5-2-1-0 WINS!

By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, August 9, 2021

5-2-1-0 funds gardens, trails and water access in Winterset

Winterset is perhaps most commonly known as the birthplace of actor John Wayne or for its famous covered bridges. The town of 5,000 in Madison County is the picture of "small-town America," according to Parks & Recreation Director Sky Smothers.

In addition to a thriving downtown, tree canopies and historic homes, Winterset also features several great parks and recreation facilities. Winterset is one of 16 communities across the state receiving 5-2-1-0 funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health in FY21 to support projects that promote active living and healthy eating among citizens.

RELATED: Meet the 5-2-1-0 funded communities

Here are some of the projects that were funded in Winterset with the 5-2-1-0 grant:

'Peter Rabbit' garden 

The Madison County Master Gardeners had recently constructed eight raised, ADA-accessible community garden beds at the feet of the town water tower, behind the Winterset Public Library. 5-2-1-0 funding provided tools, seeds, gardening soil, signage, landscaping materials and benches to support the garden.

"We could have never done this without the grant. The grant has allowed us to be more diversified in what we grow," said RoxAnn Rhoads, master gardener. "We were able to purchase a wider variety of produce to have in the garden. This year we have tomatoes, Swiss chard, peppers, eggplants, celery and more.”


To make the garden more interactive, the master gardeners partnered with the library to incorporate illustrations from "Peter Rabbit" into the garden accompanying flowers and produce items mentioned in the children's book. Children were read the book during story time and then invited to visit the library with their families.

"The garden a permanent, sustainable addition to our campus that naturally compliments our programming," said David Hargrove, library director. 

Water bottle filling stations in schools, park

Clint Driftmier, associate principal at Winterset Elementary, said his staff does a great job of helping students eat healthy and be active throughout the day.

drinkingBut one area that needed improvement was access to drinking water, especially considering students were not able to drink directly from water fountains during the pandemic and the time it takes to fill a water bottle from a traditional drinking fountain.

The school was able to purchase water bottle filling stations with a combination of 5-2-1-0 funding and a Rethink Your Drink grant from Delta Dental.

"The newness of the filling station was definitely a motivator for the kids to drink more water," said Driftmier. "The filling stations are a great resource for us so kids are able to continue to make the healthy choice of water."

Two stations were also purchased for City Park and Whistle Stop Park with the capacity to fill water bottles from an ADA-accessible height, plus a dog bowl. 

New park developments 

Work is currently underway on a multi-phase project that will give the community of Winterset more access to recreational opportunities at Cedar Lake, located north of town.

"This community really loves the outdoors and to use the parks and amenities for hiking and walking," said Smothers.

MORE 5-2-1-0 STORIES: Spencer Sergeant Bluff | Ottumwa| Scranton

5-2-1-0 funding was used to help construct a 2.48-mile nature hiking/walking trail in partnership with the City of Winterset and the Conservation Corps of Iowa. The trail will connect the boat ramp to the northeast corner of the lake, including a bridge allowing pedestrians to cross the water. 

Construction on the trail phase is expected to start this fall and once the projects are completed, community members will have access to three more miles of recreational trail near their community. 

Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!


5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a health-focused movement for kids that’s under the nationally recognized program, 5-2-1-0. It all starts by encouraging them to eat and play the right way.

This proven, scientific method helps keep kids healthy by focusing on the importance of four habits:

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of screen time (television, computer, video games, phones, etc.)
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 (or reduce) sugar-sweetened beverages - drink more water!

To learn more about how you can get your community, workplace, school, health care clinic or child care site involved in 5-2-1-0, click here.