawa, we got a chance to help in a germination lesson at the West Monona Elementary School and guide the kids in planting the school garden.  On Tuesday, we all traveled to Le Mars to learn about food handling safety and get an introduction to the Power of Produce (PoP) camp program.  Wednesday we enjoyed a potluck for lunch with the Woodbury and Midtown office staff.  We’re looking forward to working with the Region 5 staff and community and making a #STRONGIOWA

(from left to right) Allison, Claire, and Gustavo


Gustavo Flores

“The more we plan activities and camps, the more excited I get!”

Hometown: Denison, IA

Major: Nutritional Science

Favorite food: Sesame chicken

Fun Fact: I’ve biked across the state of Iowa


Allison Bermel

“I am looking forward to learning more about ISU Extension and Outreach while working in the community.”

Hometown: Sioux City, IA

Major: Interior Design

Favorite food: Burritos

Fun Fact: I was in 4-H for eight years


Claire Groth

“I am looking forward to sharing my love of food with the Region 5 communities and learning more about different ways to use local produce.”

Hometown: St. Ansgar, IA

Major: Dietetics

Favorite food: Chips and salsa

Fun Fact: I grew up on a pig farm and love to help out with the piglets


Enjoying lunch at a local favorite, La Juanita’s

Meet the Region 1 Rising Star Interns!

Region 1 Week 1

(L-R) Natalee Dippel, Alyssa Rosenbaum, and Madeline Robinson

The time has finally come, the Region 1 interns have arrived. Natalee, Alyssa, and Maddie have been introduced to their summer home in the Northwest region of Iowa on May 15. We have been very busy the first week touring county offices, starting projects, and becoming familiar with all of the wonderful staff we will be working alongside. Even with our busy schedule, we found time in our first week to visit the tulip festival and enjoy one of Orange City’s favorite traditions. This summer we will be harvesting at donation gardens, educating children on gardening and the importance of fresh produce, and promoting local foods. We are very excited to begin this summer’s journey. Follow us every step of our journey through our weekly blogs!

Natalee Dippel is a senior in Agriculture and Life Sciences Education- Teacher Certification from Belmond, IA. 

“I have always had a passion for youth and educating others about agriculture. I am looking forward to interacting with the youth throughout the Region 1 counties during the different programs. After graduation, I plan to work with youth as an agriculture education teacher and athletics coach in Iowa. In my free time, I enjoy napping, playing sports, being around animals, and spending time with my family.”

Alyssa Rosenbaum is a junior in Horticulture and Culinary Food Science from Sioux City, IA.

“I have always had a passion for cooking, gardening, and local foods. I am really excited to connect all three passions through this internship. I am especially excited to work hands-on in the donation gardens through the different counties. As of now, I am not sure what career I want in the future, but I do know that I would like to find a creative way to connect both horticulture and culinary food science. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, cooking, and gardening.”

Madeline Robinson is a senior in Liberal Studies with a Professional Field in Human Development and Family Studies from Cedar Rapids, IA. 

“I am passionate about learning and making education accessible for everyone. I have experience researching education curriculum, but this summer internship will be my first opportunity to implement lessons and view the children’s learning progression. I work for the “Parenting: It’s a Life” as an education specialist currently, and after college I plan to get my master’s in Public Health or Social Work. One day I hope to research and design puberty/sexual health curriculum for an organization, school district, or college campus. When I’m not in school or working, I love to read and travel to new places!”

Region 20 Rising Star Interns Have Arrived!

Hello everyone, Katelin, Grace, and Rachel here! We are the 2019 Rising Star Region 20 (southwest Iowa) Interns. We arrived at our summer home in southeast Iowa on May 13 to begin our summer adventure with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Within the first week we have been very busy planning many summer events all over region 20, touring Lee, Louisa, Henry, and Des Moines County, visiting a local egg producer, and helping plant a garden. We were welcomed with open arms at each and every place we toured and visited. As soon as we arrived in the office we hit the ground running! We are excited to get the summer started with all of the events we have planned. Promoting local foods is our main priority this summer and we are excited to promote all of the amazing local foods sources within Region 20. Get to know a little bit about us below and follow our blog to keep up with all of the amazing things we will be doing this summer!

(Left to right: Katelin, Grace, Rachel)


“I’m excited to spend the summer combining my two passions for agriculture and education and using them to promote local foods throughout my internship with the Region 20 Rising Star”

Hometown: Sumner, Iowa

Major: Agriculture Education

Hobbies: Kayaking, Swimming, fishing, and spending time with my family, friends, and pets

Fun Fact: I have 8 llamas!



“I love that I am going to get to spend my summer doing something I am passionate about: connecting the consumers with the producers.”

Hometown: Worthington, Iowa

Major: Dietetics

Hobbies: spending time on the farm, doing anything outside, and taking naps with my cat

Fun Fact: I’ve shown cows since the 4th grade



I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to make personal connections with local food producers and be an integral part of promoting their delicious and nutritious whole foods to the community to support the farm-to-table movement.”

Hometown: Mount Carroll, IL

Major: Dietetics

Hobbies: Yoga, hiking, art, hammocking, and spending time outside with my friends and family.

Fun Fact: I studied abroad in Tasmania, Australia for five months!