Cultivate Hope Urban Farm
Healthy, accessible food is an important piece to growing a strong neighborhood, but not every neighborhood has a grocery store or farmers market. Areas of Cedar Rapids have been designated as food deserts, meaning residents do not live within one mile of healthy, affordable food. The northwest neighborhood was one of these food deserts.
That’s where the Cultivate Hope Urban Farm comes in.
We saw the potential to create a location where we can grow food locally, give others a place to grow, and provide a space to build community among neighbors around a common interest: food.
While the concept of urban farming is nothing new, it has recently been growing in popularity in metro areas thanks to its many benefits.
Urban farming reduces pollution associated with food and consumer transportation, reduces runoff water, and can help lead to better air quality.
By growing food closer to where people live, overall costs can be lower than at grocery stores, jobs are created, and money stays local.
By preserving green space with an urban farm, neighbors have a place to form positive social connections around something everyone has in common: food.
Health and Wellness
By making fresh food more readily available, especially in a food-desert neighborhood, an urban farm provides an outlet to purchase produce to incorporate into a healthy diet.
What We Do
What do we do on the Urban Farm?
First and foremost, the Urban Farm is a farm! We grow fruits and vegetables without pesticides or herbicides right in the heart of Cedar Rapids. This fresh produce is provided directly to the community through Farmers Markets, sold at the Cultivate Hope Corner Store, used to make dishes at Groundswell Cafe, and used by our Youth Development Program to make wonderful bread, jams, and other value-added products.
We recognize that not everyone has access to land to grow food, so we have designated part of the Urban Farm as Community Gardens. We provide the land, water access, and simple tools needed for growing, and neighbors use that to grow food for themselves and for others in their community.
Beyond growing and educating, the Urban Farm is a space for neighbors to gather, visit, and get to know one another. We host Farmers Markets throughout the growing season, monthly Mega Markets and a Harvest Festival with music and brick-oven pizza, and even sell plants and flowers through our Spring Plant Sale and Fall Fundraiser.
What’s different about the Cultivate Hope Urban Farm?
Founded in 2012, the Cultivate Hope Urban Farm was built on land where houses had been demolished after the flood of 2008. Matthew 25’s leaders saw an opportunity to grow food for the neighborhood on this land, and “cultivate hope” for a brighter, healthier tomorrow. The farm has many features for the community, including:
- 2 acres of growing space, tended by our Farm Manager
- Natural playground and abundant green space
- 1,000-square-foot greenhouse
- Large event pavilion and brick pizza oven
There are many ways to get involved with the Urban Farm! Here are just a few:
- Attend our events! We host Farmers Markets throughout the growing season, as well as a Spring Plant Sale, Harvest Festival, and other events.
- Purchase a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share at the start of the year to invest early in the Urban Farm and reap the rewards all season long.
- Include your whole family! Sign up your kids for one of our Summer Food Camps or encourage your teen to apply for our Youth Development Program.
- Need space to grow? Rent one of our Community Garden Plots!
- Want to learn more about gardening? Register for our Garden Workshop Series and learn from our experienced Farm Manager throughout the season.
- Get your hands dirty! Volunteer at the Urban Farm and help with tasks such as planting, weeding, harvesting, and more.
- Rent the Urban Farm’s pavilion for your next event. We can provide the tables and chairs, you provide the guests! Contact us for more information
- Do you run a club, girl or boy scout troop, or have a class that would benefit from learning about the Urban Farm? Inquire about scheduling a tour!
- Support our work on the Urban Farm with a donation. Make it a recurring donation for a lasting impact!