Church, social service foster urban farming in Des Moines, Iowa
Program helps refugees become more self-sufficient through selling extra produce.
By Lisa Lavia Ryan
Des Moines Register
July 26, 2012
A university grant and a lot of sweat equity on the part of Lutheran Services in Iowa and Des Moines’ Plymouth Congregational Church have helped more than 100 refugee families feel more at home by cultivating garden plots to call their own.
For some, the gardens are an important income supplement that enables them to sell the food they grow and harvest.
The church and Lutheran Services are spearheading the gardening project with the help of a grant from Iowa State University. Valerie Miller-Coleman, minister of community engagement at Plymouth, said many of the families were thrilled to start gardens of their own.
Some also wanted to make extra money selling some of the food they grew, however, and they were limited by space and restrictions on the resale of community-garden produce. So the groups and the grant helped move their gardening to a new level.