30 Mini-Grants Awarded for the Iowa Farm
to Summer “Root for Radishes!” Campaign
Fun program teaches children about the benefits of fresh produce while building markets for Iowa farmers
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has awarded $300 mini-grants to 30 participating sponsors for the purpose of purchasing local food as part of the Iowa Farm to Summer campaign, “Root for Radishes!”.
“Root for Radishes!” is a statewide effort to promote summer meal sites by celebrating local radishes as the raddest vegetable of the summer. With a focus on this familiar, readily available veggie, the goal is to increase participation of children at Iowa summer meal sites while also building market demand for local producers.
“The Iowa Farm to Summer campaign is all about finding fun ways to teach students about how their food is grown while also building connections with local farmers,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Whether you ‘Root for Radishes’ or enjoy other fresh, locally grown options, consumers can benefit from enjoying nutritious Iowa produce all summer long.”
The Department received 51 applications from summer meal site sponsors, community partners and early childhood education providers and 30 were selected. Participants are required to source local produce from area producers. In addition, participants are encouraged to share promotional materials and learning opportunities with children. Examples of promotional ideas include growing radishes in a school garden and harvesting them with students, inviting a farmer to visit and sample farm-grown radishes, or leading an outdoor demonstration that includes preparing a simple radish snack.
The list of 30 participating locations can be found here.
This statewide program is part of a 5-year campaign, with a different vegetable becoming the focus each summer.
- 2023: Root for Radishes
- 2024: Snap for Snap Peas
- 2025: Crunch into Cucumbers
- 2026: Kick it with Carrots
- 2027: Lettuce Eat Lettuce
The program is funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship through the Specialty Crop Block Grant offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The official hashtag of the campaign is #IowaFarmtoSummer and those interested in the program can learn more on the Iowa Farm to School and Early Coalition website.