Food & Dining
October Marks the First National Farm to School Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Elisha Smith   
Monday, 10 October 2011 15:21

Farmers, chefs to visit classrooms across the country

Lyons, NE - The first ever National Farm to School Month is taking place this October.

In 2010, Congress designated October as National Farm to School Month, which demonstrates the growing importance and role of Farm to School programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local farming and ranching economies, spur job growth and educate children about agriculture and the origins of their food.

"Farm to School programs are a win-win.  They provide our kids with fresh, healthy food that actually tastes like food and benefits our farmers and communities as well," said Kathie Starkweather with the Center for Rural Affairs, a member of the National Farm to School Network and a partner organization of the 2011 National Farm to School Month. “These programs are widely recognized as an effective way to encourage healthy eating and boost local agriculture sales by bringing local vegetables, fruit, and other products into schools.”  

According to Starkweather, a focus on farm-to-school local food programs is overdue.  Two-thirds of school children eat a National School Lunch Program lunch and consume about one-third of their total calories from that meal. Unfortunately that food travels between 2500 and 4000 miles before reaching their plates.

To celebrate the first National Farm to School Month, schools across the country will be inviting farmers and chefs to visit their school during the month of October. Food service professionals, teachers, parents, farmers and ranchers can visit for assistance organizing an event.

Over the past decade, the Farm to School movement has exploded across the United States. There are now more than 2,300 Farm to School programs in schools across all 50 states, according to the National Farm to School Network.

For example Joyce Rice, who served as Food Service Director for a small central Nebraska community, was dissatisfied with the food the students were eating and made it her personal mission to get locally grown fresh food into the schools. Joyce wanted to feed students at the elementary, middle and preschool (500 students) delicious, healthy and fresh food. Rice started the Farm to School program by identifying local farmers who could supply food for school lunches. She has also gotten them involved in giving presentations at school. This teaches the children more about how food is grown, where it comes from, and the importance of supporting local growers.

“One local grower who raises asparagus, actually came to the school, donned a hair net, and helped cook and serve the asparagus,” commented Starkweather.

According to Rice, “Most of the kids had never even SEEN an asparagus, but they cleaned their plates and are now asking their parents to buy the vegetable.” The farmer now sees the students and their parents regularly at his stand at the local Farmers Market.

Rice continued saying the children love eating the fresh food and their consumption of fruits and vegetables increased by nearly 200 percent since she started buying locally according to data that she has tracked since starting this program.

United States Department of Agriculture is preparing to announce the availability of competitive Farm to School grants worth up to $100,000 for planning and implementing Farm to School programs – including supporting staff salaries, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens and other activities. For more information on these grants and about the National Farm to School Network, visit

The National Farm to School Network has established contacts in every state to help connect schools with local farmers. To find one in your state

For additional information on how schools and farmers can take advantage of Farm to School programs visit for a host of ideas. Or contact Kathie Starkweather at the Center for Rural Affairs at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (402) 617-7946.

Food experts tell it like it is on Best Food Facts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Richard Martin   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 16:00

Latest poll

Do you buy organic food? Why or why not? Let us know! Click here to weigh in.

What's Cookin'?

Recently we’ve talked with University-based food experts/researchers about these topics

Check out all the Food for Thought posts!

Machine Shed Restaurant Celebrates National Pork Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Stacy Christofferson   
Monday, 03 October 2011 13:18

With special features, promotions and contests all month long

October is National Pork Month.  Since the doors first opened in 1978, Pork has been a staple on the Machine Shed menu selling over 300,000 pounds of Pork every year.  Here’s what guests will find at the Shed this month:

  • Enjoy specially priced 2 for $25 pork dinners
  • Enter to win a $25 gift card in a Facebook “Blue Ribbon Picture” photo contest
  • Learn tips, recipes and fun facts on the Machine Shed Blog
  • Download a complimentary recipe eBook with eight chef inspired signature recipes
  • Enter to win great pork related gift packs
Celebrate National Pork Month at the Machine Shed.  To learn more about all the Machine Shed Pork Month events, visit their website at  For more information, please call the Machine Shed Restaurant at (563) 391-2427. The Machine Shed is located at I-80 and Northwest Blvd in Davenport, IA.

Figge features free family fête PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Susan Horan   
Monday, 03 October 2011 11:59

Davenport, Iowa - September 2011 – In celebration of the French poster exhibition, “Turn of the Century Posters from the Krannert Art Museum”, the Figge will be hosting a free event for the whole family! On Saturday, October 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., “A Fabulously Fun French Family Event” will feature plenty of activities for even the youngest artiste. In studios 2, 3 and 4 families will be able to design posters, learn printmaking techniques from St. Ambrose instructors, and enjoy French-themed treats!

After the studio activities, families can listen to children’s stories from France, learn simple French words and phrases, and enjoy a film about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec—France’s most famous poster designer!

A tour of the “Turn of the Century Posters” exhibition using the Parent & Child guide provided by the Figge is also encouraged. The guide can be downloaded from the museum homepage and explains four of the most popular posters in the exhibition, how they were designed, and why they were so successful. There will also be real-life objects from the posters on display! Families are invited to sketch the opera glasses, bicycle and people dressed in period costumes. Missing out on this free family event would be a real faux pas!

This event is sponsored by John Deere and Butler Insurance Services.

For more information about “A Fabulously Fun French Family Event” please contact Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson at 563-326-7804, ext. 7887 or at

The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in Downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, Sundays noon to 5 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  To contact the museum, please call 563-326-7804, or visit


Grand Opening of the Café at RME PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Maureen Carter   
Friday, 30 September 2011 11:52

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grand Opening of the Café at RM

(Davenport, IA)  Thanks to the Scott County Regional Authority, River Music Experience (RME) is proud to announce that its first floor renovations are complete.  The first floor space, formally Mojo’s, will now be known simply as the RME, and all performances in the space will be on the RME Community Stage, as always.  Improvements include a new menu featuring items from Woodfire Grill, booths, and an updated performance area. Additionally, a modular, sliding wall was installed at the south end of the space to improve the listening experience for patrons when there are simultaneous performances and events on both floors of the RME.

“We’re very excited about the fact that the new improvements will enable us to host a wider range of performances and educational programs on the RME Community Stage,” said Tom Swanson, Executive Director of the River Music Experience. “We’re truly grateful to the SCRA and all of the RME’s community partners, including Lujack Lexus of the Quad Cities, WQAD, the RDA, Quad City Cultural Trust, Bechtel Trusts, and all of the sponsors and donors that made this long-time vision become reality. We look forward to providing the Quad Cities and the region with an even better experience here at the RME.”

In addition to the myriad offerings already taking place at the RME, two new programs will be featured on the RME Community Stage. Mandolin Junction, a bluegrass and old-time music jam is a friendly, free, open jam aimed at encouraging the performance, preservation and appreciation of bluegrass and old-time music. The program is open to listeners and all musicians who play fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass and other acoustic instruments.

Blues Café is a blues improvisation program featuring professional musicians from the area, as well as the occasional visiting artist or special guest.

Fans of the RME are encouraged visit the new space for lunch or participate in the organization’s array of educational programming and live performances.


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