Region 20’s one-in-a-melon week!

Another busy work week has come and gone for Region 20. I can’t believe how fast my time as a Rising Star Region 20 Intern is going. During my time as a Rising Star, I have not only gained new experiences, but knowledge, confidence, and valuable life lessons. Being a Rising Star has taught me that no two days in Extension are the same. One day we’re working in a garden and the next we could be working at a food pantry, farmers market, library program, or anywhere else! Having a variety of tasks every single day not only keeps me on my toes but also acknowledges the influential events I’ve done here in Southeast Iowa. Knowing all the work I am doing with Extension is making an impact not only in the community but in all of Region 20 is very rewarding to me.

This week we started off with a smoothie bike demonstration at Hope Haven in Mount Pleasant. With the smoothie bikes we made a Berry Green Smoothie and After School Humus, all coming from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website.

Bright and early Tuesday morning we helped harvest produce from the Muscatine Research Farm. We harvested beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kale, zucchini, and much more.After harvesting, we donated half of the produce to the Muscatine Food Pantry and took the rest back with us to Mount Pleasant to donate to Fellowship Cup later on in the week.

Wednesday we were on the hunt for watermelon. Due to all the rain and flooding, a lot of produce is behind in Southeast Iowa. This caused us to scramble for some fresh, locally grown produce. We finally found a farmer in Louisa county who could supply us with watermelon for an event on Thursday. A big thank you to Krueger’s Market for the yummy watermelon!

Thursday was the busiest day of the week for us. When we arrived at the office, we started preparing kale chips for a tasting at the Fellowship Cup Food Pantry.Mid-morning we arrived at the food pantry to hand out samples of kale chips and cherry tomatoes. We also were able to donate and hand out bunches of kale, bags of broccoli, and bags of cherry tomatoes that we harvested from the research farm. In the afternoon we loaded up the smoothie bike and were on the road to the Lee County Fair. Fun Fact: The Lee County Fair is Iowa’s oldest county fair! While visiting the Lee County Fair, we had the smoothie bike for kids of all ages to pedal their own smoothie. We also had fresh watermelon that we handed out right outside the show pavilion where the sheep show was being held. The watermelon, as well as the cold smoothies, were a GIANT hit!! It was such a hot day, and everyone was refreshed after a smoothie and a slice of watermelon.

This week has been full of smoothies, farms, food pantries and fairs! We have been busy but also enjoying every moment. Next week, believe it or not, is even busier than this week was for Region 20! Stay tuned!