Cultivate Hope in Cedar Rapids

Cultivate Hope is developing Iowa’s first urban farm, using land vacated by flood-damaged homes in 2008. The program is a part of the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub, an outreach of the  United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids.

A dozen lots of land in the city have produced over 5,000 pounds of vegetables. These locally grown crops have been distributed to persons of the Taylor and Time Check neighborhoods, other CSA (community supported agriculture) members, and local food banks.

Hundreds of volunteers have donated more than 4,000 hours this season to the project. They have used 200 cubic yards of compost and an equal amount of wood chips donated by the local Solid Waste Agency to keep the farm well fertilized.

Jerry Oakland, the Neighborhood Investment Coordinator for the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub, noted that two dozen trees and berry bushes, as well as plants that attract insects, have been introduced to the farm “in the first steps of building a food forest – possibly the first in Cedar Rapids.”

A $5,000 grant from the Iowa Annual Conference helped to underwrite this ministry. Learn more about the project at the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub website, where they “envision a thriving, connected community where people are valued and talents are multiplied.” Their mission is to “Unite, Empower, [and] Change Lives!”

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