Global Greens Farm Tour to Urban Ag Groups

Global Greens Urban Farm Showcases Bountiful Harvests and Hope for New Iowans

The storm clouds parted, and the rains stopped long enough on the morning of June 28, for an energizing tour of the 8.5-acre Global Greens Farm in Des Moines for 20 representatives of various groups working in Urban Agriculture in Iowa. Iowa NRCS, under Tanya Meyer-Dideriksen, started this group in 2023, and its members continue to meet today. The mission of Global Greens of Lutheran Services of Iowa (LSI) is to “reconnect former refugee farmers with the land as they build their new life in the U.S. Through Global Greens, farmers access space to grow food, learn more about U.S. agriculture, and start their own business by selling produce at the Global Greens International Market and through a CSA.” Zac Couture, LSI Land and Production Supervisor, led the tour.

Out on the farm, Estas, a farmer from the Congo, regaled the group with a demonstration of her rapid harvesting of amaranth leaves, each one crisply snapped off the crown, and arranged in perfect bundles for the market. Her quarter-acre farm plot boasted an amazing array of tropical and temperate vegetables—many, like okra and African eggplant, reminiscent of her home country. Many of the twenty farmers that are part of the Global Greens Farm were preparing for the Global Greens Market the next day, where vendors provide shoppers a colorful voyage around the globe, displaying vegetables with interesting names, like isogo (edible nightshade leaves) and lenga-lenga (amaranth). The farm is equipped with a cleaning station, a pack shed, and a cooler which helps ensure fresh and healthy produce.

Kathleen Delate, Josiah Pollock and Karenna Petersen (Iowa State University Horticulture and Agronomy) distributed organic ag resources, including a new Urban Ag Directory. The M.S. research of Delate’s former student, Thanh Nguyen, identified the need for greater land access for graduates of the GG incubator farm program–a need that exists today, despite the successful record of several graduates on private land close to the Metro area. One of the privately owned sites is In Harmony Farm in Earlham, which supports beginning farmer plots. A new ISU Extension and Outreach Catalyst project entitled “Growing Urban Ag in Iowa,” led by Horticulture Extension, will work with ISUEO urban offices, including their Master Gardeners and 4-Hers, in setting up demonstration plots on five urban farms in Polk, Dubuque, Black Hawk and Linn counties.
Extension materials, including brochures and videos, will be created in English and in the most prominent languages of new Iowans.