By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Services in Iowa for its ongoing support of refugees in its community.
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) provides a program called Global Greens, which supports refugee farmers in the Des Moines community. The program teaches farmers to grow chemical-free Iowa vegetables, as well as vegetables from their home countries, and provides them access to small garden plots near their homes. The farmers receive training and support from LSI at the Valley Community Center, and the garden plots near their homes are available through a cooperative partnership with the City of Des Moines, volunteers, and private landowners.
The farmers are empowered to eventually sell their products at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and across Des Moines. COVID-19 required the Farmers’ Market to close in 2020, but the LSI Global Greens Farmers’ Market is still operating safely, and provides the refugees with a place to sell products from their gardens on Saturdays in May through October.
In addition to the Global Greens Market, LSI offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which supports more than 20 refugee families. Through the CSA, community members receive boxes of the locally grown food, along with recipes from refugees’ home countries, including Bhutan, Burundi, and Rwanda. LSI offers a space for community members to safely pick up their CSA boxes, or they can have the boxes delivered for a small fee.
Thank you to Lutheran Services in Iowa for your committed support of refugees in your community, and for empowering them to offer locally grown food to Iowans!