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Drake University promotes locally grown fruits and vegetables to support Central Iowans in need

Posted June 11, 2014 in Web Exclusives

Drake University Agricultural Law Center will promote the goal of making Greater Des Moines the fruit and vegetable capital of the country this weekend through two events: Strawberry Time at the Meals for the Market Booth on Saturday June 14 from 8 a.m. to Noon at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and the Plant a Mile Fundraising Dinner on Sunday June 15 at 5 p.m.

A host of community partners and local farmers are partnering with the Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) Campaign, a project of Drake University, to help put more fresh fruits and vegetables on the plates of Iowa families in need.

It’s strawberry time in Iowa. The Agricultural Law Center will serve up samples of strawberries, offer a strawberry quiz for children, hand out BFBL stickers, and invite people to take the pledge to Buy Fresh Buy Local at this Saturday’s Downtown Farmers’ Market.  The activities will take place at the Downtown Farmers’ Market Meals from the Market Booth on 2nd and Court Avenue.  Activities at the booth will run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Meals from the Market is a project of the Downtown Farmers’ Market sponsored by Great Western Bank.  Vendors and patrons of the Market are invited to participate in the program, now in its sixth year. Food and monetary donations are accepted at the booth during the market, and are all tax deductible. Those wanting to donate can purchase fresh produce from the market and bring the produce or any baked, canned, or prepared food to the booth to be given to shelters and food pantries throughout the Des Moines area. Produce from home gardens is also an acceptable donation.  A team of Drake Community Engagement and Service Learning students will partner with the volunteers from Great Western Bank to collect donations from farmers and food vendors at the end of the farmers’ market.  All of the donated food goes into the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) truck for distribution to the homeless and other people in need.

Eat a great meal and help plant a mile of produce.  On Sunday, the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign’s Plant a Mile project will hold the second annual fundraising dinner at HoQ Restaurant.  The Plant a Mile project provides accesses to fresh fruits and vegetables to local families through the DMARC Food Pantry Network. Through collaboration with local farmers, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, private businesses, faith-based groups, and volunteers, the Plant a Mile project has provided ten tons of fresh produce for Central Iowa food pantries.  This year’s goal is to deliver five tons of fresh produce as we educate Central Iowans about the importance of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  All proceeds from the dinner will be used in partnership with farms to deliver locally grown produce to the DMARC Food Pantry Network.

Plant a Mile is organized by the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, a project of Drake University, made possible with help from sponsoring members: Campbell’s Nutrition, Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, Devour Des Moines, HoQ Restaurant, Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation and Development, Kitchen Collage of Des Moines, and the Downtown Farmers’ Market.

WHAT: Plant a Mile fundraising dinner—locally grown foods prepared by Chef Suman Hoque

WHERE: HoQ Restaurant, 303 E 5th Street, Des Moines

WHEN: Sunday June 15, 5 p.m.

WHY: To raise money to stock the DMARC food pantry network with locally grown produce

COST: $75 per person includes light appetizers, salad, choice of entrée, dessert, and coffee

MORE FUN: Bring your own bottle of wine and donate a $10 corkage fee to Plant a Mile. Cash bar also available.

Reservations can be made online at: or by e-mail to

For more information on these events, please contact Matt Russell at (515) 689-8219 or by email at

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