Neighborhood, private and school gardens and farms in Waterloo and a Cedar Falls popcorn grower will be featured on Sunday’s Cedar Valley Urban Farm Crawl & Backyard Tour.
The go-at-your-own pace event is from noon to 4 p.m.
Admission is free, and there will be activities for all ages. In addition, a bike tour from 10 a.m. to noon has been organized to visit several participating farms. Registration is required at https://forms.gle/6XxmFEqdQLf9cMkp6.
Sponsor is the Cedar Valley Regional Food and Farm Network.
“It’s important to shed light on all the great things happening with urban farming, and for people to get insight into how urban areas are growing food. You don’t need lots of acres to grow food. You can be productive with land you have,” said DaQuan Campbell, director of We Arose Co-op, a CVRFFN member.
We Arose Co-op is a network of local food producers intent on building community and increasing access to healthy food options through education and outreach.
“The farm crawl is a great way for a community to meet their neighbors, invite collaboration and learn about the production side of local food,” Campbell said.
The Urban Farm Crawl coincides with a new local food campaign, “Grow.Eat.Play.” Launched by the CVRFFN, the campaign replaces the popular “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign that began in 2003.
“People love new ideas, and we’re excited to freshen things up and make it fun and playful and appealing. There’s new energy and a new look, and we’re using lots of different ways to publicize it and get it in the hands of people,” said Jodie Huegerich, UNI Local Food Program manager.
The CVRFFN is a coalition of individuals, food and farm businesses, UNI Local Food Program, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach and other community organizations and leaders. The goal is to work together to positively impact the local food system and make it easier to find sources of locally grown food. A new website, www.cvfarmfoodnetwork.org, has been launched.
“Local food is at the heart of so many of our favorite seasonal memories, from going to an apple orchard with our family to buying local honey for baking and visiting the local farmer’s market or a local farm like Hansen’s Dairy. We want people to ‘Grow.Eat.Play.’ with local food and make memories,” said Huegerich.
The program adds the fun element, she said, and encourages people to support local food producers, farmers’ markets, orchards, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, breweries and grocers.
A new Local Foods Directory has been published and a searchable food guide can be found at the website. Search “Grow” for local producers, “Eat” for restaurants purchasing local food, “Play” for U-pick farms, farmers markets, apple orchards and pumpkin patches.
The following locations will be open on the Cedar Valley Urban Farm Crawl & Backyard Tour, including the bike tour:
People’s Community Health Clinic Garden, 936 Walnut St., Waterloo: People’s Garden grow free pesticide-free produce for clinic members, distributed twice weekly.
Litteaur’s Garden Produce, 4929 Weiden Road, Waterloo: Locally owned and operated farm with conventional growing practices; local food will be available for purchase.
We Arose Co-op, 300 Peek St., Waterloo: Pesticide-free and hand-harvested produce.
Northeast Iowa Food Bank, 261 Vinton St., Waterloo: The garden gives clients additional nutritious choices in produce; volunteers assist in planning their portion of the garden and help harvest. Tours are at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center Garden, 1112 Mobile St., Waterloo: Providing free produce to the neighborhood as part of community building efforts.
Cook’s Fruits & Veg, 3724 Sage Road, Waterloo: A variety of produce grown using conventional methods; produce will be available for purchase.
These gardens will be open for the farm crawl, but are not on the bike tour:
Southern Goods, 7514 Hammond Ave., Waterloo: A regenerative farm using minimal to no pesticides; local food will be available for purchase.
Cunningham School Learning Garden, 1224 Mobile St., Waterloo: In the last year, beds have been refilled, a raised bed added and such perennial plants as rhubarb, sorrel and strawberries planted.
Fitkin Popcorn LLC, 5400 Ford Road, Cedar Falls: See how popcorn is grown and processed; enjoy the FIT-POP popcorn bar and a hayride; popcorn will be available for purchase.