Connecting Communities Through Food—7 years of Eat Greater Des Moines

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Eat Greater Des Moines was founded in April of 2013, 7 years ago! We started in collaboration with United Way of Central Iowa and Des Moines Area Religious Council with the goal of building a stronger food system. Fast forward 7 years later and we are still working to connect communities through food and build a food system that works for everyone. 

Below Executive Director and Co-Founder Aubrey Alvarez shares some of her favorite photos of EGDM through the years. 

1.) CSA Fair—2014

We worked with Buy Fresh Buy Local (then with Drake Ag Law) to organize a CSA Fair at Campbell’s Nutrition. I think we did the fair in February. We had around 7 CSA farms come and share what to expect when working with them for a CSA. The photos include: Agri-Cultured, Grade A Gardens, and Wallace Centers of Iowa

2. Co-Founders Linda Gobberdiel & Aubrey at the St. Patrick's Day Parade—2014

 Linda and I walked in the parade with the Urban Ambassadors and handed out seed packets attached to post cards promoting the Community Garden Start Up Guide (which we still have on our garden page!) . This was when we were still housed at DMARC’s (then brand new) office. Fun fact – I was actually pregnant under that apple costume! 

3. Local Food Box—2016

Local Food Box-2
  •  Here’s a sample of our Local Food Promotion Program project. While the food box is no longer, Lutheran Services in Iowa did end up doing their own full CSA! Partners included:
    • + Des Moines Social Club donated space during the 12-week pilot period for aggregation of the food box contents and a space to assemble the food boxes.  The Social Club has become a “public” pick up site now with our program expansion.  By “public”, we mean that anyone who does not have a pickup offered at their work site can pick up his or her weekly box at the Social Club.
    • + Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) helped connect EGDM with Principal Financial and facilitated their participation in the pilot.  LSI also reached out to Valley Community Center to help facilitate borrowing their refrigerated truck for food box transport during the pilot.  LSI continues to be a supportive partner and encourages their refugee farmers to sell their fresh produce to our program.
    • + Valley Community Center donated the use of their truck each Thursday for 12 weeks from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM for EGDM to transport fresh produce to the aggregation site, and then to deliver the food boxes to Easter Seals and Principal Financial for customer pick up.  Although, Valley was willing to continue to donate use of their truck for our program expansion, the location of the truck in relation to the new aggregation site (at the Iowa Food Coop) is not convenient and would add too much travel time.
    • + Easter Seals collaborated with EGDM on the pilot by offering the opportunity to their employees and accommodating a pick up site inside their office building.  Easter Sales also worked with EGDM staff to involve some of their clientele in volunteering to assemble the Local Food Boxes at the Des Moines Social Club.  Easter Seals managers helped to promote the program to their employees, and helped to oversee their volunteers.  Easter Seals has continued as a drop off site for their employees and for LSI employees as well.
    • + Principal Financial Group (PF) managers offered a space for food box orientation for their employees and helped promote the program to a limited number of their employees.  PF also helped facilitate a space in the employee parking lot for the food boxes to be picked up.  Principal Financial potentially will offer the Local Food Box to all of their employees in the spring once it is approved through their corporate committee process.

4. Hiatt Garden Party

  • EGDM partnered with the Boys & Girls Club and ISU Extension to host a garden party at the Hiatt Middle School garden. The youth were so excited to show off their garden and invite neighbors. One neighbor came over and said he always wanted to check out the garden. Sadly, this garden is now a parking lot ☹

5. World Food Prize 2018 Panel

Derek Nelson (board member) and I got to be part of a keynote panel on food rescue at the 2018 Iowa Hunger Summit. It is where I met Denise Osterhause with Kroger. Lea Hensel (then with the Iowa Waste Reduction Center) moderated the session.

6. Feed Greater DSM 2018

Picture of Jennifer Miller’s (on behalf of the Iowa Food Co-Op) breakout session on the impact of local food from the 2018 Feed Greater Des Moines conference.

7. 1st Team Picture & Vu Le!

One of my best days. Getting to spend the day learning with our whole team from my favorite nonprofit leader, Vu Le, was amazing. 

Joie Probst

Joie Probst

Communications & Outreach Manager