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From May through November 2009 the Cedar Falls Annual Read for the Environment (ACRE) partners have planned several community events for all ages. This year, the partnership shares with you the joys of local foods from community gardens to apple cider. Community members will be encouraged to savor slow foods, make new friends, and experience the benefits of laughter yoga as a prescription for lifelong health. Books about growing food, the environment and sustainability will be featured at each event.

ACRE Potluck Picnics
5:30-8 PM - July 11 & September 19

Share good food and conversation… be inspired and humored by guest speakers…laugh and stretch along with registered nurse and certified laughter yoga facilitator Marie Stigliani…and learn about food, environment and gardening books. Activities for children will be available at each event.

All events feature potluck picnics. Bring a hearty appetite, a dish to share (local or regional food encouraged), tableware for your use and, for the May 16 event, picnic blankets or lawn chairs if the weather is pleasant.

Savoring Slow Foods, July 11
Iowa City Chef and Author Kurt Friese will explore and explain the Slow Food movement throughout the American Midwest. Friese's talk and his book A Cook's Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland are eye-openers. With more than 25 years of professional food service experience, Kurt is chef and co-owner of the Iowa City restaurant Devotay, a national leader in sustainable cuisine, and supports local farmers and food artisans. Friese's book will be available at the event, through University Book & Supply, an ACRE partner. Following his presentation, Friese will sign books.

Where: Hartman Reserve Nature Center, 657 Reserve Drive, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Contact: Patty Achey-Cutts--University Book & Supply @ 266-7581 or Hartman Reserve Nature Center @ 277-2187 for more information.

Apples, Cheese, Bees and More, September 19
Popcorn, cheese, honey and apples are great companions. At this fall festival sample and purchase apples from local orchards, buy local popcorn and honey, help make apple cider, and learn to make cheese from Cedar Falls resident Jack Yates. This celebration will end with comedy improv troupe "Half Masted's" tribute to apples.

Where: Hartman Reserve Nature Center, 657 Reserve Drive, Cedar Falls, IA
Contact: Ed Gruenwald--Hartman Reserve Nature Center @ 319-277-2187

Other related community events:

An exhibit-Slow Food to Fast Food: The Way Iowans Ate June 8-August 15
From the 1870s to the 1970s Iowans underwent a major transformation in eating, food preparation and farming habits. Experience Iowans' dining past with historic photos, tableware, linens and more from each decade. Fondly remember family gatherings from days-gone-by and share personal stories.

University Museum, 3219 Hudson Rd., Cedar Falls, IA 319-273-2188

The Perfect Pie Crust July 28, 7 PM
Susan Fletcher, creator of A Slice of Pie, will teach a pie crust making class, share some favorite recipes and discuss the fun of cooking with and preserving family recipes.

University Museum, 3219 Hudson Rd., Cedar Falls, IA 319-273-2188

Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership All Iowa Dinner
Each autumn, the Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership hosts a dinner celebrating our region's accomplishments in the world of locally grown food. The evening, which features a deliciously prepared meal of local foods, typically includes a keynote presentation and great conversation with fellow diners. The date and keynote for the 2009 annual dinner are yet to be determined. Watch for information at Fee charged for this event.

Buy Fresh Buy Local
You may purchase local foods directly from growers at Farmers Markets, farm stands, at grocers, and through purchasing farm shares. In addition, local foods are served at several area restaurants in or near the Cedar Valley. Click here for details.

ACRE Partners

Cedar Falls Public Library
University of Northern Iowa
Hartman Reserve Nature Center
UNI-Center for Energy & Environmental Education
Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership
UNI-Department of English
Silos and Smokestacks
UNI-Rod Library
University Book & Supply
UNI-University Museum

Funded in part by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP): Invest in Iowa, our outdoors, our heritage, our people. REAP is supported by the state of Iowa, providing funding to public and private partners for natural and cultural resource projects, including water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, parks, trails, historic preservation and more.
Marie Stigliani, RN and Certified Laughter Yoga Facilitator
Recent research shows laughter has a host of health benefits, from reducing stress hormones to strengthening the immune system. It relaxes your muscles, opens your arteries, improves blood flow, helps metabolize sugar, and releases endorphins-the body's natural painkillers. Marie was trained in laughter yoga techniques developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, and Indian physician. She participates in a laughter club in Cedar Falls where she laughs through her days as a wife, mother, dog walker, yogurt maker and novice gardener. She believes laughter is contagious and invites you to come and snicker, giggle, chortle, chuckle, hahaha, and hohoho along with her.

Iowa City Chef and Author Kurt Friese
Kurt Friese will explore and explain the Slow Food movement throughout the American Midwest. If you haven't heard of the Slow Food movement, Friese's talk and his book-A Cook's Journey, Slow Food in the Heartland-are eye-openers. If you are aware of Slow Food you will be amazed and pleased to learn of the remarkable diversity that this region of the country provides. Brick oven cooking and traditional Prosciutto in Iowa; micro-breweries in Ann Arbor and St. Louis; family recipes from Italy in Kansas City; even the rebirth of Al Capone's prohibition rye whiskey.

With more than 25 years of professional food service experience, Kurt has been chef and owner, with his wife Kim McWane Friese, of the Iowa City restaurant Devotay for 12 years. Devotay is a community leader in sustainable cuisine, supporting local farmers and food artisans.

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