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 salsa. We 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.