During the spring of 2020, Green Iowa AmeriCorps members at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education (UNI - CEEE) designed and piloted a program aimed at improving sustainable practices in residential yards. This initial pilot program laid the groundwork for what would eventually become A Garden in Every Lot. A Garden in Every Lot began our first official growing season during the spring of 2021.
During the first gardening season in 2021, we worked with local community members to install 36 gardens, including a garden installed at Orchard Hill Elementary in Cedar Falls. We now have our own truck, trailer, and tiller, along with a motivated group of AmeriCorps members to help expand our program and services to more community members and partner organizations.
In the 2022 season, we were able to install 61 backyard gardens, including seven container gardens and 10+ gardens for immigrant families. Our community has shown a great interest in gardening. As a result, the program will continue to evolve into a resource and partnership that can be utilized more wisely by Black Hawk County residents.
2022 Season Recap
2022 Impact Map
Who We Are
A Garden in Every Lot is operated by a team of
dedicated staff at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education,
along with an amazing group of AmeriCorps members.
Members of the Nourish Iowa VISTA program help build capacity for organizations across the Cedar Valley. Projects include coordinating a mobile produce stand for fresh veggies from local farms in several neighborhoods, strengthening volunteer capacity and community engagement, helping food banks purchase from local farms, and helping patients receive fresh produce.
Green Iowa AmeriCorps is a state-wide community service program operating out of the CEEE at UNI. The Green Iowa AmeriCorps vision is to mobilize AmeriCorps members to engage communities in environmental stewardship, neighborhood revitalization, and boots-on-the-ground resources for energy efficiency services.
A Garden In Every Lot aims to renew our community’s culture of backyard gardening. We help both individual community members and community organizations overcome barriers to starting a garden. We accomplish this by offering garden site assessment & preparation, tilling, seeds, plant starts, mulch, and by helping community members work with local landlords and governmental bodies.
In concert with our community partners we help coordinate gardening focused educational programs and community building events.
Grow our communities' strength, knowledge, and interest in community food production.
Increase access to fresh, healthy vegetables for all, including our most vulnerable populations wishing to have a garden of their own.
Create educational culture around gardens, healthy nutrition, food, and community empowerment.