Founded in 2011 by Sonia Kendrick, Feed Iowa First began as a summer project to grow and provide fresh vegetables to food banks. The Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was Sonia’s first partner, letting her use 1/2 acre of land to plant her garden.
The response from the Cedar Rapids community and from people who received the fresh produce was amazing—and led Sonia to realize that her model of urban farming could make a significant difference in Iowa’s food system.
By partnering with schools, faith organizations, community agencies and corporations of all sizes, Feed Iowa First finds open spaces to grow fresh produce that’s harvested to supply those in need with nutritious food. In 2017, Feed Iowa First donated over 38,000 lbs of fresh produce to pantries across Linn County. Feed Iowa First also helps support beginning farmers through training and investments that ensure the next generation of farmers and food production
To combat food insecurity by growing food and farmers.
To increase health equity in our community by creating a sustainable local food system that removes barriers to nutrient-dense food access and land for farming for underserved populations in Linn County.
Health and Nutrition – We remove barriers to food access by providing fresh nutritious food to increase health equity to our underserved communities.
Dignity – We remove the stigma of being food insecure by serving any community member in need of culturally appropriate foods.
Equity – We do not discriminate based on race, gender, religion, age, ability, or any other demographic. If a person expresses need, we serve them.
Health Equity Statement:
Founded in 2011, Feed Iowa First has been responding to increasing food insecurity in Linn County by growing culturally relevant vegetables for underserved communities for over a decade. We believe health equity begins with food access; we work to meet the food needs of our community, simultaneously reducing waste by growing what is needed and wanted. We distribute more than 45,000 lbs. of fresh produce to economically disadvantaged households, immigrant and refugee families, and anyone in need through partnerships with local food pantries, health clinics, community fridges, and low-income apartments. Our model ensures households have consistent access to fresh and culturally appropriate produce to support nutrition security.
Feed Iowa First is committed to equity and diversity in farming by connecting emerging, underserved farmers to land, equipment, and training in Iowa. We believe health equity begins with food. By supporting emerging farmers, we vastly improve access to nutritious and appropriate food central to cultural diets for all Linn County residents.