Iowa’s first urban farm education center was created in 2012 as an outreach of the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub. The two-acre farm is located close to downtown Cedar Rapids on empty lots where houses once stood before the 2008 flood.
The urban farm is a part of their Cultivate Hope program, which exists to help build sustainable, healthy communities. They focus on teaching families how to grow, eat, and preserve fresh, high quality food right in their own neighborhoods.
If kids are to flourish, they need to be healthy. But children in the Taylor and Northwest Area neighborhoods have some of the highest obesity rates in the city. Working with the Harrison Elementary and Roosevelt Middle schools, the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub is shifting the food culture in these communities. They offer weekly, hands-on food education programming for students throughout the growing season.
The Matthew 25 Hub is planning a Farm Summer Camp for kids to taste farm-fresh food and learn about how it is produced. Farm tours are also available for youth groups with interest in their ministries. Apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa help to support this ministry through a Matthew 25 grant from the East Central District.