Brucemore and Feed Iowa First, two non-profit organizations in Cedar Rapids, are excited to announce a partnership to provide fresh produce to help those in need in the community. Feed Iowa First volunteers will prepare, plant, tend, and harvest a specialty garden on the grounds of Brucemore over the course of the summer. Produce will be distributed through Feed Iowa First’s channels to local food pantries in Linn County.
“The former owners of Brucemore serve as the inspiration for using the historic ‘Cutting Garden’ to grow fresh produce in partnership with Feed Iowa First,” said Director of Facilities David Morton. “Their legacy of philanthropy and community mindedness continues to guide the ways we utilize the property and engage the community today.”
The second owners of Brucemore – the Douglas family – developed the property in the early 20th century, adding small-scale-farming features, which included an orchard, alfalfa fields, beehives, and a cutting garden. The cutting garden produced a mixture of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that were used in the operation of the estate. The Douglas family often gave away or sold excess produce from the garden. Today, Brucemore’s grounds are a living collection — the plants, trees, and gardens help us understand this history. The use of this space by Feed Iowa First provides a unique insight into the ways the property was used more than 100 years ago while also serving the community.
Founded in 2011, Feed Iowa First is a grass-roots community of businesses, faith organizations, schools, farmers and volunteers that unite in relationship-based service to help the community “Combat Food Insecurity by Growing Food and Farmers.” Hundreds of neighbors collectively contribute thousands of volunteer service hours to grow, tend, and harvest fresh, chemical-free produce that is grown specifically for the food insecure of Linn County. Since its founding, over 175,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated to Linn County food pantries. Feed Iowa First also helps support beginning farmers through training and investments that ensure the next generation of farmers and food production. To learn more, visit www.feediowa1st.com.