United Way Corporate Giving Gardens
Iowa is ranked 50th for consumption of fruits and vegetables in the country. In conjunction with this statistic, 1 in 8 Iowans are food insecure which corresponds to challenges and barriers for how our communities develop. Food insecurity is not just a need for food, but a need for sustainable and affordable, nutritious food. Thus we look to a diverse array of food sources to support our local food systems.
One such food source sprouting across Central Iowa are Corporate Giving Gardens supported by United Way of Central Iowa. Corporate Giving Gardens are rooted in the excess land or space that surrounds the offices of local corporations. Through direct employee engagement and in partnership with United Way of Central Iowa, employees can volunteer their time to grow fruits and vegetables on-site at their office.
When it is time to harvest these gardens, volunteers from the company gather to help harvest, process and distribute their produce to local pantries. Through this process, companies are able to experience many positive outcomes in their investment of the garden. Companies can see various benefits from employee engagement in a Corporate Giving Garden, such as increased physical activity and well-being, opportunity for team building gatherings and creating a natural bridge between the corporation and its surrounding community.
In 2016, United Way of Central Iowa worked with 6 Corporate Giving Gardens to:
- Donate 8,064 pounds of fresh produce
- Provide 3,226 people with a day's worth of fresh produce (five servings)
- Collaborated with 293 Volunteers
- Clocked in 1,356 hours of Volunteer hours
Corporate Giving Gardens provide a platform to strengthen the partnerships between corporate and community based organizations throughout Polk, Dallas and Warren counties. Through these partnerships, corporations are able to directly combat food insecurity by creating additional food sources that provide food pantries with access to locally grown, nutritious fruits and vegetables.
How to Get Involved
Do you know a company in your community who would be interested in starting a Corporate Giving Gardens in Polk, Dallas or Warren County? Contact United Way of Central Iowa so that they can:
- Provide guidance and advice
- Send you their Giving Gardens toolkit of resources and information
- Connect you with experienced gardeners from other companies
- Add you to their United Way garden Network
For more information contact
Shirley Burgess | Volunteer Engagement Officer
United Way of Central Iowa
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Iowa Hunger Directory
Interested in garden initiatives in Iowa? Check out the variety of garden programs in the Iowa Hunger Directory!
We are always looking to make new connections, so share your events on our events calendar! Or Tweet at us @IAHungerSummit! We want to hear about all the innovative and inspiring initiatives you and your organization are doing!