Audio Transcript:

This exhibit is recessed into the wall. It is about 20 feet long and 4 feet tall.

Above the exhibit is a Green Sign with White Letters that reads

Wellness and Nutrition

Working from right to left, the display has a Kermit green background and is divided into 7 vertical elements. The first 3 elements are each about 20 inches wide.

The first element shows a photo of Senator Harkin at a microphone in front of a coca cola vending machine. Bottles and packages of soda, candy bars and junk foods are piled up in front of him.

The photo caption reads:

Senator Harkin speaks about the prevalence of junk foods in schools and marketing of food to children.

The text below the photo reads:

Transforming the system.

Throughout his time in office, Senator Harkin made an effort to reframe how we think about health care in the United States.

He sought to transform a sick care system that treats people after they get sick into a true health care system by emphasizing wellness, prevention, and stopping illnesses and diseases before they start.

As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Harkin also had a profound imipact on the American food system through Farm Bill programs.

He also worked to increase funding for biomedical research sponsored by the National Institutes of Heal (NIH) as well as funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The next vertical includes a Wheaties cereal box with 78 notecards below it. The box has Senator Harkin’s face on the cover with the words Senator Tom Harkin – Champion.

A label next to the box reads:

Senator Harkin was gifted this Wheaties box by the Campaign to End Obesity for his efforts to address obesity in children and to encourage good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

Below the Wheaties box are 6 notecards covered with typing and handwritten notes.

The label below the notecards reads:

On March 13, 2006, the CDC dedicated a building in honor of Senator Harkin. He led a successful campaign in 1992 to add the word Prevention to the Centers for Disease Control. He also played an instrumental role in securing increased funding for the agency – more than tripling its budget from 1995 – 2014.

These notecards were used by Senator Harkin in his remarks for that dedication.

The next section to the left features a black and white group photo of 9 children on bikes surrounding a smiling Senator Harkin. He wears a helmet and smiles standing astride a bicycle as well.

The caption reads: Senator Harkin exercising by riding bikes in Coralville, Iowa in 2004.

Below are four photos with text to the right of each.

The first photo shows 3 smiling boys in a lunch line.

The title reads: Improving School Meals.

The text reads:

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program exposes students to more fresh produce, while the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act created new nutrition standards for schools. Senator Harkin also secured funding for studies on food marketing to children in an effort to ensure that foods advertised to children are health and nutritious.

The Next photo below shows a woman and child selecting produce at a grocery store.

The title reads: Strengthening Food Assistance

The text reads:

Senator Harkin worked to ensure that people have easier access to federal nutrition programs. He drafted the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Authorization Act to make it easier for children to receive school lunch and breakfast benefits. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded SNAP benefits and assistance to local food pantries.

The next photo shows a man in a baseball cap and apron smiling as he bags apples for two women at a farmers market.

The title reads:

Expanding Farmers Markets.

The text reads:

In order to increase Americans’ access to fresh and local foods, Senator Harkin worked to fund Community Food Projects. He modified Department of Agriculture rural development programs to better market local and regional foods. In addition to this, Senator Harkin championed the use of locally-sourced foods in the National School Lunch Program.

The next photo shows 4 office workers smiling at a laptop. One of the women is sitting in a wheelchair.

The title reads:

Promoting Wellness

The text reads:

Throughout his career, Senator Harkin promoted wellness initiatives in communities, workplaces and schools. In Iowa, he created the Harkin Wellness Grants program as a way to promote healthier lifestyles in the state. He also authored a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allowed businesses to provide new incentives to employees based on their participation in workplace wellness programs.

Moving left is the large center element of the display. Photos are melted into a navy blue background. This element is a timeline with the title Harkin’s Accomplishments. Each element is text on a white circle. The circles are connected with a green line.

The timeline starts at the top with a circular full color photo of Senator Harkin speaking at a podium that displays a sign reading Keeping Kids Healthy.

White text below the photo reads:

Originally part of the 2002 Farm Bill, the fresh fruit and Vegetable Program provides grants to schools to receive fresh fruits and vegetables to help build healthy eating habits. The 2008 Farm Bill expanded the program.

A green line connects the photo to a white circle with text that says;

1994 – Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

The next circle reads:

2002 Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP)

The next:

2002 – 2008 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The next: 2006 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The next: 2009 Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Prevention and Public Health Fund

The next: 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

The next: 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

The final connected circle holds a color photograph of the Senator reading a piece of paper surrounded by men in suits.

The photo caption reads:

Tom Harkin participates in negotiations for the 2008 Farm Bill. Throughout his time in office, Senator Harkin utilized his role on the Senate Agriculture Committee and farm fills to enact a variety of initiatives around food and agricultural research, better nutrition and local food systems.

Behind the circle diagram are a number of photographs melted into the blue background.

The photo behind the title Harkin’s Accomplishments shows the Senator speaking at a podium.

In the lower right is a photo of Senator Harkin among a group of Senators standing behind a seated President Obama. The smiling president is chatting with a young boy as he signs legislation.

The caption reads: The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act reauthorized and reformed the Child Nutrition Act to enroll more students in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs while also creating new national school nutrition standards for all foods sold in stores.

The final photo of this section shows the senator wearing a straw hat as he looks at vegetables at a Farmers Market.

The caption reads:

Part of the 2002 Farm Bill the FMPP provides grants to “establish, expand and promote direct producer-to-consumer marketing and assist in the development of local food business enterprises.

Moving left, the next section displays a quote above a large grey square.

The quote is in large white bold letters and reads.

We have a sick car system – a system where all the incentives go to patching up, mending and fixing. We neet to transform America into a wellness society – a society focused on fitness, good nutrition and disease prevention. Announcement speech march 10, 2008

In the large grey square below, there are 2 photographs and text.

The title reads The Institute today

Text beneath reads

The Harkin Institute works to advance Sanator Harkin’s legacy through research and programming.

What are we working on now?

A photo shows a woman speaking at a podium with a Drake University sign on it. There are 3 panelists seated behind her with a large screen displaying the Harkin on Wellness Symposium logo.

The text reads:

Wellness Symposium.

Th inaugural Harkin on Wellness Symposium took place in 2018.

This annual event focuses on timely topics in wellness and nutrition policy, including preventive care,  modernizing food systems and nutrition security.

Each year, Harkin on Wellness Designees are honored as the most innovative community health and wellness initiatives in the country. In addition to the symposium and awards, a report is published to detail the work of the HOW Designees.

The next photo shows a masked Senator Harkin holding his sleeve up as he receives his flu vaccine a the Harkin Center when it served as a vaccine clinic during the covid 19 pandemic.

The text reads:

Vaccine Clinic

As chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Service Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Harkin advocated for pandemic preparedness. With that legacy in mind, the Tom and Ruth Harkin Center served as a covid 19 vaccine clinic for Drake University and the Des Moines community even before the building opened to the public. Over 10 thousand doses of the vaccine were administered.

The next vertical section displays a large white title with three green text boxes below.

The title reads Take Action

The first text box reads:

Shop Local

Support your local and regional food system by supporting local food councils, growers, producers and retailers who grow nutritious food. Visit your local farmers’ market, mobile market or look into purchasing a share from a community supported agriculture (CSA) program near you to buy fresh produce from local farms.

The next box reads:

Take the Healthy Meeting Pledge

The Harkin Institute adheres to the Healthy Meeting Pledge outlined by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (acronym NANA) and you can too!

Some highlights include water as the default beverage, fruits and/or available every time food is served and a vegetarian option is always offered.

The final text box reads

Food is Medicine

Write to your elected officials to advocate for an expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in schools or ask them to push for economic incentives to improve diet and health outcomes, such as retail consumer subsidies and government feeding programs.

Moving left is a photograph melted into the blue background showing Senator Harkin speaking at a podium. The caption reads Senator Harkin holds a press conference on workplace wellness in 2009.

Below that is a color photo showing Senator Harkin and Senator Christopher Dodd seated in committee smiling at each other.

The caption reads:

Senator Harkin authored many of the prevention provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides dedicated funding for health, wellness and prevention initiatives including tobacco prevention and workplace wellness.

The final panel of this exhibit is interactive.

Large letters ask Why is Nutrition Important to you?

Below is a blue frame with rows of slots where responses written by visitors on notecards are displayed. There is a stack of blank notecards and pens.

The handwritten responses displayed read:

  • Medicine makes me loopy so I eat fruit instead.
  • The best pharmacy in the world is the food we eat – I am what I eat.
  • It’s the foundation of public health
  • You are what you eat
  • It keeps me away from doctors
  • An Iowa State degree in Dietetics started me down the path of healthy eating. I’m 85 and still mobile and healthy. Good nutrition is a big factor.

To the left of this exhibit is a sign that reads Archival Display – a gift from David and Carol Golder.

You can learn more at harkininstitute dot drake dot edu