From left, Deb Zenner and her grandson, Corbin Schroeder, show live bees and bee products to kids at Food Adventure Camp while Brittany Demezier observes.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach held its first Food Adventure Camp at the Dyersville Social Center on Oct 4. Designed for children kindergarten through third grade, the camp aimed to provide an educational and fun experience for the kids while Western Dubuque schools were out due to a district-wide teacher in-service.

The programs’ stated mission is to build a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. Brittany Demezier, a camp leader and food systems coordinator for the Outreach, explained that the Food Adventure Camp is just the latest in a long series of programs provided across the state by their organization.

“We do all sorts of different types of programs from robotics to art, and lots of other things. This is a school-set day camp where we run a couple of camps on days kids don’t have school.”

For this, the main lesson was to teach children where their food comes from, with a focus on four foods associated with the fall: apples, corn, honey and pumpkins.

“It’s about how they grow, where they come from and how they get to our tables,” said Demezier. “We do all sorts of activities. We did a taste test with different types of apples and talked about their life cycle. We talked about how we get honey from bees, we did a couple of crafts and they did a lot of sampling and tasting so they can try different things. Even the lunch is from local producers.”

Other activities included making play slime from pumpkins and pretending to be bees pollinating flowers around the Social Center’s playground.

For the honey portion of the day, the Outreach brought in Deb Zenner, a beekeeper from Timber Ridge Farm in Durango. With help from her grandson Corbin Schroeder, who also helps on the bee farm, Zenner brought a sealed case of live bees from one of their hives so the kids could get an up-close look at a vital part of food production.

“We explained a bit about how they pollinate our trees, plants, foods and gardens,” said Zenner. “Without the bees, we wouldn’t have food to eat. We can also enjoy the fruit of the bees in honey, which is used as a sweetener in a lot of foods. We wanted to show them the correlation of how important the bees are to our whole ecosystem.”

For information on events put on by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, visit their website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu.