We need your help! The Community Producers Program is in need of a water source near their garden. We are trying to raise $6000 for a yard hydrant. This is the second year without water. Thankfully 2019 has been wet but 2018 crops suffered with periods of drought. We want to install a water source this July to ensure the success of this year’s produce and future years. You can donate here.
The Community Producers Program (CPP) is an initiative of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) to provide economic empowerment opportunities for refugee women in Waterloo, Iowa. The CPP is a partnership of the UNI Local Food Program, Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC), and AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA). The CPP offers workshops, gardening and real-world entrepreneurial opportunities for participants. The workshops and staff time have been supported by grant funding from the Iowa Women's Foundation.
Here is more information about the CPP program.
*There are currently 15 gardeners.
*2018 harvest included pole beans, slicing cucumbers, cilantro, basil, and various tomatoes as well as native Southeast Asian produce: Thai raw Kaw Tok pumpkin, red China eggplant, and Lao green stripe eggplant.
*In 2018 the producers sold over 100 pounds of produce; profits will be reinvested into the program to cover the cost of gardening including paying monthly water bills.
*In 2018 The larger community logged over 200 volunteer hours in the garden.
*In 2018, the producers donated native foods to 20 families in the Burma and Karen communities on a weekly basis.
2018 and 2019 partners include
Veridian Credit Union — Provided tips on cash handling, check writing and other financial literacy skills
EMBARC — Conducted a workshop on verbal communication
Northeast Iowa Food Bank — Presented on food safety
Pablo’s Mexican Grill — Hosted a tour of the local restaurant, which is known for buying local food products, and the owner spoke to the group about entrepreneurship and the local food market
The Laughing Tree Cafe — Eliz Guyer, owner, provided tips on the local food market
ARNKA Acres — a family-owned producer in Dike, IA. The farm is primarily managed by Rachel Houts, who spoke about how she got into farming, harvesting and selling her products to local buyers.