Real Soil, Real Food, A Real Difference educates teens about critical food issues such as food insecurity, food safety, and nutrition with a short-term intensive and long-term self-guided project. The initial camp experience combines research-based learning, team-building activities, field trip adventures, and dialogue with experts. Participants incorporate their learning into a self-directed independent project for change that is implemented over the following year.
Dr. Deb Hall of Adair County Extension developed the curriculum. Staff from The Wallace Centers of Iowa teach the course and lead the activities. Local and statewide guest speakers include professionals from DuPont Pioneer, USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, the World Food Prize, ISU’s Neely-Kinyon Research Farm, Iowa Department of Human Service, Southwest Iowa Egg Co-op, Adair County Home Care, Creston Farmers Market, and Picket Fence Creamery.
The initial five-day program was developed and piloted in 2011 with seven students. Feedback from students indicates the program helps develop leadership and problem solving skills and increases their knowledge base for potential careers in agriculture, food science, health and wellness, social services, environmental studies and other areas. The program’s development and pilot effort were funded, in part, by a grant from the Wallace Global Fund.
The initial application consists of the following:
- General contact information
- Short essay questions
- Needs scholarship application if applicable
Upon acceptance, the following will be required prior to June 1:
- Program Fee
- Lodging Fee (if applicable)
- Health and Permission Forms
Participants will take part in six days of programming at a cost of $500. This fee includes all meals, snacks, t-shirt, program materials, additional supplies, field trip transportation, and project mentoring. Participants will be responsible for any extra costs that they incur on field trips such as additional snacks or souvenirs.
Students who live close to The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s Wallace House can drive there or be dropped off and picked up for each day’s program. If lodging is needed, all overnight accommodations will be from Sunday night through Thursday (5 nights). Participants will be housed 2 students per room and adult supervision is provided. Transportation to and from the hotel each day will be provided. Cost for lodging will be determined by the number of participants and location of the lodging.
- Team building
- Working in the produce garden
- Issue investigation
- Networking to develop solutions
- Physical activity
- Meal/snack planning and preparation
- Fun, laughter, making new friends, great food, and new experiences
Additionally there will be field trips to various sites such as Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Iowa State University, the World Food Prize, farmers markets and conservation projects. If time allows, there may be group activities such as swimming, movies, etc. The usual day will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude around 7 p.m.
EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPANTS
- Willingly take part in all activities, learning and working sessions
- Be positive, respectful and appreciative towards other participants, instructors, and guest speakers
- Agree to complete an independent project aimed towards their peers
- Limit use of texting and cell phone to specific times of day and following each session
- Not use any drugs, alcohol or tobacco
- Be responsible for bringing a laptop computer if you want to use this technology*
- Abide by the rules of the garden: use sunscreen (which will be provided), wear closed-toe shoes, handle all tools carefully, and clean all tools when finished
*The Wallace Centers of Iowa is not responsible for the loss of any personal property including a laptop computer or other electronics.
WHAT TO BRING FOR THE CAMP:
Appropriate clothes for summer weather, outdoor activities and field trips, including sweatshirts for cool mornings & evenings
Closed-toe shoes or boots for garden work (tennis shoes are ok)
Separate indoor shoes
Bathing suit for possible trip to swimming pool
Laptop computer if desired
Some form of identification – driver’s permit or license, student ID or birth certificate
All toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, anti-perspirant, etc.