Expanding the Sustainable Agriculture Components of Real Soil, Real Food, A Real Difference

2012 Annual Report for YENC12-043

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2012: $2,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Manager:
Diane Weiland
The Wallace Centers of Iowa

Expanding the Sustainable Agriculture Components of Real Soil, Real Food, A Real Difference


Summary of Real Soil, Real Food, A Real difference

For one week in June, 2012 three participants learned numerous aspects of food. The following lists some of the learning opportunities throughout the week that had an impact on the campers.
1) Visited a local farmers market and had the participants ask questions of the vendors. This resulted in a discussion with a person who was selling grass fed beef. The participant learned about raising beef without added growth hormones and consistent antibiotics. The producer invited her to visit her farming operation to better understand because the participant thought it was ok to routinely inject animals raised for human consumption. The participant did make arrangements to visit the farm to learn more.
2) Went on a tour of Springbrook State Park that has various water conservation examples in place. Campers learned what to look for in a stream to determine if it is healthy. They viewed the water filtering results of native plants alongside pond shores. Because of the intentional environmental practices the campers were able to listen to and watch various rare bird species.
3) They chose to eat dinner one night at a restaurant that purportedly used locally produced ingredients. Nothing on the menu indicated anything was procured from a nearby farm. When asked the waitress was not able to name anything either. The campers were disappointed and several did not find the food very appetizing.
4) Visited the Leopold Center at Iowa State University and toured the student operated organic CSA garden. Campers asked numerous questions about organic practices. There was also a learning moment when the student gardener indicated that the CSA challenge for him was making the pick-up easy for subscribers because most of them had to drive on campus.
5) Learned about food insecurity both in Africa and in Iowa. Some of the participants were surprised at the number of hungry people within the state. One girl was quite familiar with some of the hunger issues associated with different African countries and she shared this information for discussion.
6) Spent time in the organic produce gardens at the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center and visited with the Chef about her use of the produce in her menus. The group worked to determine a service learning project. They identified a local summer preschool program to present information about children in Africa and what they eat and a vegetable tasting following the program. At the end of the week they visited the preschool, showed pictures of African children, showed pictures of various fruits and vegetables they consume and played a game of lion and zebra with the kids. They then went through a vegetable taste testing with the students and talked about the value of eating 3 of these a day. For this project the campers had to do research and spend time preparing all of the materials, etc. for the actual presentation.

Goals met in the 2012 camp:
* Worked together as a team to make decisions regarding the camp and for the service learning project.
* Learned the environmental value of organic farming practices. Learned about farming practices to alleviate soil erosion and improve water quality.
* In interviews with farmer market vendors they learned about different farming practices and how to sell directly to the consumer.
* They were introduced to alternative weed and pest management systems.
* They reached out to a preschool to complete a service learning project centered on food.

Because only three young people participated in the 2012 Real Soil camp, we decided to offer an introductory session with a dinner at the end of January, 2013. We invited about twenty students and had eight attend with either their parent or their teacher. We gave them a mini preview to Real Soil and handed out applications for the 2013 camp.


Deb Hall

Retired Adair County ISU Extension Director,
Iowa State University Extension - Adair County
154 Public
Greenfield, IA 50849